Politics of Engagement / tearsinthefence poetry festival / 15th – 17th September 2017

Just under four weeks left. Politics of Engagement promises to enchant and to challenge you. This year’s Festival weekend will be from Friday, 15th September 2017 to Sunday, 17th September at The White Horse and Village Hall, Stourpaine.

The Festival’s theme is the politics of engagement. We shall be recalling and discussing the impact of Barry MacSweeney and Irina Ratushinskaya, both of whom read twice at our Festivals in the 1990s. At this time of extreme global political upheaval, our Festival aims to explore the lived experience of repression, austerity measures, migration, censorship and radical poetry.

Amongst the confirmed participants, so far, are Melisande Fitzsimons, Clive Gresswell, Sophie Herxheimer, Ric Hool, Norman Jope, Zibahoo Karbassi, Camilla Nelson, Kate Noakes, Luke Roberts, Steve Spence, Maria Stadnicka.

Open Readings featuring Valerie Bridge, Lesley Burt, Stephen Daniels, Richard Foreman, Gerald Killingworth, Peter King, Aidan Semmens, Charles Wilkinson.

For further information and tickets please access the link https://tearsinthefence.com/festival/.

I hope to see you there.

Thank you!



Photograph ©John Stadnicki 2017


If we want the world to move forward,

we must hold hands. Documenting the pain and the joy,

on the same page,

with water, with fire, with ashes

not with ink.


Freedom means nothing when the healthy and the sick

eat at separate tables.

Even the trees sit together. They know that life is actually simple.

But once people renounced their entitlement,

it will take more than a revolution

to reclaim such a right.


For too long we took the wrong turn.


What kind of world is this if

the madman tells us that

we should be ashamed of ourselves?

©Maria Stadnicka, 2017


Published today in International Times with illustration produced by Nick Victor.

Stand out

Someone has to. It is easy to follow along. It can feel strange to do or say something different. But without that unease, there is no freedom.‘ (Snyder T. ‘On Tyranny, 2017 )

Photograph ©Harry Oliver / Instagram @harryowns


Photograph ©John Stadnicki

– to Liu Xiaobo –


Like all those people I once knew,

who came and then

left my life as if they never existed,

many cities inherited this flesh

and crumbled

under the weight of my fears.