Glastonbury 2020 and Beyond

We’re rather late in getting this post out there, as, like many of you, we’ve been up to our ears dealing with the various demands that the COVID-19 epidemic has sent our way. You will probably know by now that Glastonbury 2020 has been cancelled, due to the epidemic. You can read the official announcement here.

We are very sad about this of course, but it is the best way to keep ourselves and others safe. We’re very much looking forward to coming back for 2021 and will be keeping all applications on file until then. So if you’ve applied to perform on the stage for this year, there’s no need to reapply for next.

In the meantime, please stay safe and look after you and yours.  Remember that staying inside is the best way to look after all of us, particularly the more vulnerable members of our communities. x



POETS and purveyors of fine SPOKEN WORD! Rhapsodic Raconteurs, Slam Champs, Wordsmiths and artful Creators of spectacular Shows! GET IN THE RING!

Our stage wants YOU. Show us what you can do. And then show everybody else.

Want to perform your work on Glastonbury Festival’s biggest poetry stage? Read on…

We’re looking for applications from experienced writers and performers, with something riveting, riotous and downright righteous to offer up to the audiences of the world’s biggest greenfield arts festival.

We operate a fast turnaround stage, so are looking for individual artists who can hit it at a dead run with the minimum of tech support, preamble, props and paraphernalia. We also have stage-time available for performers of one person spoken word shows of 1 hour in length. Bear in mind, we only have a fixed lighting rig, but a lovely crew on the sound-desk who can certainly accommodate backing tracks if required.

Genuinely confident that you will fit this bill? Send us your BEST stuff. We want to be able to see you performing live, so YouTube links or similar would be great. Audio is okay but video holds the most impact. Up to 3 web-links will give us a rounded view of what you are offering. Give us a BIO – sell yourself in a few well-crafted paragraphs.

Send to:

Please note, only one application per act will be accepted. Please do not follow up your application with multiple emails checking on progress or making amendments to your application. This clogs the Inbox and makes your name memorable for all the wrong reasons. The info you need post-application will be in the auto-reply. Please read it.

We do pay a fee, but this is only small. Overseas poets, in particular, should note that we are unable to provide travel expenses. Guest tickets are also beyond our power. Booked performers will receive a ticket for themselves as well as a camping pitch backstage of the Poetry&Words tent.

This year’s festival runs from June 24th– 28th 2020. We require artists to be on site from the Thursday afternoon until the end of their last set.  Be sure of your availability.

To find out more about the festival go to:

The deadline for applications is, strictly, 5pm (GMT) on Friday 20th March 2020.  We regret that we cannot view any applications received after this time, so please make a note of this. Don’t miss your chance!

We hope you’ll understand that, given the frankly fantastical volume of applications we receive every year, we are not physically able to respond to requests for feedback or advice, or to let every applicant know how they’ve done. Successful artists should hear back from us by two months after the deadline at the latest.

Good luck. Now, get cracking!


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Introducing: Liv Torc

Liv Torc Pic 6 by Kieren Sibley (c)
Performing for the first time with us is Liv Torc, 14:05-14:30 Friday; hosting open mic 13:00-14:00 Saturday . If she’s new to you/ you’d like a reminder, read on:

In her own words:

“Liv Torc is a razor blade skating performance poet, who plunges the vast caverns and dormant volcanoes of the human condition, armed with a box of matches and a sense of lyrical wonder. A Radio 4 Slam Winner, a former Bard of Exeter and current co-host of The Hip Yak Poetry Shack. Liv also runs the mental health and poetry night The Rainbow Fish Speak Easy in Yeovil and produces and hosts the hugely successful Hip Yak Poetry Stage at WOMAD festival. She is also the brains and brawn behind the Hip Yak Poetry School, an ACE funded project aimed at supporting the South West spoken word poetry scene.

“Over her career in spoken word Liv has appeared all over the UK and a bit in Europe, performing at the Roundhouse in London, Cheltenham Literary Festival, WOMAD and the Edinburgh Fringe.

“She has delivered workshops and long running poetry projects in schools, colleges, libraries, art centres, doctor’s surgeries and theatres, culminated in performances at, among others, the House of Commons and the 2012 Paralympics.

“Liv is currently Lead Artist for the Somerset wide mental health project Word/Play (recently featured on Apples and Snakes 30th anniversary podcast series), which places performance poets within GP surgeries to help adults re-discover their self worth and learn to communicate their feelings.

“Her first published book ‘Show Me Life’ was released by Burning Eye in 2015.”

Fay’s words:

Liv is another poet who’s new to me, so I’ve gone YouTube surfing again. What I’ve discovered so far is that she’s passionate and articulate, particularly brilliant at building a tangible picture involving multiple senses within a handful of lines. I feel myself immersed in each scene immediately. She then leads you by the hand through that earth-rooted corporeality into more liminal places and shows you the grace of humanity and what we could be. (She’s also ridiculously witty and slips a gorgeous vocabulary into some hysterically funny stanzas.)

She’ll also be the host of the open mic, no mean task, and we’ll be telling you all about that in a few days’ time.

Sneak preview:

Introducing: Demi Anter

Demi Anter
Performing for the first time with us is Demi Anter, 13:35-14:00 Friday; 14:35-15:00 Saturday . If she’s new to you/ you’d like a reminder, read on:

In her own words:

“Demi Anter is a multidisciplinary artist from California’s Coachella Valley. She has produced poetry showcases and workshops throughout the U.S., and opened for artists such as Beau Sia, Sarah Kay & Phil Kaye, Kip Fulbeck, Mayda del Valle and Anis Mojgani. Her work has been published internationally by Spectrum, Almost Real Things, ROPES and Hedgehog Press, and was featured on Belfast’s Poetry Jukebox this spring. She lives in Berlin.”

Fay’s words:

Demi Anter is new to me but, from what I’ve gleaned so far from the sparse, slightly out-of-date footage I’ve managed to track down so far, I’m really looking forward to seeing her. She has that fresh, fast-talking style I’ve come to admire in quite a few poets from the current Glaswegian scene – mixing the personal with the political, blending what looks like acute nervousness with an underlying frustration/ anger at the way life isn’t (though it should be). Demi’s words come machine-gun fast, precise, and mesmerising; it could be easy to mistake her style for the much-derided (in certain parts of the UK scene) Generic American Slam-style, but, if it is American Slam Poetry, it showcases the best of that, as far as I’m concerned. I want to know more about this wide-eyed cynic, and I’m dying to see what she’s written in the years since the most recent clips I’ve found…

Sneak preview:

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

Introducing: Desree

Desree Photo Credit Moses Baako
Performing for the first time with us is Desree, 13:05-13:30 Friday; 16:05-16:30 Saturday . If she’s new to you/ you’d like a reminder, read on:

In her own words:

“Desree is a spoken word artist, writer and facilitator based in both London and Slough.

“Having graduated with a 2:1 BA (Hons) in Drama Studies from De Montfort University, Desree is no stranger to the stage. An advocate for community arts and youth projects, Desree began a night called #OMN in 2014 in her home town of Slough. It was started with the aim of giving individuals of all ages and skills, opportunities and essentially encouragement. It was at #OMN that Desree performed spoken word on stage for the first time.

“Currently Artist in Residence for poetry collective EMPOWORD, and an Ambassador for MQ; Mental Health Research Charity, Desree explores intersectionality, justice and social commentary, occasionally throwing in a f*ckboy poem.

“In January 2018, Desree earned the honour of competing at the prestigious Hammer and Tongue National Finals at the one and only Royal Albert Hall. Having missed out on first place with a 9.6 compared to the winner’s 9.7, Desree is proud to have represented women of colour as one of the only two in the competition, with her poems highlighting the #BlackLivesMatter movement and Black Girl Magic.

“Desree has featured at events all over the UK and internationally, including Bowery Poetry Club, Bestival, WOMAD, Heaux Noire, Word On The Street, Sofar Sounds, Folked Up, Sunday Assembly and Greenbelt Festival alongside World Poetry Slam Champion Harry Baker, Young People’s Laureate for London Caleb Femi, award winning British poet and playwright Toby Campion and habitual slam winner Vanessa Kissuule, and supported rapper, poet, and political activist Akala at It’s In Your Head in September 2017, to name a few.

“Desree has regularly appeared as a guest alongside Bridgitte Tetteh on BBC Radio Berkshire to discuss current affairs and had her work published in Spoken Word London Anti-Hate Anthology, Mindful Seasoning Magazine and broadcasted on the television channel London Live.

“Desree has delivered a TEDx talk at Bath University titled Poetry and Self-Esteem; Finding Truth with Words, and is also, a spoken word educator and facilitator. She uses her art to engage with young people and adults in schools, youth groups, offices and organisations – anywhere with people who have a story.

“Having been commissioned alongside two other spoken word artists, to develop and write a new show with Apples & Snakes, Desree, Laura Rae and The Slam Poet, will be touring the show CROWDED, across London as part of the SPINE Festival 2019.
Following a max-capacity launch night, Desree’s self-published collection, titled I Find My Strength In Simple Things, was released in 2017 and she has her sights set on a second collection to be released in 2019 alongside a few music based projects.”

Fay’s words:

As with Toby, the first time I saw Desree perform was at Edinburgh Fringe, where she qualified (in the exact same dingy, rowdy, haunted space as where I first saw him!) in 2017 for the 2018 Hammer & Tongue National Final, much to her surprise (I got the strong impression that her triumphantly grinning friend prodded her into it!). She was streets ahead of the rest of the competitors that night, and it was really exciting to watch her rise rapidly through the two day competition of the National Final to be beaten in the very final round by only 0.1 by the eventual National Slam Champion. Every time I’ve seen her perform – either as a slammer or a featured artist at Hammer & Tongue Cambridge, she’s devastated me with her words and stage presence. She combines accessibility and gorgeous language with a strong political voice about some very important topics, and manages also to be hilariously funny when necessary. I’m really looking forward to seeing her and the blast of energy she’ll bring with her to the Festival this year.

Sneak preview:

Rosy Carrick by Sharon Kilgannon

Introducing: Rosy Carrick, compere

Rosy Carrick by Sharon Kilgannon

Rosy Carrick by Sharon Kilgannon

Back to keep things moving is the first of our two comperes, Rosy Carrick, 11:50-15:30 Friday; 15:30-19:00 Saturday; 11:50-14:30 Sunday. If you’ve never had the pleasure (or even if you have), read on to find out a little more:

In her words:

“Rosy Carrick is a writer, performer and translator based in Brighton. For seven years (until Dec 2015), she ran and compered Brighton’s Hammer & Tongue poetry events and, alongside Luke Wright, she is co-curator of the Port Eliot festival poetry stage.

“Rosy has a PhD on the poetry of Vladimir Mayakovsky, and has released two books of his work in translation: Volodya (Enitharmon, 2015) and Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (Smokestack, 2017). Her debut play Passionate Machine won Best New Play at Brighton Fringe 2018 and The Infallibles Award for Theatrical Excellence at Edinburgh Fringe 2018. It is touring the UK throughout 2019 before it transfers to New York for an off-Broadway run at the Soho Playhouse.

“Rosy’s first poetry collection Chokey was published in June 2018 by Burning Eye Books. She is currently developing MuscleBound, a new documentary film on the wonderful world of bodybuilders, beefcake and BDSM.”


“Clever, funny, quarrelsome, astonishing!” Sabotage

“Playful, engaging, refreshing – ★★★★” The List

“Surprising, audacious, original. Superb – ★★★★”

Fay’s Words:

The first time I saw Rosy on stage was, from memory, about seven years ago at the Hammer & Tongue National Final in Wilton’s Music Hall, a fitting space for her sometimes very burlesque presence. For the most part, I knew her as one of the organisers of the phenomenally popular Hammer & Tongue Brighton, as fiercely uncompromising in her proudly feminist programming as she was in her poetry. It’s only recently that I’ve actually had the pleasure of watching her in action doing an actual set as a poet (as opposed to hosting and doing the occasional sacrificial poem), on the Cambridge leg of her national Hammer & Tongue tour in December 2018. Her work is astonishing and almost brutally direct, and I’m hoping she’ll take an opportunity to share some of it with us at the Festival.

Sneak Preview:

CALLING ALL POETS, spoken word artists, raconteurs, stand-up poets, story tellers and slam champs…

2019 is awaiting your assault on the bastion of beastly wordsmithery in the freakish fields of Worthy…

tent outside

Lo! We at Poetry&Words are once again opening the floodgates to all you wizardly wonderful poetry fiends. So, if YOU want to perform your work on Glastonbury Festival’s poetry stage, then this is your chance! We’re looking for applications from experienced writers and performers, with something quite excellent to offer the audience of the world’s biggest greenfield arts festival.

If you think that could be you, then please e-mail with a short Bio and 1-3 video and/or audio files of you performing your work, preferably to a live audience. We’d prefer web links, but attachments (of manageable size!) will also be accepted. We will only view one application per person, so send us your best stuff first time around! Please don’t send Word files of your poems or links to your books. However good they are, it’s the performanceelement we need to be able to judge as well.

We do pay a fee, but this is only small, and overseas poets in particular should note that we are unable to provide travel expenses. Guest tickets are also beyond our power, but booked poets will receive a ticket for themselves as well as a camping pitch backstage of the Poetry&Words tent.

This year’s festival runs from June 26th– 30th2019. To find out more, go to:

The deadline for applications is, strictly, 5pm on Friday 1stMarch 2019.  We regret that we cannot view any applications received after this time, so please make a note of the deadline and make sure you submit as much in advance as possible. Don’t miss your chance!

We hope that you’ll understand that, given the positively elephantine volume of applications we receive every year, we are not physically able to respond to requests for feedback or advice, or to let every applicant know how they’ve done. Successful artists should hear back from us by two months after the deadline at the latest.

You can also find us at:


We’re trickling out some more summaries of Glastonbury Poetry&Words, in a kind of slow drip, water torture sort of way. What can we say? I still have a rucksack full of glitter on my sitting room floor. Let’s get to some more bits of that magic festival.


Andy Craven-Griffiths

AndyCravenGriffiths (1)Andy Craven-Griffiths brings out the big guns right off the bat, a strategy that works for him in a real way: he doesn’t shy away from family, and love, and kindness, and those things that sit in the back of the throat, unsaid. Except, as you’re swept up in it, he goes ahead and says them. He talks about his family, unique (like all families, in their ways), on a trip to Spain, drinking with his older brother for the first time, in the sun: “Our pupils shrink in sync….huddling over the table practically cuddling – first time on the lash.” On his family,  his dad, a gesture of affection, hiding behind a curtain, ‘reveling in rebellion.’ He puts the family poems into a certain smaller set then moves to other themes, but the focus on kindness, on those most authentic and genuine interactions, remains a thread through all of it: “We know kindness like a horse knows running…” “Our frozen breaths speech bubbles for the unsayable..”  ” Utopia is not a low fat yogurt.” (I’m remixing these lines here).  He tells the story of a childhood friend he envied until he realized the jagged facets of his life behind the public face. He says of a girl he loved: “Her skin sings to me. I can’t believe how warm she is/how warm she keeps me.” And in a way that first seems unassuming and then builds until it hums into something profound, he does the same to the audience.

Koko Brown

kokobrown.pngKoko comes on stage and steps into her presence, unapologetic, self-possessed. She’s another poet who seems utterly at ease in front of an audience, a performer who reflects the light from a crowd and makes her own back at them. Poets who have a knack for blending music and poetry bring a special level of energy and complexity to the stage — it brings a kind of multiplying alchemy. Koko is a master at the loops and layers of sound which expand to fill the the space she makes for the audience. In a searing piece on sexism and systems of oppression she leads through lists of #notallmen, asking people to look at themselves and their own roles with honesty, for once. The women in the audience are the choir she’s preaching to – it’s the men she asks for a true reckoning. She intersperses spoken pieces with those layered with sung choruses, tones and percussion, describing ‘A wound that exists even if you don’t believe it.” In a stunner on race and all the societal shaming around colour and darkness in a skin she asks, ‘Why did I feel the need to hide from the sun all those times? Searching for shade is not fun.” And to end, and to blow the faces off the assembled crowd, she lets the loops soar as she ends in a whirlwind: “I thought I was a tree: I was the whole fucking garden.”  Damn.

Maddie Godfrey

maddiegodfreyMaddie, Australian via London, doesn’t need to shout to compel a crowd to silence. She has a manner on stage that seems both endearingly calm, a tiny bit shy, and and the same time, completely unfazed.  She meets the audience’s eye. “If my body was a poem,’ she begins as a refrain, “My body is an express train…”If my body was a poem it would not have any point…” and as though she’s commanding the crowd in real time she continues, ‘If my body was a poem the audience would not be still, it would writhe and jive and shake…” She has a way about her. She talks about planes, and fear of flying, drawing a laugh with the very useful advice of, ‘If you close the lid before flushing less of your soul gets sucked out.” She’s fearless in her choice of topic and the frank approach: she walks towards them with her words unadorned. “How hard it is to forget a language when your mouth knows the shape of the words.”  As though it was a theme for her fearsome set altogether she says ‘I am sorry for refusing to exist quietly.’

Debris Stevenson

debrisstevensonDebris does nothing less than storm the stage. A prophetess of grime, she brings a mixture of song, beats, and spoken pieces in a heated seat that pulls in a whopper crowd. A dancer and professional raver she dances even in her spoken pieces – it’s as though she’s pushing the words from her mouth with her muscles, like an engine. The charisma in it: it takes balls to sing a song acapella on stage, particularly on a poetry stage, but she sits into it. She sings a song to those who with different intelligences:  “A creative breach learn how you lear,  test score low,  educate high.  Learn how you learn. Ask why.” Her work is a continuing call for better – within the broken structures of society, on the dance floor, within ourselves and the perceptions which rule us: “My hair is big but my brain is bigger.” And in a scorcher of a piece set to a layered beat she has a kind of opposite call to arms, inspired by her love of solo raving and the men who hound her on the dance floor. It’s a cry for space and respect, and it sticks in the head for days, and she pulls the audience into it full-fleshed:  “Nah, don’t question question question me.” Brilliant.

Anna Freeman

AnnafreemanAnna Freeman mixes deeply personal, genuine moments with a perfectly timed sense of humour that makes a mix which always surprises the crowd. She pulls in small details of everyday life and somehow, like a sorcerer with an undercut, makes them profound. She describes her progressive childhood with the knock-off My Little Ponies, hauls a mighty laugh from the crowd with her mother’s plan to throw a party with beetroot hummus to celebrate her period.” She creates a rare and compelling intimacy with a crowd. Everyone in the tent feels as though they know her — or more importantly, that she knows them.  In a breakup poem she calls a partner her right hand, then says ‘how hard it is to cut off a right hand.” She offers her hopes for gone partners, mixing the heartbreaking and the hilarious: ‘I hope your poo slides out of you like butter.” She offers a love letter to a friend’s baby, who ‘smells like ham,’ and their future relationship ‘for all of my life.’ In a cutting and fierce retort to a sexist comment, a howl against mansplaining, she describes the true ‘conversations worth having.” In another cry for (and against) love she asks, “Where is this going? A binding verbal contract – isn’t that romantic?”

Toria Garblutt

toriagarbuttToria hates being called a ‘punk poet,’ so we won’t, but there is an element of the underground rock star about her. It’s the same kind of fearlessness and poetic upheaval. Her poems are half-songs, she uses repetition to bring the audience into some kind of new space. She talks about heartbreak, of a mosaic of broken dreams in the towns she knows: “I dumped you, liked you.” “Smack my ass so I know we’re all right.” She delves into those difficult topics without flinching, without looking away, without allowing the audience to look away — the things you can’t talk about, when ‘The only thing you’ve got is to look forward to some smoke.’ In her piece on Scotch Maggie she reaped death threats, saying, ‘the moral of the story is, don’t out drug dealers on YouTube.” Her voice has a lilt that builds almost like a tune until the audience is trance-like- crying, compelled, refusing to believe her when she says ‘Nothing matters now.”

Jemima Foxtrot

jemimafoxtrotA blues singer from the forties has a baby with a modern spoken word poet and that baby grew up to have a baby with campfire druid in an 80s windsuit with the confidence of a lead singer, that baby would be Jemima Foxtrot. She has an oldness about her, and a freshness, and she knows her way around a loop pedal.  She sings and her voice seems to come from another era – some of her poems are set to melody, and it sends them to some other level, as the fine language itself rides on top of the tunes: of a day in the forest, ‘We deck its dumb trees with our laughter….muzzled by sickly tradition….In this sweet smudge of wood I love you again.” Over and over the audience is struck by her skill with language, quietly virtuosic : “My soul is dragging audibly..I hope the next man I ramble with is a habit that’s cleaner to kick.” In the title poem to her book All Damn Day, she leaves the audience in tears with a love letter to the small humming of every day ordinary interaction, singing with strangers at a bus stop and when it arrives, ‘we poured onto it like sugar….a heavy bottomed joy…’ ending with the soaring line: “I am too grateful for it. It’s too good.”  Us too.

John Hegley

hegleychibiOur headliner, and a legend, John Hegley packs the tent to close out the day. Though he reads from his pieces they have the compelling pull which keeps the audience rapt. His poems are songs too, backed by a multi-instrumentalist for a kind of two-man variety show. He has the kind of attitude of another rocker who has hung up his vinyl pants  for a calmer raging. He describes a Luton bungalow, coyly reads the political scene, the ‘assist in the managing of their genius.” He takes aim at past politicos, singing an almost medieval court song about Henry 8th: ‘Can I have a divorce?’ said Henry the 8th, ‘Of course you can’t, said the Pope.’   He whips the audience into a gesticulating frenzy, enlisting them as actors in his piece with hand motions and divers and animals, ‘I am a  gillimot, I am a diver, an ocean arriver.”  He was called for an encore – -the first of the Poetry&Words stage, ending on a piece on George Best, his ‘twinkle twinkle little toes….I can see George best’s feet dribbling with my scribbling” and the au