Lyra: Bristol Poetry Festival

Various venues and online
LYRA Bristol Poetry Festival 2024 Poetic Festival 24 - Poetic Future. Friday 12th April - Sunday 21st April 24


The sixth edition of Lyra - Bristol Poetry Festival takes place from 12 - 21 April 2024, themed around ‘Poetic Futures.’

There will be readings, performances, writing workshops, slam competitions, children's activities, film screenings, audio events, a visual and sound exhibition, panel discussions, installations and more! Includes BSL, captioned, free & live streamed events.

Highlight include:

- Bristol Bonds: Poetry Exhibition at Bristol Beacon (12 - 21 April)
- We Will Read U: Queer Futures (12 April)
- Family Poetry Workshop - Letter Writing (13 April)
- Black Writers | Reflections on the Road (13 April)
- Lyra Grand Slam Finals (14 April)
- The South West Poetry Showdown (15 April)
- An Introduction to Translating Poetry (20 April)
- Romantic Bristol Walking Tour | Women Writers (21 April)
- City of Words (21 April)

Follow @lyrafest on social media for announcements.


Lyra Event Programme
View Full programme:

Baldwin and Futures: Danez Smith Writing Workshop. Venue: Online (ZOOM). Date: Monday 15th April 2024. Time: 18:00 - 19:30. Join acclaimed US poet Danez Smith for an exclusive online workshop responding to the work of James Baldwin on his 100th anniversary year. This workshop is open to participants from minority/marginalised backgrounds.

Bonds Poetry ExhibitionVenue: Bristol Beacon (Kennedy Room)Dates: 12th - 21st April. Time: 08:00 - 18:00 (10:00 - 16:00 Sundays). Situated at Bristol Beacon, the exhibition will feature poems written by poets and public from across the city, showcasing diverse voices on the 'Bonds' theme. There is also a chance for the public to post their own words in situ. 'Bonds' is also an interactive poetry walk centred on Pero’s Bridge in the harbour. 

Cancer Alley: Poetry Film Hologram ExhibitionVenue: Watershed (W2)Dates: 17th - 21st April. Time: 10:00 - 17:00. Cancer Alley is an immersive poetry film hologram which features environmental destruction in 'Cancer Alley', Louisiana, the heart of the global petrochemical industry. Cancer Alley is free, and is available to view, on a continuous loop, at Watershed 17th-21st April.

Lyra Bristol Slam QualifiersVenue: Watershed (W3)Date: Sunday 7th April Time: 16:00 - 18:00. Join us for the first in-person Lyra Slam Qualifying heats since 2020, as poets compete for a place in the Grand Slam Finals on Sunday 14th April, at the iconic St. George’s Bristol (which will also feature headline performances by Safiya Kamaria Kinshasa and Jonny Fluffypunk). Come along and cheer on the poets and cast your votes as the audience, too. Hosted by Cal Wensley.

We Will Read U: Queer Futures. Venue: 395 Bristol. Date: Friday 12th April 2024. Time: 19:30 - 21:30. Explore queer futures through poetry and performance hosted by Aish Humphreys and Sam J Grudgings. Featuring Chuck SJ, Iman Sultan West, Harper Walton, and Ife Grillo.

Apples and Snakes: Poetry and Wellbeing Retreat. Venue: Hamilton House. Date: Saturday 13th April 2024. Time: 10:00 - 16:00. Refresh and connect with creative workshops, discussions, and mentoring led by acclaimed facilitators. Free entry, advanced booking essential.

Family Poetry Workshop | Letter Writing. Venue: Brunel's SS Great Britain (Metlock Education Room). Date: Saturday 13th April 2024. Time: 14:30 - 16:00. Explore letter-writing techniques to craft poems with Stephen Lightbown. Suitable for families.

Black Writers: Reflections on the Road. Venue: Bristol Beacon (Terrace Bar). Date: Saturday 13th April 2024. Time: 17:30 - 18:30. Join leading Black writers Roger Griffith, Edson Burton, and Sukina Noor for a discussion on travel and freedom.

Raise the Bar: Salena Godden + Guests. Venue: Bristol Beacon (Lantern Hall). Date: Saturday 13th April 2024. Time: 19:30 - 21:30. Experience live poetry from Salena Godden, Nikita Gill, and Cecilia Knapp.

Creative Writing Breakfast Club. Venue: St. George's Bristol (Glass Studio). Date: Sunday 14th April 2024. Time: 10:00 - 11:30. Join Laurie Bolger for a morning of creative writing and mindfulness.

IsamBards Walking Tour. Meeting Point: Queen Square (Entrance). Date: Sunday 14th April 2024. Time: 11:00 - 12:00. Explore Bristol through poetry with the IsamBards.

Family Stories and Poems. Venue: St. George's Bristol (Glass Studio). Date: Sunday 14th April 2024. Time: 12:00 - 13:00. Enjoy family-friendly stories and poems from Raymond Antrobus, Nikita Gill, and Stephen Lightbown.

Simon Armitage: Poet Laureate. Venue: St. George's Bristol (Main Hall). Date: Sunday 14th April 2024. Time: 14:00 - 15:00. Experience a solo reading + Q&A with UK Poet Laureate Simon Armitage.

The Poetry Machine. Venue: St. George's Bristol (Foyer). Date: Sunday 14th April 2024. Time: 13:30 - 14:00, 15:00 - 17:00. Receive a free, personalized poem from Beth Calverley’s Poetry Machine.

Beyond Poetry. Panel Discussion. Venue: St. George's Bristol (Glass Studio). Date: Sunday 14th April 2024. Time: 15:30 - 16:30. Join Vanessa Kisuule, Travis Alabanza, and Cecilia Knapp for a discussion on the future of poetry.

Forward Prize Winners. Venue: St. George's Bristol (Glass Studio). Date: Sunday 14th April 2024. Time: 17:00 - 18:00. Hear readings from recent Forward Prize winners Momtaza Mehri, Bohdan Piasecki, and Malika Booker. 

Lyra Poetry Grand Slam Final. Venue: St. George's Bristol (Main Hall). Date: Sunday 14th April 2024. Time: 19:00 - 22:00. Watch Bristol's top poets compete for the Lyra Bristol Poetry Slam Champion title.

The South West Poetry Showdown Poetry Slam. Venue: Wardrobe Theatre. Date: Monday 15th April 2024. Time: 19:30 - 21:30. Bristol vs Clevedon vs Exeter vs Weston! Join us at The Wardrobe Theatre for an energetic evening of impressive wordsmithery. Slammers from each team will battle it out to win the title of South West Showdown Champions!

BBC Upload Showcase. Venue: acta Community Theatre. Date: Tuesday 16th April 2024. Time: 19:00 - 21:00. BBC Upload brings together some of the best emerging poets they’ve featured on air for a special showcase at Lyra Festival. Plus, enjoy an open mic led by Bristol Tonic.

Reverence: Poetry and the Sacred. Venue: Loco Klub Date: Wednesday 17th April 2024 Time: 19:00 - 20:00. Embark on a poetic journey with Sukina Noor and guests, exploring the intersection of poetry and the sacred. Experience poetry after meditation amid sound bath vibrations and the healing call of the flute.

Responding to Archives Writing Workshop. Venue: Watershed (W1). Date: Thursday 18th April 2024 Time: 18:00 - 19:15. Explore how archival material can inspire and shape your writing with Helen Thomas. Using film clips and museum artefacts as prompts, discover how to stimulate your writing practices and guide your creative techniques.

Caribbean Nights: Poetry Documentary + Panel Discussion. Venue: Watershed (Cinema 3). Date: Thursday 18th April 2024 Time: 19:30 - 21:30. Screening of the thought-provoking Arena film Caribbean Nights: Poetry, followed by a panel discussion with poets and speakers discussing the vital need for diverse poetry in our everyday lives.

Alice Oswald + Guests. Venue: St. George's Bristol (Main Hall). Date: Friday 19th April 2024. Time: 19:00 - 21:00. Enjoy readings from Alice Oswald and special guests Rachel Long and Caroline Bird.

The Mum Poet Club. Venue: Watershed (W1). Date: Saturday 20th April 2024. Time: 10:30 - 12:00. Join The Mum Poet Club for a workshop open to all mums with a child under one. No writing experience needed; everyone is welcome, including babies.

WONDERFULL: A Poetic Fortune Teller Machine Immersive Experience. Venue: Watershed (Cafe & Bar). Date: Saturday 20th April 2024. Time: 11:00 - 14:00. Experience WONDERFULL - A Poetic Fortune Teller Machine by Deanna Rodger. Have your palm read and discover your poetic future.

Translating Poetry Workshop. Venue: Watershed (W1) Date: Saturday 20th April 2024. Time: 12:30 - 14:00. Join poets, editors, and translators Ibrahim Hirsi and Helen Bowell for a poetry translation workshop. Collaborate to translate a poem by beloved Somali poet Xasan Ganey.

Translation and Displacement. Venue: Watershed (W3). Date: Saturday 20th April 2024. Time: 14:00 - 15:00. An afternoon of poetry responding to displacement, occupation, and exile, featuring Sudanese poet Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi and other poets.

Poetry and Technology: Film Screening. Venue: Watershed (Cinema 3). Date: Saturday 20th April 2024. Time: 15:00 - 16:00. Haus für Poesie presents short films from the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival on the subject of Poetry and Technology, curated by Thomas Zandgiacomo Del Bel.

Page Against the Machine | AI and Poetry Panel Discussion. Venue: Watershed (W3). Date: Saturday 20th April 2024. Time: 16:30 - 17:30Confront the key ethical, creative, and human dilemmas of AI's future in poetry and art. Join Deanna Rodger, shakara, and voices at the forefront of AI and creativity for an interactive panel and performance.

Hot Poets: Poetry, Science and Saving the World. Venue: Watershed (W3). Date: Saturday 20th April 2024. Time: 18:00 - 19:00. Join Chris Redmond and Liv Torc for a multimedia talk about Hot Poets, a climate science and poetry project. Featuring short films and live performances.

Back Stories of the Afro Wind. Venue: Watershed (W3). Date: Saturday 20th April 2024. Time: 20:00 - 21:00. Experience performances from poets from Ghana, including Gabriel Awuah Mainoo, exploring African culture, life, and history through poetry.

Queer Futures: with Joelle Taylor Writing Workshop. Venue: Watershed (W1). Date: Sunday 21st April 2024. Time: 10:00 - 12:00. Join T. S. Eliot Prize winner Joelle Taylor for a writing workshop exploring the theme of queer futures. Open exclusively to LGBTQI+ writers.

Romantic Bristol: Women Writers Walking Tour. Meeting Point: City Centre (TBC). Date: Sunday 21st April. Time: 12:00 - 13:00. Join a guided tour exploring Bristol's cultural complexity and the voices of Romantic-era women writers, led by Dr Rebecca Hutcheon.

Queering AI | Writing Workshop. Venue: Watershed (W1). Date: Sunday 21st April. Time: 13:00 - 14:30. Join local poets paz and shakara for a workshop crafting poetry in collaboration with AI, exploring wider ethical questions for writers and artists.

Joelle Taylor: The Night Alphabet. Venue: Tobacco Factory Theatres. Date: Sunday 21st April. Time: 17:00 - 18:00. T. S. Eliot Prize winner Joelle Taylor performs a stage reading of her debut novel The Night Alphabet.

City of Words. Venue: Watershed (W3). Date: Sunday 21st April. Time: 19:30 - 21:00. Celebrate Bristol’s wide range of stories and perspectives with poets from all over the city, followed by an afterparty in the Watershed Café & Bar.

Jackie Kay | May Day. Venue: Waterstones (Galleries). Date: Tuesday 30th April. Time: 19:00 - 20:00. Join Jackie Kay for a reading from her new collection, May Day, followed by a discussion with Andrew Kelly.

Book Tickets

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Season (12 Apr 2024 - 21 Apr 2024)


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