THE nation’s sharpest spoken word artists and poets will be focusing their word power on Cumbria this month.

In Wordsworth’s 250th year, the BBC’s annual poetry festival, Contains Strong Language will broadcast live from venues across the county, between September 25 and 27.

National treasures including Ian McMillan, Malika Booker, Helen Mort & Luke Wright will join a cast of powerful local voices including Barrow poet Kim Moore & Carlisle’s Jacob Polley.

The three-day programme starts at the heart of Romantic poetry, Grasmere's Dove Cottage, with live broadcasts of BBC R4’s Front Row and R3’s The Verb.

On Saturday, BBC Radio Cumbria will broadcast from Tullie House, Carlisle, with Gordon Swindlehurst - before travelling for another day of live events in The Forum including a Radio 4 special with Luke Wright, discovering Barrow through its modern poets.

The festival is also supporting events taking place as part of the Kirkby Lonsdale Poetry Festival on Saturday 26.

Festival director, Sue Roberts, the head of BBC Radio Drama Genre in Salford, said: “The festival started as part of Hull City of Culture but we wanted to bring it to Cumbria in Wordsworth’s 250th anniversary year. It’s a place that’s inspired so much of the nation’s best-loved verse and is full of talented poets.

“It’s been a tough year of Covid cancellations which has made us even more determined to deliver this celebration of poetry for authors and audiences.

"Most events will be broadcast or streamed but we’re also bringing small, free, socially-distanced events to Tullie House & the Forum helping to support these important cultural venues as live performance comes back .”