First five poets announced for Glastonbury Poetry Stage 2013

The Glastonbury Poetry & Words Stage has chosen its final line up f0r 2013. Thank you to all of the artists who have applied. I have now been passed the list of chosen acts for this year and I’ll be announcing the names little by little over the next month; semi-headliners and headliners at the end.

Today, I’d like to offer a guide to the first five poets on the line up who made me break into a little bit of an excited sweat as I read their names. I have seen these five poets a lot and I am looking forward to seeing them perform again – as many times as I can. They are all juicier than June strawberries and if you are at the festival, you really should come over, sit down and have a listen. If you’re not going to Glastonbury, check them out online as soon as you can.

1. The Antipoet

The Antipoet

The Antipoet

My favourite poetry ‘band’, these two had adults streaming tears in laughter and kids all round me jumping from their seats chanting ‘tights not stockings’ the last time I saw them at a live gig. My mum fancies them, my nan thinks they’re ‘a bit too rude’, my mates think they’re geniuses and I think their song ‘what the f*@k is she going on about’ should be given out as medication to anyone who’s gone to too many naff poetry gigs. Serious ideas performed hilariously.

Come and see them if you are also planning to see:

The Rolling Stones

Primal Scream

Billy Bragg

Riot Jazz

The Monsters of Schlock

The Urban Voodoo Machine

Official Biography

The world’s finest exponents of beatrantin’ rhythm ‘n  views.  A wry blend of anarchocynisism and comic observation, Paul Eccentric and Ian Newman have brought together the wit and wisdom of one of the country’s finest performance poets, with melodic rhythms of solo bass and the odd piece of gratuitous percussion thrown in for good measure to create the unique sound and spectacle that is The Antipoet.  Formed in 2009, they have since gigged extensively, supporting such luminaries as Matt Harvey, John Hegley, Elvis McGonagall, Attila the Stockbroker, TV Smith, Ed Tudor Pole and Robin Ince.

“The only thing that prepares you for them, is having seen them before!
Wesley Freeman-Smith

 “Sweet as strawberries; sharp as lemon barley water.”
Jo Bell, Ledbury Festival

“An act at the forefront of the new movement, with material dripping in parody. They take poetry to a new level, with performances as memorable as they are hilarious”
The Stage

“Eyeliner, triangle and a double bass have never been funnier!”
Word of Mouth

Where to get them online

2. Bohdan Piasecki

Bohdan Piasecki

Bohdan Piasecki

Every time I read an article that suggests spoken word or performance poetry is not ‘real’ poetry, not up to the lyrical standard of the page, book, poetry press, I listen to Bohdan Piasecki and think ‘What about this? They obviously haven’t heard Bohdan.’ Every time I read an inflamed tabloid article suggesting that Polish people are moving to the UK to take over British culture, I listen to Bohdan Piasecki and think, ‘I hope so. If they write poetry with the beauty, modesty and wit of this man, I really hope so’. I just wish I could read his poetry in Polish too.

Come and see him if you are also planning to see:

Arctic Monkeys

I am Kloot

K T Tunstall

Evan Dando

Seth Lakeman

Dinosaur Jr

Martha Wainwright


Official biography

Bohdan is a poet from Poland currently based in the UK. Since moving to England, he has featured at some of the country’s topmost spoken word nights and festivals, written for BBC Radio 3, and worked as visiting lecturer in Creative Writing at Birmingham University, proving conclusively that Poles really are taking over. He feels equally at home with a rowdy festival crowd and at more sedate poetry readings. He does what he can to offer the former something to think about and to inject a little anarchy in the latter. Bohdan enjoys strong coffee and inflicting poetry in Polish on unsuspecting audiences.

Where to get him online

3.Deanna Rodger

Deanna Rodger

Deanna Rodger

When asked to recite one of her poems for a recent poetry documentary, Deanna Rodger stood up and slowly recited a brilliant part of Dizzee Rascal lyrics by heart, till she burst out laughing and did hers for real. I love Dizzee Rascal, I think she does too, but I also think her lyrics outshine his. The passion which flows from her breathe every time she stands up to perform is mind-blowing. She spits poetry more lyrically and with more determination than any performer I have ever seen.

Come and see her if you are also planning to see:

Dizzee Rascal (obviously!)

Public Enemy

Chase and Status

Professor Green

Alice Russell

High Focus

Rita Ora

Official Biography

Deanna Rodger co-runs popular spoken word events  ‘Chill Pill’ and  ‘Come Rhyme with Me’ and is a member of London poetry collectives ‘Rubix’, ‘Keats House Poetry Forum’ and ‘Point Blank Poets’.

She is the youngest ever UK Poetry Slam Champion (2008), and has performed at  Buckingham Palace, Number 10 Downing Street, Parliament, The Treasury and many other prestigious venues, theatres and events around the UK and Europe. Deanna wrote the 2012 Olympic Team Welcome ceremonies and is also an actor.

Where to get her online

Twitter @deannarodger

4.Toby Thompson

Toby Thompson

Toby Thompson

The first time I saw Toby get on stage I was very jealous of his all-in-one navy blue jumpsuit. By the end of the set I was still jealous of the jumpsuit and captivated by the depth, honesty and rhyme of his poetry. For the next two years I tried to remember his surname so I could look him up and hear more of his poetry. I finally found him at a small gig in Brighton and I was amazed all over again. I could listen to Toby’s poems till I’m sick of them and still pick up new lines each time I listen. I am overjoyed he is at Glastonbury and cannot wait to watch his set. I wonder if he still has the jumpsuit?

Come and see him if you are also planning to see:

Laura Mvula

James Blake

High Focus


Official Biography

Watching Toby Thompson is like watching the first atomic bomb, a firework set off in your bedroom and two people having sex, at the same time, on repeat. He’s explosive, intense and deeply honest. One of the brightest stars on the spoken word scene, his words leave you breathless, his passion for saying them speechless, and his age will probably leave you jealous at how a man of his few years can know so much and say it so well. He has put out amazingly strong work through the Royal Shakespeare and with his debut DVD Angel Features. Firing on all hadron colliders, we present for you Toby Thompson, the 2011 Glastonbury Poetry Slam Champion.

“Toby Thompson is one of the most inspired, powerful MC / poets I’ve heard in years. He speaks with a talent and passion that puts a lot of older writers to shame. F**k knows what primal wellspring he’s pulling all this inspiration from, but anyway. World: take notice.”
Dizraeli (Champion Poet, Rapper and Hip Hop Tour De Force)

“Toby is easily one of the most gifted young wordsmiths I have ever had the pleasure to encounter, but what’s more he has the discipline and confidence of a seasoned pro ten years his senior.  His humility and hunger to learn mean he is certain to maximize his already abundant talents.”
Akala (Rapper, Playwright and Hip Hop Shakespeare Company Founder)

Where to get him online

5. Indigo Williams

Indigo Williams

Indigo Williams

Indigo William’s words are calm, collected, aggravated and uplifting at once and I wish I could wrap them up and stuff them in my dreams at night. Some people say spoken word poets have a tendency to shout too much, to yell at an audience, but Indigo Williams has an absurd talent for softly whispering out the woes and beauty of the world without the need to raise the volume. Listening to her poetry makes me feel I’m getting a shoulder, neck and mental massage in one sitting.

Come and see her if you are also planning to see:

Maverick Sabre


Ben Howard

Of Monsters and Men

The Smashing Pumpkins

Official Biography

Indigo Williams is a dynamic poet and performance artist from London. She studied music at The British School of Performing Arts, has a degree in Creative Writing and Journalism and is currently studying a Writer/Teacher MA at Goldsmiths University.

After bursting on the poetry scene in 2010, Indigo established herself as an artist who commands the stage with a gripping presence and powerful poetry. With both substance and passion, her work is emotive and thought provoking.  She has performed across the UK and Europe at various venues and events, including: The Big Chill festival, iTunes Festival, Camp Bestival, The RoundHouse, BBC Radio 4’s Bespoken Word, The Royal Shakespeare Company, The Albany, The Royal Festival Hall and many more.

Where to get her online

Hope to see you all there. More acts to be announced very soon.



Welcome to Glastonbury Festival Poetry 2013

Hi. My name is Hollie McNish and I am completely stoked to start working as this year’s Glastonbury Poetry&Words blogger. I’ll be updating you on the absurdly brilliant line-up of poets coming to perform on the stage at this years Glastonbury Festival, as well as any other news, reviews or general things of interest.

What’s the news?

So first up, as you can see, we have a new blog site: Tell your friends, tell your mum, tell anyone who loves or hates poetry. And especially anyone going to this years festival. But even if you’re not, you can follow us. We’d love it and I’m sure you’ll find some new poets who tickle you in ways only poets can.

Secondly, for the next couple of months, I’ll be releasing the names of all the performers who are gracing the Poetry&Words stage. I shouted with joy a few times when I read the line up and am sure you will do. Check out the poets, ring them with black marker in your brochures and make sure you’re not too hungover to see them.

Why am I reporting for the Poetry and Words stage?

Mainly, because I love the Glastonbury Poetry stage. It is brilliant. It is packed away in a peaceful corner of the festival where you can chill out and relax for the day before the night time festivities begin. And there are poets, loads of poets, each with their own sounds, words and performances. All I am saying really is that if you are going to Glastonbury, come and see us. It’ll be worth if. Some even say, it made their festival.

A small bit about me now. My names Hollie, I am also a poet and you can find any more info on me out on and I love Glastonbury Poetry stage and have a very close relationship with the festival! On the way there to perform in 2009 I did a pregnancy test and spent the next three days watching poetry, trying to perform poetry without being sick and wondering what it would be like to be a mum. The following year, I took my baby to it’s first festival, watched more poetry, danced to Shakira and Snoop Dog and wrote this poem for the Radio 4 Poetry Diaries Glastonbury coverage. There are a few more videos below that too.

That’s it for now. Line up coming very soon.

Hollie x