What to expect from Foyer Poetry

Hear from local performance poet Hannah Walker about how her pub poetry club has grown into a new Foyer Poetry series at Saffron Hall.

How did you get started organising poetry events?

I began Saffron Walden Poetry Club began because having grown up here, and now living here raising a family, I felt that the type of literary events provided in the area did not match what I wished to attend. I want to attend lively events, with diverse performers talking about contemporary issues in an entertaining, engaging way.

Also I felt that the town could really benefit from events that include a wide range of political opinions. When I began organising my poetry club events, I did not massively promote them, and to my great surprise they always had a strong audience. We began at the Kings Arms and then moved to Bicicletta and now are delighted to be at Saffron Hall in the foyer. I am a performance poet, and through 20 years of gigging know who is excellent on the circuit, and so I programme from having watched backstage. I am delighted to bring these poets to the town in which I live.

What can we expect from this new Foyer Poetry series?

Lively, diverse events with poems covering a huge range of topics. A poet might start with a poem about a dog, then a poem about politics, then a poem about love. You never know what you are going to get in terms of subject matter, which is part of the joy.

What is most commonly true of performance poetry events is that the performer is informal, connects and builds a relationship with the audience. Sometimes the evenings are hilarious, sometimes reflective - usually both! The show will take place in the foyer at Saffron Hall with table seating, drinks from the bar and food from local food trucks served before the show.

What can we expect from this summer's guest poets?

Hollie McNish and her work are huge - such a huge fan base, people love her work. She will be reading from her collections at the Foyer Poetry event on Friday 9 June. She is candid, and engaging and audacious, covering topics from otters to masturbation to mothers.

As for Lewis Buxton, this is his first solo stage show and it is excellent. It is about boyhood, and what it means to be a man today. Are men supposed to be tough? Are they supposed to be sensitive? Lewis blends poetry, comedy and storytelling to find out. He's a brilliant performer and always has the audience in the palm of his hand.

Poetry at Saffron Hall

Simon Armitage looking into the camera standing against a window in a dark room

An Evening with Simon Armitage

Thursday 2 November 2023, 7pm
Join the Poet Laureate as he reads a wide-ranging selection of his work including new poems

Foyer Poetry: Lewis Buxton

Friday 14 July 2023, 8pm
Live poetry on the foyer with street food, cabaret tables and a bar

Foyer Poetry: Hollie McNish

Friday 9 June 2023, 8pm
Live poetry on the foyer with street food, cabaret tables and a bar