Poetry & Mindfulness Panel

Featuring Sascha Akhtar, Dom Bury, Cath Drake and Vanessa Lampert. Chaired by SiÂn Melangell dafydd.

Date: Saturday 30th July
Time: 17:30
Venue: Theatre
Price: £5.00 / £3.00

Jon Kabat-Zinn has defined mindfulness as “the awareness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally”.

With  collective expertise as poets and mindfulness, meditation and acupuncture practitioners, Siân Melangell Dafydd, Vanessa Lampert, Cath Drake, Dom Bury and Sascha Akhtar will discuss what poetry and mindfulness have in common; how they both contribute to wellbeing and creativity and  how can they be singularly and mutually life enhancing. 

Siân Melangell Dafydd is a Welsh poet, author and teacher of yoga and meditation. She came to mindfulness by accident, as is often the way with yoga. Her practice based PhD at Bath Spa University lets her examine the relationship between language and body in motion and stillness. 

Sascha Akhtar is a meditation teacher whose  background ranges from Buddhist based Mindfulness practice to Sufi Meditative practices, Yoga-Sutras and Asana practice to practices based in Kashmiri Shaivism.

Dom Bury is an award-winning poet and co-founder of ‘The Brotherhood Temple and The Brotherhood Mystery School’, a living temple that works with men to catalyse them from old identities and forms of masculinity into becoming evolutionary forces of planetary awakening at this time of global crisis. 

Cath Drake is an award-winning poet and non-fiction writer, who has practised meditation and mindfulness for over twenty years. Cath trained with Breathworks mindfulness teacher training and has been an active member of the London Buddhist Centre.

Vanessa Lampert is an award winning poet and practising acupuncturist for 30 years. She is interested in the mindful nature of these two disciplines and in particular the role of the heart.

Siân Melangell Dafydd was brought up at the foot of the Berwyn, where she has now returned to following periods living and working in Italy in galleries, and in France at America University in Paris. Her novel Y Trydydd Peth won the Prose Medal at the National Eisteddfod in 2009 and Siân was the last co-editor of the iconic literary magazine, Taliesin. She works diligently with poets from India and on doctoral research using yoga and writing as creative parallel exercises. Her latest novel Filò (Gwasg Gomer), was published in 2019.

Sascha Akhtar is a contemporary poet, author of 6 collections. Her poem Songs For Eliot was named the number one poem of the last five years in Poetry Wales in 2019. Akhtar is a meditation teacher whose  background ranges from Buddhist based Mindfulness practice to Sufi Meditative practices, Yoga-Sutras and Asana to practices based in Kashmiri Shaivism. Photo credit: Emirates Literature Festival 2022.

Australian Cath Drake is an award-winning poet and nonfiction writer living in London. She teaches poetry, creative writing and mindfulness. Her poetry collection, The Shaking City (Seren), highly commended in the 2020 UK Forward Prize and longlisted in international Laurel Prize, followed Sleeping with Rivers, a Poetry Book Society choice & winner of the Mslexia pamphlet prize. Cath has practiced meditation and mindfulness for over twenty years in Australia and UK. She has been a team member for countless retreats and courses and is an active member of London Buddhist Centre where she set up a monthly mindfulness and social action group. Cath trained with Breathworks mindfulness teacher training. She has taught six courses of Mindfulness & Poetry Uplift online since lockdown, as well as many individual workshops. cathdrake.com . Photo credit: David X. Green.

Dom Bury is dedicated to the earth at a time of what he sees as huge planetary crisis, shift and emergent possibility. His first collection Rite of Passage was long listed for the Laurel Prize. He has won National Poetry Competition, The Magma Poetry Prize, and won 2nd Prize in The 2017 Resurgence Ecopoetry Competition. His writing has been widely published and anthologised in places such as Poetry Review, Poetry London, Poetry Ireland, Poetry Wales, Best British Poetry, Staying Human: new poems for Staying Alive (Bloodaxe Books, 2020), and 100 Poems to Save The Earth (Seren 2021).

Vanessa Lampert is a poet and acupuncturist from Oxfordshire. Her debut pamphlet On Long Loan was published by Live Canon in October and her first collection will be published by Seren in Spring 2023. She has won numerous competitions including the Ver Poets Open Competition and the Edward Cawston Thomas Fellowship Poetry Competition in 2021. Her poetry has been published widely, including in MagmaThe MothSpoonfeedQuince and The Oxford Times. She has an MA in Writing Poetry from Newcastle University and Poetry School London, and currently co-edits and writes for the online and print magazine The Alchemy Spoon, launched in 2020.