Northern Poetry Symposium:

Emergency Poetry Summit

Thursday 5 May, 10am-5pm

Northern Stage


£10 concessions (includes unwaged, under 18, students, carers)

£5 Digital Ticket

The Poetry Book Society and NCLA have called an Emergency Poetry Summit on the 5th May at Northern Stage. We’re reuniting the poetry community for our first Newcastle Poetry Festival since the pandemic began; a chance to reflect and look to the future. Join world-class poets, publishers, producers and readers, to review poetry’s new normal, celebrate resilience and make the case for hope. In this age of emergency, we look to the poets to light the way.

Symposium Schedule



with Imtiaz Dharker


Poetry Recovery

After a lockdown resurgence, is poetry emerging stronger than ever? Leading poets will share their pandemic experiences, from shielding to how Covid has shaped their craft. Featuring Indonesian-born poet Khairani Barokka (Ultimatum Orangutan, Nine Arches Press), NHS nurse Romalyn Ante (Antiemetic for Homesickness, Chatto) and Northern Writer’s award-winner and accessibility activist Hannah Hodgson (163 Days, Seren) via video link, and Harry Josephine Giles (Deep Wheel Orcadia, Picador). How can poetry help in times of crisis?


Small Back Rooms

Is the poetry events sector recovering from the global pandemic? Jake Morris-Campbell will review the “new normal” with regional poetry event producers. How can grassroots poetry organisations survive and thrive, post-pandemic? Big world problems are solved in Small Back Rooms – here’s your chance to have your say and celebrate Newcastle’s lively spoken word scene.




Climate Emergency

How are poets rallying in response to the climate emergency? Climate writer-in-residence, Linda France, chairs a global and intersectional eco-debate. Jamaican-born poet Jason Allen-Paisant interrogates eco-poetry, blackness and landscape in Thinking With Trees(Carcanet). Polly Atkin rewritesnature writing from a place of bodily emergency in Much With Body(Seren), and PBS Summer Recommendation Sylvia Legris will join virtually from Canada to share her radical botanical Garden Physic (Granta). What more can be done in this decisive decade?


The Inequality Emergency: Healing Divisions

Forward Prizes judge and Malika’s Poetry Kitcheneditor Rishi Dastidar, will explore how poets are tackling the inequality emergency, from Black Lives Matter to migration and class divisions. Yomi Sode will examine Black British experiences in his new collection Manorism.Butcher’s Dogeditor, Jo Clement will champion “othered” voices in Outlandish(Bloodaxe) and Wagtail, an anthology of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller poets. Whilst Naush Sabah, author of Litanies (Guillemot Press), will share her experience of widening access as publisher of Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal. How can we heal divisions and make poetry more inclusive?



The Emergency Poetry Summit culminates with an electrifying reading by Romalyn AnteJason Allen-Paisant, Jo Clement and Anastasia Taylor-Lind celebrate our first festival since the pandemic. This stellar trio will reflect on the turbulent times we’re living through and make the case for hope. 

For Full Festival Passes (in-person and digital), please see the Tickets page.