The Return of Silver Street Poetry

Beautiful Poets of Bristol and the Surrounding Metropolises!

We’re thrilled to announce the return of Bristol’s long-established and much missed poetry open mic, following an extended hiatus caused by Covid and then the search for a more spacious venue. 

Silver Street Poetry will now be held on the last Friday of the month, from 12.30 – 2.00pm, at St Stephen’s Church, which is just off Bristol City Centre. We shall be returning in our usual format – two open mic sessions, to which everyone who wishes is invited to read a single poem, separated by two 10-minute sets from a guest poet, in the middle of which there will be a break, where attendees can avail themselves of the facilities, which include a café! The proceedings will be organised and overseen by Deborah Harvey of the Leaping Word, along with Rosalie Alston, Dominic Fisher and Pat Simmons.

Our first gathering will be held on 30th September 2022, when guest poet Deborah Harvey will be reading from her most recent collection of poems, ‘Learning Finity’. Upcoming guests include two more well-known local poets, Dominic Fisher (October) and Helen Sheppard (November).

A contribution of £4 is suggested, or whatever you can afford, to cover room hire costs and the guest poet’s expenses. Our ethos is very much one of support and encouragement, care and mutual respect, and all are welcome.

Entrance to the church is from St Stephen’s Avenue, through the dark blue doors in the porch at the base of the tower. The building is accessible to wheelchair users; please see St Stephen’s website for further details:

We’d be grateful if you would spread the word, especially to poets who might not use social media or email and so are less likely to hear that our sessions are resuming.

Many thanks


Congratulations to Dominic Fisher, long-time Leaping Word poet, whose second collection, ‘A Customised Selection of Fireworks’ (Shoestring Press) is on the brink of publication.

Dominic will be launching his book at Bristol Folk House on Thursday 16th June at 7.30pm, with guest readings from fellow-IsamBards, Pameli Benham, David Johnson and Deborah Harvey. If you’re in the locality, do come along and help the evening go with a bang.

Learning Finity

Here at the Leaping Word, we’re delighted to announce that Deborah’s new collection, Learning Finity, is to be published on 14th March.

Learning Finity is Deborah’s fifth poetry collection, and is published by Ronnie Goodyer and Dawn Bauling of Indigo Dreams Publishing. Many of the poems are set in Deb’s native city of Bristol, and explore the themes of mythic time and how stories appear to repeat themselves:

How much of the past, its people and memories, stay imprinted on the landscape? Are the trees lining the nave of a bombed-out church busy rebuilding it? And does the valerian that thrusts through cracks in walls on streets climbing from the city centre remember when the hillside was woodland called Fockynggrove, rising beyond the city walls and a very well frequented spot indeed? Yes, everything is mutable, but stories persist.

Learning Finity can be ordered now from the Indigo Dreams website or directly from Deb at Please follow Deb on Facebook and Twitter for news about forthcoming real life and Zoom launches.

Introducing a specialist counselling service for writers and artists

The Leaping Word is delighted to announce a specialist counselling service for writers and artists, delivered by our own Colin Brown.

This service is primarily intended for those engaging with personal experience through their work. Counselling support can be sought in relation to specific issues that are being explored, or the feelings engendered by such exploration. Or maybe you are struggling with issues of privacy – both yours and that of people who feature in your work. Perhaps you need to consider how to exercise self-care whilst turning your experiences into art.

And of course, Colin also offers more general counselling for anyone who seeks it, regardless of how they express their creativity. His areas of special interest include bereavement, domestic abuse, emotional regulation, estrangement, anxiety, identity issues, long-term health conditions, loss and grief, low self-esteem, narcissistic abuse, relationships, suicidal thoughts, trauma, victims of crime, and work and career issues.

For more details, please see Colin’s counselling website, Longships Counselling.

Anticipating ‘Fontanelle’ by Helen Sheppard

We’re delighted that another Leaping Word poet, Helen Sheppard, is about to deliver ‘Fontanelle’, her debut collection of poems.

Helen is well-known in the Bristol poetry community and always keen to champion the work of others, which is why the prospect of reading a book of her poems is such a pleasure.

And what a book. You often hear people call poetry collections ‘important’ when they aren’t particularly, whatever other value they might have. However, ‘Fontanelle’, which compares and contrasts Helen’s experiences as a midwife working in the NHS during the 1980s and 90s, with that of her Aunt Doreen, who delivered babies in an earlier, more perilous yet less impersonal era, fully deserves this epithet.

‘Fontanelle’, which is published by Burning Eye Books, will be welcomed into the world this 23rd September, and its launch is taking place at Waterstones in Bristol the following day, Friday 24th September at 7pm.