The Hay Poetry Jamboree was conceived as a modest attempt to redress an imbalance. Although there are a number of established poetry festivals in Britain, few provide more than a bare modicum of space for those poetries which operate outside the margins of the mainstream. The Jamboree set out to provide another platform for writers working within a more exploratory ethos.
The Jamboree is partisan, but not doctrinaire – it’s chief criteria are “Is it good?” and “Is it interesting?” Our bias is towards the radical, the innovative, the experimental, but these terms are relative and shifting and we are interested in any writer coming from whatever context who is trying new things, making unforeseen connections. Our aim too is to forge new links: between poetries, naturally, but also between poetry and other art practices — visual, musical and performance-based, and between poetry and academic discourses.
The Jamboree is open, unruly and good-natured. It is intimate, responsive, argumentative and undernourished. It asks too much, far too much of everyone, but everyone, performer and spectator has a stake in it; it belongs to them, and they are the substance of the thing.