The Story of CB1

One thing I didn’t realize when I first became involved with the group was that CB1 has been a staple of the Cambridge literary scene since the late ’90s. Over the years, despite undergoing changes in venue and format, the core principle has remained constant: to provide people in and around Cambridge with a platform to share poetry and connect with fellow poets.

The journey began in the late ’90s when the group was founded by Jenni Tucker. After having a brief conversation with a Big Issue salesman in town who shared a poem he had written, Jenni felt inspired to establish a space for Cambridge’s aspiring poets at CB1 Café on Mill Road (hence the name, CB1 Poetry!). This initiative evolved into a weekly reading series and open mic event, adding a dynamic layer to the city’s creative landscape. CB1 Café remained the home of CB1 for several years until around 2006, when Jenni stepped away from managing the event.

With new management in place, guest poets became a regular feature. This offered local poets an opportunity to perform and hear readings by more established writers, including notable names such as Don Paterson, Vahni Capildeo, and Hollie McNish. For a more comprehensive list, take a look here.

CB1 has moved around the city over the years, occupying spaces such as Michaelhouse, the Punter, the Boathouse, and ultimately the Blue Moon, each hosting the event at various times. Now, we’re off to an exciting start in a new venue. The Town and Gown, located in the heart of Cambridge, boasts an exceptional theatre space. Fully accessible, it holds the promise of being an excellent venue for numerous future events.

At the Town and Gown we will be running a regular open mic night once a month and bringing in a guest poet roughly once a term. CB1 is an incredibly supportive and friendly environment so feel free to come along and bring a poem to read. If you’d rather just listen, we’d still love to have you there!

For updates on the future of CB1, you can find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (X).

To get in touch, feel free to reach out on one of those sites or email