Colpitts Poetry is a series of live poetry readings in Durham. It was founded in 1975 by two poet-librarians, David Burnett and Richard Caddel, and a lecturer at Durham University, Diana Collecott. Since then, we’ve presented readings by an enormous range of poets, mainly from the UK but also from the USA, Europe and elsewhere, as well as occasional readings by prose writers.
The group takes its name from the Colpitts pub in Durham where the readings began. The readings moved from there after only four years because the venue was too small for the growing audiences. Since 1979, we’ve met at a number of venues in the city centre, our current main venue being Alington House Community Centre in North Bailey. The atmosphere at events is warm, friendly and informal, with plenty of opportunities to talk with the poets and buy books and a glass of wine in the interval.
Colpitts is run by an evolving committee whose members have changed over the years. We’ve a long-established policy of pluralism in terms of choice of readers, our aim being to represent the true variety and richness of contemporary poetry. A number of our readings have had a strong international dimension, which we hope has helped to encourage that international contact and interchange that has been so important for English-language poetry since the 1960s.
The current (2014) committee consists of Michael Ayton (Co-ordinator), Annemarie Norman (Treasurer), Peter Armstrong, Christine Armstrong and Frances Leviston.