New Client Partnership with the Rhys Davies Trust

Following our incredibly successful third festival, we are delighted to share that we have funding to continue for another three years thanks to financial support from the Rhys Davies Trust.

The Rhys Davies Trust was established in 1991 with funds provided by Lewis Davies, the brother of the author.  It seeks to foster Welsh writing in English, especially in the valleys of South Wales, and in the genres in which Rhys Davies wrote.

The Seren Cardiff Poetry Festival is one of five new Welsh-based client partners taken on by the Trust. Collectively these organisations provide a dynamic and innovative series of creative initiatives designed to celebrate the past of Wales’ long tradition of literary achievement through the medium of English and build towards its future.

Alongside the Seren Cardiff Poetry Festival, the new Rhys Davies Trust Client Partners are: Parthian Books, DylanED, the educational arm of the Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize, the South Wales Miners’ Library, and Literature Wales.

The creation of Rhys Davies Trust Client Partners represents the culmination of the Trust’s work over the past three decades. The work of Rhys Davies as well as his influence and interests will live on. 

What this means for us

The Trust’s support will enable us to continue to present some of the best poetry in the world from a range of international poets bringing back to the capital a literary experience of a kind not seen since the Commonwealth Poetry Festival of 1965. Festival Director Amy Wack will take poetry lovers to places they have not been before. The festival will also include the new annual Meic Stephens Lecture on poetry begun in 2020 with a lecture on the career of renowned Welsh poet and documentary maker John Ormond. The 2021 Festival will also take poets into Cardiff schools as part of a programme of increased educational activity.

“We are incredibly grateful to the trust for supporting the festival and its growth over the next few years. We are excited to begin planning for 2021 and look forward to continuing to bring fantastic authors, and their poetry, to Cardiff from all over Wales, the UK and beyond.” – Amy Wack, Festival Director

For more information on the initiatives and programmes supported by the Trust visit http://www.rhysdaviestrust.org/   

One Week To Go

There’s just one week to go until we open our doors for another three days of fantastic poetry for readers and writers. Here are some of our event highlights to get you in the mood. 

Friday 14 February

The Inaugural Meic Stephens Lecture: Kieron Smith on John Ormond
6pm, Friday 14 February

This lecture given by Kieron Smith, author of John Ormond’s Organic Mosaic, will remember the legacy of renowned Welsh poet and documentary maker John Ormond. The talk will be accompanied by short film clips of John Ormond’s work. Followed by a reception. 

Tickets £5 or £3 with concessions.

Festival Open Mic
7:30pm, Friday 14 February

Bring a single poem to share with us at our popular festival open mic! 

Hosted by Mike Jenkins from MERTHYR POETS at the IMP and featuring regular guests Eric Ngalle Charles and Ifor ap Glyn. Poetry in Welsh, English and Bakweri. With musical interludes from singer Eädyth.

£3 entry online or on the door (FREE for Merthyr residents!)

Saturday 15 February

Daljit Nagra: British Museum
1pm, Saturday 15 February

Daljit Nagra possesses one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary English poetry. His third collection British Museum marks a significant departure of style to something quieter, more contemplative and inquisitive, at times valedictory. Daljit has won the Forward Prize for Best Individual Poem and Best First Collection, the South Bank Show Decibel Award and the Cholmondeley Award.

Tickets £5 or £3 with concessions.

Wales Poetry Award Prizegiving and Poetry Wales Party
7:30pm, Saturday 15 February

Join us to hear Katherine Stansfield announce the winners of the inaugural Wales Poetry Award, followed by a celebration of the first issue of Poetry Wales by new editor Jonathan Edwards. With special guests Marvin ThompsonEmily Cotterill,Zoë Brigley and Abeer Ameer plus music from Dusty Cut (aka Phil Jones). 

Tickets £5 or £3 with concessions. Free to current and new subscribers.

Sunday 16 February

Lucent Dreaming: Magazines in Focus
11:00am, Sunday 16 February

Lucent Dreaming is a Cardiff-based independent magazine for new and emerging authors, six issues old, plus a podcast and musical at WMC. Here it shines a light on the power of the small press, with a live literary musical performance from GOODPARLEY (aka Oli Richards) and Poppy Jennings (poet and artist).

Tickets £5 or £3 with concessions.

Desert Island Poems with James Dean Bradfield
7:30pm, Sunday 16 February

Manic Street Preachers front man, noted singer-songwriter James Dean Bradfield shares eight of his favourite poems. Interviewed by Huw Stephens, presenter for BBC Radio One, BBC Radio Cymru and BBC Wales.

Tickets £15 or £12 with concessions.

We also have a fantastic set of workshops taking place across the weekend. Spaces are limited so make sure you book in advance.

FRI 14 FEBRUARY


1:00 – 3:00pm: Rhian Edwards: Vinegar Valentines

3:30 – 5:30pm: Sandeep Parmar: Writing the City


SAT 15 FEBRUARY


12:00 – 2:00pm:Carrie Etter: Introducing Prose Poetry

 2:00 – 4:00pm:Marvin Thompson: Form and Rhyme

4:00 – 6:00pm: Jonathan Edwards: ‘Someone Else’s Shoes’ A Workshopon Poetic Monologues


SUN 16 FEBRUARY


2:00 – 4:00pm:Hammad Rind: The Ghazal in Wales

Seren Cardiff Poetry Festival Programme Announced

The 2020 Seren Cardiff Poetry Festival is set to be the biggest yet, with 21 fantastic events over the course of the 3-day winter weekend.

The Sunday evening headline event sees Manic Street Preachers frontman James Dean Bradfield discuss his Desert Island Poems with the BBC’s Huw Stephens.

We’ll be announcing the winners of the very first Wales Poetry Award, and hosting the inaugural Meic Stephens Lecture, with Kieron Smith discussing the extraordinary career of renowned documentary maker and poet John Ormond.

Deryn Rees-Jones will be reading from her T.S. Eliot-shortlisted collection Erato, and there will be workshops with leading poets including Sandeep Parmar, Carrie Etter and the newly appointed Editor of Poetry Wales, Jonathan Edwards.

There will be workshops for aspiring writers and events featuring film, music, art and, of course, poetry from both established and new authors. Also returning to the festival will be Lucy Smith, creator of the Talking Ink podcast. Lucy will be speaking to emerging authors throughout the festival, hosting exclusive interviews that you will be able to listen back to once the event is over.

None of this would be possible without the support of our excellent sponsors and we give special thanks to the Rhys Davies Trust who are supporting the festival and its growth for the next three years. The Trust is a registered charity first set up by Meic Stephens, with funds provided by Lewis Davies, brother of writer Rhys Davies (1901-78). Its objectives are to promote the writer’s work and foster English and Welsh writing in English, especially in the valleys of south Wales and in the genres in which Rhys Davies wrote.

Festival organiser Amy Wack says:

“Poetry is one of the major art forms. Moreover, it’s a form currently enjoying a surge in popularity, readership and participation, with widespread coverage in print, broadcast and digital platforms. Recent years have seen a burgeoning of poetry festivals, expanding from rural locations like Ledbury, Aldeburgh, and Stanza in Scotland to newer urban festivals in Birmingham, Sheffield, Manchester, Newcastle and Bristol. As we build on the success of our two previous Festivals, and with a schedule for growth running to 2022, Cardiff can stake a claim to be a cultural centre on a par with these English cities.”

Authors and Events include:

Vinegar Valentines, a workshop on love-gone-wrong poems with the popular Rhian Edwards.
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Festival Open Mic with guest-host Mike Jenkins, and guests Eric Ngalle Charles, Ifor ap Glyn and singer Eädyth.
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The inaugural Meic Stephens Lecture featuring Kieron Smith discussing the extraordinary career of renowned documentary maker John Ormond.
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Poetry Book Society Spring recommendation, Marvin Thompson, with a workshop on Form and Rhyme.
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The uproarious Cardiff-based performance poet Peter Finch with his new collection The Machineries of Joy.
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A film featuring Cardiff-based rising poet Eric Ngalle Charles.
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Ailbhe Darcy hosts an evening of Irish Women Poets with jazz accompaniment in the Cardiff Poetry Experiment.
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A Poetry Wales Party featuring the winners of the inaugural Wales Poetry Award.
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Zoë Skoulding with her PBS Winter recommended title, Footnotes to Water, accompanied by ambient soundscapes.
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Daljit Nagra reading from his collection British Museum.
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Poems about the Planet with Carrie Etter, author of The Weather in Normal, 2019 Mslexia Pamphlet Prize winner Jane Lovell and André Mangeot with his new collection Blood Rain.
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An event to remember the wonderful Welsh poet Dannie Abse with Robert Minhinnick, Lynne Hjelmgaard and those who knew him.
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Plus much more…

Please, join us for a fabulous weekend of art, music, discussion,
film and of course POETRY!

Thanks to our partners: