Welcome Home.

It’s that time of year again. When the change of weather arrives. Winter coats get buried in the back of wardrobes; hazy, sun-soaked evenings settle slowly into view, not mirages or long-forgotten fantasies but the stuff of which chilly December afternoon dreams are made on. Now in the first glowing rays of the season of beer gardens and balmy evening strolls, something strange, beautiful and almost imperceptible lingers in the air, singing softly in the spring breeze: ‘Glastonbury, Glastonbury, Glastonbury’.

That’s right, it’s almost here. The greatest festival in the world is almost here enfolding us in its gorgeous sprawling arms once more, welcoming us home.

We’re gearing up to have a Bowie/Prince dance party in the (purple) rain, to get our souls drenched in songs, sun, and cider, to descend once more upon the hallowed ground of Worthy Farm and celebrate life and loud music, friends and falafel, politics and poetry.

Here at Poetry and Words we’re gearing up to unleash a whole gaggle of poets to strut their gums across our stage, share their tales, tell their truths with the revellers and the rain shelter-ers, the hard-core and the hungover. Bringing you all the lowdown on our poets, the slams and the sounds of our little corner of the Theatre and Circus field will be me, Megan Beech, official blogger for the 2016 Poetry and Words stage.

This is me.

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Although whilst in Glastonbury fields, I tend to look a bit more like this…

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I’m a 22-year-old performance poet, a Poetry Society Slambassador, Cambridge student and a feminist human. I mostly write about feminism (and sometimes depression too!) and I’ve been lucky enough to shout things that rhyme at places like the Royal Albert Hall, Parliament, the Southbank Centre and basically any dingy backroom, basement, or bar that has let me. I was featured in the BBC series ‘Women Who Spit’ last year. I also wrote a book called ‘When I Grow Up I Want To Be Mary Beard’, and now I am her professional friend(/fangirl)!

 

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See, I’m not lying.

 

But enough about me. I can’t wait to share all the wild and wonderful words that will fly across our stage in June but until I am able to reveal our line-up to you, before we are all back home in the loving arms of our Glasto, these are a few of my (Glastonbury) favourite things to tide us all over:

 

My Glastonbury Top Five Faves

Fave Glastonbury poets:  This year’s incredible line-up is under wraps for the time being but in previous years I have had some of the most overwhelming and beautiful Glastonbury moments courtesy of poets like Vanessa Kisuule, Kate Tempest, Hollie McNish and Erin Bolens. Last year, Patti Smith read a poem to the Dalai Lama on the Pyramid Stage for his birthday. To me it illustrated just how powerful, relevant, Rock ‘n’ Roll and important poetry can be. You could’ve heard a pin drop in that field. It was like that time Mick Jagger read Shelley’s ‘Adonais’ for the recently deceased Brian Jones at a Hyde Park Gig in 1969. Magical and moving. Then we all bellowed through a chorus of ‘Happy Birthday Dalai Lama’.

Fave Glastonbury stage: My favourite stage always changes. I love soaking up long afternoons in the Poetry and Words tent (of course). I love the Left Field for riling up my big thumping leftie socialist heart. I’ve always had great affection for the West Holts stage, brilliant for stumbling on things you had no idea you’d like so much, but the top of the Park field at sunset, nestled on the hill, surrounded by family and friends: that is probably my favourite place on Earth.

Fave Glastonbury memory: This is my sixth year at Glastonbury so there are far too many to choose from but I’ll say 2010. Being 16, having just finished my GCSEs, standing in the Park field watching Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood (from my favourite band, Radiohead) as this gorgeous hazy sunset began, singing Karma Police at the top of my lungs: ‘For a minute there, I lost myselllllfffff!’

Fave Beeb Glastonbury presenter: Lauren Laverne: classy, sassy, feminist and fierce!

Fave Glastonbury beverage: I am from Somerset. Do we even have to ask? Cider, naturally.

See you on the Cider Bus. More from the poets and the people of Poetry and Words soon.

Megan x

CALLING ALL POETS, spoken word artists, raconteurs, stand-up poets and slam champs…

2016 is awaiting your assault on the bastion of beastly wordsmithery in the freakish fields of Worthy…

Lo! We at Poetry&Words are once again opening the floodgates to all you wizardly wonderful poetry fiends. So, if YOU want to perform your work on Glastonbury Festival’s poetry stage, then this is your chance! We’re looking for applications from experienced writers and performers, with something quite excellent to offer the audience of the world’s biggest greenfield arts festival.

If you think that could be you, then please e-mail poetryandwords@hotmail.co.uk with a short Bio and 1-3 video and/or audio files of you performing your work, preferably to a live audience. We’d prefer web links, but attachments (of manageable size!) will also be accepted. We will only view one application per person. Further applications will be ignored, so send us your best stuff first time around! Don’t send Word files of your poems or links to your books. However good they are, it’s the performance element we need to be able to judge as well.

We do pay a fee, but this is only small, and overseas poets in particular should note that we are unable to provide travel expenses. Guest tickets are also beyond our power, but booked poets will receive a ticket for themselves as well as a camping pitch backstage of the Poetry&Words tent.

This year’s festival runs from June 22nd-26th, 2016. To find out more, go to: http://www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk/

The deadline for applications is, strictly, 5pm on Friday 4th March 2016. We regret that we cannot view any applications received after this time, so please make a note of the deadline and make sure you submit as much in advance as possible. Don’t miss your chance!

We hope that you’ll understand that, given the positively elephantine volume of applications we receive every year, we are not physically able to respond to requests for feedback or advice, or to let every applicant know how they’ve done. Successful artists should hear back from us by two months after the deadline.

You can also find us at:

http://www.facebook.com/GlastonburyFestivalPoetry
http://www.youtube.com/user/PoetryandWords
https://twitter.com/GlastonburyPoet

And the winner of the 2015 Glastonbury Poetry Slam is…

Rory Jones!!!!!! who wins not only a beautiful golden unicorn but a spot to perform at next year’s Glastonbury!!!

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Massive thanks to our hosts, Varjack and Simpson.

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Our sacrificial poet and last year’s winner, Erin Bolens.

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And all the slammers who took part. That’s it from another Poetry&Words at Glastonbury. It’s been an absolute pleasure following in the footsteps of Deanna Rodger, Hollie McNish and Annie Mcgann as the poetry stage blogger. Huge thanks to Benita, Helen and the team, and all the genuinely brilliant poets who’ve graced the stage this year. It’s been real.

This is Scott Tyrrell, signing off:)

Gentle Joyous Rowdy Ranting

A marvelous start to a Sunday at Glastonbury. The sleek cheeky Rosy Carrick introduced Charlotte Higgins who treated us to gentle cerebral set celebrating the reality of Grimm fairytales.

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MiKo Berry delivered another thunderous caledonian cacophony of poetry, before Rachel Rose Reid delivered some more sumptuous stories.

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Then came the roar of Attila the Stockbroker, who ranted, raved and read from his new autobiography – Arguments Yard. He was, as usual, a powerhouse on stage.

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Now Anna Freeman is rocking the tent with style.

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Next up is Pete the Temp (Glastonbury Website official poet in residence), some more great poets AND…….The 2015 Glastonbury Poetry Slam at 5pm!!!

Scott:)

 

 

2 Legends on one stage!

That was one hell of a Saturday, rounded off beautifully by these two chaps…

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But first…

The afternoon got off to a great start with the adorable Antosh Wojcik, the wonderful Charlotte Higgins, and the amazing MC Gramski.

The ex-clown Sara Hirsch’s Christopher Nolan’s Intersteller-inspired love poem was great.

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Wil Greenway treated us to another slice of his warped mind. And then MiKo Berry launched into an incredible set of pain and passion with the immortal line “Silver is the manliest glitter!”. He’s not the first passionate Scotsman, but he’s probably the only one on stage with purple trousers, a black vest and a pink headband.

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Next up was Kayo Chingonyi who delivered a beautifully chilling line that stays with me “..who wields a cutthroat like a paintbrush”. A wonderful engaging performer.

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Murray Lachlan Young swaggered on stage with his arm in a sling (a cricketing injury I was told) and wooed the crowd with his very own je ne sais quoi.

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Then the penultimate poet. The legend that is Porky Poet (Phill Jupitus) arrived somewhat bewildered as he’d just been attacked by a hessian giraffe. His fame is well-deserved. An incredibly engaging presence on stage. His StarWars haikus were marvelous. I loved “That’s no moon…but it has much of the romance”.

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And then our headline act….the inimitable bundle of audience-participatory joy, Mr. John Hegley. John is the absolute master of the Poetry&Words tent. His stagecraft and lightness of touch is an absolute pleasure to watch.

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And if that wasn’t enough, he was joined on stage by Phill Jupitus for a final glorious musical number that had the crowd ecstatic! Just brilliant. Like a punk Laurel and Hardy reuniting for a guerilla rock gig.

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In other news…

Winston Plowes has been hard at work ‘finding’ poems from festival goers using his ‘Spoke’n’Word’ bycicle…

1.

Orange Purple Flying Circle
 .
Sometimes travelling slowly tires the mind.
blunts the axe.
Life can be a heavy chain.
But at Glastonbury spirits are lifted
climbing ever upwards, ever higher, dancing and jumping.
And lo! He came speeding down the hill
every crank of the gears
making me feel tranquil, bringing me to tears.
 .
Contributor (in line order): Netty (title), Martin, Dave, Caroline & Vanessa, Anon, Louise & Arijana, Jess with Dave & Scott, Carly.
 .

2.

SPEAKING TO A RANDOM PERSON OUTDOORS
(Saturday Surrealism)
 .
Slow brakes led to ginger cakes
on this joyful journey through life.
With a classical head from Roman times
and a natural requirement for legs,
the cranky elephant flew through the kitchen window.
Glastonbury is such a scene
It’s slowing down the brain machine.
And rain dampened hair shines like brilliantine
where the mud wasn’t smooth enough.
There’s a shiny diamond hidden under the hill, essential to the Alps.
Where I came off track, gliding spacewards 
finishing the washing up in the bank.
Never casting a doubt before the black bottle flies
my skeleton, within a peloton of excellently joyful pedestrians. 
 .
Contributors: Donna Daniels-Moss, Laura, Joshua Robinson, Peter, Peter (2), Julia + Matt, Mark Thomas, Lauren, Connect 4, Danny T-G, Stockie Jim, Lynn, Gramsky, Val + Ian + Declan, Joel Lynch.
 .

Sunday’s Lineup…

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There’s still a couple of spots left for the Slam tonight, so hurry along when the tent opens to sign up!
 .
Scott:)

Saturday’s alright for poetry

The Antipoet, Jess Green and Vanessa Kisuule have wrenched in the crowds this glorious morning! With some real jealousy-inducing greatness. Jess Green and the Mischief Thieves were awesome! Brilliantly portraying the passion and pain of teaching. That sense of struggle and euphoria of knowledge and creativity transposed on to the minds of the stressed-out young.

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The open Mic was a blast under the steady hand of Megan Beech. I even got to have another quick burst on the mic!

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This afternoon is going to be AWESOME. We’ve got Charlotte Higgins, MC Gramski, Sara Hirsch, MiKo Berry, Kayo Chingonyi and….

MURRAY LACHLAN YOUNG, PORKY POET AKA PHILL JUPITUS and the legend that is JOHN HEGLEY!

Scott:)

A marriage proposal, the best poem in the world and the worst poem in Britain

What a first day that was! The afternoon was awash with rain and surprises. One of the biggest surprises happened when I left the bleedin tent, dammit! Dreadlockalien ushered the recycling crew onstage to get a round of appreciation for their efforts, but twas all a rouse! It was an excuse for Dawn from the team to propose publicly to her boyfriend Matthew. Congrats guys! I wouldn’t have the stones to propose publicly at the biggest festival in the world, but hats off! Quick sketch of the event I didn’t get to see (if the participants were cows).

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The afternoon’s poetry was absolute top drawer. Harry Baker had the audience eating out of his hand with his joyous food-based pun poetry and his winning world champ poem – technically the best poem in the world! MC Gramski is a freestyling genius. My jaw was on the floor with the spontaneous audience-suggested ideas rap he rattled off. I am in awe of anyone that can do that, but especially to have it make sense and have an emotional core – that is something else!

Dan Simpson and Erin Bolens whipped the crowd into a warm fuzzy frenzy. This was Erin’s first booked gig since winning the Slam last year, and she nailed it. Dan was quickfire like a caffeine-induced hummingbird. I did my bit, including my winning Anti-slam poem (technically the worst poem in Britain).

Then Joaquin, our Friday Headliner (all the way from Texas) took to the stage and launched into a high energy emotional full-speed Rollercoaster of a set. A fitting end to a quality day.

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In other news, our resident walkabout poet Winston Plowes has been busy making ‘found poems’ from members of the Glastonbury public. Made by editing together lines composed by festival goers with the aid of The Spoke~n~Word ramdom poetry generating bicycle. 2 so far…

1.

Riding, falling and loving the broken track
is one of the reasons I always come back.
Leaning by the steel fence
equals a change in perspective.
Glastonbury is the incredible blur
running through my ‘be here now’ karma –
I am zen…
Contributors (in line order): Magano & john, Anon, Tyrone Joyce, Scott, Domimique, Maggie and A*
 .

2.

The climbing high 
and long slow fall
of a confused and caged pelican
breathing in a basket –
When the wheel is turning too fast just take a moment, sit back.
This journey into light is a wonderful ride.
Lady Godiva dispensed with her clothes,
meandering, weaving through the streets
smiles and cheers frkm all she meets.
Everyone in good cheer.
Finishing her ride, the lady got off the saddle.
Without my clothes i feel more joyful…
Open me up, bottle me down.
Contributions from (in line order): Anon, Paul M, Oliver Cryer, Gary Wallace, Mark & Gemma, Franca Westaway, Polly, Sam Marns, Kirsty-Ann & Pat, Hazel, Tristan White and Jonathan Sardari-Kermani.

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Saturday Lineup…

(We’re aware of the typo. It’s currently being fixed!)
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A F***ING LION!!!

That’s all I have in my head now, thanks to Luke Wright repeating the line with relentless enthusiasm. It’s been a great day so far in the Poetry&Words tent (despite not being able to find our first act minutes before she was due on!) The Antipoet (as predicted) lured the punters into the tent with engaging cheeky filth and tenuous allusions to Voltaire. Our first compere Dreadlockalien grabbed some more punters and Rachel Rose Reid (now found) attracted some more folk into the tent with Rhythmic stories of global friends and strangers who are not so unalike.

Megan Beech absolutely smashed it! I drew a sketch of her whilst she was on stage…

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Next up was the bundle of pure joy that is Wil Greenway with (for my money) the funniest line of the day so far “She had a smile like 2 unicorns fucking”. I laughed a lot.

The sassy Rosy Carrick then took over as compere who brought on Antosh Wojcik, whose wonderful warmth and energy built up a real rapport with the audience. I sketched him too!

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Vanessa Kisuule was pure style, gorgeousness and open honesty. And she did the poem I wanted her to do (Personal Malleable Manifesto) with the wonderful line “Ignore the girls who’ll lick at the carcass of your inner demons”

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Then Luke Wright stormed through with his lions, bullish dads and relentless energy.

More to come! And the rain has started…I sense the tent may get fuller😉

Scott:)

 

The poets have arrived!

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We’re now on site. And in less than an hour The Antipoet will take the stage and Glastonbury Poetry&Words 2015 will have begun. And there’s a hell of a lineup today…

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So grab your tea/coffee/fruit smoothie and your bacon sarnie/full english/tofu compote and head into the Big Grey Tent with ‘Poetry&Words’ written on it for some world class Spoken Word.

And on a different note…

One of the Glastonbury cows drawn for the blog was featured in the Glastonbury Press. Go us! The Press is printed on a massive still-working Heidelberg Press. This may not sound interesting to anyone else, but it’s Graphic Design porn to me. Anyway, here’s Lemmy the cow from Motorherd (pun courtesy of Dan Simpson)

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So Poets Ready? Sound on? Lets play ball…

Want to perform?

Come into the tent to put your name down for the open mic (Saturday 27th at 12.50pm) or the poetry slam (Sunday 28th at 5pm)

Scott:)

Joaquin Zihuatanejo’s tribute to the cows of Worthy Farm

A couple of weeks ago I asked a bunch of the Glasto poets if they’d like (if they had the time) to write a few lines of verse in tribute to the bonny bovines whose home we are about to squat in for a week. I was chuffed at the response which I’ve posted in the previous blog. But I was incredibly touched that our Friday night headliner, a World Poetry Slam champ and incredible spoken word artist has also penned this touching tribute…

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Of Cows and Men

They are moving the cows for us
Nay, they are moving the cows because of us
We, the intrusive humans
So in love with the sound of our own voices
While they, the divine bovine
Love only grass, the gentle breeze and other cows
Whose place will I take on that field
With my tent and books and pocket full of poems
Will they send the poor beast to Texas to graze in my backyard
And if they do, and my poor wife leaves the gate open
And the cow heads east and slightly north toward Glastonbury
Managing only to make it as far as Fort Worth
And stumbles upon a solitary Texas longhorn grazing in a pasture
Will he look down upon the steer
With his American moo so queer
To the ear of the more refined British cow
Will they argue the merits of Huck Finn and Harry Potter,
Of Longfellow and Whitman
Of Perry Mason and Sherlock Holmes
Will he long for home
Or will he be glad to have roamed
And what of the stoic steer
Will he be filled with rage
That something so foreign is so near
Or will they find a way to put aside their differences
And realize that they
Like we
Are cut from the same cloth
Creatures and brothers separated by an ocean
And the foolish notion
That the grass is always greener on the other side

I am so looking forward to this!!! Next blog will be from a field in Pilton

Scott:)