Mimi Khalvati
York Poetry Festival

Mimi Khalvati's collections include Selected Poems (2000), Entries on Light (1997), Mirrorwork (1995) and In White Ink (1991). She is founder and Coordinator of The Poetry School in London, has tutored on many Arvon Foundation writing courses, and has given numerous workshops and seminars at universities, poetry groups and art colleges throughout the country.

Background 

As part of the first York Poetry Festival, which took place 1-10 October 1999, poet Mimi Khalvati worked with local students and poetry organisations in various workshops and events for National Poetry Day. She also took part on the panel discussion 'Close Listening', a public debate on poetry in performance and poetry on the page.

Report

During the ten days, I took nine workshops, working with a variety of groups. These ranged widely in ability and experience. Some writers' groups were established and their members had published in books or magazines, others were new to writing poetry or were attending University courses. I worked with a women's writing group and ran a workshop for facilitators working in special needs. I also ran a workshop at the Theatre Royal with a mix of writers and actors, leading to a foyer performance at the theatre.

An ongoing project with students at York College, working with Pat Borthwick, took place over several days, culminating in a National Poetry Day event, 'Sounds like York', during which students performed at a variety of venues in the city.

I judged the Under-18s Festival Poetry Competition and presented a commentary and prizes on the final day of the Festival and took part in readings with Sophie Hannah, 'Rhythm and Muse', a celebration on National Poetry Day, and 'Close Listening: a Public Debate'.

The workshops went incredibly well. They were well attended and organised, the venues were good and the participants very engaged and appreciative. It was a pleasure to have worked with so many people and so much enthusiasm.

The project with York College was also very successful. This was due to the hard work of Pat Borthwick and the teachers at the College and the students themselves were willing and creative. The Under 18's Competition was very popular and has set a good precedent for future competitions. The Theatre Royal event I was particularly pleased with, given the challenge of preparing the material and presentation in such a short time.

Young Poets Network