The Cambridge Poetry Festival (CPF) was the brainchild of Richard Burns in 1972-3. The Cambridge Poetry Festival Society was founded as a charitable organisation in 1973. In April 1975, the first international Festival was launched. The Festival ran as a biennial event until 1981 under successive co-ordinators: Richard Burns (1975), Paul Johnstone (1977), Peter Robinson (1979), Mick Gowar (1981), Alison Rimmer and Anne Grubb (1983).
The CPF was unique at the time among British literary Festivals. By involving large numbers of poets from many countries, young and old, established and neglected, exposed and unheard, and by opposing the creeping cult of celebrity, it encapsulated Richard Burns’s eclectic and inclusive vision of poetry.
Participants included: Dannie Abse, Peter Ackroyd, Bella Akhmadulina, Yehuda Amichai, Katerina Angelaki-Rooke, Margaret Attwood, John Ashbery, George Barker, Anthony Barnett, Asa Benveniste, Gillian Beer, James Berry, Keith Bosley, Rolf Dieter Brinkmann, Joseph Brodsky, Alan Brownjohn, Jim Burns, Sydney Carter, Thomas A. Clark, Anne Cluysenaar, Bob Cobbing, Brian Coffey, Michel Coutourier, Robert Creeley, Ian Crichton Smith, Andrew Crozier, John Paul Dick (aka John Burnside), Ed Dorn, André du Bouchet, David Gascoyne, Fielding Dawson, Michel Deguy, Tassos Denegris, Robert Duncan, Paul Engle, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, William Empson, Veronica Forrest-Thompson, Franco Fortini, Elaine Feinstein, James Fenton, Allen Fisher, Roy Fisher, Allen Ginsberg, Duncan Glen, W. S. Graham, Jonathan Griffin, Lars Gustaffson, Alan Halsey, Michael Hamburger, Tony Harrison, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Lee Harwood, John Hall, Robert Hass, Seamus Heaney, Geoffrey Hill, Frances Horovitz, Michael Horovitz, Ted Hughes, John Holloway, Miroslav Holub, Jeremy Hooker, Peter Jay, Judith Kazantzis, Frank Kermode, Kenneth Koch, James Koller, Stanley Kunitz, Ivan V. Lalić, Peter Levi, Bill Lewis, Michael Longley, Tom Lowenstein, Tim Longville, Barry MacSweeney, Sorley MacLean, John Matthias, Norman McCaig, Rod Mengham, Adrian Mitchell, John Montague, Eric Mottram, Wendy Mulford, Jeff Nuttall, Doug Oliver, Peter Philpott, Miodrag Pavlović, Walter Perrie, Vasko Popa, Tom Pickard, Janos Pilinszky, Göran Printz-Påhlson, Craig Raine, Kathleen Raine, Tom Raworth, Elaine Randell, Denise Riley, John Riley, Peter Riley, Michelle Roberts, Peter Robinson, Michael Rosen, Tadeusz Rozewicz, Anthony Rudolf, Peter Russell, Roberto Sanesi, Vernon Scannell, Michael Schmidt, Jon Silkin, Iain Sinclair, Takis Sinopoulos, Elizabeth Smart, Steve Spence, George Steiner, Ann Stevenson, Hugh Sykes-Davies, Nathaniel Tarn, Charles Tomlinson, Chris Torrance, Tomas Tranströmer, Gael Turnbull, Rex Warner, John Wilkinson, Bernard Williams, Sandor Weores, Clive Wilmer, Kit Wright, Nasos Vayenas and Andrea Zanzotto, as well as conferences on Ezra Pound, George Seferis and Osip Mandelstam, and tributes to Sylvia Plath, David Jones and Wallace Stevens.
This archive will put on record further archival material about the Festival.