Poetry Symposium

Bookshop May 19

The next Carlisle Poetry Symposium (the fifth!)… has been postponed. Watch this space for an August date…

The doors will open at about 10:00. There will be at least six ‘Featured Poets’ who will read during the day, and there are more than 20 open mic spaces that can be claimed on the day, too. There will also be a pop-up bookshop that will sell the work of anyone who wishes it. The pop-up bookshop frequently takes in excess of £400: all of that money went directly back to the poets.

There is no charge for the event at all. The idea is that people coming to the Symposium will want to buy poetry from the pop-up bookshop!

Venue Address: Tullie House, Carlisle. Please note that this is a different venue to our first Symposia: we moved for the November 2019 Symposium, and it was a great success.


If you’re coming by car, there’s a car park nearby and it is called ‘Fisher Street Car Park’ and the postcode of that car park is CA3 8RE (the website with tariffs on it is here)- it should have spaces (plenty of them, on a Saturday) but you do have to pay to park there. If you arrive early you could check out Bookends/Bookcase and its cafe ‘Cakes and Ale’, which is right next to the car park. There are lots of places in The Lanes car park, or at The Sands Centre, too – but they are further away, and if you’re bringing books to sell – or carrying away a haul of new poetry titles that you’ve just bought you may not want to walk far!

If you’re coming by bus, there’s a stop outside the Carlisle Market Hall; if you follow the Market Hall building round the corner and up the street you’ll find Fisher Street which you’ll need to turn right down, then follow the road uphill and you’ll see Tullie House in front of you. The Tullie House website is here: https://www.tulliehouse.co.uk/. Please note that the venue is fully accessible, has nice toilets, has a cafe and is spacious! Told you we were going places!

Featured Poets


We’ve prided ourselves on putting together strong line-ups of talent from our region – and wider. The featured poets for the first ever May 2018 Symposium were: Josephine Dickinson (click here) , Jennifer Copley (click here), Annie Foster (click here), Mike Smith (click here), Vivien Jones (click here), Alan John Stubbs (click here) and Nick Pemberton (click here). Quite a first event. Our second Symposium in November 2018 featured Judi Sutherland, Malcolm Carson, Autumn Richardson, Richard Skelton and Kim Moore. So, we continued the high calibre! The May 2019 Symposium – our third – featured poets including Meg Pokrass, Neil Curry, Kathleen Jones, Erica Bell, Annie Foster and Nicola Jackson. No less than two pamphlets were launched at the event!

At out fourth Symposium we were joined by poets from further afield. Among the poets that made the journey to us were Carole Coates, Jane Routh, Mike Barlow, Brian Lewis, Emma Bolland and Mark Goodwin. For the fourth Symposium we moved to Tullie House. It was another cracker.

Each poet has a biography placed upon the blog and a couple of links for people to get a flavour of their work prior to the event.

Featured poets have been asked to put together a twenty minute ‘set’. After this there will be a short Q&A section with that poet.

Open mic Sections

Anyone and everyone is welcome to read. The event is a celebration of the poetic culture of Carlisle and the wider ‘north’ – however you wish to define that. If you would like to read in the one of the open mic sections, then you can sign up at one of the ‘sign-up’ points during the day. Each open mic reader should read for no more than four minutes, so that we can fit in as much poetry as we can! If in doubt, one excellent poem is enough! Please do read from something that you are selling on the ‘pop-up’ bookshop, if you want to promote your own work!

Pop-up Bookshop

Anyone can put their books and pamphlets up for sale on the pop-up bookshop. Please drop off your books before 10:30 on the Saturday morning at the venue . All books should include a slip of paper inside that clearly states a price for that pamphlet or book in whole pounds, the full title of the publication and the name of the author/payee. The funds will all be centrally held by the pop-up bookshop staff. At the end of the Symposium, the cash will be sorted and all the total proceeds of each pamphlet or book will go to the poet concerned. Please be at the venue at the end of the event to pick up your books and cash! The bookshop is staffed by volunteers, who are doing this for the love of culture and literature.

Annie Foster Read May 19