Please note: all poetry readings, read-rounds and workshops start at 8.30pm.
Visiting readers Keith Armstrong and Nick Toczek
Born in Newcastle upon Tyne where he has worked as a community development worker, poet,librarian and publisher, Keith Armstrong, now residing in Whitley Bay, is coordinator of the Northern Voices creative writing and community publishing project which specialises in recording the experiences of people in the North East of England. He has organised several community arts festivals in the region and many literary events. He was founder
of Ostrich poetry magazine, Poetry North East,Tyneside Writers' Workshop, Tyneside Poets, East Durham Writers' Workshop, Tyneside Trade Unionists for Socialist Arts, Tyneside Street Press and the Strong Words and Durham Voices community publishing series. He has recently compiled and edited books on the Durham Miners’ Gala and on the former mining communities of County Durham and the market town of Hexham. He has been a self-employed writer since 1986 and he was awarded a doctorate in 2007 for his work on Newcastle writer Jack Common at the University of
Durham where he received a BA Honours Degree in Sociology in 1995 and Masters Degree in 1998 for his studies on regional culture in the North East of England. His poetry has been extensively published in magazines such as New Statesman, Poetry Review, Dream Catcher, Other Poetry, Aesthetica, Iron, Salzburg Poetry Review, X Magazine, The Poetry Business, The Recusant and Poetry Scotland, as well as in the collections The Jingling Geordie, Dreaming North,Pains of Class and Imagined Corners, on cassette, LP & CD, and on radio & TV. He has performed his poetry on several occasions at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and at Festivals in Aberdeen, Bradford, Cardiff, Cheltenham (twice at the Festival of Literature - with Liz Lochhead and with 'Sounds North'), Durham, Newcastle upon Tyne,
Greenwich, Lancaster, and throughout the land. In his youth, he travelled to Paris to seek out the grave of poet Charles Baudelaire and he has been making cultural pilgrimages abroad ever since. He has toured to Russia, Georgia, Bulgaria, Poland, Iceland (including readings during the Cod War), Denmark, France, Germany (including readings at the Universities of Hamburg, Kiel, Oldenburg, Trier and Tuebingen), Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Czech Republic, The Netherlands, Cuba, Jamaica and Kenya. His poetry has been translated into Dutch, German,
Russian, Italian, Icelandic and Czech. Supported by North Tyneside Council, Commissions North and Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, he recently worked with Berlin artist Rolf Wojciechowski on a text sculpture which involved readings on the beaches along the
Northumbrian coast from Marsden to Cullercoats and from Druridge Bay to Berwick. In 2007 he collaborated on the touring play "The Making of Saint Cuthbert" for which he wrote and performed his poetry including shows in local churches. He appeared again at the Hexham Abbey Festival in 2008, at the Durham Book Festival and at the Cork International Jazz Festival Fringe. Though a regionalist inspired by the landscape of his birth and its folk and musical traditions, he is very much a European and his work is much influenced by writers such as Hoelderlin, Hesse, Brecht, Baudelaire, Prevert, Esenin, and Mayakovsky. Latest publications: "Splinters" (Hill Salad Books 2011) and "The Month of the Asparagus" (Ward wood Publishing 2011).
Nick Toczek has been a fulltime writer and performer since the early seventies. He's published more than forty books and has done tens of thousands of readings of his work. He currently tours globally visiting about ten countries a year, writes for R2 magazine, and does his own weekly show on BCB Radio. He's just finished This Book Needs To Be Red, a collection of children's poems to be published by Caboodle Books, Be Very Afraid! a collection of horror poems for older children and adults which will probably be published by Macmillan, and an autobiographical prose collection, My Life Sentences, which is with publishers at present. He's now completing two collections of travel poems entitled Flights and Further Flights. Also, Britanarchy, an EP of songs recorded with Bradford band Threshold Shift was released in September 2011.