Open Mic Poetry returns to Chichester

After a lengthy lay-off because of the pandemic, live Open Mic Poetry returns return to the Jubilee Hall at Chichester’s New Park Centre at 7.30pm on Wednesday, October 27.

Chris Hardy
Chris Hardy

Heading the bill will be poet Chris Hardy, who lives in West Wittering. He is also the guitarist in the music and poetry group LiTTLe MACHiNe. After Chris’s slot, local poets will be invited to share their own poems in a supportive setting.

Organiser Barry Smith said: “Chichester Poetry has been holding regular, monthly open mic sessions at New Park for over a decade, attracting committed support from published poets and aspiring writers from Chichester and the surrounding area. Many well-known poets have performed there including the power behind London’s Troubadour Poetry, Anne-Marie Fyfe, Irish satiric poet Kevin Higgins, the scourge of governments in Ireland, America and Britain, visiting American luminary Brian Daldorph celebrated for his writing on US prisons, and many local stars such as Mandy Pannett and Denise Bennett.

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“It’s going to be great treat to kick off the returning live open mic sessions with such a dynamic performer as Chris Hardy. Chris has travelled and lived in Asia, Africa and Europe and after many years in London, has now returned to Sussex.

“His poems have been widely published in Acumen, The North, The Rialto, Poetry Review and many other places. His fifth collection, Key to the Highway has just been published by Shoestring Press.’

“The title is from a blues by Big Bill Broonzy and the poems come, Chris says, from the journey we are all on.

“Chris has also found fame touring with the music/poetry band LiTTLe MACHiNe. When they performed in Chichester’s Minerva Theatre in early 2020 with legendary poet Roger McGough, it was both a sell-out and a knock-out.

“The band perform poems of the best in the business, working with Carol Ann Duffy and Gillian Clarke.”

Barry added: “We are beyond delighted to be getting back to live poetry events at the New Park. We put our toes in the water with a couple of events for the Festival of Chichester in the summer, with Dame Penelope Keith at Chichester Cathedral and with Raine Geoghegan and James Simpson at the Poetry & Jazz Café in the Assembly Room. These went so well that they’ve given us the confidence to return to our base at the New Park where our aim is nurture the talents of local writers and provide a platform for their talents.

“Quite a few of our regulars have gone on to publish full poetry collections after trying things out in front of our audiences. We hope to welcome old friends and new faces back to our regular last Wednesday of the month slot.”

Open Mic Poetry: The Jubilee Hall, New Park Centre, Chichester, PO19 7XY, 7.30pm, Wednesday, October 27. Entrance £4 on the door. Sign up to read. Inquiries 07813 244731