On being at The Ledbury Poetry Festival, 2021

Congratulations to Chloe Garner and everyone at Ledbury on a wonderful Poetry Festival.

For those of us who orient ourselves through poetry and our poetry communities, Ledbury 2021 will go down as a singular triumph. Uniting writers from all over the world. Pinning local places with poems. Providing for conversations, launches, readings but above all hearing.

In an age where so much is pre-selected or asserted beyond the individual’s control, Ledbury’s a hub for free thought and the expression that needs to be found to name it. We’ve heard poems firmly rooted in the canon, translations from its most ancient origins, and work that covers a huge range of where it’s traveled, been taken, adopted whether by force, pragmatism or with rebellion built into the idiom it reshapes, we’ve heard the absence of code-switching – namely poets given a place to speak the way they do at home and readers/listeners taught how to hear each of these iterations.

It is a confident language and culture which can make space for the sounds of humans living in life’s diverse spectra. Which can see the universals. Protected by basic rights. One of which is the very right which gives rise to poems. To their being made. Shared. Interpreted.