Something special happened on National Poetry Day 2017.  As part of the Contains Strong Language Festival in Hull, we launched our 35th anniversary season with an amazing  recording for BBC Radio 3’s The Verb programme.

Long time Apples and Snakes-er Ian McMillan hosted a spectacular line up of poets from across the decades in celebration of 35 years of spoken word and poetry. Whilst what happened on stage was amazing, you can catch it all on BBC iPlayer. For me the extra special bit was the poets altogether off stage, sipping warm wine and munching crisps in the

Green Room! John Agard, Grace Nicholls, John Hegley, Dizraeli, Yomi Sode, Hannah Silva, Debris Stevenson, Chiedu Oraka, Joelle Taylor, Zena Edwards and Ty…so much history, spanning decades with Apples and Snakes, all sharing a love of words. 

That was a moment. Our poetry family. 

Grime artist alongside dub poet, beside experimental poet talking to hip hop artist, political

lyricist to surrealist poet. That’s Apples and Snakes, what it has always been about – providing a platform for difficult things to be said and stories not always told to be heard, stretching the idea of what poetry is – and underpinning it all ensuring that poets get paid, it was one of the founding principles of the organisation and still core to our mission.

Apples and Snakes exist because poets exist, because there are artists compelled to stand up and share their truth, who make us think, cry, laugh, who ask us as the listener to take a moment to share in their world. Poets have been doing this since the beginning of time and will continue doing this, hopefully with us at their side for many years to come.

For now though, we plan to celebrate our 35th year with a whole range of special activity on top of continuing with our national programme of events, artist development and projects. 

The first half of the year sees our archive exhibition, Poetry Pioneers, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund crossing the country.  A brilliant line up of artists guest curate objects from four decades of spoken word.  Explore the full archive at www.spokenwordarchive.org.uk.  

We’ll be releasing some podcasts so keep your ears at the ready and finishing 2018 with something a little different…but for now we’re keeping that secret…