The theme of the 2021 Poetry in McGregor Festival is Garden of the Beloved. This year’s event takes place from 19 to 21 November.

Now in its ninth year, the showcase is set in the village of McGregor, bringing together poets and poetry lovers from all over the country for a feast of the written word.

This year just over 80 poets will perform in group events. These include Lara Kirsten, Malika Ndlovu, Danie Marais, Churchil Naudé, Susan Woodward, Diana Ferrus, Christine Coates, Justin Fox, Patricia Schonstein, Dimakatso Sedite, Lynthia Julius, Nondwe Mpuma and Jacques Coetzee. New, young poets will also present their work at a handful of venues over the course of the weekend.

View the full Poetry in McGregor Festival programme, here.

Programme highlights include poems on this year’s theme; poets from the Dryad Press Living Poets Series in conversation with Michèle Betty; the new body of work from the Karavan Press Poets; Vier Seisoene in die Tuin van die Beminde with Mary Oliver; The Poetry in McGregor 2020 Anthology Launch, various book launches, open mic sessions and Ons Klyntji Unite, a multilingual zine celebrating poetry from all over Africa.

Local talent will also be showcased in Seeing beyond Words, a video of McGregor youth poets by Mark Chipps and Conny Mater.

New format

Poetry in McGregor festival coordinator Jane de Sousa comments on the new format which groups poets together. “Less venues are easier to manage in terms of covid-regulations that we will adhere to. We still wanted to invite as many poets as possible to participate and were thrilled that they were enthusiastic about sharing the stage. The programme offers an exciting mingling of hearts and minds. In the past, the sharing of poetry at this popular annual gathering, has already created a wonderful sense of togetherness. Now, in this new format, it will feel both comfortable and supportive.”

Warm, intimate ambience

Billy Kennedy, owner of Temenos Retreat and Founder of the Poetry in McGregor Festival says he is frequently overwhelmed by the enthusiasm that everyone involves bring to the event: “What perhaps touches me most about our festival, is not just the great success it has been over past years, but also its warmth and intimate atmosphere. It feels as if each year we welcome back family. And what a marvelous family it is! Talented, generous, mutually supportive, spontaneous and above all, passionate about their Art. For this reason, The Garden of the Beloved was our chosen theme for 2021.”

Ashley Dowds, MC and participating poet adds that it’s well worth it for anyone to attend this incredible weekend: “By journeying to a place where poetry is held up to the light for a few days; the ACT of doing that has the intention of engaging with life, distilled into reflective shards that you take home with you, waiting to discover how they fit together. They may not immediately, but they create an arc across so many deep levels of imagination and truth, that the journey becomes a pilgrimage.”

Buy Poetry in McGregor Festival tickets here.

What: Poetry in McGregor Festival 2021
Where: McGregor, Cape
When: 19 – 21 November 2021
Accommodation: Here
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