The Poetry & Lyrics Festival

8th–9th June 2018 

Are you hankering for a haiku? Eager for an epic? Seeking a sonnet? Not to worry – the Poetry & Lyrics Festival is back for its third year.

This weekend, musicians and poets are coming together for a genre-spanning programme of talks, readings, live music and workshops.

BBC6 Music DJ Cerys Matthews is hosting When the Levee Breaks, a discussion of lyrical responses to times of change, with extracts from Langston Hughes, Bessie Smith and Edward Thomas as well as musical performances. Afterwards, the band Benin City is joining forces with cross-artform performance company nabokov to present a live performance of the band’s second album Last Night, alongside poetry and interviews with Londoners.


Arts commentator John Wilson will be interviewing Savages frontwoman Jehnny Beth and poet, playwright and novelist Simon Armitage – they’ll explore the finer details of poetry and songwriting, and the places they overlap.

Poet Kate Wakeling will take the whole family on a super-sonic treasure hunt, with poetry performances and an interactive poetry workshop, as you join her on a quest to find the secret music of poetry.


On Saturday night, poets Inua Ellams and Theresa Lola will present a listening party with a difference: thirteen contemporary poets will read pieces inspired by Kanye West’s 2004 album The College Dropout, while DJ Sid Mercutio plays their favourite tracks.

The festival has countless other readings and workshops on offer, and this year’s theme is celebrating how poetry and lyrics have articulated moments of change throughout history. Dust off your reading glasses (and maybe have a quick listen to Kanye ahead of time) and get yourself some tickets.

The Poetry & Lyrics Festival is at King’s Place, 90 York Way, N1 9AG