Festival to remember poet

Josephine Austin

Josephine Austin

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A festival celebrating the life of a much-loved poet is to be held in her memory.

The family and friends of Josephine Austin, who passed away last April, are holding the event on Saturday, November 14 at the White Rock Hotel.

Year 7, ARK William Parker students peldge to make the internet a better place. February 2015. SUS-150217-091659001

Year 7, ARK William Parker students peldge to make the internet a better place. February 2015. SUS-150217-091659001

Josephine, of Downs Road, passed away aged 80 after a long illness, and was best known for founding Hastings International Poetry Festival back in 1968.

John Robinson, who knew Josephine for more than 30 years, is organising November’s festival with her daughter Tracy and widower Brian.

He said: “I was a teenager when I first met Josephine and from that moment she was endlessly generous, encouraging and enthusiastic.

“Josephine was a true poet, she lived poetry and was dedicated to her craft. She gave numerous poets the opportunity to showcase their work in her magazine

“Josephine’s poetry was well-styled and reached across many boundaries. She could, seemingly without effort, hold an audience with her voice.

“It was soft, gentle, and had a resonance that would linger long after Josephine had finished reading. Her sensitivity could penetrate any world.

“This festival in November will be a celebration of her and her work and what she achieved.

“We are looking for poets to participate and get involved. Hastings International Poetry Festival was always very well-attended and we are hoping a number of past attendees will come to November’s festival.”

Josephine, who was born in Richmond in Yorkshire, moved to Hastings when she was 11, and edited

Mr Robinson added that the poet knew and corresponded with well-known poets, such as the late Robert Graves, who died in 1985, and Brian Patten.

Her husband Brian, who was married to Josephine for 57 years, said poets came from all over the world to take part in the international festival each year.

Josephine also ran a children’s poetry competition and prize-giving at the Town Hall every year, he added, which proved to be a huge success.

Poets who knew Josephine or whose work was published in