Friday 12th August


Swindon: world capital of poetry launches 2016 poetry festival

Oh we do know how to soiree in Swindon!

Yesterday was the launch of the 2016 Swindon Festival of Poetry which will run from 29th September to 9th October 2016.

For useful links and to download a programme go here:

The sun shone down on the courtyard at the central library its brightness and warmth only outdone by the people involved in the poetry festival and the event itself.

And possibly the Mayoral chains of office.

We had a violinist. And wine. How sophisticated! How decadent! On a Thursday lunchtime!

Forget the dead poet’s society – we’ve got living, breathing poets and poetry in Swindon society. But then of course Swindon IS the world capital of poetry:

Organized by the lovely people involved in Poetry Swindon: Hilda Sheehan, Michael Scott, Maurice Spillane, Mike Pringle et al this was a perfectly punny poetic presentation. Okay – I’ll try and stop with the alliteration now.

Incidentally, Mike Pringle has an alter ego as Lady Dada – who knew?

Now – in case you’re wondering what all the DaDa stuff is about – read on:

According to that fount of all knowledge Wikipeadia, Dadaism is:

“ … an art movement of the European avant-garde in the early 20th century.

Dada in Zürich, Switzerland, began in 1916 at Cabaret Voltaire, spreading to Berlin shortly thereafter, but the height of New York Dada was the year before, in 1915.

The term anti-art, a precursor to Dada, was coined by Marcel Duchamp around 1913 when he created his first readymades, Dada, in addition to being anti-war, had political affinities with the radical left and was also anti-bourgeois.”

If you want to go even more Dada – go here: and here:

For more on Marcel Duchamp visit on Marcel Duchamp.

‘Associated with the Dada, Surrealist, Cubist, and Futurist movements, Marcel Duchamp radically subverted conventional practices of artmaking and display, challenging such weighty notions as the hand of the artist and the sanctity of the art object.’

Being as Dadaism is a thread running through the festival we were treated to a Dadaist reading from Micheal Scott. Different.

There were also readings from Hilda Sheehan, the terrific Tony Hiller and the young Sophie Daniels amongst others. Sophie is the delightful daughter of Stephen Daniels – another doyenne of Poetry Swindon – is a budding poet herself. She did a super reading for us at the July Penny Reading event and did a splendid job yesterday. I am, frankly, in awe.

FYI, the Penny Readings are a joint Poetry Swindon and Swindon Civic Voice venture. The next one will be on Tuesday the 27th September at the Central Community Centre:

The entire event was brilliant fun and gives the lie to any notion that poetry automatically is dull and stuffy. You’ve only to see Lady DaDa (aka Mike Pringle) and Hilda Sheehan enact the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet (allegedly) waving Blue Gate/Poetry Swindon plaques as cunningly designed cue cards to see that.

Read also:


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