Hay Festival/Foodbank Poetry – Poetry News Roundup March 27th

Today in our poetry roundup we take a look at the 32nd Hay Festival, which will take place from 24th May to 3rd June, We also have an article on the book about a 19th century poet that is helping raise money for the food bank.

Hay Festival Headline Acts Announced

The Hay Festival will run from 24th May to 3rd June and for the first time will be partnered with the Bradford Literature Festival. In addition to the series of specially curated events, there is a plan to launch a pupil exchange programme between pupils from a school in Bradford and a school in Powys and Hertfordshire.

Headline acts will include David Walliams, Margaret Atwood and Jacqueline Wilson. There will be seven events run in partnership with Bradford via the Hay programme, including the author Elif Shafak who will be discussing the poet Rumi, and Michael Stewart who is an expert on the Brontë sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne, and will be talking about the sisters in relation to “Bad men”.

This will be the 32nd edition of the Hay programme and in total it is expected that more than 600 panellists will be taking part in 800 events. These events will cover arts, sciences, current affairs, music, comedy and entertainment. Syima Aslam, who was Bradford Literature Festival director in both 2014 and 2017 claims that last year the festival engaged with around 50,000 people and she believes that this year’s partnership could be the start of something that could be really big.

The 19th Century Postman Poet Feeding Todays People in Need

Poems that were written over 150 years ago by a Devon postman, poems that told stories of the people he met and demanded justice for the poor, are today helping to raise money for a food bank in Northern Devon.

Born in 1819, Edward Capern was known as the Postman Poet. He was the eldest son of a baker, he only attended school for a very short time and at the age of just nine years old he was sent to work in the lace factory to help support his family.

This did not deter him from learning and he used all his spare time to educate himself, developing a fondness for poetry. He became a postman following the introduction of the Penny Post, completing a round of 13 miles every day of the year except Christmas day. It was whilst he was doing his postal round that he composed his poetry. His poetry received national recognition and he was eventually awarded a Civil List Pension.

Now Devon author Liz Shakespear has written a book about The Postman Poet, which includes a number of his poems. In keeping with the type of man Capern was, she is donating £1 from the sale of every book to a local food bank to help those who are struggling as Capern and his family once did.

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