And the winner is…


The contestants were muddy, the weather was muggy, the standard was ruddy marvellous but after a hard fought battle the winner of the Glastonbury Poetry&Words slam 2016 (and the winner of a slot on our stage at next year’s festival) was the raucous, brilliant, moving Emily Hammond winning with a rousing poem on rape culture!

Here she is with her trophy


What a way to round off the festival, we’re thrilled to have our first poet on the lineup for next year and we can’t wait to be back.

We’ve had humour and feminism and EU fury and worry and panic and pleasure, lost loves, new friends, old stories, heritage, home, Jo Cox, demi Gods, beards, books, bands, banks, lyrics, lust and profoundly found love sung out from our stage to the hundreds that have sat and soaked up our poetry. It’s been an absolute pleasure to bring all the sounds of P&W 2016 to your ears and my profound thanks go to all the poets who have graced our luscious stage, all the crew who have built it and made it possible and most of all to Helen and Benita Johnson, the divine mercurial forces (stage managers) who keep it all running, keep us all happy and keep on keeping on! Thanks Glastonbury, even in your mud, even (or especially) in Brexit you’re my favourite place on this Earth.

See you next year




Hope you like slamming too!

Our last poets have hit the stage for this year. Our wonderful and tireless Scott Tyrrell who has been behind the easel all festival bringing us live sketches of our beautiful poets as they share their words with our crowds, hit the stage again and gave a beautiful set. Replete with his character, Malcolm Odour and he ended with ‘that’ poem about interrupted coitus.

Then Rory Jones, last year’s winner of the Glastonbury Poetry Slam took the stage. 13521128_10209736544674963_1953731918_n

He was witty and brilliant as he told us his best friend was his beard and gave us the sounds of a late night Scottish street when you’re trying to get to bed. It was a pleasure to have him back after his well-deserved win last year and he and his ‘beige trousers’ did themselves good!


Now the slam, hosted by Michelle Madsen and Iona Lee clad in sweatbands and sparkly leggings, is under way in a tent packed to the rafters. The rain cannot dampen our soul-shaking festival spirit. We’re ready for festival fun, a Glastonbury ‘moment’ in a damp tent, a slam winnnnnnnerrrrr!

More coming soon



Everything is yours if you want it to be – Jodi Ann Bickley

As the rain descends, we’ve just had a gorgeous storm of a set from Glastonbury Poet in Residence 2016, the incomparable Jodi Ann Bickley.


She talked love old and new, she talked about motherhood – from the gorgeous tribute to the lushness her mum instilled in her from youth to the joys of raising her 8 month old daughter. I can’t really put into words the brilliance of Jodi’s work so instead I’ll just give you some of my favourite lines:


‘We are kids in our parents clothing’

‘No Instagram filters can fix the level of dickhead both of us can be’

‘Exhausted but in love, always in love’

‘Everything is yours if you want it to be’

‘Don’t let them burn your spark out’

‘I am in absolute awe of you’

‘Thanks for crying on the kitchen floor with me’

‘Tears and scars are reminders of how hard we fought’




Gosh that was lovely! Thanks Jodi – you’ve summed up our festival better than you could know, all of us here are ‘exhausted but in love, always in love’! Thanks Jodi, thanks Glastonbury!


’99 percent gay’ – Sunday Funday at Glastonbury

We kicked off today once more with the brilliant openers Poetry Can F**k Off and the ever amusing Antipoet. J J Bola was back with his searing analysis of the refugee crisis,the crisis of modern masculinity and the power of love to transform us positively.

Keisha Thompson gave us another set full of heart and warmth and she taught us what it means if you dream of fish in Caribbean superstition!




Murray Lachlan Young was up next and he gave us an energizing set full of song and warmth and humour. Hot on his heels was the fabulous Sophia Blackwell, our last minute wonderwomen who stepped in and saved the day – her set was joyfully  diverse and great fun. Clad in a pink tutu and festival face paint she spoke of being ’99 percent gay’ but regaled us with her tales of her brief adventures in ‘boyland’. Lush.

Following Sophia was our showcase Sunday poet, Tanya Evanson over from the US. She gave us a soft and gorgeous set, asking us to close our eyes, to find some calm, quiet reflection in the chaos of the busy. Here is Scott in the process of sketching her:


Next up we had the legendary Attila the Stockbroker sharing from his most recent work, his Autobiography, Argument’s Yard. He talks powerfully about politics and people, he shares an important poem about getting yourself checked regularly with the GP or as he puts it ‘getting your knob out for the doc’. Three Cheers for the NHS! He also shares a moving one about reconciling with his stepfather in later life: ‘look at me I’m 58, imagine what a stroppy bastard I was when I was 14 and a half! Then he cracks out the mandolin and sends us off with a song.


Next up is Jodi Ann Bickley, a firm favourite of mine, Poet in Residence for Glastonbury 2016 whose EU poem has been met with cheers and photos and solidarity as it is posted all across the site. We can’t wait to welcome her to our stage.




Poetry is words made joyful.

Today’s group poem from Winston Plowes’ walkabout bicycle is one that reminds us again to shed of our skins, forget who we are and what we worry about and just dance, dance, dance!


Dance, dance, dance


Sharing the good times

the care free play times

in our watery love tent.


The sun is out so come outside.

Dance in the mud with the young blood.

Dance to the rhythms of the music.

Dance to the work of an artist.


Then wander the fields

in the dead of night

with a rainbow warrior’s colourful spirit.

Poetry is words made joyful.


Contributors – Rod, Myia & Dave, Ciaron John Rees, Mike ‘Dr Blue’, James Paul and Chris, Rachel, Luke and Kumbi, Aidan & Eileen, Dan & Nicole, Sarah, Nadia & Meher

Hegley and Tyrrell and Luke Wright, oh my!

Our showcase spot this afternoon was Luke Wright and he blew the roof off the tent, funny and sincere in equal measure he peformed pieces with only the vowel ‘i’ and then with only ‘u’ in them leading to lots of chat about ‘Ruth’s mum’. He told us that ‘life is often brighten, life is more good than bad’ – something all of us need to remind ourselves daily at the moment! He ended with a gorgeous little hymnal to his ‘missus’, after ten years he’s still ‘moonstruck for [his] missus’! 13510479_10209729335694743_1812432698_n

Luke’s lovely set was followed by equally beautiful performances from the stellar Zohab Khan, Kevin P Gilday and Brenda Ray. Lush words to soak up on a sunny afternoon.

Then followed perhaps our hardest working poet this year – Scott Tyrrell, resident artist, sketcher and owl-poet creator. Scott has been at the side of the stage all day sketching away, and he delivered a beautiful set full of politics and humour and heart. He acted out his anti-slam character, Malcolm Odour – officially the worst poet in Britain!  He is hilarious but also heartfelt, he talks about his wife’s disability ‘a true hero with a blue badge’. Scott has contributed so much to the stage this year and we’re very lucky to have him, he’s been ‘forever destroying the myth that men can’t multi-task’!


Lastly, we were blessed with a rammed tent for a wonderful, funny, musical, mirthful set from John Hegley. He gets the audience to cheer and woop and holler and feel good. They choose the page numbers to decide his setlist. He whacks out his ukulele and transforms the whole tent into the Luton bungalow he grew up in. Our flowers become his dad’s garden, the bunting his mum’s washing on the line , his parents themselves are the stage monitors nestling at the front. As we sing along in three part harmony ‘lalalala Luton bungalow’, we feel wonderful content and full of worth and full of words.


Thanks for another gorgeous day in our corner of this beautiful, unified, wonderstruck field – more from us tomorrow! xx







‘It’s mud at your elbows and love that spills out at the seams, now that is what I call Glastonbury’ Saturday at the festival

The morning has been another fully charged head-spinningly glorious morning of spoken word.

Things were kicked off in style once more by Poetry Can F**k Off and the raucous talent of the Antipoet who shared their views on festivals and bondage nights!!


After them was a truly beautifully rousing set from Sara Hirsch, her piece Play Fair had us all on our feet and asked us to remember in times of crisis, even when we lose, ‘at least [we are] playing fair’.


After that we had a full hour of glorious festival goers, muddy in numerous, incomparable ways giving us there own tales on the open mic. Ably hosted by the excellent Dominic Berry, they all gave us a lift as they shared stories about family ties, Syrian drone strikes and reminded us that we need to ‘be cheerful, and strive to be happy’. One of our open mic folk shared this beautiful line from Muhammed Ali ‘Me? We.’ Words we should all learn to live by.

The wonderful Joe Sawden from our backstage crew also shared some glorious, moving words.


Next was JJ Bola who melted my soul in a million myriad different ways. He talked gorgeously about his own refugee experience leaving the Congo (‘ a refugee is simply someone who is trying to find a home’, he eloquently dissected the toxic culture that surrounds masculinity, allowing us to see  that ‘real men don’t exist, only men who are real!’  and he ended sweetly with some poems about love. Stunning stuff.

Jemima Foxtrot brought her lyrical gorgeousness back to the stage for the second time and sung us all in to a stupor.

Then – well – it was me. I shouted things about feminism and this festival that I love so dearly and hopefully sent people away remember that Glastonbury is all about ‘mud at our elbows and love that spills out from the seams’.

I was closely followed by some turns by the magnificent Leicester duo who both made explosive music all over our stage for the second time this weekend. Toby Campion thrilled once more with his powerful dissections of all kinds of prejudice and his positive messages of love and unity.

Jess Green and the Mischief Thieves, the political trio with fire in their instruments and lungs gave us poignant analysis of our current political climate. These are days for the poets, these are days for activism through song and through words.


And now our Saturday showcase spot is hitting the stage, Luke Wright. More soon x






A field somewhere in Europe with the IN people.

The walkabout poem from Winston Plowes today celebrates our togetherness and regrets our isolationist EU decision. Here at Glastonbury we are one, we unite, we are ‘IN people’.

A Field Somewhere in Europe

Wonderful to be at Glasto with the IN people.

Let me stay and relax in the fields of rain.

The stylish rain that soothes our brains

Writing with wine stains from our soul.


After a surprising night drinking demonically

A bat walked to my door wearing a poncho

And an owl flew down to the window.


We’ll have far less in our baskets

Now we’ve left the common market

Fewer tantalising treats for our tongues,

Meeting our fate in the dwindling grass.


Contributors – Ruth, Des Broome, Flo Rennia Boris, Rebecca and Alice, Micky Simon and Dean, Zohab Zee Khan, Nigel Ruben Mike Trump.

‘Friday nights are sacred’ Evening on Poetry&Words!

We’ve had an incredible afternoon here chez spoken word. Sophia Blackwell, Michelle Madsen,  Keisha Thompson brought heartfelt fiery lyrics to the stage.  Sara Hirsch reminds us ‘on day’s like this’ what we need is beautiful words and she gives them to us in flood. 

Elvis McGonnagall brought utter joy to the Poetry&Words stage this afternoon with a rousing, political set full of wit and warmth and Scottish politics. We’ve yet to have a pun better than ‘leap like a Salmon(d), float like a Sturgeon’ hit our stage, he ends with a gorgeous poem dedicated to Jo Cox which reminds us the power of hope:


“Rise up like Shelley’s lions after slumber, leave your mind forged manacles behind. Rise up and find the courage to be kind!”

The Scottish lion roars indeed.

Zohab Khan (all the way from Australia) is fierce, he follows Elvis with a brilliant set in which he stalks and growls across the stage, he beatboxes, he plays harmonica at the same time. He’s brilliant!


Next up are Jess Green & The Mischief Thieves, a beautiful band whose lyrical dissection of the current political climate feels urgent and vital on a day like today.  She reminds us that ‘Friday nights are sacred’, that together we can fight the things that oppress us and depress us.  It’s blooming powerful and beautiful! 

Then Jemima Foxtrot hits the stage, she’s a gorgeous mix songs and stories, lyrics and lilting singsong. We both worked on a BBC series called ‘ Women Who Spit’ together and she’s certainly a fabulous woman who spits on our stage today.


Then Buddy Wakefield mounts the stage in the foetal position.  He’s had a heavy night but the moment he spins himself into gorgeous spoken word whirl, it’s divine, it’s hilarious. He tells truths like it’s going out of style:
‘The only person you’re ever gonna get it be is you, so if you came in here dragging something negative around – let it go’
‘ this moment is everything happening at once, nothing excluded ‘
‘I’m pale on the dark side of my bright’

That was Friday folks! It’s been a hell of a day, full of referendum rage, political lyrics, fun, humour and an incredible Buddy. More tomorrow poetry lovers.


Have a great day and find the courage to be kind!

‘This is a club for weirdos!’ Morning at Poetry&Words

We’ve had an incredible morning here at Poetry&Words.  The Antipoet clad in ‘bondage kilts’ riled up and entertained a full tent as the sky flirted with rain!

Hot on their heels was Kevin P Gilday, thankfully not predicting the weather (‘just a trickle then a flood’). He spoke powerfully about toxic masculinity and politics and the tories (‘if you think poverty is myth then you’re definitely a f**king Tory’)

Our glorious host Sally Jenkinson lamented the loss of ‘chemical puddles of joy’ as she becomes a ‘proper adult’.

Dominic Berry was gorgeous and exuberant. He talked about politics too and depression and on coming out…as a vegan. It was ‘solid with stardust’

Brenda Ray from Seattle, Washington gave a storming first UK set, as she reminded us ‘there are some words too beautiful to be left unsaid’!


After her was the divine Toby Campion, an incredible, rousing, beautiful poet who gave us firey words on the Orlando shootings, homophobia,  austerity politics and of course, defended the joyful virtues of the Midlands (it is a real place he reminds us!) that left the tent enthralled and booming with applause and woops and solidarity!

Finally Iona Lee gave a Scottish slice of truth to the Poetry&Words stage as the deluge began to descend. Iona talked about Scottish politic, awkward parties and the tampon tax. It was lyrical and gorgeous.


And it’s only just begun…the rain is now lashing on our lovely roof and we’ll have more updates  soon