The Gloucester Poetry Society (GPS) started as an idea by Zack Dicks (the founder of the GPS) to create something locally to promote an all inclusive poetry group and share the power of poetry to the city and it's vibrant and diverse communities.
This idea became a Facebook group in October 2016 and in just 7 months we have over 340 members, which comprises not just of Gloucester poets, but poets from across the UK and internationally.
I 'm Jason Conway, one of the societies members and I fell in love with poetry last year when Zack introduced me to the group. I am now an active member and help to promote our society and its events. We have a core group of volunteers that do their best to spread the word about what we are doing, however, we really need funding to be able to put on a great show at each festival venue, get us noticed and create a huge buzz about the festival.
The Society will be holding Gloucester's first ever poetry festival spanning 4 days in October in pubs and bars in the city.
We currently have no funding in place and desperately need to be able to market the festival to the local community, and also across the South West to encourage poetry lovers to come to the city. We need funds for sound and video recording equipment, pop-up banners, marketing materials and branding.
We also need funding to help to publish our first annual poetry book, to celebrate our member's poetry and create a landmark publication of its type in the City. This publication will tie in with the festival, marking 1 year since the Society's inception.
We have big plans for the society including working with local community groups, offering support and education, poetry workshops, talks and more regular events across the city and neighbouring towns and areas.
Why poetry, why now?
Well, poetry is such a powerful and expressive form of communication that can help people through loss, trauma, mental health issues, rehabilitation as well as having the power to inspire people to speak up and express themselves and their emotions. All of these factors mean that we have the potential to help a wide range of people to embrace a new form of expression. Mindfulness is very much in the public spotlight today and poetry can be very transformative for both the writer and the audience.
We hope to inspire people to write poetry and also offer support and advice to poets from all backgrounds and abilities. Our motto perfectly sums up what we are about 'Poetry without pretension'. We already have a mix of traditional poets, slam and spoken word artists as members and we greatly encourage the sharing of ideas and experimenting with styles.
We really hope that you can help us to reach our target, and if you love poetry, please help us to spread the word and make the city of Gloucester a cultural centre for poetry in the UK.