THE programme for this year's Ledbury Poetry Festival is already proving irresistible, with two desert island poems events with Michael Palin and Dame Shirley Williams already sold out.

Artistic director Chloe Garner says: "It is going to be an exciting year, with a strong international feel and a diverse range of poets and types of event. This is what Ledbury is renowned for – imaginative and innovative programming that constantly challenges our thinking about what poetry is and what it can do. What does that mean for anyone thinking about booking tickets? It means there truly is something for everyone!”

John Burnside is the festival's poet in residence, and Ledbury will also welcome Simon Armitage, Pam Ayres, Sophie Hannah, Jane Yeh, Denise Riley, Imtiaz Dharker, Nic Aubury, Don Paterson, Steve Ely, Eleanor Rees and Herefordshire's former poet in residence, Paul Henry, who has now passed the baton on to Adam Horovitz:

“I’m excited to be returning to Herefordshire as poet in residence," he says. "I lived there for two years between the ages of 11 and 13 and went to school in Ross-on-Wye. Before that, I visited often for holidays with my mother, the poet Frances Horovitz, who is buried in Orcop.

I am most attuned to Ross, and to Orcop, Garway, Rowlestone and Hereford, where I have spent most time in the county, but one of my abiding memories of Herefordshire is of standing in a gap in the mountain on the site of an Iron Age fort on the rise just off the Hereford/Abergavenny road, looking out over the vast expanse of Herefordshire. I was, and remain, astonished at the hugeness of it, at the way Herefordshire unfolded below me, like a crocheted bedspread, out to the horizon.

I am looking forward to using this role to explore more of the places I saw from that vantage point, to focussing in and investigating the people and places and things that makes it special. For myself, I would like to put flesh and muscle on the bones of memory, but I am very much looking forward to working with people of all ages from the county and hope to help them explore Herefordshire’s past, present and future.”

Chloe Garner says, “Poets are among the most creative people on the planet. I am sure that brilliant and exciting things will happen in Herefordshire as a result of Adam Horovitz’s time as poet in residence."

Of his first full collection of poems, published in 2011, Gillian Clarke said: "Adam Horovitz comes of age as a poet with these vivid poems of love and loss, joy and grief, place and memory. Always, he gives the reader the very taste, colour, detail of a house, a kitchen, the valley, the sounds of a garden through an open door. I welcome this passionate collection, the first of many, I hope.’

The post is initiated by the Festival in partnership with Herefordshire Libraries through Poetry on Loan.

Also on the line-up this year is Dr. Rowan Williams, who be talked in Marina Warner about Poetry and Belief, and James Booth will talk about Philip Larkin, and, closing this year's festival will be Britain's best-loved performance poet, John Cooper Clarke, as vital now as he was in the seventies when he toured with all the seminal bands, The Sex Pistols, The Clash and Buzzcocks.

As always the Festival will host Foyle Young Poets and Eric Gregory Award Winners, plus winners of the National Poetry Competition and our own Ledbury Poetry Competition winner, the young Welsh poet Jonathan Edwards, in an event hosted by Ian McMillan. Juliet Stevenson will read Emily Dickinson poems, with Mark Fisher giving the context.

Ledbury Poetry Festival is much loved by poets – ‘a rare and genuine joining of place, poetry and people’ according to Carol Ann Duffy.

‘The programming is skilful and highly adventurous...I have seldom come across a poetry audience with such attentiveness, warmth and intelligence.’ (Poet, David Morley)