All poetry lovers can now attend The McGregor Poetry Festival

2015-08-16 14:00

Cape Town - The small village of McGregor, near Robertson, in the Western Cape is gearing up to host the 3rd McGregor Poetry Festival which will take place from 27 to 30 August this year.

There is once again a great programme offering lovers of poetry a wide selection of events to attend. Festival attendees can look forward to attending poetry readings by Ian McCallum, Antjie Krog, John Maytham, Adam Small, Lara Kirsten, Patricia Schonstein, Petra Müller and Gert Vlok Nel to name just a few.

(Photo:Gert Vlok Nel_Supplied)

One of the highlights will be the festival lecture given by Prof Louise Viljoen on Saturday morning in the NG Kerk. Billy Kennedy, who founded the McGregor Poetry Festival, says that he feels honoured to have some of our country's leading poets on the festival programme.

He adds: "We are also excited about new, talented poets that will be reading their work. Names to look out for include Ansa Smit, Sisca Julius, Khadija Tracey Heeger and Genna Gardini. Our theme is "Growing Poetry" as we would also like to offer a platform at our festival for budding new writers."

This year, a Mentorship Programme called "Growing Poets" has been launched to identify and assist budding young poets in the area. We are also running an open poetry competition to give everyone a chance to be part of this special 'gathering of words.'

(Photo:Antjie Krog_Supplied)

The main venues will be our beautiful Wahnfried Concert Hall, the exquisite gardens of Temenos, Edna Fourie Gallery and our beautiful NG Kerk. This year we also have some exciting new venues – the D’Amphitheater and De Akker, the old town hall where our Fringe events will take place. Our venues are all within walking distance of one another and have open fireplaces and comfortable, cosy seating. A homely, heartfelt experience. A Passion for Poetry.

Kennedy spearheaded the festival in 2013 because of his deep passion for poetry. As a young child he recalls having his grandmothers placing him on their knees and reading to him their favourite poems. It became his dream (and an item on his bucket list) not only to honour poets for the immensely rich and varied way they enrich lives but also to champion the art of poetry.

The McGregor Poetry festival focuses mainly on poetry and is not a broad literary festival. The reason for this is that many literary festivals often become 'heady' affairs. Poetry encourages us to move from a head space to a deeper sense of our interconnectedness and the awareness of the fragility and value of our deeper hopes and dreams, as well as our natural resources.

(Photo: Khadija Tracey Heeger_Supplied)

Mentorship programme - Growing poets

This year, a Mentorship Programme called "Growing Poets" has been launched to identify and assist budding young poets in the area. Dave Magner, the co-ordinator of the mentorship programme, can be contacted for more information (023 625 1402/

The Worcester Standard is also running a Poetry Competition to give poets of all ages the opportunity of winning some great prizes and having their poem published. Watch the press ( for details.

Open poetry competition 

Are you a budding or closet poet? Would you like to see your poetry published? Send in your entry before 17 August and stand a chance to win R5000 cash. The Winner and finalists will be announced on the 29th of August at 9h30 at De Akker in McGregor. Winning poems will be published in our annual McGregor Poetry Anthology. Entries can be sent to Poetry in Afrikaans, English and Xhosa can be entered; maximum two poems per person. This competition is open to any aspiring poet who has not published a volume of their own poetry. For Poetry Competition Guidelines visit the website.

There are two categories: 14 - 17 Years and 18 Years – older. In order to GROW POETRY we have applied for NPO status and are initiating a programme to identify, mentor and support young writers who need the opportunity to nurture and develop their talents. The mentorship team will be made up of well known, established poets who will guide and refine the art of these young men and women.

Five reasons to be at the McGregor Poetry Festival:

The Poetry - The festival is the only one of its kind in South Africa - dedicated to the ancient form of poetry.South Africa’s top poets mingle with up and coming stars to create a special mix. Listen to the great Antjie Krog, and discover also the special new talent of Ansa Smit. Over 50 poets descend on the village to showcase the best of what’s around.

The Place - McGregor is a special place. Tucked in a valley south west of Robertson, with no through road, you are enveloped by the best of mountain scenery. The village has a special collection of old homes that will delight even the most jaded palate. Surrounded by vineyards, there is a special mystique to the village, which you readily experience when you arrive.

The People - The village is populated by a diverse and eccentric mix. Artists rub shoulders with artisans. Farmers enjoy a glass of wine with the philosophers. Plumbers are happy to break bread with the poets. The village brass band marches happily up the main street. Over the weekend of the festival, a happy band of poetry lovers embrace the village in their happy arms. The people are special here.

The Passion - Poetry is about passion, and over the weekend you will see plenty of it. You will be moved to tears and roused to anger. You will laugh and love. You will experience the passion of the poets and revel in it.

The Pleasure - At the end of your stay you will know that you have had a wonderful time in magical McGregor. Relish that pleasure! So if you are out there and you feel would not only like to express yourself but develop your skill as a writer here is an opportunity for you. Try writing a poem and then send it to us. Or come along to The McGregor Poetry Festival and listen to great poets – and be inspired by them. A truly wonderful opportunity awaits you.

Bookings are through Computicket. For additional information please contact festival organiser, Jennifer Johnson 084 675 1164 or email the festival.

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