New poetry events for Portsmouth Festivities

New poetry events for Portsmouth Festivities

Iconic punk poet Dr John Cooper Clarke is set to headline this year’s Portsmouth Festivities as the new poetry organisation, Portsmouth Poetry, contributes five exciting events to the existing ten day programme.

Operating under a quotation from broadcaster and poet Clive James – “From a Borrowed Biro” – Portsmouth Poetry presents three performances, a dynamic community project in Somerstown and a collaboration with internationally acclaimed local artist My Dog Sighs.

Dr John Cooper Clarke | New Theatre Royal Thursday | 23 June, 7.30pm

Lenny Siberia, “Johnny Clarke the name behind the hairstyle”, member of the Ferrets, Bard of Salford, punk poet and, more lately, Dr Clarke; John Cooper Clarke has shared the bill with the Sex Pistols, Joy Division, Buzzcocks, Elvis Costello and the Honey Monster. He has influenced Jarvis Cocker and Plan B; recently been recorded by the Artic Monkeys (their version of ‘I Wanna Be’ on the 5th album is a wedding favourite), commissioned to write ‘Coast’ by the National Trust and seen his work feature in an episode of The Sopranos. A fashion icon; his rapid fire delivery, biting satirical, political and very funny verse have made him loved and admired and brought poetry to non-traditional audiences worldwide. His performance on the night of the EU Referendum promises to be electrifying – ironically so, as “Electric” is the theme of this year’s Festivities, a cultural extravagance now in its 16th year.

Dr John Cooper Clarke is supported by Geoffrey Allerton, Yorkshire’s foremost poet, Clare Ferguson Walker and James Messiah. Tickets £24, Concessions £22, Students £15

Portsmouth Poet Laureate Sam Cox |Like a Teatray in the Sky | 22 June, 7pm

Performance poet Sam Cox appears in this much-loved vintage tea room accompanied by James Tattington of the Fugitive Orchestra. Portsmouth’s own poet laureate, Sam is passionate about the city and poetry, appearing regularly in local and national events. A developing collaboration fusing spoken word, poetry and music.  No tickets required, just buy some tea and cake, sit back and enjoy.

Tongues and Grooves | The Square Tower | 17 Jun, 8pm

Portsmouth collective Tongues and Grooves’ ‘Diving Into the Wreck’ is a group production examining the secret world of addiction, its craziness, nastiness, predictable routines and dark humour. Written and performed by former addicts with the artistic support of director Mark Hewitt and award winning local poet Maggie Sawkins, winner of the 2013 Ted Hughes Award. Project supported by Big Lottery Fund. Tickets £5

Somerstown Project

Creative writing and poetry workshops to produce a multi-media presentation to convey a picture of Somerstown through the memories, experiences and imagination of children and adults. Children have photographed the adventure playground while older residents have revived memories of the area and turned them into creative lyrics with Maggie Sawkins.  The project is in partnership with Tongues and Grooves and Jump Start, supported by funding from Artswork. Local film makers Electric Spice have helped convert images and lyrics into a presentation to be shown before the John Cooper Clarke performance at the New Theatre Royal.

My Dog Sighs Project 2016-2017

My Dog Sighs has a reputation for breath-taking invention and beauty. This project with Portsmouth Poetry is planned to run until 2017 and will bring in other talented ‘tag’ artists to create street art depicting, or influenced by, poets and poetry. My Dog Sighs will be creating art in city locations on 16 and 17 of June. Watch the streets!

Portsmouth Festivities Logo

For more information, see: www.portsmouthpoetry.co.uk.  Tickets for these events are available from Portsmouth Festivities and New Theatre Royal websites


  1. Dean

    7 June

    Seriously — go and see JCC – still sharp as a razor.

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