POETRY IN THE HOUSE! (or rather, poetry in the TENT!)
This is it, people!
This ***IS*** the long anticipated start of Glastonbury Festival Poetry&Words 2022 stage …and these stanzas are gonna be HOTTER THAN THE SUN!
I am your Poetry&Words blogger, Dominic Berry, and I went over to one of the stages yesterday to see GECKO! For many a-year, GECKO has been one of my favourite artists, and he did a storming set yesterday, and will no doubt be on fire when he kicks off our stage today 11.30am!
I also experienced DEMI ANTER and many of our other word-slingers later in the evening, but more about all of them in my next blog.
Yesterday, GECKO performed old favourites like the tale of the dog on a one way trip into space, the pheasants filling the nursing home, and how he can’t know all the songs (but he does know Shania Twain). Alongside that was a spectacular new singalong about Glastonbury itself, which was an instant feel good hit with the crowd. I loved it. Had me humming the tune all the way back to my tent. Another new song about the Tamworth Two, some pigs who escaped the slaughter to go on the run, was full of cheer and kazoos. The Tamworth Two has immediately made its way into my personal favourite GECKO tracks. Proper modern classics!
GECKO is bound to share some of this sublime new stuff with us – so come along to our Poetry&Words tent where GECKO is our opening act Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 11.30am!
Your ever-loving Glastonbury festival Poetry&Words Blogger, Dominic Berry, is here cheering and champing at the bit now I am ON SITE and up for art!
I arrived yesterday, full of beans, and stoked to see so many smiley faces as mega crowds of grinny people made their way to their tents.
You know what? I slept! At a festival! Good start, right? There is a vibe of upbeat life in the air everywhere which is just even better than coffee for perking me up and firing my soul – BETTER THAN COFFEE – I mean, I cannot think of higher praise than that.
Although our amazing 30th anniversary Poetry&Words stage does not kick off until tomorrow, a few of our artists are on at other stages today, I need to find out where the wonderful *DEMI ANTER* is speaking on stage. My plan is to have a wander about, see what’s on, and report back on the no doubt magical creations I will experience. YES!
GLASTONBURY GLASTONBURY BOOMMMMMMM!!!!!
There is only *ONE PLACE* to be at 11.30am Friday at Glastonbury Festival (in my very skilful opinion) and that is joining comperes Bohdan Piasecki and Rosy Carrick welcoming the lizard-with-the-love *GECKO* as the opening act of 2022 Poetry&Words stage.
Every festival Poetry&Words hosts the Glastonbury Festival poetry slam from 17:00-19:00 on the Sunday. This year our slam is hosted by Mark Gallie and Kevin Mclean of Loud Poets. The winner of the slam gets a spot in the next festival line-up and a bespoke trophy designed by Pete Hunter. You can sign up with our comperes in the P&W tent from when we open 11:30 on Friday morning. See you there!
Every day, the Poetry & Words 2022 stage will open with a set from … the one and only icon who is Gecko!
Gecko is a London based singer-storyteller. His playful words cover the big things in life; think iPhones, Libraries & Guanabana fruit juice to name but a few. Gecko has previously appeared at Glastonbury, BBC Radio 1, 6 Music, BBC Scotland, BBC London, Bestival & the Edinburgh Fringe. He has shared stages with the likes of Ed Sheeran, Eddie Izzard, Tim Minchin & Billy Bragg.
In 2020 Gecko appeared on BAFTA winning Sky TV show ‘Life & Rhymes’ with Benjamin Zephaniah.
In 2021 Gecko received over a million views on TikTok causing a stir with his song for ‘Laika’ the dog sent to space & his feminist retelling of ‘Rapunzel’.
WINNER Saboteur Award for Best Spoken Word Performer 2021. And we have him on our stage! YES!
Whether he’s opening for the Libertines or reciting Georgian ballads down your local, Luke Wright is adept at taking poetry places it doesn’t normally go. “John Cooper Clarke’s regular warm-up guy” writes poems that are tender, riotous, caustic and romantic then delivers them with the ferocity and panache of a raconteur at the top of his game.
Delivering deliciously funny poems set against a backdrop of pandemic politics, ageing parents, and the poet’s quest for joy!
“His performances rumble with rage, passion and humour.” Guardian
“He must be on some kind of dope” John Cooper Clarke
“Cool Poems” Patti Smith
Desree (poet in residence 2022!)
Desree is an award-winning spoken word artist, playwright and facilitator based in London and Slough and is Artist in Residence for poetry collective EMPOWORD, PLUS this year’s awesome Poetry & Words Glastonbury Festival Poet in Residence!
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.
Desree was shortlisted for both the performance and film category in 2020 and was the recipient of the 2019’s “Highly Commended” Out-Spoken Performance, judged by Kae Tempest, Mona Arshi, Momtaza Mehri, Yomi Ṣode and Madani Younis.
Desree has featured at events across the UK and internationally, including Glastonbury Festival 2019, Bowery Poetry Club New York, Royal Albert Hall, Sofar Sounds, Sunday Assembly, Bestival and Greenbelt Festival. She has performed on stages with people such as Akala, Harry Baker, Caleb Femi, Lemn Sissay and Lauryn Hill.
All this, and festival kick off is now LESS THAN A WEEK away!!!!
Get your sun block ready, we are gonna have ourselves a SCORCHER!
This is not a drill, festival month is HERE, which means we are only a matter of weeks away from Glastonbury 2022 becoming a reality!
Did you attend Glastonbury 2019? Wasn’t that, like, a million years ago…?
I am your Glastonbury Festival Poetry&Words blogger, Dominic Berry, and it seems a million years ago to me. I am so very, VERY excited about getting moved to laughter and all of the deep places once again at the inimitable Poetry&Words stage, which this year will feature, as part of the all awesome line-up, the following three fantastic artists…
Murray Lachlan Young is a British poet, stand-up performer, broadcaster, playwright, screenwriter and children’s author, who came to prominence during the Brit Pop era of the mid 1990’s, when he became the only poet to sign a contract worth £1m. Currently the poet in residence on BBC 6 Music radio station, touring the UK with his solo stand-up show and the collection of his work ‘How Freakin’ Zeitgeist are you?’, published by Unbound books.
In the words of the artist themselves: ” I am an up-and-coming author and advocate of mental health. ‘Inspire the world through your own inspiration is a motto I live by, speaking on such as Racism, Self-Worth, Single Parenting and Societal Misconceptions. I am an author of my first book soon to be published this year. A mental Health Journey of different people with poetry that reflects the emotions that are sometimes lost when speaking about mental health. My most crowning achievement is that I am a father of three for which my oldest son of 7 has written his first spoken word poem collaboration with me.
Harry Baker is a poet, mathematician, stand-up comedian and writer. Aged 20, he became the youngest ever World Poetry Slam Champion. He writes about important things like hopefulness, dinosaurs, and German falafel-spoons. His work has been shared on TED.com and seen by over 5 million people and translated into over 20 different languages. Having graduated from a mathematician-who-sometimes-does-poems to a poet-who-sometimes-does-maths, Harry has “missed festivals a lot” and is “very excited to be returning to Glastonbury!” His versatility had led to him being one of the only poets to be featured on BBC Radio 1, 2, 3, 4 and 1xtra, and has led to him being as (un)comfortable rising to the top of the UK rap battle scene as sharing stages with the likes of Carol Ann Duffy and Simon Armitage.
“Harry Baker’s intricate, quick-fire rhymes have always been on the impressive side of mind-blowing” – The Scotsman
How ruddy bloody exciting is all this?
Keep your eyes on this blog for future posts, as next time I will be writing about …our POET IN RESIDENCE!
If you’re not in the know, let me explain – every year, Glastonbury Festival has one specific poet whose role it is to react in poems and words to what they experience at the festival. They share their art on the Glastonbury website and, of course, perform on the Poetry&Words stage.
This year’s brand new poet in residence is someone I personally am proper buzzing to see take to this important and wonderful position – but for now, I will say no more – and save that giddiness for a future blog.
Did I mention that Glastonbury Festival is THIS MONTH, people?!
My tent and sleeping bag are already packed and I could not be more eager to take to the fields!
Happy Anniversary to us …. this year, the Poetry&Words stage at Glastonbury Festical is ….. *30 years old!!*
Happy birthday to us, happy birthday to us, haaaaaaaaaaaaaaappy birthday…. to great poets saying great poetry! BOOMMMMMMMMMM!
So let’s present the presence of particularly poweruful poets as our birthday presents!
Ben Norris’s second pamphlet of poems, Some Ending, was published by Verve Poetry Press in May 2019. He is a two-time UK national poetry slam champion, and has performed everywhere from major field festivals to the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, as well as across BBC Radio. His debut solo show, ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Family’, won the 2015 IdeasTap Underbelly Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival before touring the UK and Australia. He also plays Ben Archer in ‘The Archers’ on BBC Radio 4.
Demi Anter is a poet, actor and teacher originally from California. Her poetry and essays have been published by Magma, Ninth Letter, ROPES, The Selkie, Porter House Review, and The Times (UK) among others. Her poem “Eyelashes” was broadcast by BBC Radio London in 2020. Demi’s first full-length poetry collection, Small Machine, is forthcoming from Write Bloody UK in April 2022. Musa Okwonga (In The End, It Was All About Love.) called Small Machine, “Tender, visceral, beautifully vulnerable.”
Two series of the sitcom “Elvis McGonagall Takes A Look On The Bright Side” have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 where he appears regularly, most recently on “Radio 4’s “Loose Ends” and on “Stand-Up Specials: Full Tartan Jacket” which was the featured Radio 4 “Comedy of the Week” podcast as well as the documentary “My Name Is Elvis” which featured on Radio 4’s “Pick of the Week”. Elvis also pops up occasionally on the telly. Elvis is the 2006 World Slam Champion, the compere of the Blue Suede Sporran Club and performs at comedy, literary and music festivals, arts centres, cabaret clubs, pubs and dodgy dives up and down the country and abroad.
“Righteous ire, directed at very deserving targets….McGonagall’s verses are shot through with a moral umbrage and rhetorical power”
(Brian Logan, The Guardian)
“Funny, angry and tightly written….McGonagall combines anger, polish and carefully crafted verse in a way which recalls John Cooper Clarke….If the word ‘poetry’ is putting you off, get over it”
(Susan Mansfield, The Scotsman)
“Rampaging through the vicissitudes of modern life with stanzas like Panzers”
What a wild party of wizardly words this year’s special anniversary Poetry&Words stage is going to be!
Keep reading this blog for further information about further artists who will be appearing this year, a photo of what will be this year’s *POETRY SLAM TROPHY*, and a whole load of giddy excitement in the run up between now and the festival commencing.
Check out awesome Scott Tyrrell’s sublime Poetry&Words stage poster! Isn’t it ace?! I love it. I always love Scott’s work.
Regular readers of this blog will have learned of my personal memories of hearing Scott say his poetry, and in today’s blog I am proud to give a bit more insight into the art and achievements of three more 2022 Glastonbury Festival Poetry&Words stage word-slingers: Imelda May, Lauren McNamara and Joe Sellman-Leava.
‘A Lick and a Promise’ is the debut poetry collection of Imelda May, one of Ireland’s most famed female musicians.
Following the release of her first poetry EP Slip Of The Tongue in 2020, this new collection contains 104 poems, including two each from both her father and young daughter. Using the themes of Breast, Below, Blood, Eyes, Tongue and Temple, the poems are written in May’s absorbing, visceral style and encapsulate heartbreak, sex, nature and womanhood. Included in the collection is ‘You Don’t Get to be Racist and Irish’, the powerful poem which was written in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and was recently used by Rethink Ireland campaign.
Lauren McNamara has won numerous awards and writing residencies including the Poetry Ireland Yeats Tower Slam, the Munster Slam, the Galway Fringe Spoken Word Award and the Limerick Fringe Spirit of the Fringe Award.
Hello My Name is Single is Lauren’s comedic look at dating and being in a relationship. Lauren’s grandmother (who doesn’t want her to die alone) sets her up on a speed dating service where she goes on a slew of fast paced dates with some eclectic characters (including a socialite, a farmer and worst of all… an American). Lauren tries to find love and fun while still slightly longing for Sarah, the girl next door. With her granny breathing down her neck to settle down Lauren attempts and sometimes fails to deal with confidence, loneliness, love, friendship and the horrors of tinder to try and find some way to be happy.
Joe’s poetry theatre shows include How to Start a Riot, and Labels, which won five international theatre awards, including a Scotsman Fringe First, and toured across four continents from 2015 to 2020.
Fanboy is Joe’s love-hate letter to pop culture and nostalgia. Joe has started to sense something: a great disturbance in the fandom… When Joe finds himself alone, sorting through his old things, he finds an old video tape…and something incredible starts to happen!
Expect epic storytelling, razor-sharp impressions and a dose of theatrical magic.
Glastonbury Festival’s Poetry&Words stage is Fanboy’s first preview before the show premieres at Edinburgh Festival Fringe! ★★★★ (The Scotsman, on LABELS)
As you can see from the poster, there are still yet more amazing artists to tell you about in upcoming posts.
So watch this space, as we count down the days until Glastonbury Festival 2022!
I love so very much being a part of the UK poetry scene. From my nervous beginnings stumbling onto the stage at Manchester open mic nights, to my early efforts at entering slams, to bringing a full set to Edinburgh Fringe, to touring my rhymes across the world, there’s not a day in which I’m not grateful for getting to do what I do, and my career is one in which I get to experience the art of supremely talented, charismatic and inspired folks across Great Britain.
Did you know that there is Glastonbury Festival Poetry&Words SLAM? A place where YOU could bring your own spoken word to perform…. with the chance to win a slot performing at next year’s Glastonbury?
If this interests you, keep reading until the end, where I will write more about how to take part.
This year’s slam is hosted by Mark Gallie and Kevin Mclean, two awesome artists from Scotland, who I had the huge pleasure of meeting at Loud Poets in Edinburgh Fringe.
Mark Gallie is one of the directors of I Am Loud Productions and has been writing poetry since 2015. He has performed across the UK and Internationally as a feature performer, organized & hosted multiple Fringe shows & monthly events, and supported Shane Koyczan during the Scottish leg of his 2019 tour.
Fellow I Am Loud Productions director Kevin Mclean is a multiple slam winner. His poem ‘Evelyn’ won StAnza Poetry Festival’s Poem of the Fringe in 2015. He has directed, produced, and performed work at the Brighton, Edinburgh, and Prague Fringe festivals, Wickerman Festival, StAnza Poetry Festival, Leicester’s Find The Right Words, STV’s The Late Show, and BBC Radio Scotland’s Culture Show.
My experience of taking a seat at The Scottish Storytelling Centre for my first time witnessing the depth, the joy, the word explosion of Loud Poets, was unforgettable. The attention to detail these two have as hosts, the energetic passion with which they carry a gathering of artists – it is wholly engaging, thrilling and laugh-out-loud fun.
There is no one better to host the Poetry&Words slam than these two living legends of the UK scene, and before we even get to the diverse and glorious quality of the slammers who every year wow the crowd with their wonderful words, Kevin and Mark will ensure the Poetry&Words slam is a must-attend event.
Equally, I am over-the-moon to get to hear both of them perform their own sets on this stage, as each wields accessible, excellent, enjoyable verse to remain in the memory and in the heart.
Yay for poems!
There is one more artist I am going to speak about today before writing more about the slam.
The inimmitable Scott Tyrrell!
I have seen Scott deliver his often hilarious and always marvellous recitals in his home town of Newcastle, at Edinburgh Fringe, at various features where he and I have been booked, in Manchester and Salford (near where I live), and many times at Glastonbury Festival. He is a one person tour de force!
Here is just one of his many mint performances….. I AM NAKED!
An award-winning comedian, illustrator and multiple slam-winning poet (including the BBC Slam and UK Anti- Slam), he has performed his work at Glastonbury, the Edinburgh Fringe, the Prague Fringe, STAnza, WOMAD, Larmer Tree and the Cheltenham Literature Festival. He has written for TV, radio and performed for Radio 4, Radio 3’s the Verb, Sky Atlantic, ITV, BBC4 and BBC Arts.
Scott is also the artist who has made this year’s Poetry&Words poster….
… but more on that next blog!
For now, I’ll just say how at Glastonbury, I adore getting to know brand new artists alongside hearing the ‘greatest hits’ of those whose work I have held in a special part of my heart for years.
Having Kevin, Mark and Scott at this year’s Poetry&Words will be all shades of awesome!
Now, a quick word on the SLAM, for anyone interested in taking part….
Important points the organisers would like you to note about the SLAM:
Sign up times will be on site and exact time to be announced. No early sign ups. You cannot message us in advance. Nope, not even for you!
Booked poets can’t perform in either this or the open mic, so this is a chance to air/ hear new voices.
Poets don’t have to memorise poems, but memorisation will be credited.
If you’ve signed up for the competition, you must present yourself at the side stage at the time you are told when you sign up – if you don’t turn up in time, you won’t be on!
It will be EPIC GOOD!
Keep reading the Poetry&Words blog for more details on the slam, more details on the featured artists, and… next time… the sharing of this year’s Poetry&Words poster!