The Spoken Word Scene

A city full of artists, that is also a UNESCO City of Literature and home of one of the best creative writing programmes in the country, cannot fail to produce some startling poetic talent. Venue has compiled some of the best poets to come out of Norwich, most of whom are still working in the city.

Spoken Word

Helen Ivory is a writer, editor and artist who currently lives and works in Norwich and around East Anglia. She has had four books published by Bloodaxe Press, the most recent of which is ‘Waiting for Bluebeard’. In the collection Ivory takes a ironic, darkly humorous and deeply unsettling view of the the ‘Bluebeard’ fairytale. She regularly reads at venues round Norwich, and the U.K and you can find her work at and @nellivory.

Andy Bennett is a performance poet and comedian, originally from York but now living in Norwich. He is a UEA Graduate and regularly appears at venues around East Anglia. Bennett has run regular nights at The Birdcage but recently retired the event to work on his one man show ‘Don Jon’. The show exhibits Bennett’s poetic prowess, his control of meter, his comedic timing and satirical accruement, as well as his impressive historical knowledge. In February each year Bennett and three other poets take part in unique project called ’28 Sonnets’ later where collectively they write a sonnet for each day of February and publish a pamphlet. Find him and on Twitter @AndyBennettPoet.

Tim Clare is a performance poet, again a UEA Graduate who was part of poetry collective, Aisle 16 who came out of Norwich ten years ago. Clare is an energetic and hilarious performer who grabs the audience with an enthusiastic hug at the beginning of each show and does not let them go. His spontaneity and quick wit are hemmed in by his precise meter and well structured poems. His collection ‘Pub Stuntman’ is a wonderful comparison to his performance work. Although funny and energetic there is also a slowness and a sincerity to the book which is quite rewarding. He is a permanent fixture of the spoken word scene and you’ll find him hosting a day at Latitude festival each year.

Leanne Moden is not strictly a Norwich poet. She is currently the Fenland Poet Laureate as well as being part of the aforementioned ‘28 Sonnets Later’ collective. Moden has a tender sense of humour which disguises a deeper, darker, more sexually explicit set of jokes. She runs a monthly open mic, ‘Fen Speak’ which takes place in Ely. Moden gigs around East Anglia, regularly to be seen on stages in Norwich and Cambridge. She is an insular but engaging performer and can be followed at @CrimsonEbolg.

Sam Riviere finished his PHD at UEA in 2012 and has since been working on his own brand of internet poetry. His blog ‘81 Austerities’ was published by Faber and won the 2009 Eric Gregory Award. Although he now lives in Belfast, Riviere returned to Norwich to read for the UEA Live series last November and still has many ties in the city. You can imagine many of his poems happening in any of Norwich’s pubs or taxis. His poems touch of the politics of the coalition government, the nature of jealous relationships and many other topics. Find him at: and @borispasterlike.

East Anglia is buzzing with poetic and literary talent. Most weeks will find a couple of poetry readings happening at The Birdcage, The Workshop, Olives’ Cafe, Take 5 or right here on campus at the UEA Drama Studio.


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September 2021
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