...Continues from Interviews by Swindon Poet Katherine T Owen
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.
Updated in April 2022
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.
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 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 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.
The library hosts literature events on a regular basis.
When last I checked, the Swindon author Joy Wodhams was running a writer's group in Chiseldon. You can find her via facebook.
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 email@example.com
Below (on the Strawberry Green Productions Facebook page) are beautifully filmed videos of poets performing in the September Poems In The Park event.
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.
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 include the following
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)
Catherine Okoronkwo (Marks)
David Cooke (David runs an online poetry website, the High window)
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.
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.
Does their own unique poetry/theatre combo thing. From Swindon, though sadly no longer resident here. ww.edaliaday.co.uk
A successful translator of Spanish and French poetry into English, (Also the author of children’s books).
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!
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.
Phil Kirkby (Tewkesbury)
Sunday Times bestseller as writer of Eye Can Write)
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!
Billy Piper, Screenwriter of Rare Beasts
Angela James, The Golden Moonbeam trilogy.
Phil Givin, Truth Sister
Episodic, urban fantasy webcomic Spare Keys for Strange Doors, Lucy Lyall.
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
Mark Haddon’s novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
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)
(A tape of the show was made, but is not currently available on this site.)
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:
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.
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.
Move from Swindon Poet to listen to and watch some interviews with Katherine T Owen.