SEVERAL of the country's best poets have been lined up to appear at a festival next month.

The five-day Newcastle Poetry Festival opens on May 9, having previously been held over three days.

Professor Linda Anderson, director of festival organisers Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts, said: “The line-up for this year’s festival is absolutely fantastic.

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"We’ve got some of the world’s best poets taking part and I can’t wait to hear them read and talk about their work.

“What will be really interesting will be hearing the poetry and music collaborations. This promises to give us a whole new perspective on poetry and performance.”

On Wednesday, May 10 the Sage Gateshead will host an evening of poetry and music, featuring writer Jackie Kay and folk musician Kathryn Tickell.

Other festival highlights include Poems as Songs with Northern Sinfonia, including pieces inspired by WH Auden’s fascination with the North Pennines mining industry.

Renowned poets Jericho Brown and Patricia Smith from the USA, making a rare appearance in UK, will close the festival, reading with Carolyn Forché.

For further information and tickets visit newcastlepoetryfestival.co.uk