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Page last updated at 13:59 GMT, Tuesday, 21 September 2010 14:59 UK
Poet Peter talks ahead of Henley Literary festival
by Jenny Minard
BBC Berkshire reporter

Peter Robinson
Peter Robinson is taking part in the Henley Literary Festival

You might not think that poetry and the internet go hand in hand.

However the World Wide Web is helping the age old medium thrive says a professor at the University of Reading.

As the Henley Literary Festival gets ready to kick off, Peter Robinson - editor of Two Rivers Press and poet in his own right - goes as far as to say the scene is thriving underground.

"It's a curious moment as the shops seem to have smaller and smaller poetry sections, if any at all.

"Many of the trade publishers have given up publishing poetry because they can't make big returns on it.

International sellers

"But at the same time the internet has made a big difference here. Lots of people sell through the internet now and small publishers can actually make good profits and sell internationally without having any distribution at all.

"I think the second hand book world has really boomed because of the internet sales and there are lots of poetry workshops in Reading and a poet's cafe once a month.

A.F.Harrold will be reading poetry at special events

"There is lots of grass roots activity and there is a lot of publishing but the media culture doesn't quite know what to do with it all. And then you've also got masses of activity going on under the radar."

Peter, who has published his own poetry book called English Nettles, explained how Henley Literary Festival is a chance to showcase poetry works.

He said it's important to reach out to the community with poetry and a local publishing press.

"The Press is in an interesting transitional phase. Most of the poets who publish with it live in Reading or the Thames Valley Area.

"Reading itself has a lively but small poetry scene. So one of the important things to do is get out and be heard.

Poetry world

"It's all about how good the Press is and how much liveliness there is in the poetry world."

The festival is now in its fourth year and it is shaping up to be a great success said Peter.

"Tickets are selling well. We're not worried about audiences and the poets are looking forward to it."

Kate Koakes
Kate Koakes is one of the Two Rivers Press poets

Peter is also a Professor of English and American Literature at the University of Reading.

Two Rivers Press are hosting events throughout the Literary Festival.

The first is on Wednesday, 29 September at the Hot Gossip Café in Friday Street with poets Kate Koakes, Victoria Pugh and Peter Robinson. It starts at 7pm and tickets cost £4.

The next event is Thursday, 30 September with Jane Draycott on the Hibernia Pleasure Boat at 1pm. Tickets cost £10 with coffee.

And on Saturday, 2 October Adrian Blamires and Susan Utting will be at the Hot Gossip Café at 7pm.

There are lots of other events between 29 September and 3 October, with over 100 speakers. These include talks by Gary Lineker and Alastair Campbell.

For more information go to Henley Literary Festival website.

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