Cambridge Poetry Festival

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The Cambridge Poetry Festival, founded by Richard Berengarten (also known as Richard Burns), was an international biennale for poetry held in Cambridge, England, between 1975–1985.[1] The festival was founded in an attempt to combine as many aspects as possible of this form of art.[2] Thus Michael Hamburger could, for example, recite his English interpretations of Paul Celan's poetry in the presence of Gisèle Lestrange and a surprisingly large audience at an art gallery bestowed on her engravings.[3][4] The last biennale in 1985 included a number of events to mark Ezra Pound's centenary, including the exhibition Pound's Artists: Ezra Pound and the Visual Arts in London, Paris and Italy at Kettle's Yard (later also shown at the Tate Gallery),[5] and was accompanied by a special issue of the magazine P.N. Review.[6]

Prior to the resumption of the Cambridge Poetry Festival by Richard Berengarten in 1975, a Cambridge Poetry Festival was held under that name at Fitzwilliam College in 1970.[citation needed] This was organised by Geoffrey Kirkness at the encouragement and suggestion of the poetess Elaine Feinstein and through the auspices of David Punter on the JCR committee of that college who was able to persuade the college in principle.[citation needed] Readers were Tom Pickard, Brian Patten, John Heath-Stubbs, Elaine Feinstein, John James, John Mcgrath and many other notable poets.[citation needed] The event was a sell out, with standing room only, in the large Reddaway Hall.[citation needed]



  1. ^ Blair-Underwood, Alison (2012). "Open account - A memoir: the Cambridge Poetry Festival". Blackbox Manifold, Issue 9: Peter Robinson at Sixty. Blackbox Manifold. Retrieved January 7, 2013. 
  2. ^ Richard Berengarten, 'The Cambridge Poetry Festival 1975' .
  3. ^ John Pilling, Review: The Cambridge Poetry Festival 1979, Florida State University, USA.
  4. ^ For another reminiscence of the 1979 festival, see Waldrop, Rosmarie (2002). Lavish Absence: Recalling and Rereading Edmond Jabès. Wesleyan University Press. p. 98. ISBN 0-8195-6580-6. 
  5. ^ Richard Humphreys (editor), Pound's Artists: Ezra Pound and the Visual Arts in London, Paris and Italy, London (Tate Gallery), June 1985, ISBN 0-946590-29-X
  6. ^ PN Review 46 November - December 1985,;volume=12

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Coordinates: 52°12′N 0°07′E / 52.20°N 0.12°E / 52.20; 0.12