15 Days Countdown. 15 Poets to Check Out!

15 days to go till you start packing for Glastonbury Festival. Assuming that you’re gonna be way too busy the week of Glastonbury – washing out your tent from last year, tying pans and pants to your rucksack and checking your boots don’t give you blisters again -I’ll give you 15 days left to properly research which poets you’re gonna come and check in the Poetry and Words Stage.

Poetry and Words is the

big yellow and blue tent
filled with poetry

in the corner of the Theatre area: a pace away from the calm, massage-infused green fields and across the dirt track from the night-time mental head spin of Arcadia.

So here’s a day plan:

Get up.
Eat breakfast in the Buddhafield Café.
Spend the day in Poetry and Words listening to your favourite wordsmiths.
Dinner from one of the massive selection of vans near the Jazz Stage.
Nighttime raving in Arcadia.
Stumble up the stone circle to watch the sunrise. All good. But you better check out which poets you wanna see.

PS. Ignore the big names on the main stage, you can hardly see anything most of the time anyhow, it’s just like watching them on tele. I almost got crushed by Bush supporters trying to hear Courtney Love closer up when I was fifteen. Better grab a drink and go watch some poetry instead! Here’s one poet to look up for each free day left before the festivities begin.

1. Stephanie Dogfoot

Where to go online

http://stephdogfoot.wordpress.com

Stephanie Dogfoot

Stephanie Dogfoot

Official Biography

Stephanie Dogfoot has been writing poetry ever since her first gerbil died in 1999. Originally from Singapore, she has lived in the US and Canada and has been studying in London since 2009.  She has been performing poetry ever since wandering into her first poetry slam in Vancouver in  the summer of 2008. She is the current UK Slam Champion, made the finals in the European Slam Championships 2012 and will represent the UK at the Poetry Slam World Cup in Paris in early June. She won the Singapore National Poetry Slam in 2010, representing Singapore in the 2010 Indian Ocean Slam championships in Reunion Island, where she competed against poets from ten countries around the Indian Ocean, from Australia to Madagascar. She currently co-hosts the Hammer and Tongue Hackney Slam with ‘Angry’ Sam Berkson and Raymond Antrobus. She co-founded and co-hosts a poetry night in North London called Forget What You Heard (About Spoken Word), with Matt Cummins. In 2012, she wrote and performed a solo show about post-colonial guilt, activism and moving to London called ‘Foreigner Go Home (With Me)!’ at the Edinburgh Free Fringe. She has performed at several festivals as part of the Spacegirl’s Poetry Salon collective. She has degrees in Biology, Environmental Studies and Law which she believes have helped her writing, because poets are supposed to like nature and be good at manipulating words to persuade people. Three of her poems are being published in an anthology of women’s writing in Singapore called Body Boundaries: Etiquette Anthologies v.1. Her poetry is inspired by absurdity, anger, things that make her absurdly angry, talking to people other than herself, being foreign and trying to see things from three different perspectives at once.  

2. Anna Freeman

Where to go online

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIoyitAXQgg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SewbM8fFn1s

Anna Freeman

Anna Freeman

 Official Biography

Anna Freeman is a multiple slam champion, creative writing lecturer at Bath Spa University, and an activist for ginger rights. Her work is funny, mostly, but with a spine of genuine pain and humiliation at the inarguable fact of her own existence. Her poetry has also been known to leave a greasy after-taste of lingering wrongness. Like a kebab. Anna has performed her poetry in myriad cities including London, Bristol, Manchester, Vancouver and Seattle, and appeared as part of Radio 4’s Bespoken Word. She spends her summers schlepping around a plethora of festivals, because she believes poetry works best when you’ve got a bit of mud in your hair. Let The Pig Out, Anna’s brand new spoken word and live music collaboration with Chris Redmond and The Tongue Fu Band, is taking bookings to tour through the second half of 2013 and into 2014. Even though she’s been practising, she still can’t always clap in time. It’s very sad. Her first collection, Gingering the World from the Inside, is published by Burning Eye Books.  ‘A hearty recommendation for Anna Freeman’ – Guardian Books              ‘She twists up the awkward, confusing and the painful into slick balloon animals’ – Buddy Wakefield ‘A rising star’ – Venue  

3.Aindrias de Staic

 Where to go online  

http://www.aindrias.com/

Aindrias de Staic

Aindrias de Staic

Official Biography

Aindrias has been described as ‘dangerously seductive’ and ‘a captivating yarn-spinner’.  He is an accomplished musician, actor, storyteller and poet,  having won The Galway Music Award and the Best Actor award at the Geelong Film Festival (Australia) for Malarkey. Born in Galway Ireland, Aindrias’ rich n rare style of fiddle playing is as unique as his story-telling, antics and humour.  Aindrias is well known internationally for his award-winning one man theatre shows including Around the World on 80 Quid, The Year I got Younger and Summer I did the Leaving.  

4.Ali Gadema

Where to go online

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nmcy_oEKxQQ

Ali Gadema
Ali Gadema

Official Biography

Originally from Venus, Ali “Pookatron” Gadema has been writing and performing since he could walk/hold a pen. His Hip Hop poetics are heavily influenced by day to day life as an extraterrestrial being. As a young Venusite visiting Earth, he started training young verbal acrobats, leading to work across the length and breadth of Mars and the inner regions of the solar system. He eventually settled down in Manchester, where he began working with the Earthling poetry group, Young Identity. Ali is accompanied by one of these young Manc warriors in his performance at Glastonbury this year, her name is Keisha Thompson and she is one of the brightest up and coming lights in poetry in the UK, soon to be touring Mars herself.

5.Keisha Thompson (supporting Ali Gadema)

 Where to go online

http://www.youngidentity.org/?page_id=86 

Keisha Thompson

Keisha Thompson

Official Biography

Keisha Thompson has been writing since her primary school days. By age 16 she had been published in three anthologies and performed her work at various venues including Urbis, Contact and Bolton Octagon.

In 2007, she joined Young identity poetry collective. From here she went on to compete in international poetry festival Brave New Voices ‘08 & ’09. In the following year, the group were privileged to perform at the renowned Nuyorican Poetry Cafe, New York.

In addition to poetry Keisha has been a member of Manchester Youth Soul Choir/Urban Voices for over 10 years and has been a member of Contact Playback since 2008. She has worked as a workshop facilitator for Wordsmith Awards, Apples and Snakes Wordcup and Apples and Snakes Shake The Dust. She has authored and featured in a short film (Selective) that was screened at Cornerhouse.

Early this year she began working on solo show ‘I Wish I had a Moustache, which has received funding from Arts Council England. It will be presented at Contact 10th-12th September.

 

6.Dan Simpson

 Where to go online

www.dansimpsonpoet.co.uk

@dansimpsonpoet

Dam Simpson

Dan Simpson

Official Biography

Dan Simpson is a spoken word poet and compère, poetry projects and events organiser, workshop facilitator and writer. His poetry deals with love and literature, science and stars, people and Pac-Man: all that good geeky stuff. He is the current Canterbury Laureate and host of The Word House in London.  His poetry has featured on the BBC, London Underground, in Fuselit journal and Inc. Magazine.  He has performed at venues from the National Theatre and Camden Roundhouse, and at nights such as Literary Death Match and Bang Said the Gun. Dan creates pioneering work with crowdsourced and outdoor poetry.  His first one-man show We Are All Orange Ghosts – about happiness, self-acceptance and the orange ghost from Pac-Man – will debut at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2013. “His poems were tight and well thought out [...] creating a lovely new language of scientifically expressed love.” (Sabotage Reviews)

7.Ian Keteku

 Where to go online

http://www.ianketeku.com/

Ian Keteku

Ian Keteku

Official Biography

Ian Keteku is an articulation of a generation’s heart beat; a magician with syntax, a word sorcerer conjuring new realities, sound paintings, all in an attempt to better understand our existence.  He is also the 2010 World Poetry Slam champion.  Ian uses his voice to speak for the voiceless and inspire messages of peace, action and critical thought.  He has performed his poetry and music all over the world and continues to plant seeds of poetic justice globally. Ian is also part of the critically acclaimed spoken word troupe The Recipe. Ian Keteku has shared the stage with Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Ursula Rucker, members of the Wu Tang Clan, K-OS, critically acclaimed poet Saul Williams and others. In addition, he had the opportunity to perform for the Governor General of Canada (Michaëlle Jean), on three occasions.  But there is more to Ian than just thought provoking poetry and music.  He conducts poetry, writing and performance workshops for youth and various community groups. Inspiring people to accept the power of their own voice.  Keteku is also a journalist who has been featured in CBC, Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, TVO and countless other broadcast and print publications.

8.Tony Walsh

Where to go online

http://longfella.co.uk/

Tony Walsh aka Longfella

Tony Walsh aka Longfella

Official Biography

Tony Walsh, aka Longfella, was the official Poet in Residence for the Glastonbury Festival website in 2011, which saw his poetry featured on BBC1, BBC Radio 2, BBC6Music, and in the Q magazine festival special. Some poets can make you laugh, a few can make you cry but only a handful can do both. By all accounts, Tony Walsh is one such poet. Splitting your sides AND breaking your heart? Be warned – this guy should come with a health warning!  

9.Joelle Taylor

 Where to go online

http://joelletaylordotorg.wordpress.com/

Joelle Taylor

Joelle Taylor

Official Biography

Joelle Taylor is a poet and spoken word artist, who has gigged both nationally and internationally – from Pentonville prison to Buckingham Palace via Ronnie Scotts and the Royal Festive Hall. ‘As addicitve as the most uncensored gossip’ The Stage

10.Spoz

 Where to go online

www.spoz.net

Spoz

Spoz

Official Biography

Spoz is an award winning performance poet, singer/songwriter, film maker, playwright and the poet-in-residence at Birmingham City FC. He has been on BBC and Central Television, has written for and performed on BBC Radio Four, Radio Five Live, Radio West Midlands, Radio Coventry & Warwickshire and Capital Gold, as well as the toilet.  Spoz has performed at Glastonbury festival, Cheltenham Literature festival, Oxford Literature Festival, Warwick Words festival, Ledbury Poetry Festival and in front of his mum. “Spoz takes run-of-the-mill and real life scenarios, beats them with a blunt instrument and flushes them down the bog of the spoken word. Roger McGough meets Billy Connolly” (Warwick Words Festival). Spoz was ‘crowned’ Birmingham’s eleventh poet laureate in October 2006. He continues to work extensively in schools, lifting the appeal of writing and performing poetry to hitherto, unseen heights.  Spoz released his first poetry anthology for “the young and young at heart” in January 2009. ‘The Day the Earth Grew Hair … and Other Stuff’ is available from his website www.spoz.net  

11.Benita Johnson

 Where to go online

http://www.benitajohnson.co.uk/

Benita Johnson

Benita Johnson

Official Biography

Benita Johnson is an unsigned singer-songwriter with over a decade of writing, recording and performance behind her. She has supported the likes of Hugh Cornwell (The Stranglers), Boo Hewerdine and Patrick Duff (Strangelove) and performed on stages at large and small festivals, pubs, restaurants, theatres and dedicated music venues across England and beyond. Her songs are dynamic and accessible. At times you could hear a pin drop as she spellbinds her audience with some soulful reverie. The next thing you know you’ll be pinned to the back wall or hanging onto tent pegs with the sheer power of her vocal delivery. Benita’s first album “You Should Know…,” released on her own label in 2010, is available to order or download from her website. Her limited edition EP “Stars & Fireflies” is also available for download via most digital distributors. Here are some of the things that other people have said about her music : “It’s not folk and it’s not rock or pop, it’s Benita Johnson doing her thing and it’s beautiful. . . simply breathtaking. . .”  (Malcolm Carter, Penny Black Music Reviews) “Grandiose, poetic and almost spiritual”  (Alfie Kingston, Sound Music Reviews) “Her song-writing is top-quality stuff, and it’s music that you just gotta hear for yourself. . . I’d be surprised if you’re not convinced you’re in the presence of an unsung genius”.  (David Kidman, Netrhythms Reviews)

12.Yaffle

 Where to go online

http://www.hgregory.co.uk/yaffle.html

Yaffle

Yaffle

Official Biography

One of the hidden wonders of festivals like Glastonbury and Larmer Tree, Yaffle fuse poetry and music in deliciously captivating musings, which leave their audiences spellbound. Benita Johnson’s expressive, haunting voice and guitar melodies perfectly harmonise with Helen Gregory’s poignant, sultry poetry, to narrate mesmerising tales of love, loss and the wonders of life.  

13.Dreadlock Alien

 Where to go online

http://www.myspace.com/dreadlockalienpoetry 

Dreadlockalien

Dreadlockalien

Official Biography

International Poet and Compere Dreadlockalien was Birmingham Poet Laureate 2005/6. He hosted the BBC Radio 4 Slam Poetry show and was a consultant to Apples and Snakes’ ‘Shake the Dust’ national poetry competition. This year, he is taking in Glastonbury Festival as part of his year-long project ‘Poet without Residence.’  

14.Erin Fornoff

Where to go online

erinfornoff.wordpress.com

Erin Fornoff
Erin Fornoff

 Official Biography

A native of the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina, Erin Fornoff is an American poet, living and working in Ireland. Called a “story-telling poet” and “as close to music as poetry gets,” she has performed her poems at Electric Picnic and many other festivals including First Fortnight, Flatlakes, Tonehenge, Mindfield. She has been featured at many spoken word nights around Dublin, including Brownbread Mixtape, Nighthawks at the Cobalt, The Monday Echo, and many others. She has been featured live on RTE Arena Stage, the national radio arts showcase, and was a finalist at Literary Death Match Dublin. Her essays have been published in The Irish Times, and her poetry in Wordlegs, The Cellar Door, and Bare Hands Literary Journal. She won First Prize for Poetry in The Cellar Door, was shortlisted for the Over the Edge New Writer of the Year for 2012. She was one of ten poets shortlisted for the Strokestown International Poetry Prize for 2013. Before moving to Ireland and taking up writing, she was a staffer on Obama’s 2008 campaign.  

15.Hollie McNish

Where to go online

www.holliemcnish.com

Audio albums available on itunes or from www.holliemcnish.bandcamp.com

Videos: www.youtube.com/holliemcnish

Hollie McNish by Kim-Leng Hills
Hollie McNish by Kim-Leng Hills

Official Biography

“I can’t take my ears off her”  Benjamin Zephaniah Hollie McNish is a published UK poet and spoken word artist, based between London and Cambridge. She has released two poetry albums, Touch and Push Kick, both to critical acclaim, and a first collection of written poetry, Papers, published by Greenwich Exchange, London.  She has appeared in venues as diverse as Glastonbury festival, Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Bar, London’s Southbank Centre and Cambridge University and has had poems commissioned  by Radio 4 Womans Hour, WOW festival, Hidden Woods and Channel 4 Random Acts. She performs across the UK, as well as abroad, with previous tours and residencies in Belgium, Australia, France and Portugal, and for the British Council in Latvia and Poland. She was the UK Slam poetry champion 2009, through which she represented the UK in the Slam du Monde finals in Paris, coming 3rd behind the USA and Canada. She now runs Cambridgeshire’s youth poetry slam for young people ages 12 – 25. As well as poetry performances, Hollie runs poetry workshops and recitals for schools, youth centres, charities and more around the country through her poetry education organisation, Page to Performance: www.pagetoperformance.org. To enquire about Hollie’s education work, performances or commissions, please email: hollie@pagetoperformance.org

Happy hunting.
See you there,
Hollie x

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