Date – Saturday May 25th 2013

Guiding Principle

Three poets are invited: One well-known poet plus two protégés. The invited poet invites two lesser known &/or unpublished poets (whose work the guest poet feels is unfairly little known or under-rated).

All Day Events

Poetry Bookstall and coffee
Poetry magazines and other publications from the invited poet/publisher
plus a second-hand poetry bookstall.

Poetry Tree

An invitation to adorn the Poetry Tree with your favourite poems.
Choose one of the greats or write your own.

Individual events throughout the day


Poetry Is Nice To Eat – Fun With Words – Family Workshop 11.00am (Free)
A workshop for individuals or the whole family with Phil Barrett (MR B). Poems will be used to adorn the poetry tree.

Poetry Lunch 1.00pm
Buffet lunch and light refreshments on sale, or bring your own picnic.

After Lunch

Closely Shared – A Poet’s Choice/Masterclass 2.00pm (£5.00 or £10.00 including the evening reading)
A Close Reading where the invited poets share work that has influenced and excited them, including a close reading of (a) chosen poem(s).

Strictly Spoken 3.30pm (Free)
An Open Event providing an opportunity to perform ‘The Touch’ by Tom Duddy’s (chosen by Michael Laskey) and get feedback on your performance from a panel of judges, including one or more of the invited poets. The winning recitation will receive a prize of £20.00. Sign up at lunchtime for one of the 10–15 reading slots. Copies of the poem will be available.

Poetry, Cake and a Cuppa – ‘Open Mic Event’ 5.00pm (Free)
Whilst consuming cake and a cuppa, people are invited to bring and read a poem by an existing writer, or one of their own, on the theme of ‘Celebration’ chosen by Michael Laskey.

Poetry and Pimm’s – Poetry on a summer’s evening 6.30pm
A great opportunity to mingle and enjoy refreshments before and during the reading by our invited poets.

‘Reading’ 7.00pm – 9.00pm (£7.00)
Michael Laskey reads a selection of his own work, supported by readings from Dean Parkin and Robert Etty. The reading will be in two halves with Pimm’s and finger-nibbles available before the event and during the interval.

Michael Laskey has published four collections, most recently The Man Alone: New and Selected Poems. Two of these were Poetry Book Society recommendations and The Tightrope Wedding was shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize. A founder of the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, he directed it through its first decade. He co-founded and co-edited fifty issues of the poetry magazine Smiths Knoll between 1991 and 2012. He has also published a range of poetry pamphlets under both the Smiths Knoll and his Garlic Press imprint.

Dean Parkin was born in 1969 and left school at the age of sixteen to work at a printer’s and then in a bookshop. He has worked for The Poetry Trust since 1999 and is currently the Creative Director. His third pamphlet, ‘The Sunshine of Fortune’, was published in 2013 and was written as a part of a residency in the Stour Valley and is a response to the artists and writers of the area. He’s probably the only poet to appear on BBC1 reading a poem on the loo.

Rob Etty was born in Lincolnshire, where he still lives and takes part in poetry groups and events.  He worked for many years as a teacher of English in a secondary school.  His poems have been widely published in magazines (eg Smiths Knoll, The Rialto, Frogmore Papers, Poetry Review, The North, Other Poetry, Bow-Wow Shop).  The most recent of his eight pamphlets and collections are Half a Field’s Distance: New and Selected Poems (Shoestring Press) and The Horncastle Executioner (Nunny Books).  He has read from his work at several venues, including the Aldeburgh Festival.


Salthouse Church and British Columbia Hall (next to Salthouse Church)

For further information contact: Helen Birtwell at;
or Rose Moreton at

Comments by previously invited poets:

It was such a special day.  A real highlight of the year. All of my visits to Cley have been so memorable. I don’t know how you do it.
The Cley Little Festival of Poetry may well be unique — so relaxed, warm and welcoming and at the same time so intense and focussed. Cley is obviously a place where poetry matters — but not in a separate or rarefied way — it matters as part of life, in and among and relevant to the everyday.  It is very well organised, the activities varied and engaging, and thought through.  And the hospitality is rather wonderful, and the atmosphere that comes from great hospitality.  This is a little festival where poetry means something to people, where poetry and people matter.
Peter Sansom
Co-director The Poetry Business

The Cley Little Festival is probably the nation’s senior poetry event. Everybody has read at it: Professor Germaine Greer; Sir Andrew Motion, when he was Poet Laureate; Peter Scupham; Peter Sansom; and many more.
This event was a joy to be a part off. If the Arts Council wants to see poetry alive and well this is the kind of event to support.
Please thank everyone for a great festival. I enjoyed it!
Michael Mackmin
(The Rialto)