Featured Artist: Matt Harvey

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Photo by Bohdan Piasecki

 

Q1) What is your connection with Poetry&Words?
It goes back to the days of PVT West. I think Marcus Moore recommended me – thanks Marcus. I didn’t camp with the rest of the poets because I was also working on a travelling hot tub/sauna outfit called Spa Trek on the main drag of Glasto’s ephemeral city. A strange and wonderful time. I hung out at Poetry&Words as much as I could, and heard poets like Francesca Beard and Roger Robinson for the first time

Q2) If you had to describe the Poetry&Words stage in just three words, what would they be?
Tender inspiring & true

Q3) How would you describe Glastonbury Festival to someone who’s never been there?
It’s like a lot of different festivals interwoven weirdly together, perhaps all the other festivals you’ve been to soldered together by benign mutant elves.

Q4) Can you name two other poets who you admire?
I could name loads but I see what you’re saying, two to be going on with. So I’ll offer Byron Vincent and Caroline Bird. On the understanding that John Hegley goes without saying.

Q5) What kinds of things inspire you to write?
All sorts of things, so many things. Solid things more than abstract things. Tea bags, kippers and slugs, more than truth, justice and beauty, though I try to do justice to the true beauty of these things. Having said that, recently I was commissioned to write lyrics on the themes of Friendship, Respect, Equality, Excellence, Courage, etc, and though I found it challenging I went for it & was ultimately pleased with the result – especially when set to music by Thomas Hewitt Jones. I like to think I’m driven by an old-fashioned mix of wonder and longing, the desire to touch the inner chambers of people’s most secret heart. That sort of thing.

Q6) Where is the most unusual place you’ve performed your work?
Tight contest between a toilet in Cirencester, and an empty Newton Abbot Market place – the latter the most strange because I was contractually obliged to perform to this empty space, and did. Builders on a nearby roof came to the edge to listen. I asked them for a chip, a chip was chucked and I caught it on my mouth. Their applause brought more people out. They listened politely. Later one of the builders bought a book and recommended Les Barker to me whose work I didn’t then know. Now I’m a fan and have been proud to have him on the Wondermentalist Cabaret.

Q7) What are you working on at the moment?
Just written an intro to new book ‘Mindless Body Spineless Mind’ a motley collection of flotsam and jetsam, stories and poems, out Dec 1st, but as soon as I’ve answered these questions I crack on with a new poem about harvesting the elements ‘siphoning sunshine’ for a turn at The Green Energy Awards the day after tomorrow.

Q8) What’s the closest rhyme for ‘orange’ you can find?
I would end one line with ‘sporran’ and start the next with ‘joy’

Q9) Can we have a poem please?
Here’s an onomatopoeic tennis poem Thwok , put up recently by wonderful Chris Redmond of Tongue Fu and Hip Yak Poetry Shak.

Q10) Where can we find out more about your work?
www.mattharvey.co.uk

 

Featured Artist: Andreattah Chuma

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Photo by Bohdan Piasecki

 

Q1) What is your connection with Poetry &Words?
I was invited to perform in 2009.The curator of the stage, Helen Gregory, had seen me perform in Bristol on tour with Hammer & Tongue Oxford in 2006.The invitation took me by surprise. Before then I had no clue what Glastonbury  Festival was, but Wikipedia explained everything and it blew my mind! I had seen Exit Festival on MTV and always thought I’d like to go. I remember thinking “they have a poetry stage at Gl astonbury that is super amazing!”. I returned the following year which was such an honour.

Ed. Andreattah also contributed to the BBC Radio Four poetry-play Glastonbury Poetry Diaries in 2010.

 

Q2) If you had to describe the Poetry&Words stage in just three words, what would they be?
Poets are amazing.

Q3) How would you describe Glastonbury Festival to someone who’s never been there?
Is it even possible to describe Glastonbury festival when pictures and videos fail? It is one of the most awesome places to spend 5 days. A farm literally turns into a city that sort of resembles Alice in Wonderland. It is so big that it is impossible to discover all its magical corners. You could find yourself in an enchanting tent listening to poetry, in front of the Pyramid stage watching Stevie Wonder, or some soul/funk at West Holts, be on a queue to watch a 3D movie or be lying down having massages and the best chai tea in the Healing fields. And that’s only 0.1% of things you can do.

 

Q4) Can you name two other poets who you admire?
Derrick Brown – whom I shared P&W stage with back in 2009.There is sincerity in the choice of words he uses and his tone. That’s my kind of poetry. He can also bring ‘funny’ into his poems without it sounding cheesy.


Another poet would be Suheir Hammad. I bou
ght her book Zatardiva after watching her turn the air electric with her words in Johannesburg a couple of years ago. She is demure in her delivery, but her words come out like a stampede at you and shake you. Every time I read her work I find something new.

 

Q5) What kinds of things inspire you to write?
I don’t have list topics I gravitate towards. Whatever moves me to release in the form of a poem, I usually oblige.

 

Q6) Where is the most unusual place you’ve performed your work?
I did an outside art collaboration in a garden, smack in the middle of a school in Botswana. It was a silhouette of me while I recited a poem from behind the screen. That was cool!

 

Q7) What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently working on an EP called The LoveNotes EP with an amazing South African producer called Mark Sunners. It will be available on my bandcamp as a free download when it’s done. There is a talented Rwandese-Belgian artist called Soul T whom I recently met and we will be working on a track together – my first collaboration in Brussels. I’m also working on my French.

 

Q8) What’s the closest rhyme for ‘orange’ you can find?
Lawrence


Q9) Can we have a poem please?

This is one of the tracks from my album Time featuring my sister Thato on the chorus:


Q10) Where can we find out more about your work?
www.andreattah.bandcamp.com

 

Featured Artist: Pete Hunter

Here’s the second of our interviews with past P&W artists.  This time we’re hearing from the multi-talented Pete Hunter.  (The picture used here is by P&W official photographer for 2011, Bohdan Piasecki.)

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Q1) What is your connection with Poetry&Words?

I performed for Poetry&Words in the days when Pat V T West was running it and have been on the Poetry&Words committee since Helen took over and Poetry&Words moved to its current location in Theatre and Circus. I have had several roles, from host to general roustabout to artistic director to performer during my years of involvement.

Ed: Pete has been a valuable member of the P&W crew for many years.  You won’t catch him on site in 2013, but he’s still working hard for us behind the scenes.

  
Q2) If you had to describe the Poetry&Words stage in just three words, what would they be?

Entertainment, talent, surprises


Q3) How would you describe Glastonbury Festival to someone who’s never been there?

It’s the biggest party ever with so much to do it’s impossible to do everything. It’s busy, exciting, peaceful, sleepless, amazing, magical, eye-opening, deafening, thrilling, frightening and a weekend worth experiencing at least once in your life.

 

Q4) Can you name two other poets who you admire?

Matt Harvey for his wordplayfullness and calm, quiet, delivery.  Kate Tempest for her passionate delivery.


Q5) What kinds of things inspire you to write?

Originally I was inspired by telling tales, with an emphasis on comedy – exploring what is absurd and ridiculous about life, how circumstances and the mind trick us and each other into being fools. I also saw writing a poem as solving the puzzle of getting from the first line to the last in the best and, as I was writing for performance, most entertaining way possible  – be that through wordplay, the inclusion of jokes or the manner of performance.  I enjoy exploring my own poetic forms too.

More recently I have been writing poems that are descriptions of situations or memories, trying to create an image in the readers’/listeners’ mind that they can explore themselves. I am not so concerned with being entertaining, or funny, but in sharing. Mostly.


Q6) Where is the most unusual place you’ve performed your work?

I think the most interesting place I have performed was in a town in Germany called Regensburg, where I was taken to compete in a slam. The building contained a restaurant and venue with bar on the ground floor, a nightclub in the basement and dormitories on the first floor. So myself and a couple of other poets got the bus to Regensburg, walked 150m from the bus station to the venue, ate, slammed, danced and slept in the same building and the next morning walked 150m back to the bus station and left. All I saw of Regensburg was the inside of that building.

I have also performed in a nightclub; in a church service in Texas; in a pub beneath a huge TV showing an international football match; at an anti-GMO rally in Greenwich Park; in an auberge in France and in a living room.  


Q7) What are you working on at the moment?

I am not gigging much these days, (let’s not go into it) but have agreed to do a gig for a friend in mid December so need to get a set together for that. It may well be a more political set than usual, due to the nature of the gig, but we’ll see.  Other than that I am continuing to jot down ideas and make notes with the intention of maybe producing an illustrated collection of new poems.                                                                                                        


Q8) What’s the closest rhyme for ‘orange’ you can find?

I think I read somewhere that there was a village in England called Borange, or Boringe that was a true rhyme with orange, but other than that I might stretch to syringe or hinge. Oh, and I do know someone who’s surname is Collinge, which rhymes. 

 

Q9) Can we have a poem please?

Here’s a whole set from early 2009: http://soundcloud.com/pete-hunter/madmarchfundraiser09

 

Featured Artist: Hollie McNish

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We’ve decided to interview some of our past performers to find out what they’re up to now, hear about their enduring memories of the festival and whet your appetite for the new Poetry&Words  line up in 2013.  Here’s an interview with the first of our featured artists – Hollie McNish.  (Photo by Gary Death.)

 

What is your connection with Poetry&Words?
I have been invited to perform once at Poetry and Words. I entered and won the Glastonbury Slam during that time. The prize was to perform at the next year’s festival, so I got to go again. Was pretty damn chuffed. On the way to the festival that year I found out I was pregnant and spent three days with morning sickness in a single tent wandering around in a haze and trying not to be ill on stage. I didn’t want to tell my partner over the phone so had three very strange, surreal and amazing days! But I definitely have a special relationship to the festival now!

 

Ed: Hollie also contributed to the BBC Radio 4 show, Glastonbury Poetry Diaries, while she was on site with us in 2010.

 

If you had to describe the Poetry&Words stage in just three words, what would they be?
A Poetry Pocket

 

How would you describe Glastonbury Festival to someone who’s never been there?
It is not what you expect – unless you only stay in the main areas. Glastonbury is one of the most diverse festivals there is. You can spend 3 days getting massages and healings in the Green fields or completely mashed in the dance arenas. I reckon a balance is good. There is so much more to the festival than you can ever imagine and instead of sticking to the areas you know, you should explore it all. Take a two hour break to just walk around and find stuff. Like the Poetry and Words Stage. It’s right at the end. Next to the most amazing areas, like Green Fields and Arcadia. Arcadia. Arcadia. I’ll say it once more. Go to Arcadia! Fire bass monsters.

 

Can you name two other poets who you admire?
My current favorite poets to watch are Keith Jarrett and Dan Cockrill (of Bang Said the Gun). I like them because they talk to you. They don’t shout at you. I like poets that shout too but right now, I’m leaning on the side of talking with quiet passion. I’m trying to stop shouting so much myself. I don’t shout off stage at all so not sure why I always seem to start on stage!

 

What kinds of things inspire you to write?

I think, honestly, mainly, newspaper articles, adverts, magazines, studies, my daughter and food. I’m not so deep! I’m quite easily inspired to write, generally when I don’t have enough space inside me to fit the aggravation some things cause me, or, on the other side, the love and amazement. I like to get them both off my chest or I feel overwhelmed by things a lot of the time. The world is so messed up and so amazing all at once.

 

Where is the most unusual place you’ve performed your work?

On a public bus in Paris banlieue at rush hour. I had to do it for a festival to ‘include the town’, which is good in theory, except I think some people genuinely do not want poetry on their bus to work and that perhaps sometimes poets forget that! I finished one poem and an old man tapped me on the back and said, “merci, je n’ai rien compris, mais merci. (Thanks, I didn’t understand a word but thanks). That made up for it a bit!

 

What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on how to balance an amazing toddler, sleepless nights, relationship, day job and a growing amount of poetry work! But in terms of poetry, a few things at the mo. I’m developing a set of poems into a show called ‘Something we don’t talk about’ with Battersea Arts Centre, being shown on November 23rd and 24th for the first time. I’m also working on putting together a lot of my poems into another set about immigration, emigration and scones. I’m project managing a Walking Tour of Cambridge, looking at the history of women through poetry, photography, art and architecture. That’s with my day job. I work at an Architecture Centre. Apart from that, I’m still writing a lot, some for kids now, and just wondering what to do with it all other than save it on my computer and leave it there!

 

What’s the closest rhyme for ‘orange’ you can find?
Je mange. Can we use other languages cos that works well? Je mange // une orange!

 

Can we have a poem please?

Here is one I wrote at Glastonbury, which might be most relevant. The video also shows the greener side of the festival which some might miss. Hope you enjoy it x

 

Where can we find out more about your work?

I have finally set up a website, here… www.holliemcnish.com.