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Terry Waite prepares for Wells Poetry-next-the-sea Festival to share poetic insight into hostage years

PUBLISHED: 11:59 24 April 2017 | UPDATED: 12:31 24 April 2017

Terry Waite will be reading some of his poetry at the Wells Poetry-next-the-Sea Festival.  Picture: Fiona Fraser

Terry Waite will be reading some of his poetry at the Wells Poetry-next-the-Sea Festival. Picture: Fiona Fraser

Fiona Fraser

Terry Waite, the former envoy to the Archishop of Canterbury who was held hostage for five years in Beirut in the 1980s, will head to Wells next week for the town’s 20th Poetry-Next-The-Sea festival.

Sir Jonathan Bate will be reading some of his poetry at the Wells Poetry-next-the-Sea Festival.  Picture: Fiona Fraser Sir Jonathan Bate will be reading some of his poetry at the Wells Poetry-next-the-Sea Festival. Picture: Fiona Fraser

Now a writer and humanitarian Mr Waite republished his autobiography last year to mark the 25th anniversary of his release and also turned to poetry.

In his collection, called Out of the Silence: Memories, poems, reflections, he recalls the highs and lows of his life, both during that ordeal and throughout the happier years that have followed.

He will share some of these works in a reading at 8pm on Saturday, May 6, at the close of the second night of the festival.

It is his first appearance at the event which will again be held at Alderman Peel High School and has the theme of Beyond Frontiers.

Composer Peter Zinovieff will perform at the Wells Poetry-next-the-Sea Festival.  Picture: Fiona Fraser Composer Peter Zinovieff will perform at the Wells Poetry-next-the-Sea Festival. Picture: Fiona Fraser

Also taking part is Sir Jonathan Bate, the youngest person to be knighted for services to literary scholarship.

His most recent work is a co-edited anthology, with guided reading techniques, entitled Stressed Unstressed: Classic Poems to Ease the Mind which he will read from with Paula Byrne on Sunday morning as well as The Shepherd’s Hut which discusses techniques of writing poetry and writing about poetry.

Sun, on Saturday afternoon, is a collaboration between poet Katrina Porteous and composer Peter Zinovieff and explores our nearest star using images from NASA.

The festival will also host the world premiere of The Singing Glacier, a multi-media presentation with poems by Helen Mort, music composed by William Carslake and performed by The Little Baroque Company and a film directed by Richard Jones.

Other poets include Dame Gillian Beer, Paul Farley, Matthew Hollis, Michael Symmons Roberts and Katharine Towers while artist Chloe Steele will exhibit her work inspired by the poets. It closes with a symposium at midday on the Sunday.

Organiser Fiona Fraser said the festival aimed to present the wider aspects of the poetry landscape. “It starts with the death of the poets at the opening to how we use poetry to ease the mind,” she said. “There are two musical numbers which is quite innovative.”

For information and to book tickets go online at www.poetrynextthesea.co.uk

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