PRIZE winning national poets and local performers combined in the new ‘Inspired by Caersws’ festival of art, music and poetry weekend at the Mid Wales Arts Centre, Caersws.

The festival took its name from the celebrated Welsh poet John ‘Ceiriog’ Hughes who was a former station master at Caersws. He was celebrated in poetry and song on the festival Sunday afternoon by Andy Warren and Delma Thomas.

Local poet Chris Kinsey said it was the best poetry festival she had been to, while poet, short story writer, editor and owner of Fair Acre Press Nadia Kingsley said: “Everyone agreed that they had truly been Inspired in Caersws.”

Taking place on April 21 and 22, the festival was run by the Oswestry-based publishing house Fair Acre Press along with Cathy Knapp of Mid Wales Arts, and was made possible by the support of Arts Council Wales.

On Saturday Gill Lambert, a poet from Yorkshire, ran a workshop based on the current art exhibition at Mid Wales Arts - ‘Nexus’ - which made up of art from the Borderland Visual Art group. Poets roamed through the sculpture trail, and the gallery being inspired to write about Adam and Eve, a vase of flowers, Aberfan, and many other subjects.

Two of the greatest and most generous of our contemporary Welsh poets: Menna Elfyn, from Camarthen and Robert Minhinnick, from Porthcawl. entertained, informed and moved the audience on the Saturday evening, before Diane Drummond and her musicians rounded the evening off with some fantastic music.

Sunday morning opened with a workshop about Coleridge and his poetry by the Coleridge and Romantic Poets scholar Gregory Leadbetter; Delma Thomas and Andy Warren entertained a packed room with their tribute to the life and poetry of John ‘Ceiriog’ Hughes; poets Gregory Leadbetter from Birmingham, Gill Lambert from Leeds, and Keith Chandler from Bridgnorth, read with the launch of Keith’s new collection ‘The Goldsmith’s Apprentice’;and things ended with an Open Mic event of the highest quality.

“Cathy Knapp welcomed, fed, and watered the audiences who were encouraged to look at the new barn conversion at Mid Wales Arts which will soon be complete; as well as providing tea and cakes as usual to any regular visitors and hosting both performers and audience in their bed and breakfast rooms,” added Nadia Kingsley.

On Friday, April 20, Children’s Poet of Wales/Bardd Plant Casia William set the scene for the festival by running a poetry workshop at Caersws Primary School.

Casia said: “I had a truly wonderful time - both at the Arts Centre with the lovely Cathy and John, and at the school with the children. They wrote some fantastic poems. It was a great day, and the children seemed to enjoy themselves.”