The Poetry Exchange celebrates the idea of poems as friends. Through conversations, events and our podcast, we capture the insights of readers and share them.


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At the heart of the project is THE EXCHANGE: an invitation for people to explore a poem that has been a friend to them in conversation with a poet and actor. In return they receive a gift: a unique recording of their chosen poem, inspired by the conversation and their thoughts and feelings about the poem.


‘What an amazing project. The workshop proved that poems aren’t only friends but the best kind – surprising, nourishing, and sometimes challenging. It was fantastic to be introduced to so many different voices’ – Sarah Salway.


The Poetry Exchange Podcast

Our podcast provides the chance to listen in to these conversations about poems as friends and to hear the poems read in response to the conversations. Subscribe now to receive the latest episodes as soon as they are released: on iTunesPocket Casts or another podcast catcher.

Sign up to our mailing list below for updates on our podcast and programme of events.


Who we are

Fiona Lesley Bennett – Founder and Creative Director

Fiona is a creative practitioner, facilitator and a published writer. Her work has appeared in journals in the UK and USA, on BBC Radio 3’s ‘The Verb’ and she has been shortlisted in the Bridport and Much Wenlock Poetry competitions. She has over 20 years experience designing unique interventions that create a different kind of encounter between artists and audiences. She is co-director of The Map Consortium, a pioneering company designing and delivering creative interventions across sectors. Her work includes collaborations with leading cultural organisations in the UK, the USA, India, Japan and Europe.


Michael Shaeffer – Associate Director

Michael has worked as an actor for 20 years, across theatre, TV, film and radio. His recent work in the theatre has focused on new writing, including, How To Hold Your Breath; Mr Burns; Little Revolution; Table and London Road. His Film credits include, London Road; London Fields; Trance and Anna Karenina. And for TV, SS-GB; Grantchester; Foyle’s War; Luther; Parade’s End; Black Mirror and Game of Thrones.


Working Collaboratively: The Poetry Exchange is delighted to have been able to feature the work of Elizabeth Alexander, Carol Ann Duffy, Derek Walcott and Dan Chelotti on the podcast. We are also very proud to collaborate with the following Associate Artists: Jacqueline Kington, Michael Shaeffer, Subhadassi and Natasha Gordon.


The Poetry Exchange works closely with key partners Spread The WordWorkers Of Art and New Writing North. We are grateful to Arts Council England for their support through Grants for the arts.


Funded by:

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