Interview with Tony Walsh

We sent interview forms out to our artists, and we’ll be sharing their stories here on the blog. Next up:

Tony Walsh by Scott Tyrrell

Tony Walsh by Scott Tyrrell

Your Name

Tony Walsh

Website

http://www.longfella.co.uk/

Twitter handle

@LongfellaPoet

Instagram handle

@TonyWalshPoet

Video

Audio

https://soundcloud.com/tony-walsh

Facebook Page

https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=longfella%3A%20poet%20tony%20walsh&epa=SEARCH_BOX

How did you get into poetry/ spoken word?

I’ve written poetry since the age of 6 and still have my poems from primary school. I wrote until my mid teens and nothing then for many years until I was in my late 30s with two small children. I read my first poem in public at the age of 39 (2004) and made it to my first Glastonbury Festival within a year.

Who are your influences/ idols?

Idols is the wrong word but big respect and thanks to all the pioneers of spoken word, too many to list, and to everyone who first inspired me and welcomed me onto the Manchester then national scenes. I list a couple of hundred poets for people to checkout in the back of my first book, SEX & LOVE & ROCK&ROLL (Burning Eye 2013)

What’s the one thing you’d like people to know about your work?

I write for adults and children on a wide range of subjects and in lots of different styles/forms. It can be frustrating when people think that the one or two poems they may have heard is all that you’re about.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in spoken word/ performance poetry?

Read lots, get to as many events as you can, writeoutloud.net has a great gig guide, watch everything that you can on YouTube. I offer my own story and my thoughts on the seen in the Manifesto from the front of my book, a link to which I’ve included above.

Who are you looking forward to seeing/ what are you looking forward to doing at the Festival?

Showing my wife around for her first ever Glaso and sharing the whole crazy experience with her. Seeing and hearing poetry friends old and new. I try not to march around with a timetable but I’d be chuffed if I could catch a few from a list including: Janelle Monae, Lizzo, Fontaines DC, Chemical Brothers, Mavis Staples, Sheryl Crow, Johnny Marr, Slaves, Queen Zee, Pip Blom, Michael Kiwanuka, Neneh Cherry, Sharon Von Etten, She Drew The Gun, Kurt Vile, Dream Wife… blimey, getting excited now!

Have you been to Glastonbury Festival before?

Yes

What’s your stand-out memory of the Festival?

Being the official website Poet in Residence for the 2011 festival was pretty special. Thank you P&W!

What’s the one thing you simply must bring with you to the Festival?

An open mind.

What advice would you give someone visiting the Festival for the first time?

Try and see all of the site at least once (day and night) but accept that it won’t all be to your taste. Find the “festivals within the festival” that work best for you. There are quieter places to be found if it all gets a bit overwhelming. Pace yourself, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t try and see everything, the best things might well be a random happening on the way to the loo at 3am.

Have you performed at Glastonbury Poetry&Words before?

Yes, several times since 2005. I was Poet in Residence in 2011, hosted the slam one year and helped crew the stage for a few years too.

What’s your standout memory of performing at the Glastonbury Poetry&Words stage?

The naked man, covered in mud and apparently on acid, who slithered in with a film crew as I performed in 2005.

What advice would you give someone performing here for the first time?

The stage is very well run but, hey, it’s a festival and all sorts of random stuff could happen during your set. Be prepared, have a Plan B and go with the flow. Enjoy it and be sure to spend a lot of time in the poetry tent and backstage. How often can you meet/see so many other people who really get this cool, niche thing that we do? Help out if you can, help bark up a crowd etc.

What words would you use to describe your work/ your act?

poetry

What do you like best about doing whatever you call whatever it is that you do on stages?

It’s all about connection, innit. To move a space full of people, to make them laugh, cry, cheer, dance, think join in etc, is a privilege as well as being a real buzz that can sustain you over the many other hurdles of choosing the poet’s path in life.

Anything else you’d like to tell us?

Lots of exciting news to come soon across a range of genres and platforms – new book, tv work, music collaborations, opera, tour of UK and Ireland, kids stuff. Watch this space! Tx


You can see Tony Walsh at 17:35-18:05 Friday at the Glastonbury Poetry&Words stage. Read our previous article about him here.

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Interview with Rosy Carrick

We sent interview forms out to our artists, and we’ll be sharing their stories here on the blog. Next up:

Rosy Carrick by Scott Tyrrell

Rosy Carrick by Scott Tyrrell

Your Name

Rosy Carrick

Website

http://www.rosycarrick.com

Twitter handle

@rosycarrick

Instagram handle

@rosycarrick

How did you get into poetry/ spoken word?

I started writing poetry when I was six years old and loved the feeling of having power over language!

Who are your influences/ idols?

Right now I can’t stop listening to Scatman John, though I dunno if I’d call him either an influence or an idol!

What’s the one thing you’d like people to know about your work?

It’s grotty n cool

What advice would you give to someone starting out in spoken word/ performance poetry?

In an ideal world, “Performance poetry” is just “Poetry”, performed well.

Who are you looking forward to seeing/ what are you looking forward to doing at the Festival?

Bananarama, Janelle Monae, Kylie, Lauryn Hill and the Wu – although I will inevitably end up just walking from one stage to another just in time to realise I’ve missed whoever I meant to see like usual…

Have you been to Glastonbury Festival before?

Yes

What’s your stand-out memory of the Festival?

David Bowie in 2000 was life-changingly awesome (not least cos it caused me to fall asleep in my English A level the following afternoon, fail it, get rejected from my University of choice, go through clearing instead and almost immediately get pregnant.) My daughter Olive, who is the inadvertent result of this adventure, will this year be joining me for her first ever Glatonbury – here’s hoping it doesn’t get her pregnant too!

What’s the one thing you simply must bring with you to the Festival?

WET WIPES!

What advice would you give someone visiting the Festival for the first time?

Aim to see no more than 2 bands a day and don’t buy drugs from strangers!

Have you performed at Glastonbury Poetry&Words before?

Yes

What’s your standout memory of performing at the Glastonbury Poetry&Words stage?

Well the first thing that comes to mind is banging ******* ***** backstage, but perhaps that would be a tad uncouth, so instead let’s go for this: the very first time I performed on the stage in 2003 there were torrential storms and poor Nathan Filer was first onstage – performing barefoot, calf-deep in water, inaudible over the sound of thunder, with all electricity and mics having been cut off. He did a sterling job!

What advice would you give someone performing here for the first time?

Sometimes there’s a big audience, sometimes there’s a small audience. Either way, have fun and everyone in there will have fun too!

What words would you use to describe your work/ your act?

poetry, live literature, compering

What do you like best about doing whatever you call whatever it is that you do on stages?

It’s different every time

Anything else you’d like to tell us?

I’ve just started wall-climbing and am well on my way to becoming the Cliffhanger of Hove!


You can see Rosy Carrick at 11:50-15:30 Friday; 15:30-19:00 Saturday; 11:50-14:30 Sunday at the Glastonbury Poetry&Words stage. Read our previous article about her here.

Interview with Fay Roberts

We sent interview forms out to our artists, and we’ll be sharing their stories here on the blog. Next up, well I thought I should probably do this as well:

Fay Roberts by Scott Tyrrell

Fay Roberts by Scott Tyrrell

Your Name

Fay Roberts

Website

http://www.fayroberts.co.uk

Twitter handle

@fayroberts

Instagram handle

@fayrobertsuk

Video

Audio


http://bit.ly/speakingstrings

Facebook Page

https://www.facebook.com/FayRobertsPoet

How did you get into poetry/ spoken word?

Poetry was always something that other people wrote (and that I performed at school) for many years until I started dating a poet. Finally, in 2006, I entered the inaugural slam for a magazine run by a mate in order to support them. I was terrified, but that terror fed an adrenaline rush like nothing else I’d experienced in decades of performing music. It all kind of cascaded from there.

Who are your influences/ idols?

Zena Edwards, Rosie Garland, Mark Gwynne Jones, Jo Bell, Rachel Amey, Tina Sederholm… in fact, pretty much the whole cast of Other Voices over the years… way too many people to list. Let’s leave it there for now.

What’s the one thing you’d like people to know about your work?

It’s really hard to encapsulate in a short space of time.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in spoken word/ performance poetry?

Go to as many events as you can. Listen as well as perform. Be bold and apply for things you think you might never get. Do favours for people, but learn when and how to start setting boundaries around time, travel, cost, etc. Turn up on time, be pleasant to work with, treat it as a proper job, and yes – you can improve on your work; never stop working on your craft.

Who are you looking forward to seeing/ what are you looking forward to doing at the Festival?

Apart from all the performers at P&W (I’m wildly excited to see both those I know and those new to me; you may have picked that up from the blog), I really want to see Ms. Lauren Hill, Janelle Monae (even though I’m seeing her in London a couple of days later!), and KT Tunstall. I’m also looking forward to wandering around the site when I can (mostly on Thursday!) and taking in the atmosphere, plus catching up with a few old friends (and probably bouncing in a dance tent somewhere if I can persuade anyone to join me – and possibly just doing it anyway).

Have you been to Glastonbury Festival before?

Yes

What’s your stand-out memory of the Festival?

It’s a toss-up between the handfasting we helped witness in the Brigid garden, after watching the sun come up over the stone circle; the people duelling with rather large, muddied dildos in the middle of the night; and standing in a field that had turned into mudflats minus the salt, watching Faithless chant the sun out from behind the clouds. Mind you, not completely convinced that last one was Glasto…

What’s the one thing you simply must bring with you to the Festival?

A set of clean, dry clothes (or even just underwear) you’ve kept separate from everything else to travel home in.

What advice would you give someone visiting the Festival for the first time?

You cannot experience everything. Don’t timetable yourself too rigorously – leave aside some time to just wander and take it all in. Enjoy your Glastonbury, and enjoy other people’s anecdotes of their Glastonbury – don’t let FOMO screw you, and make sure you Maslow yourself (water, food, sleep)!

Have you performed at Glastonbury Poetry&Words before?

No

What words would you use to describe your work/ your act?

poetry, performance poetry, spoken word, theatre, music

What do you like best about doing whatever you call whatever it is that you do on stages?

That bit afterwards where people enthusiastically talk about the journey they went on listening to your work – it may be something completely different from what you intended, and that’s pretty magical!

Anything else you’d like to tell us?

I’m feeling an interesting combination of ferociously fortunate, giddily excited and mildly terrified. Can’t wait! ☺


You can see Fay Roberts at 12:05-12:30 Sunday at the Glastonbury Poetry&Words stage. Read our previous article about zir here.

Interview with Paula Varjack

We sent interview forms out to our artists, and we’ll be sharing their stories here on the blog. Next up:

Paula Varjack by Scott Tyrrell

Paula Varjack by Scott Tyrrell

Your Name

Paula Varjack

Website

http://www.paulavarjack.com/

Twitter handle

@paulavarjack

Instagram handle

@paulavarjack

Video

Audio

Facebook Page

https://www.facebook.com/paulavarjackartist/

How did you get into poetry/ spoken word?

I was booked to do a cabaret gig on my 30th birthday, and decided to create a spoken word set for it

Who are your influences/ idols?

Yoko Ono, Maggie Estep, Sophie Calle, Laurie Anderson, Karen Finley, Dorothy Parker

What’s the one thing you’d like people to know about your work?

Prepare to be Varjacked…

What advice would you give to someone starting out in spoken word/ performance poetry?

Just dive in

Who are you looking forward to seeing/ what are you looking forward to doing at the Festival?

Wu-Tang Klan, Janet Jackson, Janelle Monae, Stormzy, Kylie, Tame Impala (but not necessarily in that order

Have you been to Glastonbury Festival before?

Yes

What’s your stand-out memory of the Festival?

There are too many! Most of my favourite ever live music performances: Beyonce, Kanye, Radiohead, James Blake, Hot Chip, but maybe one of my fave memories was walking into the sisterhood in shangri-la for the first time. An oasis of a woman only space.

What’s the one thing you simply must bring with you to the Festival?

Glitter, lots of unitards, rubber boots for the rain

What advice would you give someone visiting the Festival for the first time?

You will probably wish you packed something, and wonder why you packed something

Have you performed at Glastonbury Poetry&Words before?

Yes

What’s your standout memory of performing at the Glastonbury Poetry&Words stage?

I have no distinct performance memory really. Partly because I am lucky to have performed and hosted there 4 or 5 ? times and it’s all a bit of a beautiful blur!

What advice would you give someone performing here for the first time?

Go in open with no expectation, and just enjoy it.

What words would you use to describe your work/ your act?

spoken word, live literature, performance art, theatre, multidisciplinary entertainment, random words in a random order

What do you like best about doing whatever you call whatever it is that you do on stages?

the liveness of it

Anything else you’d like to tell us?

I can’t wait !


You can see Paula Varjack at 15:35-16:00 Friday at the Glastonbury Poetry&Words stage. Read our previous article about her here.

Interview with Courtney Conrad

We sent interview forms out to our artists, and we’ll be sharing their stories here on the blog. Next up:

Courtney Conrad by Scott Tyrrell

Courtney Conrad by Scott Tyrrell

Your Name

Courtney Conrad

Instagram handle

@ccpoetryyy

Video

Facebook Page

https://www.facebook.com/ccpoetryyy/

How did you get into poetry/ spoken word?

I started in my undergrad year at the University of Birmingham when I joined Speak Out Society, this was in 2015

Who are your influences/ idols?

Andrea Gibson

What’s the one thing you’d like people to know about your work?

Listeners have an insight to unspoken words that have yet to be said to family, friends and lovers.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in spoken word/ performance poetry?

Never filter yourself on the basis of other’s perception of you

Who are you looking forward to seeing/ what are you looking forward to doing at the Festival?

I am looking forward to seeing Ms Lauryn Hill, Lizzo, Billie Eilish, Snow Patrol Hozier, and all the poets performing

Have you been to Glastonbury Festival before?

No

What words would you use to describe your work/ your act?

poetry, spoken word

What do you like best about doing whatever you call whatever it is that you do on stages?

That I get one step closer to finding the courage to free myself from societal expectations that holds the true me captive

Anything else you’d like to tell us?

My set will be an intricate construction of my lived experience, drawing on my hard-learned lessons with heritage, womanhood, family and the intersections of race, religion and sexuality.


You can see Courtney Conrad at 12:05-12:30 Friday; 13:45-15:10 Sunday at the Glastonbury Poetry&Words stage. Read our previous article about her here.

Interview with Paul Eccentric/ The Antipoet

We sent interview forms out to our artists, and we’ll be sharing their stories here on the blog. Next up:

The Antipoet by Scott Tyrrell

The Antipoet by Scott Tyrrell

Your Name

Paul Eccentric

Name of Act

The Antipoet

Website

https://www.theantipoet.co.uk/

Twitter handle

@theantipoet

Instagram handle

@onehalfoftheantipoet

Video

Audio

Facebook Page

https://www.facebook.com/AntipoetThe/

How did you get into poetry/ spoken word?

In 1991 I supported John Hegley whilst singing with my band and decided that was what I wanted to do.

Who are your influences/ idols?

John Hegley and Ian Dury

What’s the one thing you’d like people to know about your work?

We play for food

What advice would you give to someone starting out in spoken word/ performance poetry?

Don’t give up your day job

Who are you looking forward to seeing/ what are you looking forward to doing at the Festival?

John Hegley and The Cure

Have you been to Glastonbury Festival before?

Yes

What’s your stand-out memory of the Festival?

Medical Tent 20 mins before being due on stage

What’s the one thing you simply must bring with you to the Festival?

Rum

What advice would you give someone visiting the Festival for the first time?

Bring loo paper

Have you performed at Glastonbury Poetry&Words before?

Yes

What’s your standout memory of performing at the Glastonbury Poetry&Words stage?

Holding the record for the highest number of entries in the accident book

What advice would you give someone performing here for the first time?

Play the cafes and the bars as well as the slots you’re paid for. Great way to sell books and they pay in food and rum!

What words would you use to describe your work/ your act?

random words in a random order

What do you like best about doing whatever you call whatever it is that you do on stages?

The horror on people’s faces

Anything else you’d like to tell us?

We’re Artists, we’re of a sensitive disposition


You can see Paul Eccentric/ The Antipoet at 11:30-12:00 every day at the Glastonbury Poetry&Words stage. Read our previous article about them here.

Interview with Vanessa Kisuule

We sent interview forms out to our artists, and we’ll be sharing their stories here on the blog. Next up:

Vanessa Kisuule by Scott Tyrrell

Vanessa Kisuule by Scott Tyrrell

Your Name

Vanessa Kisuule

Website

https://www.vanessakisuule.com/

Twitter handle

@Vanessa_Kisuule

Video

Facebook Page

https://www.facebook.com/VanessaKisuule/

How did you get into poetry/ spoken word?

Through a YouTube hole.

Who are your influences/ idols?

Patricia Smith, Salena Godden, Joelle Taylor, Hollie Mcnish, Bohdan Piasecki, Rob Auton, Danez Smith, Caroline Bird, Raymond Antrobus….and on and on and on!

What’s the one thing you’d like people to know about your work?

Make of it what you will!

Who are you looking forward to seeing/ what are you looking forward to doing at the Festival?

Janet Jackson, Kylie, Janelle Monae, Stormzy, The Cure.

Have you been to Glastonbury Festival before?

Yes

What’s your stand-out memory of the Festival?

Naive, 18 year old me dancing in a cage at 3am with a masked man in PVC lederhosen.

Have you performed at Glastonbury Poetry&Words before?

Yes

What’s your standout memory of performing at the Glastonbury Poetry&Words stage?

My outfit. My lip stick was blue and I had customized shorts fringed with these stupidly long chains of safety pins. Serious safety hazard, in hindsight!

What words would you use to describe your work/ your act?

poetry, performance poetry, spoken word, live literature, random words in a random order

What do you like best about doing whatever you call whatever it is that you do on stages?

The motley crew of other poets I get to hang out with.


You can see Vanessa Kisuule at 16:05-16:30 Sunday at the Glastonbury Poetry&Words stage. Read our previous article about her here.

Interview with Erin Fornoff

We sent interview forms out to our artists, and we’ll be sharing their stories here on the blog. Next up:

Erin Fornoff by Scott Tyrrell

Erin Fornoff by Scott Tyrrell

Your Name

Erin Fornoff

Website

https://www.erinfornoff.com

Twitter handle

@jarsofshine

Instagram handle

@erinfornoff

Video

Facebook Page

https://www.facebook.com/pg/ErinFornoffWriter

How did you get into poetry/ spoken word?

I moved to Ireland from the US and had the loneliest year of my life — starting writing almost as a way to talk to myself, and then my first friends were writers and performers. Being far away allowed me to try something new.

Who are your influences/ idols?

Saul Williams, George Saunders, Kate Tempest, Colm Keegan, Cee-Lo Green

What’s the one thing you’d like people to know about your work?

I use poetry as a way to figure stuff out.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in spoken word/ performance poetry?

Memorize stuff and don’t ever read off your phone in front of an audience.

Who are you looking forward to seeing/ what are you looking forward to doing at the Festival?

Kate Tempest, Hozier, Lauryn Hill, going into the underground speakeasy place in the woods, performing in a gang with the other poets.

Have you been to Glastonbury Festival before?

Yes

What’s your stand-out memory of the Festival?

Roving around the festival with the poets, performing in teepees and tree houses, caves and lean-tos, fields and bars all weekend-the absolute best bit. Also I made friends with Hollie McNish within the first 5 minutes of arriving and we’ve been pals for 6 years now. Also, as I was heading to the shower, Debris Stevenson and Koko Brown telling me that someone with hair as curly as mine should wash it with conditioner instead of shampoo, a piece of advice which changed my (hair) life forever.

What’s the one thing you simply must bring with you to the Festival?

Costumes and outfits

What advice would you give someone visiting the Festival for the first time?

Good lord, bring an air mattress.

Have you performed at Glastonbury Poetry&Words before?

Yes

What’s your standout memory of performing at the Glastonbury Poetry&Words stage?

Saying ’Hellooooooo Glastonbury’ then making myself laugh more than was really called for.

What advice would you give someone performing here for the first time?

Work on your pre- and post-poem banter

What words would you use to describe your work/ your act?

poetry, performance poetry, spoken word, live literature

What do you like best about doing whatever you call whatever it is that you do on stages?

Telling stories

Anything else you’d like to tell us?

My book is called Hymn to the Reckless and pamphlet is Folk Heroes!


You can see Erin Fornoff at 16:35-17:00 Friday; 17:10-17:35 Saturday at the Glastonbury Poetry&Words stage. Read our previous article about her here.

Interview with Joe Sellman-Leava (Monster)

We sent interview forms out to our artists, and we’ll be sharing their stories here on the blog. Next up:

Joe Sellman-Leava by Scott Tyrrell

Joe Sellman-Leava by Scott Tyrrell

Your Name

Joe Sellman-Leava

Name of Act

Monster

Website

https://www.worklighttheatre.co.uk/

Twitter handle

@joesellmanleava

Instagram handle

@joesellmanleava

Video

Facebook Page

https://www.facebook.com/WorklightTheatre/

How did you get into poetry/ spoken word?

Most of my work has been in theatre, though I’ve always written poetry too, and performed at events like Apples & Snakes. I brought my show ‘Labels’ to Glastonbury in 2017, and – although it’s technically a play – the use of storytelling, poetry and other textual forms like news headlines and political soundbites meant that it felt right at home in the Poetry and Words tent.

Who are your influences/ idols?

Spalding Gray, Julie Taymor, Bryony Kimmings, Holly Hughes, Tim Miller, Sarah Kaye, Bobby Baker.

What’s the one thing you’d like people to know about your work?

The piece I’m bringing this year, ‘Monster,’ is a shortened version of a play by the same name. It’s a narrative about masculinity and choice, layered with multiple voices: including Mike Tyson, Patrick Stewart and Shakespeare.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in spoken word/ performance poetry?

Set aside time to make work. Set deadlines for your work, especially ones in front of an audience! And read/watch/experience other work, including in other disciplines.

Who are you looking forward to seeing/ what are you looking forward to doing at the Festival?

So many! I’ll see as much as I can at Poetry and Words, but outside of that the people that spring to mind are Janelle Monae; The Cure; Aurora; Stormzy; Bastille; Kate Tempest.

Have you been to Glastonbury Festival before?

Yes

What’s your stand-out memory of the Festival?

Watching the Foo Fighters in 2017 – I was completely blown away! Dave Grohl had everyone in the palm of his hand, and they all had such an amazing rapport with each other.

What’s the one thing you simply must bring with you to the Festival?

Ginger nuts and apples – best festival breakfast you could eat!

What advice would you give someone visiting the Festival for the first time?

Take time to wander around, as well as to stop and take it all in now and again.

Have you performed at Glastonbury Poetry&Words before?

Yes

What’s your standout memory of performing at the Glastonbury Poetry&Words stage?

Some friends from the office I used to work at were watching, and one of the bosses was in tears by the end. That felt really special.

What advice would you give someone performing here for the first time?

Enjoy it! The noise from other tents, plus the fact that people may wander in and out, might feel a little distracting at times, but focus on connecting with whoever’s there at the time, and the work you’re performing, and the rest will take care of itself.

What words would you use to describe your work/ your act?

spoken word, theatre

What do you like best about doing whatever you call whatever it is that you do on stages?

Connecting with people.

Anything else you’d like to tell us?

I can’t wait to be there, in such wonderful company!


You can see Monster at 15:15-16:00 Sunday at the Glastonbury Poetry&Words stage. Read our previous article about him here.

Interview with Demi Anter

We sent interview forms out to our artists, and we’ll be sharing their stories here on the blog. Next up:

DemiAnter by Scott Tyrrell

DemiAnter by Scott Tyrrell

Your Name

Demi Anter

Website

http://www.demianter.com

Twitter handle

@demianter

Instagram handle

@anterdemi

Video

Half – at Words With Friends from Demi Anter on Vimeo.

Audio

How did you get into poetry/ spoken word?

I became aware of spoken word in high school, when someone showed me a video of Anis Mojgani’s “Shake the Dust.” I wrote poetry but was extremely shy, and thought there was no way I would ever dare to perform. Fast forward to my first week of college at University of California, Santa Barbara, where I saw Prof. Kip Fulbeck give a talk. Despite a huge amount of fear, I enrolled in his legendary spoken word class (and I do mean LEGENDARY! It’s a class that people routinely refer to as “life-changing”). I found I had a knack for it and the rest is history!

Who are your influences/ idols?

I do still love Anis Mojgani. Saul Williams is untouchable. I have learned so much from listening to Beau Sia, and only hope to reach his level of profundity and skill one day. No one has influenced me more than Kip Fulbeck, my steadfast mentor and friend for nearly ten years.

What’s the one thing you’d like people to know about your work?

It means a lot to me to be personal, and vulnerable, and to take risks. I try to write pieces that are scary for me to perform. I want someone in the audience to feel seen, and less alone in the frequently uphill battle that is being a person in this world.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in spoken word/ performance poetry?

I think I would have been terrified to start without the framework of a class, so I would advise to find whatever support system or push that you need to get going! Even one other friend who agrees to read or watch your performing in the beginning can be an immense help. Most of all — don’t be afraid to write down the ideas that make you say, “I could never say this on a stage.” Maybe you won’t say it today, but you’ll get there — and for me, this is the work I most want to see!

Who are you looking forward to seeing/ what are you looking forward to doing at the Festival?

I encountered Erin Fornoff’s work pretty recently and I’m excited to see more of it. (Plus, she understands the American expat struggle!) In general, most of the U.K./European scene is new to me, so it will be a thrill to get to know so many poets in one weekend! At the rest of the festival, I’m probably most excited to see Lizzo (if you need a confidence boost, go listen to “Betcha” and “Truth Hurts” right now).

Have you been to Glastonbury Festival before?

No

What words would you use to describe your work/ your act?

poetry, performance poetry, spoken word

What do you like best about doing whatever you call whatever it is that you do on stages?

The performance itself can be quite cathartic, but what I like most is what comes after, when I get to talk to viewers and hear their interpretations, insights, responses, and so on. It’s so cool to hear “Something like that happened to me,” and “I can so relate.” Everybody has a story, but not everyone is in a position to share them. I consider is a great honor to share my stories and to get to connect with others through them.


You can see Demi Anter at 13:35-14:00 Friday; 14:35-15:00 Saturday at the Glastonbury Poetry&Words stage. Read our previous article about her here.