Cambridge Festival of Ideas


On Saturday 23rd October, I was lucky enough to be part of a team of poets conducting a poetry tour around Cambridge. The tour was created by poet Michael Brown as part of the festival of ideas and we were joined by local poets Leanne Moden and Robin Lamboll. The idea of the tour was to show people a different side of Cambridge's history because we've seen a lot of great people pass through these streets. We read verses from Xu Zhimo, Lord Byron, William Wordsworth, Sylvia Plath, Gillian Clarke, Thomas Gray and Charles Baudelaire; plus some of our own poems. I read My CityOde To Cambridge and Knowledge Is Power

The morning tour took us round the backs of the colleges which is always stunning in Autumn and we stopped outside of Kings College where we talked about Xu Zhimo and I read I'm leaving Cambridge again which was very fitting and sad as I am leaving in January. Then we went up into Trinity college where we heard poems from Lord Byron. We learnt some history about his time as a student and listened to she walks in beauty. Afterwards we were allowed into Wren Library, named after Christopher Wren.  Inside we got to snoop around and look at some classic literature such as a hand written Quran, original Winnie the Pooh illustrations, a signed copy of Karl Marx's Das Capital and lots of Isaac Newton, such as his walking stick, notebooks and hair. 

It is an incredible library and definitely a place to visit when in Cambridge! 

Next we took the group up to Garret Hostel Bridge where they got a beautiful view of the river and the punters below whilst we gave a group reading of William Wordworth's Cambridge and I performed My City.  It was really nice to perform on the bridge with all the tourists and the people cycling by. 

The second tour was a bigger group and we took them on a different route to the morning's group. We walked through town to Queen's college where we performed in front of the Mathematical Bridge. From there we went to Pembroke college and they kindly let us go into the Ted Hughes Library where we listened to a tape recording (how retro!) of Ted Hughes reading his poems, admired the stained glass and learnt some history.