Welsh Poets to Stage Showcase at Morecambe Festival

A group of poets from Wales will stage a showcase of contemporary Welsh poetry at the Morecambe Poetry Festival this Autumn.

A group of poets from Wales will showcase a range of contemporary Welsh poets, composing stanzas from the margins this Autumn as they perform at this year’s prestigious Morecambe Poetry Festival. The festival features what sounds like a who’s who of writers on the UK poetry scene, such as Roger McGough, former Poet Laureate Carol Anne Duffy, Jackie Kay, Henry Normal, John Hegley, Atilla The Stockbroker, Brian Bilston, Pete The Temp, and Clare Ferguson-Walker.

The Welsh showcase was conceived out of a conversation between poet Des Mannay and festival organiser Matt Panesh. As Des explains, “I’d applied to perform at the festival, and Matt gave me a ring, confirmed my booking, and asked about the poetry scene in Wales. By the end of the conversation, Matt decided he wanted a showcase of Welsh poets.”

“I got in touch with my friend Dominic Williams of Write4Word, and we started throwing potential names about. I didn’t want it to be the usual suspects, but voices coming up from the streets. To paraphrase an old line from Star Trek – ‘Its Wales Jim – but not as you know it…’, I think we succeeded in that respect”. Poets taking part in the showcase include Jeremy Dixon, Gemma June Howell, Des Mannay, Rufus Mufasa, and Dominic Williams.

Jeremy Dixon is a Queer poet and is a maker of Artist’s Books Poetry collection, A Voice Coming From Then, (Arachne Press), which won the Wales Book of the Year Poetry Award in 2022. He is co-editor of the forthcoming LGBTQ+ poetry anthology JOY//US, and performed throughout the UK at festivals and readings.

Gemma June Howell is a writer, poet, editor, and grassroots activist. With over 20 years of experience, her poetry has been published by Red Poets, Bloodaxe Books and The London Magazine. She has a PhD in Creative & Critical Writing and her research focuses on working-class identity in post-industrial Wales. Poetry Collection “Rock Life” (Myscellaneous Press) Des Mannay is a disabled, Welsh writer of colour and author of poetry collection, Sod ’em – and tomorrow (Waterloo Press). Co-editor ‘The Angry Manifesto’ journal. Prizewinner in 4 competitions, shortlisted in 7. Performed at many venues/festivals, in numerous poetry journals, over 40 anthologies. Judge in ‘Valiant Scribe’ competition (USA). Previously organised showcase at Stoke-Newington Literature Festival.

Rufus Mufasa is a literary activist, lyricist, rapper and poet. Performs in Welsh and English. With an MA in scriptwriting and selected as one of the Hay Festival Writers at Work, Mufasa supports several intergenerational projects. He mentors men at Parc Prison and headlined Helsinki Literature Festival, before becoming the first Welsh artist to perform at Ruisrock festival.

Dominic Williams is a poet and performer, he is the collaborator and curator of Wales foremost regular international spoken-word event, as well as being one half of the spoken-word/dance improvisation act “Your Strangest Friend”. Williams has published seven volumes of poetry and has published in anthologies in Sweden, Ireland and Wales; his latest publication is Pen & Paper – Punks in Print (Kultivera Production).

All five poets will be performing in the showcase at the festival this September, hoping to celebrate and platform new voices within contemporary Welsh poetry.

The Morecambe Festival dates runs from 22nd – 24th September. Tickets are available from the festival website.