8 February, 2023




Free, donations appreciated


Speakeasy Online Poetry Evening

We are thrilled to announce that our Guest Poet at the first online Speakeasy of 2023 is Jonathan Edwards, who will be joined by an eclectic mix of open mic poets, in what is always an intimate evening of wonderful wordery.

In December 2022, Jonathan Edwards was announced as the 2022 winner of the Troubadour International Poetry Prize with his beautifully observed, nostalgic, tender poem, My Grandfather’s Car’. Two weeks later he was announced as winner of the Cannon Poets Sonnet or Not 2022 Competition with ‘Ghost Talking’. That’s quite a way to end the year! But Jonathan has been winning awards throughout his career as a poet. His first collection, My Family and Other Superheroes, won the Costa Poetry award and the Wales Book of the Year People’s Choice award, as well as being shortlisted for the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection prize. His second collection, Gen, also won the Wales Book of the Year People’s Choice award, and in 2019 his poem about Newport Bridge was shortlisted for the Forward prize for best single poem.

Jonathan’s accessible, often wry and amusing poems focus on subjects like family, community, history, popular culture and animals. His writing is rooted in the life of South Wales, both in Newport where he was born and the Valleys where he now lives. Yet it also achieves a touching universality in its compassionate, curious observation of human life through his witty, almost surreal imagination. Often deceptively colloquial in style, his poems are always intricately crafted, every phrase and line rich with possibilities.

Jonathan has read his poems on BBC radio and television and recorded them for the Poetry Archive. His professional life has been dedicated to facilitating the development of writing. A secondary school teacher for more than a decade, he has led workshops at festivals, in universities and in prisons, as a mentor for emerging writers and as a recent editor of Poetry Wales. He is now working towards his third collection. We wait with bated breath.

Presented by Theatre Orchard and led by Bob Walton and Sue Hill of The Write Box, the Speakeasy event features an open mic slot where members of the community are welcome to take to the Zoom stage themselves and share a poem – giving people the chance to spit bars, speak up and feel the Speakeasy love! THE OPEN MIC SECTION IS NOW FULL!!

Whether you’d like to read your own poetry or just come along to hear some great writing, the Speakeasy promises a creative evening to fill the soul for everyone.

The Write Box also runs a fortnightly creative writing group, Chapter 1, on alternate Tuesday, 3pm-5pm, and new members are always welcome.  Chapter 1 writers have had their work showcased at places such as: Bristol Old Vic, when they took part in Angels in Bristol at Christmas 2020; at the GLOW light festival in Weston’s Grove Park where they projected light poems and via posters with Letters for the Sea, Letters for the Land in shelters in Weston-super-Mare. They have also made several short films and even performed as ‘The Elementalists’ at the very top of SEE MONSTER at the Tropicana.  Get in touch with Bob and Sue at The Write Box to find out more about joining this endlessly creative group –