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Old Hive

They came, they read

Catch up with the poets you missed or enjoyed

Martin Figura – June 2013
Ophelia’s Sistas – May 2013

Angela France and Daniel Sluman – September 2013

Jackie Kay

And a little history…

If you talk to any poetry-lover who’s lived in Beeston or Nottingham for more than a decade, it won’t be long before they mention Robert Gent and ‘Poets in Beeston’.

In Robert Gent’s words, from the postscript to Poems for the Beekeeper:
Poems for the Beekeeper

Of all the roles which the public library fulfils, perhaps the most important one is that of bringing books and readers together. When the opportunity arises to bring readers and writers together, a new dimension is added to the library’s work.

It was with the aim of strengthening the library’s role in literature promotion that I put on a brief series of poetry readings at Beeston Library in the spring of 1983 … That first series was an experiment – there had been poetry performances in Nottingham, sponsored by the County Council, but there had never been a sustained series of readings featuring mainstream ‘literary’ writers.

That first programme featured such names as Dannie Abse, Patricia Beer, Douglas Dunn, Gavin Ewart, Christopher Logue, Peter Porter, Craig Raine, Vernon Scannell and D.M.Thomas. The response was sufficiently encouraging to make a second series feasible, and the reputation of Beeston Library as a venue for poetry performance has gone from strength to strength ever since.

Nearly twenty series of readings were organised under the Poets in Beeston banner, but the series lapsed. Now, they’re back. Nottinghamshire County Council Libraries Service, Nottingham Poetry Society and Five Leaves Publications are bringing the best of poets and poetry to Beeston Library.

The Poets in Beeston series were very popular and left many followers sad that the series ended, but happy with memories.

Do you remember ‘Poets in Beeston’? Were you there at the first ever reading in 1983? Can you remember the last reading? Which was your favourite, and why? Do you have any photos or flyers?

We’d love to hear from you. Please email us at and tell us about your favourite reading from ‘Poets in Beeston’, or send us photos. We’ve already had one article sent to us… if you can spare the time to write a paragraph or two we’d be only too happy to publish it here.

Poets in Beeston memories

‘I Missed David Gascoyne’ – Kathy Bell

Poets in Beeston Posters

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