The Complete Poetry&Words Line-up for Glastonbury Festival 2011

Imagine it’s Sunday afternoon towards the end of Glastonbury Festival 2011.  You’re sitting in the Poetry&Words marque, pleasantly dazed by the utterly wonderful poetry that has been washing over you for the past few hours.  The compere rushes onto stage in a poptastic fanfare and announces that the organiser of the stage is coming on to perform the final poetry set before the slam.  This is what you will hear …


I wear poetical spectacles,

peer past smeared glass to a world of perfectly poised poets,

snappy syllable shifters,

whose words flip from lips

in a flexing lexicon of linguistic gymnastics.

(A perfect ten.)

Spitting spectacular sonnets

they etch the night in a lyrical laser show.

Sound waves slicing moonlight through scored sky

splice the stars for narrative patterns

and send planets pirouetting on their axes.

Wry and witty, these wordsmiths weave wonderful stories,

scanning spectacular vernacular,

grammatical glories.

around them alphabets melt in delirious refrains,

stamp molten metal against my steaming ears,

branding me the property of poetry.

‘cause I’ve heard verse sprung from tongues

so sweet it split my heart in two

then twisted my intestines to balloon animals,

poets with the textual dexterity of Becket,

the rhetorical redemption of Obama,

Oscar Wilde’s wit and Aretha Franklin’s soul.

I’ve felt bards massage perfect passages

with strokes so soft and sultry,

so obscene

that Scrabble starts to look like soft core porn,

and I think I’d sell my mind for another rhyme,

just one small ode, just one last time.


This stage, this year, brought to you …

John Hegley’s specs.

Our Small God Dizraeli flexed poetic pecs,

Attila the Stockbroker gave bankers a flogging,

Annie McGann awed us with poetry blogging,

while Murray Lachlan Young mused on Keith Moon and dogging.

It doesn’t get better than this.

Furious George rapped reggae-racked verse,

Matt Harvey made us laugh, nearly burst from the mirth,

Pete Hunter helped bring you the best show on earth.

We’ve been surfing the sound waves for all that we’re worth.

Alfred Lord Telecom constructed comic capers,

Longfella proclaimed from his poetry papers.

Words exploded like popcorn when Sin One hit the stage.

Scoring new grooves as her vibes split the page

Joelle Taylor raged fire, then soft like a sage,

preached ancient truths which belied her real age,

while Bohdan Piasecki detonated snappy stanzas,

til our weekend was a word windfall, a bounty of bonanzas.

Tim Clare strummed,

Poeticat hummed,

Adam Kammerling slummed it, so we all could spoil ourselves.

Vanessa Kisuule passed sentences, with no mercy or reprieve,

Spliff Richard rapped at breakneck speed without a pause to breathe,

Scott Tyrrell blew our minds away, then gently took his leave,

as we revelled in the best of spoken word.

Jodi Ann Bickley fragranced lyrics bitter sweet,

Pete the Temp got the crowd dancing to the beat,

John Osborne worked the mic., turning up the heat,

and I watched from the wings, asleep on my feet.

Anna Freeman hugged us from the inside out,

Paula Varjack pouted as our poetry tout.

Retaining his title as the Best Dressed Bard on Site,

Dreadlockalien regaled us with tales into the night.

Then, as Benita Johnson, alchemist, sang grass into jade,

the Festival now conquered

our brave new world surveyed,

we lyricised and eulogised

till the light began to fade,

living la vie da loquacious,

in the lyrical land we had made.


See you there!


Helen Gregory

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