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New Beginnings

Begin your new relationship with Keats and poetry at Keats Festival 2015. Join us for performances, talks, films, workshops and family activities, and meet our new Poet in Residence, Michael Rosen.

Thursday 28 May

7 - 8.30 pm - Keats Foundation Annual Lecture

Professor Michael O’Neill will explore how Keats has inspired later poets, who respond to his linguistic richness and ability to explore contraries and tensions. The talk will trace ways in which Keats influences poems by a range of poets, including Thomas Hardy, Edward Thomas, Wallace Stevens, Philip Larkin, and Seamus Heaney. In partnership with the Keats Foundation.

Free, booking recommended

Saturday 30 May

1 - 4pm - Poetry and Illustration for Families

Get involved in making and creating a fantastic visual poem and watch a unique poetry performance come to life before your eyes through the magic of art and illustration. Bring big imaginations and join the fun! In partnership with Poet in the City.

Workshops: 1 and 2pm. Performance: 3pm

Free, booking required

Sunday 31 May

2 - 4pm - Keats House Poets Present…Dean Atta and Hannah Lowe

A relaxed afternoon of poetry and spoken word with an open mic and performances from Keats House Poet Dean Atta and guest headliner Hannah Lowe. Atta’s prizewinning work tackles controversial subjects including homophobia and racism whilst Lowe, a Next Generation Poet, explores family relationships and celebrates the multicultural life of London. Supported by the Keats Foundation.

Free, booking recommended

Tuesday 2 June

2 - 3pm - Afternoon Poems: The Romantics and Dreams

“I had a dream, which was not all a dream.” Join us for a reading of Romantic poetry about, and inspired by, visions and dreams. Performed by the Keats House Poetry Ambassadors this reading will include works by Keats, Shelley, Byron, and other Romantic poets.

Free, no booking or admission ticket required

7 - 8.30pm - Templar Poetry Live

A double Templar launch: All that Falling, the debut collection form Tom Weir nominated for the 2015 Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection with the 2015 iOTA Shot Award winning pamphlet Call them Juneberries, by Jeri Onitskansky.

Free, booking recommended

Wednesday 3 June

2 - 3pm - Afternoon Poems: Canines in Verse

This family-friendly performance will be a reading of poetry about man’s best friend, the dog. It will include works by Shakespeare, Byron, Wordsworth and Ted Hughes, but also poems by lesser known poets all celebrating our four-legged friends. A must hear for all dog lovers and poetry enthusiasts (woof!).

Free, no booking or admission ticket required 

7 - 8.30pm - Imtiaz Dharker and TEN

A special event hosting one of Britain’s foremost Black/Asian poets alongside some of the most exciting new Black/Asian poets in Britain. This event will showcase poets from different cultural backgrounds who are making waves in the poetry world. Imtiaz Dharker, who recently won the Queen’s Medal for Poetry, will read alongside Rishi Dastidar, Edward Doegar, and Sarah Howe.

£6 / £5 concessions, booking recommended

Thursday 4 June

2 - 3pm - Afternoon Poems: Keats’s Voice

Though not widely known during his lifetime, Keats believed in his potential to be one of the finest writers. This performance by the Keats House Poetry Ambassadors will include readings from his earliest work and from other poets he found inspirational, tracing Keats’s ‘new beginning’ as a poet.

Free, no booking or admission ticket required

7 - 8.30pm - LiTTLe MACHiNe with Daljit Nagra

‘The most brilliant music and poetry band in the world’ (Carol Ann Duffy)

Drawing on three thousand years of poetry – Sappho, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Blake, Byron, Eliot, Larkin and many more – LiTTLe MACHiNe set classic poems to music and perform them with energy, passion, humour and sometimes heart-breaking poignancy. Tonight they perform a Romantically-flavoured set alongside Keats House Poet in Residence, Daljit Nagra.

£6 / £5 concessions, booking recommended

Friday 5 June

2 - 3pm - Afternoon Poems: ‘Lamia’

The Keats’s House Poetry Ambassadors present an adaptation of Keats’s 1819 narrative poem, ‘Lamia’. This is a rare opportunity to hear the story of Lamia, a beautiful snake, who is transformed into a woman so that she can pursue Lycius, the man she loves.

Free, no booking or admission ticket required 

6.30 for 7 - 9pm - The Beats: A Night of Film, Poetry and Counterculture

‘angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night’

Join us for a double bill of Beat poets. Wholly Communion is a documentary film celebrating the event which marked the arrival of the counterculture in England: the day 7000 people filled the Albert Hall for poetry. HOWL is an imaginative ride through Allen Ginsberg’s prophetic masterpiece that rocked a generation and was heard around the world. In partnership with Poet in the City.

£8 / £6 concessions, includes a Dynamo beer courtesy of Wantsum Brewery. Booking required.

Saturday 6 June

1.30 - 3.30pm - Lyric Writing Workshop

Calling all poets, singers and lyricists! Ever written a poem that could become a song, or a lyric that needs a poetry approach? Join singer-song writers Emily Mae Winters and Asha Cluer and Keats House Poets Laila Sumpton and Stephanie Turner to learn about lyric writing and craft new songs.

£8 / £6 concessions, booking required 

2 - 3.30pm - Poetry and Parenting

In this unique event about poetry and babies, four poets – two dads and two mums – will read poems they have written about their children. Then they will take part in a conversation about the creative process during pregnancy and during the early years of their children. This event promises to be a fascinating exploration of writing while under the influence of very young children! With Clare Pollard, Fiona Benson, Daljit Nagra and Owen Sheers.

£6 / £5 concessions, booking recommended 

3.45 - 4.30pm - Music and Poetry Open Mic

An informal open-mic performance featuring new songs crafted during the afternoon’s Lyric Writing Workshop. All welcome.

Free, no booking required

7.30 - 8. 30pm - Sunspots

Sunspots is a poetic, musical and visual journey from the Sun's birth, through its eventful life, towards its ultimate death. Simon Barraclough is your guide on a journey mixing fact, fiction, humour and joy; he reinvigorates our neighbourhood star in poems, film and songs that range from broodingly intense to infectiously poppy. In partnership with Penned in the Margins. Doors open 7pm

£6 / £5 concessions, booking recommended

Sunday 7 June

2 - 4pm - Poetry Surgery with Jo Shapcott

Looking to take your writing to the next level? Bring along a work in progress for feedback and advice from award-winning poet Jo Shapcott. Suitable for all abilities, from beginners to experienced poets. Sign up online for a 15 minute slot.

£5, booking required 

2 - 3.30pm -  A Joy Forever: Afternoon Tea in the Company of John Keats

'White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine ... fast-fading violets ... the coming musk-rose': this is the tussie-mussie arranged by Keats in his ‘Ode to a Nightingale’, tussie-mussie being the Georgian term for a posy of flowers. Keats's reflections on flowers are the starting point for a picnic combining performances of his poems and letters, games, gifts and tea. With poets Julia Bird and Mike Sims

£8 / £6 concessions includes light refreshments 

4.30 - 6pm - Festival Finale

John Hegley, Jo Shapcott, Daljit Nagra and Michael Rosen

An unmissable poetry party to welcome our new Poet in Residence, Michael Rosen. Jo Shapcott will read a selection of her Dr Keats poems and John Hegley will perform his famous Keats songs, including Celerybration and Mulling by the Mulberry Tree. Daljit Nagra will hand over the role of Poet in Residence to former Children’s Laureate, Michael Rosen. All welcome.

Free, booking recommended


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