Our next session of Silver Street Poetry will take place on Friday 7th February, when our guest reader will be Susan Jane Sims, whom many of you will know from when she lived locally. Sue is now based in Beaminster, Dorset, where she runs Tangerine Cafe with her husband Chris alongside her publishing company Poetry Space. Her work has been widely published in poetry magazines and she was awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship in 2018. Her third poetry collection Splitting Sunlight was published in 2019 by Dempsey & Windle.

Splitting Sunlight is devastating in its honesty and extraordinary in the courage with which it faces loss in order to give it shape and meaning.  A work of life-affirming alchemy.’    Susan Castillo Street, Harriet Beecher Stowe Professor Emerita, King’s College London


We’ll also be running our friendly open mic, so do bring a poem to share – either yours or someone else’s.

SS 10 12

Silver Street Poetry takes place on the first Friday of each month (bar August) in Hours Space, which is situated in Colston Yard, off Colston Street. Doors open at midday, and entry is £4. Please arrive as promptly as possible, as the space is only booked until 1.30pm.

The room we use is on the ground floor and is fully accessible, as is the WC. Although there isn’t a cafe on site, there are plenty in the vicinity, so if you are likely to need refreshments, please bring them with you.


Hours Space

Colston Yard

The entrance to Colston Yard

If you are driving to Silver Street Poetry, the postcode for Hours is Bristol BS1 5BD and the nearest affordable car parks are at Trenchard Street (0.2 miles) and the Galleries in Broadmead (0.5 miles). It is 0.4 miles from the bus station.

Hours space map

Guest readers at Silver Street Poetry over the coming months include:

Friday 6th March – Chrissie Gittins, reading from her third collection, Sharp Hills

Friday 3rd April – Ross Cogan, Creative Director of Cheltenham Poetry, reading from his collection, Bragr 

Friday 1st May – Deborah Harvey, reading from her fourth poetry collection, The Shadow Factory

Friday 5th June – Strange Cargo, featuring Dawn Gorman, Chaucer Cameron, Helen Dewbery, Anna-May Laugher, Pey Oh, Shauna Darling Robertson and Deborah Harvey

Friday 3rd July – Glastonbury poet Michelle Diaz reading from her pamphlet, The Dancing Boy

August – summer break

Friday 4th September – former Bristol-based poet, Stewart Carswell




We still have a couple of vacancies in our new poetry writing group, the next meeting of which will be on Friday 24th January 2020, from 10.00am – 1.00pm, upstairs in the Music Room of Bristol Folk House, 40a Park Street, Bristol, BS1 5JG.

The group will take place on the penultimate Friday of every month (bar October 2020), same time and venue, and the cost is £10 per session.

Subsequent dates booked for 2020 are as follows: 21st February, 20th March, 17th April, 22nd May, 19th June,  24th July, 21st August, 18th September, 16th October, and 20th November 2020.

We don’t require people attending to be at a specific level of expertise, although very inexperienced poets might be asked to submit a sample of their writing when they apply to join the group. What we do need from you is a willingness to improve, to write and read poetry widely, and to work towards getting your poems published.

If you’re interested and would like a further details, please contact us at admin@theleapingword.com.



We’re delighted that the first collection of poems by Leaping Word poetry group member Dominic Fisher has now been published by The Blue Nib, price £10.

Dominic will be giving readings from The Ladies and Gentlemen of the Dead around the country over the coming months.





So pleased here at the Leaping Word that ‘Oystercatchers’, a poem by our very own Deborah Harvey, has just come home with a shiny penny in its pocket, having been awarded first prize in the 2018 Plough Prize Short Poem Competition.

Of the competition, Judge Pascale Petit says: ‘I love short poems, but I know how hard they are to write, so it was with trepidation that I read this longlist. I need not have worried – the under-ten-liner is in good health. The challenge is to go as far as in a long poem, without the length! It’s all about compression and impact, making words as elastic as possible.

‘Oystercatchers’ does just that – every word is weighted. In ten short lines I see a figure like Leonora Carrington’s ‘The Giantess’, a powerful and spare enigma of a woman, oystercatchers, (with their red bills and legs), and blood cells. Although nothing is explicit, something important is being enacted, and the epigraph by Camus adds an anchor, so that we guess his are the words being taken to the sea and released from the heart. I kept coming back to this and getting more from it.’

The Leaping Word would like to extend its congratulations to the other winners in both categories of the 2018 competition, the Open and the Short Poem, and to all the short- and long-listed poets. 

‘Oystercatchers’ will be included in Deborah’s forthcoming collection, The Shadow Factory, to be published by Indigo Dreams Publishing later this summer.


And to prove we like to practise what we preach at the Leaping Word, here’s Colin with his certificate for winning the individual prize in the City of Bristol College Creative Writing Competition, with a poetic-prose piece called MIAOWWW!

Colin says: ‘Black cats evoke magic, mystery, music, night-time and a cool lyric! I played around with these elements and Miaowww! gradually appeared… magical realism, Filton style.’




We’re delighted to announce that Leaping Word poetry group member Dominic Fisher has followed his success in the 2018 Bristol Poetry Prize by securing a publishing contract with The Blue Nib for his forthcoming collection, The Ladies and Gentleman of the Dead. Well done, Dominic!

our hare reversed



Good poets reinvent the language, taking the given of ordinary speech and pushing it beyond itself, making in effect a translation from one sense of reality to another.

Jay Parini