Tag Archives: new poetry and fiction cardiff

Cardiff for literature lovers and budding bards

Hear ye, hear ye! Poet Patrick Widdess has put together a guide to Cardiff’s ever-growing underground for authors, poets, and lovers of the written word. Read on for the low-down on Cardiff’s best open-mic and other events! 

We Are Cardiff present its first book, Porter pub thursday 5 november 2015, an evening through readings, live music and the most creative mind within the Welsh capital through an art joruney into the heart of creative cardiff.

Lovers of literature and budding bards have plenty of chances to indulge their passion for poetry and prose in Cardiff. The city has an ever-growing programme of events where you can hear a variety of poets and spoken word artists. Some attract established writers from Cardiff and further afield. Most feature open mic spots for writers and performers of all styles and levels of experience to share their work. There is something on almost every night of the week and these events are always worth checking out:

RARA (Rhyme and Real Ale)

Second Monday of the month
Mackintosh Sports Club, Keppoch Street, Roath

This friendly event welcomes poets of all levels to share their work or just listen. As organiser Will Ford says: “People should come to RARA  because beginners are given the same warm welcome as experienced readers and everybody gets the same five minute slot length. It is free and it is a fun, eclectic night where every reader gets to be as silly or as serious as their own writing demands!”

Will also runs spoken word events at various times and places under the name Megaverse (www.facebook.com/Megaverse-1157959360887023).


Monthly (Check Facebook page for dates)
Four Bars at Dempseys
15 Castle Street, CF10 1BS
7 – 11pm

JUKE has only been going a short time but this open mic night has already established a solid reputation. Organiser Renn Hubbuck-Melly says: “JUKE is a night for writers of all different styles and forms which focuses specifically on performance and encourages people to explore and experiment with new ways of presenting words. There are feature acts who are seasoned performers and themed nights which ask people to write on a specific theme, the latest one being Myths and Fairytales. It is a very friendly, welcoming environment that can help inspire writers to think further than the page. It’s also entertaining and enjoyable for those who just want to come and watch.”


Fourth Sunday of the month
See Facebook page for venue
A new night in one of Cardiff’s newest creative spaces. Stephanie Finegan and Natasha Borton invite lovers of words, music and coffee to enjoy a night “with the vibe of the Beat Generation and the power of spoken word, rhythm and music mixing in the air with daiquiris and Cappuccinos.”

First Thursday of the month at Chapter

Market Road, CF5 1QE

No excuses for forgetting when this event is! First Thursday features established writers and open mic slots. It is hosted by Amy Wack, Poetry Editor at Seren press and sponsored by Seren, Mulfran Press and Literature Wales. Such backing guarantees a high-calibre night of literary talent. There is a £2.50 entry fee refunded against the cost of books.

First Thursday Facebook group

Cardiff visiting writers series

Six times a year (always on a Monday) 
Four Bars at Dempseys
15 Castle Street, CF10 1BS
Cardiff University’s department of English, Communications and Philosophy organises this series which offers a great opportunity for their students and members of the public to hear published authors, and share their own work on the open mic in a relaxed setting. Past authors at the event have included Tessa Hadley and Rachel Trezise. There is often a Q&A session with the visiting author.
Patrick Widdess is a poet based in Newport. He is a familiar face on the Cardiff spoken word scene and his work has appeared in publications including Agenda, Cake, The Interpreter’s House, The Guardian, Waitrose Weekend and others. He hosts poetry blog and podcast Headstand and has recently published the book ‘Poetry Non-stop: Unlock your poetic muse and write a poem a day for 30 days’ available on Amazon. Support your local talent and buy a copy now!
By the way … if you’re a lover of literature, did we mention that the We Are Cardiff Press debut book, The 42b, is out now?

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First Thursday – new poetry and fiction at Chapter Arts Centre – by Jodie Ashdown

Writer Jodie Ashdown went along to Chapter’s First Thursday to see what goes down there.

First Thursday by Jodie Ashdown

Now in its eighth year, First Thursday is a chance for aspiring and professional writers to share their work, as well as listen to readings by published authors and poets. In association with Seren Books, Literature Wales and Inpress books, the monthly event is fronted by Amy Wack who has been in the publishing industry for many years but is now Poetry Editor at Seren.

The evening starts off with an introduction, and perhaps short reading, by Amy and then moves onto a few guest speakers who will read extracts from their novel or poetry book. Now you don’t have to be a literary aficionado to appreciate their work, the authors and poets are engaging and explain their drive or message behind a particular story or poem. The styles and themes are varied and interesting and it’s definitely not pretentious or stuck-up – sometimes the swear-iest poems are the best!

And if you enjoyed a particular writer’s work, their books (among others) are on sale at the event; an easy way to support publishers and independent bookshops over the big online companies  – you know who I mean.

Next comes the open mic session, cause of my sweaty palms and thudding heart (and the reason why the photos are so appallingly blurry). I don’t know why it is so nerve wracking, everyone is super appreciative to hear each other’s work, but it still makes me very, very nervous. There’s something about standing in the spotlight and trying to stop your paper from shaking as you try not to mumble as you read your work, that is both terrifying and exhilarating. But you’re always glad you’ve done it afterwards, even more so when someone you don’t know approaches you afterwards to say they enjoyed your reading but you ran off stage like ‘you’d done something wrong’.

The standard is usually pretty high but complete amateurs are welcomed alongside the poetry stalwarts, and everyone is encouraged. You don’t have to read if you don’t want to, some people like to just go along and listen and that’s ok too.

It’s a creative and accessible environment and a chance to get out there and listen to interesting and often evocative writing. Even if you’re only a little bit interested in contemporary poetry and fiction, I’d advise going along to try it out – you never know how it could inspire you.

First Thursday is on (shockingly) the first Thursday of each month (the event is not on during July and August).

Price: £2.50

Location: Upstairs at Chapter Arts Centre