Poetry&Words Headliners: Saturday Night

Saturday night’s headliner is the ever-wonderful veteran – scratch that – legendary poet, John Hegley.¬† With songs and poems about fig rolls, potatoes (new and old), much singing joining in and a little bit of communal choreography.The Poetry&Words stage just wouldn’t be the same without him ūüôā

John Hegley

Mr Hegley was born in Newington Green, North London, and was educated in Luton, Bristol and Bradford University.  His first public performance monies came from busking his songs, initially outside a shoeshop in Hull, in the late Seventies. He performed on the streets of London in the early Eighties, fronting the Popticians, with whom he also recorded two sessions for John Peel, and has since been a frequent performer of his words, sung and spoken, on both local and national radio.

He has produced ten books of verse and prose pieces, two CDs and one mug, but¬†his largest source of income is from stages on his native island. An Edinburgh Festival regular, he is noted for his exploration of such diverse topics as dog hair, potatoes, handkerchiefs and the misery of human existence.¬† He is an occasional DJ, dancer and workshop leader,¬†using drawing, poetry and¬†gesture. He has been awarded an honorary Doctorate of Arts from what is now the University of Bedfordshire, and once performed in a women’s prison in Columbia.

John Hegley will be on the Poetry&Words stage at 18.10 on the Saturday night.

Poetry&Words Headliners: Friday Night

With the festival just around the corner now, we thought we ought to tell you a little something about our headliners.¬† So, here goes…

Friday night’s headliner is three-time world champion spoken word artist, Buddy Wakefield.

Buddy-Wakefield by Inti St. Clair

Buddy Wakefield by Inti St. Clair

Buddy Wakefield has featured on the BBC, HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, ABC Radio National, and is signed to Ani DiFranco’s Righteous Babe Records. In 2004 he won the Individual World Poetry Slam Finals thanks to the support of anthropologist and producer Norman Lear, then successfully defended that title at the International Poetry Festival in Rotterdam, Netherlands against the national champions of seven European countries with works translated into Dutch.   In 2005 he won the Individual World Poetry Slam Championship again and has gone on to share the stage with nearly every notable performance poet in the world in 2000+ venues internationally from The Great Lawn of Central Park, Zimbabwe’s Shoko Festival and Scotland’s Oran Mor to San Quentin State Penitentiary, House of Blues New Orleans and The Basement in Sydney, Australia.

In the spring of 2001 Buddy left his position as the executive assistant at a biomedical firm in Gig Harbor, WA, sold or gave away everything he owned, moved to the small town of Honda Civic and set out to live for a living, touring North American poetry venues through 2003. He never stopped.

Buddy has been a busker in Amsterdam, a lumberjack in Norway, a street vendor in Spain, a team leader in Singapore, a re-delivery boy, a candy maker, a street sweeper, a bartender, a maid, a construction worker, a bull rider, an incredibly slow triathlete and a facilitator at Quantum Learning Network. He loves peanut butter, power napping, chopping wood and Vipassana meditation. Wakefield is a writer, elated son of a guitar repair woman, wingman of Giant Saint Everything and pays attention.

An author at Write Bloody Publishing and an original Board of Directors member with Youth Speaks Seattle, Buddy is published internationally in dozens of books with work used to win multiple national collegiate debate and forensics competitions. Wakefield, who is not concerned with what poetry is or is not, delivers raw, rounded, disarming performances of humor and heart.

Buddy Wakefield will be on the Poetry&Words stage at 18.10 on the Friday evening.

Announcing a Fantastic New Booking for Poetry&Words 2016!

You may already know that Poetry&Words has an open call every year for poets who want to perform at Glastonbury Festival.¬† Most of our poets are booked through this route.¬† There are a lot of great reasons for this – It gives us (and you) the chance to hear new voices that we wouldn’t otherwise have come across; it keeps things fresh and exciting; it gives poets from far and wide the opportunity to be part of the action – I could go on.¬†¬† One down side of this though, it that we can’t just book our favourite poets on the scene.¬† When a booked poet cancels two weeks before the gates open, however, all bets are off, and it’s time to start flipping through the phone book.

Luckily for me, my phone book just happens to contain a shed-load of awesome spoken word artists.¬† So, when Mike McGee had to cancel at the end of last week, I called up the fabulously talented Sophia Blackwell, and guess what – she’s up for it!¬† So, we can now officially add this sassy wordsmith to the Poetry&Words’ 2016 line-up…Sophia BlackwellSophia is a regular host for Apples and Snakes and guest compere at venues like The Ivy, Black‚Äôs Club, Madam JoJo‚Äôs, Soho Theatre.¬† We have been lucky enough to have her three times before at Glastonbury Festival, and she has also performed three Edinburgh Fringe shows, as well as at festivals like The Big Chill, Secret Garden Party and Standon Calling. She is a member of the collectives Short Sharp Shock and Other Voices.

Her writing has appeared in Trespass, Rising, Fuselit anthologies and Pen Pusher, the Oxford Muse book, ‘Guide to an Unknown City,’ and in Paul Burston‚Äôs anthology of gay short fiction, ‚ÄėBoys and Girls’ and its follow-up ‚ÄėMen and Women.’ She has also been published in Time Out and Diva.¬† Sophia’s first collection of poetry, ‘Into Temptation,’ was published by Tollington Press in 2009 and her first novel, ‘After My Own Heart,’ was published by Limehouse Books in March 2012.

Sophia will be on the Poetry&Words stage at 14.35 on the Friday and again at 13.55 on the Sunday.