The picturesque English town of Ledbury has for almost twenty years now changed its appearance, in the first half of July, into a most sought-after destination for a rather atypical human species - poets and poetry lovers. One of the festival's specific features is an exceptional game of contradictions. As the high concentration of poets, critics, publishers and readers, for example, exceeds the capacity of the local hotels, they often have to be accommodated in private guest houses or little villas surrounded by lush blooming gardens.
Mária Ferenčuhová At The Ledbury Poetry Festival
In numerous streets of the city centre you will suddenly find a lot of free space where the ongoing festival events are happening. The festival takes place simultaneously at several sites: the local theatre, the cultural centre hall, library and market hall, or in the Ledbury Burgage Hall. Moreover, even though the festival runs for incredible ten days, almost all events are full (yes, full of paying spectators, even). The likelihood of stumbling into someone in the street just heading to a festival event, even on weekdays, is approximately eighty percent.
Ledbury offers you a tour of everything that you can imagine in poetry. From the popular thematically focused recitations with actors and moderators, throughout poetry hommages, guided readings or discussion readings, slam poetry, to lectures and workshops on creative writing, book design or children's view on poetry.
The Ledbury Poetry Festival also presented the Versopolis project element, which so sharply increased the concentration of poets in the hall. It introduced five "European poets" accompanied by four British poets of the younger and middle generation: Ida Linde from Sweden, Maud Vanhauwaert from Belgium, Gjoko Zdraveski from Macedonia, Aivaras Veiknys from Lithuania and the Slovak poetess Mária Ferenčuhová presented their poetry along with the British counterparts including poets Liz Berry, Eleanor Rees, Meirion Jordan and Adam Horowitz who are the Ledbury Versopolis nominees.
Let us conclude the Ledbury account with the words of Mária Ferenčuhová: "The Versopolis reading was a show of nine temperaments, poetics, styles and accents that were so much specific and unique that each of them vibrated the whole space by a different energy. The Ledbury Poetry Festival and its two beautiful spirits - the art director Chloe Garner and the manager Philippa Slinger - were, for me, a little miracle of this summer. Oh, and one should not forget to mention the amazing sound engineers, who made sure the voice of poetry did not shake even for a second."