Are You a Swindon Poet?

...Continues from Interviews by Swindon Poet Katherine T Owen

Poetry in Swindon 

Prior to the covid pandemic, Poetry Swindon (formerly BlueGate poets) was a thriving poetry society.

Closed groups of poets continue to meet in the town.
However, at the time when I return to update this page, there seems to a lull in public events.

To find out what is happening in the areas of poetry and literature this page shares the best sources I can currently provide.


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Contents for Swindon Poet Page

  • Pre pandemic Poetry in Swindon (see above)
  • Swindon Writers. Information about groups.
  • Online Poetry, enjoyed by Swindon poets amongst others
  • Poets and Poetry located near to Swindon
  • Published Swindon poets
  • Swindon spoken word poetry
  • Malmesbury Poets published
  • Swindon writers, non poetry
    *   Swindon novelists
    *   Swindon Writers, non-fiction
  • Swindon Freelance writer for hire
  • Novel set in Swindon
  • Past events by Swindon Poet Katherine T Owen

Swindon Writers

Updated in April 2022

Lower Shaw Farm, Swindon

Matt Holland is the inspiration (and hard work) behind the Swindon Literature Festival. He sends out a monthly Artswords email on all things literary in Swindon. These include a writer's cafe and events at Lower Shaw farm and at Swindon library.

And of course news of the the excellent and enthusiastic Swindon Literature Festival which takes place in May each year.

Look up Lower Shaw Farm to be added to the email list.

Ooh Beehive

Quote at October 2023.

“Our monthly spoken word / poetry open mic night held on the second Tuesday of the month at the Beehive pub, Swindon, 7.30pm. Newcomers welcome.”

Swindon hub

Swindon hub offers words on Wednesday creative writing group at 10.30 am to 11.30am.

Swindon Hub, 36 The Parade, Swindon, SN1 1BA


“Led by Anna & Penni, this updated group will continue to be free, fun, informal, and inspiring with new themes and prompts each week. All welcome! No experience in writing is needed.”

Richard Jefferies Museum

Richard Jefferies is a writer who lived in Swindon.
Literary and poetic events have previously taken place at the museum.
The organisers may be able to put you in touch with any current events.
In any case, it is worth checking out for a cup of tea and music on  Sundays throughout the summer.

Swindon Central Library

The library hosts literature events on a regular basis.

Joy Wodhams

When last I checked, the Swindon author Joy Wodhams was running a writer's group in Chiseldon. You can find her via facebook.

Strawberry Green Productions

Andrew Brewerton has run 2 Poems in the Park events in late 2023.

They are set to continue through the winter indoors at Swindon 105.5FM. If you want to be on the radio on 27 October, or on Andrew Brewerton’s mailing list to hear about future events, let him know

Below (on the Strawberry Green Productions Facebook page) are beautifully filmed videos of poets performing in the September Poems In The Park event.

John Richardson

David Lukens

Janice Booth

Andrew Barber

Shaun Butler

Tony Hillier

Maurice Spillane

Peter Pod

Online Poetry, enjoyed by Swindon poets amongst others

Dawn Gorman lives in Bradford on Avon.
She hosts a Wiltshire radio show and runs a poetry critique course.
She will no doubt run live events again in the future.

Sarah Dixon has been a volunteer at the Swindon Fest poetry Festival in the past.
Sarah is now online as The Quiet Compere, running workshops, and hosting events.

Poets and Poetry near to Swindon

Some of the following poets have run physical events in the past. These are within driving distance of Swindon. They may also be active online. They are all published poets.

Sharon Larkin, Cheltenham

Sue Boyle, Bath

Rosie Jackson, Frome

Published Swindon poets

Published Swindon poets include the following

Jill Sharp

Katherine T Owen (myself)

Cristina Navazo-Eguía Newton

Bethany Pope, lived in Swindon for a while

Em Harri, lived in perhaps raised in Swindon

John Richardson (aka Jay Arr)

Hilda Sheehan

Maurice Spillaine

Catherine Okoronkwo (Marks)

David Cooke (David runs an online poetry website, the High window)

Stephen Daniels

Chaucer Cameron

Tony Hillier

David Lukens

Andrew Barber

Anna May Laugher – she liked the Swindon poetry scene so much, she moved to live here.

All the above are modern day poets.

Alfred Williams, Hammerman Poet (1877-1930), Life in a Railway Factory and many other volumes

The following Swindon poets do not, as far as I know have books or pamphlets published:

The following three Swindon poets are published in many anthologies. And have peformed as part of collectives at various poetry readings. I am unsure if they have poetry pamphlets available.
Janice Booth,
Elinor Brooks
Teresa Davey

Mark Farley. Winner of the Bridport, an illustrious poetry prize.

Shaun Butler. Organised a poetry event for the Swindon poetry Festival. Has presented spiritual poetry programs on Flame FM.

Edalia Day
Does their own unique poetry/theatre combo thing. From Swindon, though sadly no longer resident here.

Christine Tipper
A successful translator of Spanish and French poetry into English, (Also the author of children’s books).

Michael Scott

Iris Anne Lewis
Founder of the poetry group Wordbrew.

Miles Deacon, runs a poetry blog

Apologies to any Swindon poets with pamphlets I have missed out!

Swindon spoken word poetry

In recent years, there has been a thriving spoken word poetry scene in Swindon. It is also featured as an event in the annual Swindon Literature Festival.
Again I’m not sure how it’s been affected by the Covid pandemic.

Clive Boseman and Nick Lovell run Ooh Beehive which had gone online.

Rusty Goat poetry. Rusty goat can be found on Facebook.
In the past Rusty Goat have hosted events at TWIGS garden centre. As well as in central Swindon.
It tends to feature surivor poetry.

Malmesbury Poets published

Matthew Oates

Sue Chadd

Phil Kirkby (Tewkesbury)

Jonathan Bryan
Sunday Times bestseller as writer of Eye Can Write)

Swindon writers, non poetry

Related to all things literature, I thought I’d mention other Swindon writers. Please do further research to look at the details and titles of their books or other works.
This list is a little rushed and random. There are no doubt many other Swindon writers!

Swindon screenwriter

Billy Piper, Screenwriter of Rare Beasts

Swindon novelists

Angela James, The Golden Moonbeam trilogy.

Phil Givin, Truth Sister

Tom Bryer

Joy Wodhams

Margaret Bacon

Swindon Comicbook

Episodic, urban fantasy webcomic Spare Keys for Strange Doors, Lucy Lyall.

Swindon Writers, non-fiction

Desmond Morris, the anthropologist and author, born in Swindon

Melinda Messenger, Family Cookbook

Jackie Habgood, diet books

Mike Pringle, war related

Rosa Marie Matheson, writes about the history of the Swindon railways

Angela Atkinson, Secret Swindon

Ellen Watts, Cosmic Ordering Made Easier

Elaine Godley, writes about cancer survival. Used to live close to Swindon.

Rosa Marie Matheson, A Day in the Life of... 100 women in Britain. The book raises money for Tibetan orphanage.

Mandy Thomas, Memoir about domestic abuse. You Can't Run. Published by Penguin Random House

Swindon Freelance writer for hire

Juliet Platt

Novel set in Swindon

Mark Haddon’s novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Past events by Swindon Poet Katherine T Owen

This article originally served to feature some of my own appearances as a Swindon poet. I have left them here for now.

          Interview on the Art to Art Show, Swindon 105 (scroll down)

Interview on the Art to Art Show, Swindon 105.5

  • This show was broadcast on 18 October 2009. It is an hour-long pre-recorded interview with Katherine by the presenter, Andrew Brewerton.
  • Swindon poet, Katherine T Owen, talks about illness, recovery and spirituality and reads poems on living through and coming out of difficult times.
  • This was Katherine's first interview and she spends about 5 minutes in deep laughter.
  • The show has such an air of celebration, much helped by the glorious and appropriate music, with tracks such as Amazing Grace and What a Wonderful World.

What the radio presenters said:

Andrew Brewerton: It’s a very interesting interview, some lovely poems and a fair amount of laughter, which I guess I should have chopped out but you can't beat a nice bit of laughter.

Andrew: ...She’s a lovely lady and it’s a great interview and a pleasure to have her here on the art to art show.

Merlina Waterworth, the co-presenter who had listened in: That was pretty amazing, I was especially moved by one poem...Very amazing laugh.

Andrew: A lady to look out for. We can only finish the show off with one song and that’s What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong.
[Katherine T Owen], you have made our world a wonderful place, your poetry is great. We look forward to having you back on the art to art show.

(A tape of the show was made, but is not currently available on this site.)

Illustrate Your Point - Swindon Festival Art and Poetry

OPENING NIGHT: Saturday 1st May 2010. This exhibition was on display throughout the whole of May at the Swindon Arts Centre.

From the press release by Maria Hologhan, artist:

    "Illustrate Your Point' is an exciting, fascinating, and special collaboration between 13 Swindon artists, members of Artsite; and 13 Swindon poets, members of BlueGate Poets.

    They have worked together in pairs, to produce art inspired by poetry and poems inspired by art.

    The exhibition will incorporate some of the finest contemporary painting, sculpture, textile art, drawing and poetry that Swindon has to offer.

    Presented in association with Artsite, BlueGate Poets, Artswords, and the Swindon Festival of Literature."

Below, on the wall of Swindon Arts Centre, are the picture and poem resulting from the collaboration between Katherine T Owen and Tracey Baker-Stuart. Katherine is on the left and Tracey on the right.

Poetry Blog - The Performance Of The Swindon Poet Group In Bath

BlueGate Poets In Bath

Sunday, February 27, 2011, by Crysse Morrison, Bath Poet

Voices in the City is the collective name for spoken word in Bath Literature Festival...

I was a brief drop-in, but managed to catch a superb set by BlueGate Poets from Swindon. Travellers without Baggage is the name of an anthology they have been working from, and their presentation combined some of the original poems by Valerie Clarke with their own responses and was both lyrical and moving.

Travellers without Baggage is an Arts Council funded project.

The set was also performed at Cheltenham Literature Festival, UK – and Swindon Lit Festival, UK.

Original music was provided by the musician and Wiltshire artist, Stevie Gilmore.

Wroughton Prospect Hospice Fundraiser

August 21st 2011

Ian James Cabaret Evening - Wroughton Prospect Hospice Fundraiser

I was delighted to read one of my poems during this evening in memory of the pianist Ian James.

The tone of the evening was perfect - poignant at times, but very much a celebration of Ian's life, his love of his music and his intention to help the hospice.

I am sure that many there were feeling so sad at his absence, but they put on  a brave face and the evening was truly rich.

I live in Wroughton so it was a particular joy to be part of an evening to raise funds for the Prospect Hospice.

Move from Swindon Poet to listen to and watch some interviews with Katherine T Owen.

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For 14 years, Katherine T Owen was severely disabled with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, unable to walk, with little speech, and with inadequate care.

Katherine's small beautiful collection of poems take the reader with her as she journeys to know both self love and
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