Find out more about local poets and read some of their work.

Review: Be Bright Be Bold by Rich Lansley

Review: Be Bright Be Bold by Rich Lansley

By Anita Foxall. Be Bright Be Bold is Rich Lansley’s first poetry collection. To support his publication he has also compiled a performance show where he reads some of his poems, but also engages with the audience with his warmth and wit. Rich’s poetry has been described as charming and soothing, and his words as
Popular poetry event returns to Southampton’s Bookshop Alehouse in June

Popular poetry event returns to Southampton’s Bookshop Alehouse in June

Wire Wool Events and Placeholder Poetry join forces once more for the third instalment of the hugely popular poetry evening held at The Bookshop Alehouse, Southampton. On Thursday 13th June three of the south coast’s most innovative poets will be sharing their work in the intimate basement of Portswood’s finest craft beer pub.  Placeholder is
Los Angeles poet laureate Lynne Thompson, author talk and book signing in Southampton

Los Angeles poet laureate Lynne Thompson, author talk and book signing in Southampton

You can join Lynne Thompson, Los Angeles poet laureate, for her author talk and book signing of Blue on a Blue Palette at Southampton’s radical independent bookstore October Books, on Wednesday 8th May. Blue on a Blue Palette reflects on the condition of women—their joys despite their histories, and their insistence on survival as issues
New Forest poet Damian Kelly-Basher appointed Hampshire Poet Laureate

New Forest poet Damian Kelly-Basher appointed Hampshire Poet Laureate

After a countywide search, the hunt for the Hampshire Poet is over. Damian Kelly-Basher from Brockenhurst was selected from a very strong field of writers from all over Hampshire who applied for the sought-after post.  The appointment of the Hampshire Poet takes place every two years and is jointly led by Winchester Poetry Festival and
Review: Big Special, The Joiners, Southampton

Review: Big Special, The Joiners, Southampton

By Anita Foxall. Big Special are the result of a music/spoken word 17-year-old friendship. They claim ‘it’s not Big and it’s not Special’ but they came over to the Joiners on Sunday 7 April and showed us they actually are that big and that special of a band. Big Special stepped on stage to the
Placeholder Poetry Southampton returns after a sold out debut event

Placeholder Poetry Southampton returns after a sold out debut event

After a sold out debut event in January, Wire Wool Events and Placeholder Poetry return for the second in their series of innovative poetry performances. Three brand new poets bring their distinct voices to The Bookshop Alehouse, Southampton on Thursday 28th March for a night to challenge and delight. Placeholder is home for poetry readings of the avant-garde, queer and radical. Following their
Book Review: Vague Wisdom by Will Vigar

Book Review: Vague Wisdom by Will Vigar

By Anita Foxall Will Vigar’s new poetry collection, Vague Wisdom, should be top of your shopping list  if you are looking for a good poetry book.  It is rich in images and memories, some borrowed from art and cinema, some very personal. Poetry has always been present in his life, though he states: “There have
“Alas poor culture, I knew him well”

“Alas poor culture, I knew him well”

Reported by Charlie Hislop It is the last Friday in November, and off to the side of Guildhall Square, hidden away from the city’s Christmas attractions a small group of people are meeting in the cold evening. Sandwiched between the Arts Council funded MAST theatre, and the Arts Council funded John Hansard gallery – AKA
Avant-garde poetry performances come to Southampton

Avant-garde poetry performances come to Southampton

A series of avant-garde poetry performances  is being brought to Southampton by Wire Wool Events and Placeholder Poetry, beginning this month. The first event takes place on Thursday 25th January  and will see the basement room of The Bookshop Alehouse, Southampton transformed into a world of words. Three outstanding poets will be reading their own
Winchester Poetry Festival and Hampshire Cultural Trust launch Hampshire Young Poets Competition 2023

Winchester Poetry Festival and Hampshire Cultural Trust launch Hampshire Young Poets Competition 2023

Winchester Poetry Festival and Hampshire Cultural Trust have opened the Hampshire Young Poets Competition 2023 for submissions.  This year the theme is ‘home’ and aspiring young poets, living or studying in Hampshire, are invited to write a poem of no more than 14 lines exploring what ‘home’ means to them.   Entries will be judged by
Review: Southampton Literature Festival, MAST Mayflower Studios, March 10-12

Review: Southampton Literature Festival, MAST Mayflower Studios, March 10-12

by Anita Foxall. Southampton has a Literature Festival, and it was brought to the MAST Mayflower Studios by ArtfulScribe, with the support of Arts Council England and University of Southampton. The festival took place between the 10th and the 12th of March and was organised by ArtfulScribe’s poet/producer Antosh Wojcik, who doubtlessly put together a
Reader reviews: Mo’s Forte poetry night, March 5

Reader reviews: Mo’s Forte poetry night, March 5

Mo’s Forte is a poetry open mic, with guest act to close, held on the 1st Sunday of each month from 6pm-8pm at the Hatch (Forte Kitchen), in Parchment Street, Winchester.  The 5th of March 2023, was the debut night of Mo’s Forte, with Winchester based musician Blind Z the guest act.  The event’s host,
Review: February Words at Whiskey poetry evening, featuring Benjin

Review: February Words at Whiskey poetry evening, featuring Benjin

by Andy Buchanan This is a relatively new monthly poetry night held at the Whiskey Blue bar in London Road, Southampton but it is organised by local poet Issa Loyaan Farrah-Kelly (pictured top).  You may know Issa as the face of Southampton City of Culture’s bid, but Issa has done and continues to do a
Southampton’s Interesting Wallpaper release debut EP

Southampton’s Interesting Wallpaper release debut EP

by Anita Foxall. March 2020 was certainly unforgettable for us all. But this is also the date that marked the beginning of Interesting Wallpaper, a Southampton based band who have now released their first EP. Pete Harvey, the lead singer and song writer, explained they started as a trio, and due to the timing, they
Poem: Who’s up for a New Year’s Day walk?

Poem: Who’s up for a New Year’s Day walk?

by Katie Isham.   Who’s up for a New Year’s Day walk?    Blow the cobwebs away Start the new year afresh Fill the lungs with January air    Who’s up for a New Year’s Day walk?  Mum Whatsapped the family group, alongside a boot emoji,    A circuit of The Common A loop of
Local poet Estelle Phillips’ debut collection published

Local poet Estelle Phillips’ debut collection published

Described as “beautifully brutal” by The John Hansard Gallery (Hannah Cox), “Motherhoodlum” is performance poet Estelle Phillips’ debut collection, and comes some two years after publisher Jawbone Collective saw her perform, recognised her as “an important and fresh voice” and thought, “we should publish her”. Estelle represented Southampton in the Hammer & Tongue National Finals in
Preview: poet and performer Leyla Joseph at The Bookshop Alehouse, Southampton

Preview: poet and performer Leyla Joseph at The Bookshop Alehouse, Southampton

Critically acclaimed poet and performer Leyla Josephine is bringing  an evening of fearless words and home truths to The Bookshop Alehouse, Southampton, on Wednesday, November 16,  with support from local poet Kat Sinclair. In Public / In Private: poetry with Leyla Josephine is a live poetry performance  in which Leyla Josephine explores secrets, faith, lust,
Write a Note Poetry October: Andy Buchanan, Deborah Gearing & Panda-monium

Write a Note Poetry October: Andy Buchanan, Deborah Gearing & Panda-monium

by Anita Foxall. Here’s your monthly review of Write a Note, a spoken word open mic, which takes place at MAST Mayflower Studios, Southampton. This was another wonderful evening of poetry, fairy tales and pandas. Yes, you read that right. These were two of the brilliant poets who attended the event and shared some of
Write a Note Poetry, September: Jo Fisher, Bobby Looga and Jack Dale and Bastien Terraz

Write a Note Poetry, September: Jo Fisher, Bobby Looga and Jack Dale and Bastien Terraz

by Anita Foxall. After a month’s break, Write a Note poetry evening returned in full force in September. Twelves poets read their words to a very attentive engaging audience. It was a busy dynamic evening with splendid spoken word and music. Meet two of the regular poets who attended the event and kindly agreed to
New spoken word night, Words at Whiskey, comes to Southampton

New spoken word night, Words at Whiskey, comes to Southampton

by Anita Foxall. Issa Loyaan Farrah-Kelly, a name you may well recognise from Southampton’s bid for City of Culture, and one of the most talented local poets, has started hosting Notes and Whiskey, a new spoken work evening on the 3rd Thursday of every month. When one day at Whiskey Blue,  in London Road, Southampton,
All-Aboard the River Itchen

All-Aboard the River Itchen

by Charlie Hislop. For a city on the coast, split by rivers, not much celebration happens on the water in Southampton. Then last weekend (September 3)  along came the All-Aboard Festival, making the most of the River Itchen on a summer’s day with entertainment on the water and along the banks. It’s music, art and
People in Common: Poetry Platform’s Stephen Ripper Mizzen

People in Common: Poetry Platform’s Stephen Ripper Mizzen

by Anita Foxall. Poetry Platform is a warm welcoming spoken word open mic held at the Railway Inn in Winchester on the first Tuesday of every month. I met its incredibly talented host/poet, Stephen Ripper Mizzen, for a conversation about his open mic, his love of poetry and all poetry related things. Poetry Platform was
Write a Note poetry evening, July: Holly Hearn, Craig Chalmers & Harley Truslove

Write a Note poetry evening, July: Holly Hearn, Craig Chalmers & Harley Truslove

by Anita Foxall. Write a Note brings monthly poetry and spoken word at the MAST, in the heart of Southampton. In Common poetry editor Anita Foxall runs and comperes the event. In a monthly article she shares highlights of the evening. July’s Write a Note was a busy evening, filled with talent brought by a
Write a Note poetry: The Village Boy, Haribo and Steve Lowis

Write a Note poetry: The Village Boy, Haribo and Steve Lowis

by Anita Foxall. Write a Note brings monthly poetry and spoken word at the MAST, in the heart of Southampton. In Common poetry editor Anita Foxall runs and comperes the event. In a monthly article she shares highlights of the evening. Fourteen poets and spoken word performers graced Write a Note’s July open mic with
Write a Note May poetry showcase: Carrie Myshkin, Chris Higginson & Jim Chorley

Write a Note May poetry showcase: Carrie Myshkin, Chris Higginson & Jim Chorley

by Anita Foxall. Poets and spoken word enthusiasts gathered again at MAST Mayflower Studios, Southampton, on the 23rd of May for another Write a Note. This time there were poems, stories and even some comedy. The variety of styles and the openness continue to be a constant presence, which makes it a safe place for
Write a Note April poetry showcase: Graham Barrie Langley, Emma Bailey & Cat Eliza T

Write a Note April poetry showcase: Graham Barrie Langley, Emma Bailey & Cat Eliza T

by Anita Foxall. Every month Write a Note receives poetry and spoken word at the MAST, in the heart of Southampton, and this month this city has showed me/us once again how much talent it contains. Being an In Common collaborator, I eventually thought that I could make some magic happen and link both, so
Opinion: being part of Southampton’s City of Culture 2025 bid has already meant so much to me

Opinion: being part of Southampton’s City of Culture 2025 bid has already meant so much to me

by Issa Loyaan Farrah-Kelly. In January of this year, I was commissioned to write a poem for the Southampton City of Culture 2025 bid. I was enthused to become a part in the bid, and in a sense represent my hometown. Initially, I had been cynical about the bid. I had envisioned it as taking
Creative writing: poetry by Meg Sherman

Creative writing: poetry by Meg Sherman

Meg Sherman has been writing poetry since 2016, and has since written more than 1000 poems. Meg says: ” I always longed to write blistering romantic poetry that transcends the realm of the mortal and is forged in divine fire, but I didn’t have the necessary creative flow, until a series of visionary spiritual experiences
Creative writing: poetry by The Village Boy

Creative writing: poetry by The Village Boy

Born in the UK, The Village Boy is a written and spoken word poet of Sierra Leonean descent. Inspired by the power of words as a medium and his love of music he integrates the two to create a journey through the emotional psyche. In Sierra Leone the term “It takes a Village” is often
Portrait of a Poet: Andy Buchanan

Portrait of a Poet: Andy Buchanan

by Anita Foxall. When poet Andy Buchanan first moved to Southampton, he thought this was a city with a lot of unrealised potential.  Even with its large population, being a university city, many parks, and amazing venues, he felt there was still the opportunity to do more.  And in the intervening 30 years, Andy saw
On being a mother to my trans daughter – how poems helped say what needed to be said

On being a mother to my trans daughter – how poems helped say what needed to be said

by Claire Dyer. There’s a poem in Yield called ‘Trans’. It imagines travellers from another planet who, on reaching Earth, see for themselves some of our ideas around gender stereotypes. There are two types of mother in this poem:   and there are those they call mother who sometimes stand triumphant, waving banners from high
Portrait of a poet: Henry Baroche

Portrait of a poet: Henry Baroche

by Anita Foxall. Henry Baroche is a well-known name to the cultural community of Southampton, though you may know him better as Mad King Ludwig from Mad King Ludwig and the Mojo. That’s right, Henry is an incredibly multi-talented human, and is a beloved musician, but what a lot of people don’t know is that
Write a Note – how the Southampton poetry night started and where it is today

Write a Note – how the Southampton poetry night started and where it is today

Write a Note  is a cornerstone the Southampton poetry scene. We look at how it all started and where it is today. by Issa Loyaan Farrah and Anita Foxall. Write a Note – how it all begun by Issa Loyaan Farrah. I set-up Write a Note in 2016. I was a regular at Notes Cafe
Talented Southampton poet contributes to first global covid-19 inspired anthology

Talented Southampton poet contributes to first global covid-19 inspired anthology

by Ben Biddell. ‘Together: An anthology from the COVID-19 pandemic’, is a true collection of the many voices of humanity during the hard time that has been and still is in 2020, curated by Dutch researcher Dr Pauldy Otermans and social educationist Dev Aditya from London. The 444-page book, which  is currently available in  in
Lock Write Down poetry helping Black Minds Matter and NHS

Lock Write Down poetry helping Black Minds Matter and NHS

by Charlie Hislop. Covid-19 Lockdown has affected everyone differently. Some people thrived, some struggled, some worked and some people wrote about it. And someone decided to collect some of that into a book. Lock Write Down is a poetry anthology curated by Robyn Hislop, produced as a way of raising money for charity – Black
Portrait of a poet: Estelle Phillips

Portrait of a poet: Estelle Phillips

by Anita Foxall. Poetry has been part of Estelle Phillips’ life since she was a small girl. Today she is a single mother of four who “is really bad at a lot of things and swears a lot, but can bake cakes.” Furthermore, she has made poetry a solid presence in her life. As a
Portrait of a poet: Matt LT Smith

Portrait of a poet: Matt LT Smith

by Anita Foxall. “When I think about how I was as a kid, I feel like writing was inevitable. My brain was just always very busy and teeming with imagination and I didn’t have any outlet for it, so when I got older and toys and willing participants on the playground fell by the wayside,
Portrait of a poet: Jayne Ede

Portrait of a poet: Jayne Ede

by Anita Foxall. Southampton- based spoken word poet Jayne Ede, who was born in Brighton, says that words are her “favourite and sharing them a bonus.” Jayne is a very familiar face to regulars at the Art House, where she has worked as a volunteer, where she became a most valuable audience member to various
Portrait of a poet: Ash Brockwell

Portrait of a poet: Ash Brockwell

by Anita Foxall. Ash Brockwell is a multi-talented artist in various areas, but most recently you may have become acquainted with him as the editor of the poetry anthology ‘TransVerse: We Will Not be Erased’. His artistic talents started at a four or five, when he drew on the wallpaper, which he remembers as “not
Launch of TransVerse: We Won’t Be Erased

Launch of TransVerse: We Won’t Be Erased

by Anita Foxall. TransVerse: We Won’t Be Erased!, an anthology of poems and lyrics by transgender and non-binary writers, was recently launched at The Art House Café, in Southampton. The event consisted of performances by some of the poets and gave us a chance to speak to the editor, Ash Brockwell, about this project. How it
Portrait of a poet: Dave Hubble

Portrait of a poet: Dave Hubble

by Anita Foxall. If you are in touch with Southampton’s creative scene, Dave Hubble is a local artist and poet who you will almost certainly have heard of. Dave is a wonderful wordsmith and a committed visual artist, who uses a variety of materials to create fantastic pieces of art with focus on lost and