Welshpool Poetry Festival/Gwyl Farddoniaeth Y Trallwng is in its fourth year. With the generous support of The Ashley Family Foundation we are, once again, proud to attract poets of the very highest calibre to venues around our beautiful Mid Wales town. This year another local school will benefit from our Education Outreach Programme and there will be workshops, readings, a free open mic and other fringe events to delight writers and audiences alike. This is a small, friendly festival that delivers the very best quality at affordable prices. We are all about welcoming you whether you are already a poetry lover or are trying poetry for the first time. Come on in! Croeso i bawb!


Andrew McMillan

Andrew McMillan was born in South Yorkshire and his debut collection physical was the first ever poetry collection to win The Guardian First Book Award. He also won the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize, a Somerset Maugham Award an Eric Gregory Award, and a Northern Writers’ award. It was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Costa Poetry Award, The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year, the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, and other major awards. It was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation for Autumn. His second collection, playtime, will be published by Jonathan Cape in 2018. He is senior lecturer at the Manchester Writing School at MMU and lives in Manchester.

Jane Commane

Jane Commane was born in Coventry and lives and works in Warwickshire. Her first full-length collection, Assembly Lines, was published by Bloodaxe in February 2018. She is editor at Nine Arches Press, co-editor of Under the Radar magazine, co-organiser of the Leicester Shindig poetry series, and is co-author (with Jo Bell) of How to Be a Poet, a creative writing handbook. In 2017 she was awarded a Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship.

Jean Sprackland

Jean Sprackland has published four collections of poetry. Sleeping Keys, published by Cape last autumn, is ‘a book distinguished by rueful but unembittered wisdom’ (Sean O’Brien, The Guardian). Tilt won the Costa Poetry Award in 2008, and Hard Water was shortlisted for both the TS Eliot Prize and the Whitbread Award. Jean also won the Portico Prize for Non Fiction with Strands: A Year of Discoveries of the Beach, a book of essays about the stretch of coast between Southport and Formby. She is Professor of Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Jonathan Davidson

Jonathan Davidson is a poet and dramatist. His most recent poetry collection is Early Train (Smith|Doorstop, 2011) and his most recent pamphlet is Humfrey Coningsby: Poems, Complaints, Explanations and Demands for Satisfaction (Valley Press, 2015). His latest book is a On Poetry (Smith|Doorstop, 2017), a memoir and provocation. He has had many radio dramas broadcast by BBC Radios 3 and 4 and his poetry-theatre productions (with Bloodaxe Books) have toured widely. He lives in the Midlands.

Susannah Dickey

Susannah Dickey’s first pamphlet ‘I had some very slight concerns’ was published in June 2017 by The Lifeboat. Her work has appeared in Ambit, Poetry Ireland Review, The Tangerine, Hotdog and is forthcoming in The White Review. She is studying for an MA in Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths College.

Deborah Alma

Deborah Alma has an MA in Creative Writing and is the Emergency Poet prescribing poetry from her vintage ambulance. She is editor of Emergency Poet-an anti-stress poetry anthologyThe Everyday Poet- Poems to live by (both Michael O’Mara), and her True Tales of the Countryside is published by The Emma Press. She is the editor of #Me Too – rallying against sexual harrassment- a women’s poetry anthology (Fair Acre Press, March 2018). Her first full collection Dirty Laundry is published by Nine Arches Press (May 2018).


Please note that only online bookings are accepted (unless stated).

Special offer! Buy the Poetry Passport and save £5. The passport gives you access to all workshops and both poetry readings (normally £55). SOLD OUT

Friday 8 June

Emergency Poet Deborah Alma, Education Outreach Day at Berriew School.
Hearing Poetry 5–7pm A Poetry Writing Workshop with Jonathan Davidson, Welshpool Library. £10. Book
Poetry Reading 7.30–9.30pm Jonathan Davidson and Susannah Dickey, Welshpool Library. £7.50 to include a free drink. Book

Sat 9 June

Workshop 10–12noon with Jane Commane, Editor Nine Arches Press, Powysland Museum. £10. Book
Emergency Poet free consultations with Deborah Alma in her ambulance from 12noon in the car park at Church House. Book with Deborah on the day
Workshop 12.30–2.30pm with Andrew McMillan, Church House. £10. Book
Workshop 3–5pm with Jean Sprackland, Church House. £10. Book
Open Mic 5.30–7pm in Church House. Free event. Book your slot on the day
Poetry Reading 7.30–9.30pm with Jane Commane, Andrew McMillan and Jean Sprackland, Church House. £7.50 to include a free drink. Book

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Open poetry competition

The theme of this year’s Welshpool Poetry Competition is jewels... and the competition will be judged by the poet Andrew McMillan.

Corndon Hill

Photo of Corndon Hill trig point, © Christopher Wain www.blackkeyphotography.com

‘In Wales there are jewels
To gather, but with the eye
Only. A hill lights up
Suddenly; a field trembles
With colour and goes out
In its turn...’
from ‘A Small Window’ RS Thomas

Prizes: 1st - £150. 2nd - £50. 3rd - £25.

Winners to be announced Saturday 9th of June 2018 at Welshpool Poetry Festival. Online entry fee is £5 for the first poem and £3 for every subsequent poem.

Enter now

Rules of Entry

  1. Poems must be received on or before Sunday 15 April 2018 and emailed to emergencypoet@gmail.com or posted to Welshpool Poetry Festival, Dan Y Coed Abermule, Montgomery SY15 6JQ
  2. All poems must be the original work of the entrant and should not have been previously published, accepted for publication by a magazine, nor entered in other competitions.
  3. The length of each poem must not exceed 40 lines.
  4. The theme is ‘jewels’ but this can be very loosely interpreted.
  5. The competitor’s name must NOT appear on the poem, please attach a separate page with the poem title, and your name and contact details. All entries will be judged anonymously.
  6. Copyright remains with the author, but Welshpool Poetry Festival reserves the right to use the poem on their website and in any media associated with the promotion of the festival.
  7. No acknowledgement of entry will be sent unless the competitor sends an SAE marked ‘Acknowledgement’.
  8. Competitors wishing to be informed of the results should enclose an SAE marked ‘Results’.
  9. The decision of the judge is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Young People’s Poetry Competition (Ages 7–14)

To help us celebrate this year’s Welshpool Poetry Festival we’re having a poetry competition to tie in with the exhibition at Powysland Museum running from June to August. The theme will be jewels.


© Paul Kielty

Jewels could be beautiful precious stones, or something that is just very beautiful, or even a very special person or place! Let your imagination come up with a poem that is a box of treasures! We are delighted that the competition will be judged by Deborah Alma, poet and Emergency Poet.

1st Prize £15 Book Token, 2nd Prize £10 Book token and 3rd Prize £5 Book Token

The winning poems will be published on our website and displayed at Powysland Museum. If the poems are illustrated, even better! Entry is FREE

Closing date Friday 8th of June 2018

Send your poems in the post to Deborah Alma Dan Y Coed Abermule, Montgomery SY15 6JQ or to emergencypoet@gmail.com with your name, age, address and contact details.