The Bardic Seat of Caer Dur - The Bard of Dorchester

9th July, 2024 - Story by Peter Roe

We are thrilled to confirm that the competition for the Third Bard of Dorchester will take place on the 15th of September 2024 at The Brownsword Hall columned area in Pummery Square. The Bard will be appointed to serve Dorchester for a Year and a day. The competion will be run annually in the second or third week of September. Prospective Bards will present one of their own poems written to a prompt, their own interpretation or performance of a poem by Thomas Hardy and their Bardic Manifesto, details below.

The event will be hosted and compered by Peter Roe, The Second Bard of Dorchester. The Judging Panel will be five members representing different organisations. Ceri Baker, The Bard of Exeter, 2024-25; Kevan Manwaring, Bard of Bath, Academic and Author of The Bardic Handbook; Kimwei McCarthy, The Grand Bard of Exeter; Marc Chudder, Chairman and Academic Director of The Thomas Hardy Society; and Claire Dixon, Executive Director of The Dorset Museum.



The Bard of Caer Dur – is an annual competition for the best poet, singer or storyteller for West Dorset – it was founded in 2009 by Dorchester based writer and musician Jerry Bird. Sadly Jerry passed away in 2023 and the competion is being revived to honour his memory. The theme, chosen by the outgoing bard, Peter Roe, is: Threefold; (1) An original poem, short story or song that celebrates Dorchester and/or Dorset; (2)  An interpretation of a poem by the Dorchester Poet Thomas Hardy; (3)  Each entrant also has to read out a ‘bardic statement’ or 'manifesto' describing their plans if they were to win the Bardic Seat. The role lasts for a year and a day and the new bard will get to set the theme for next year’s contest, announced in the Spring. 

Kevan Manwaring who wrote The Bardic Handbook says "The Bard of Caer Dur becomes the ambassador for the Bardic Chair, Dorchester and the area. Having been a winner of a Bardic Seat myself I know how empowering it can be – not only for the individual recipient, but also for their respective community. It is about celebrating local distinctiveness, fostering civic pride, and loving where you live."

If you would like to be involved in the Bard of Caer Dur contest you can get in touch by subscribing to our newsletter on Substack by clicking on this link:

Jawbone at The Plymouth Poetry Festival

Story by Peter Roe: Managing Editor.

Oh My Gosh! What a perfectly lovely conflagration of flaming good poets at The  Plymouth Poetry Festival at Cafe Momus. I can't emphasise enough how I feel about the marvellous performances from Jawbone Poets Tia Meraki (Home In Our Own Skins), Clare Morris (Devon Maid Walking), Caroline Burrows (Verse Cycles),  Kate Gold (Eight Buzzards Rising),  Poppy-Jayne Jones (Between Reeds), and Laurie Page (The Colour of Thunder).


Firstly if you have never read a Jawbone book or seen these poets perform then you are missing out... We have books for sale in our online store and every single sale goes toward funding new Wessex poets.


I am personally so proud of you all... any rumours of outbreaks of emotion by this poet are wildly over exaggerated and any deep fake videos will be vehemently denied!


Thank you to  Mimi Jones, Jonah Coren and  Poppy-Jayne Jones for organising such a delightful festival. Please do everything you can to support these young creatives and help secure the future of the fantastic  Plymouth Poetry Festival.


Thank you to  Izzy Robertson and  Megan Simson who have helped me drive the development of The  Jawbone Collective. Thank You to Harula Ladd for the photo, for being a wonderful human being and being the first person to buy all of our published Jawbone books. Big Poetry Love to everyone who came along, bought books, clapped and cheered, you were brilliant. Thank you for supporting Authentic Voice!

Plymouth Poetry Festival on Facebook

Poetry/ Writing Workshops with The Jawbone Collective
Four Workshops at West Dorset Locations
Our four workshops last year proved very popular and we were pleased to be able to offer our first workshop of 2024 with Caroline Burrows at The Salt House, West Bay. It was attended by ten people and poetry was made!


Our next workshop will be facillitated by Peter Roe and Ceri Baker, the current Bard of Exeter... It will take place at The Four Seasons Studio at Othona on Saturday 25th of May 2024  <<MORE>>

Jawbone @ The Poet Laureate
Open Mic - Dorchester

Jawbone on Zoom
Open Mic - Online

New Writers in March from The Jawbone Collective

We are thrilled to have published two new collections for The Jawbone Collective. 'The Colour of Thunder' from Laurie Page and 'Verse Cycles' from Caroline Burrows 'The Bristol Bike Bard' were published on the 18th March 2024

Release Date - 18th March 2024
Order your copy here
Reviews and Author Information
Verse Cycles -
Caroline Burrows

Release Date - 18th March 2024
Order your copy here
Reviews and Author Information
The Colour of Thunder -
Laurie Page

Wessex Media was established in 2017 as a not for profit social enterprise. We have been publishing collections for The Jawbone Collective since summer 2019. Between September 2017 and April 2024 we have published 16 collections of poetry and fiction. In 2024/25 we anticipate this number to grow by 12 to 16 new publications, with similar numbers in the following three years. Everything we do is about promoting authentic voice through publication and performance - 'Building Networks and Building Confidence'.

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