You, my friends who I haven’t yet met, you are in for a super lovely treat as your hosts for this years Poetry&Words tent are Dreadlockalien & Paula Varjack. I have met these two awesome people many times before and each time I think of them a smile comes to my face, they are warm and generous people and will make you feel like there is no more perfect place to be, come along, wave at them, cheer, applaude and maybe even give some flowers/notebooks/pencils (gifts of a positively useful manner will be appreciated I am certain!)
These two super humans will be introducing our brilliant, brilliant headliners…Deanna.xx.
Michael Rosen is one of Britain’s best known writers and performers for children. The book that he and Helen Oxenbury made – ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ – has sold over 8 million copies and if coaxed, he will perform it, with arm movements as an optional extra. He is a former children’s laureate, a university professor (Goldsmiths, University of London) and a regular visitor to schools, libraries, theatres and colleges where he does various versions of his spoken word show. His latest books are ‘Alphabetical, how every letter tells a story’ (publ. John Murray) (for adults) and for children: ‘Send for a Superhero’, ‘Aesop’s Fables’, ‘Choosing Crumble’ and ‘Fluff the Farting Fish’.
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.
The Fugitives are an indie folk-poetry collective based out of Vancouver, Canada. They have released three full-length LPs and toured multiple times through Canada, Europe, and the UK. They have been nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award for Pushing the Boundaries, and have toured as a supporting act for folk legends Dan Bern and Buffy Sainte-Marie. They are signed to Light Organ Records.
“Whether you go for the poetry, the music, or both, this show is simply brilliant” – CBC “The missing link between Leonard Cohen and the Pogues” – Georgia Straight
Pre-order the new Fugitives album Everything Will Happen now from Light Organ Records
Paula Varjack (U.K./U.S) is a writer and performance maker. She has been making and touring her work since 2008. She is particularly drawn to true stories, and is often intrigued by the unspoken subtext that lingers underneath what we say. Her work has taken shape in a variety of forms; spoken word, devised performance, documentaries, audio pieces, stories and poems. She was one of nine artists in residence for the E.U. funded Poetry Slam Days project, creating a multilingual show: Smoke and Mirrors, that toured to twenty European cities. In 2009 she represented the U.K. in the Berlin International Literature Festival. She is also the creator and co-producer of the Anti-Slam, a satirical take on poetry slams where the worst poet wins. This event, a comedy-poetry hybrid, launched in Berlin and has since happened in Warsaw, Cologne, London, Turin, Sydney, Sheffield, Oxford and Newcastle, with a national event in London planned late this summer.
She was one of the thirty-six storytellers in the critically acclaimed London Stories Festival, at the Battersea Arts Centre last autumn. Her first solo show, Kiss and Tell, premiered at the Berlin 100 Degrees Theatre festival. Her second solo show The antiSocial Network, made in collaboration with director/dramaturge/designer Lesley Ewen, was performed at the Notes From The Upstream Festival, The PBH Free Fringe Festival, and The Vault Festival. Her third solo show: How I became myself (by becoming someone else) premiered at Chelsea Theatre, as part of Fresh Blood, a programme of emerging artists, last February. This is her third time at Glastonbury ,and her second time as a compere in the poetry tent. Get varjacked at www.paulavarjack.com
Birmingham Poet Laureate 2005, Dreadlockalien wanders the world saying poems to people, living a project called Poet Without Residence. He co-hosts Glastonbury’s Poetry&Words stage and Shambala’s Wandering Word. Dreadlockalien is a trustee of the Green Gathering Charity, fighting for our planet.
Andy Craven-Griffiths is a writer, rapper, musician and educator from Leicester who now calls Leeds home. He has performed poetry across the UK including at festivals such as Latitude and Glastonbury, where he won the Slam in 2005, his first ever festival. He has performed on Radio 1, Radio 4, and BBC 2, and had work commissioned by the Arts Council and Rethink mental health charity. He has worked and performed abroad for The British Council, run poetry workshops for over 15,000 young people, and has a chapter in the forthcoming book Making Poetry Happen.
Andy chooses nurture over nature, bonobos over chimpanzees, left over right and sticky toffee pudding over lemon drizzle cake. He aims at hedonism over narcissism, honesty over convenience, and kindness over pretty much everything. Sometimes he fails. Reads hungrily, travels at every opportunity, stage-dives occasionally and very rarely feels like he is productive enough. If you like stuff about altruism, finding beauty and poignancy in the banal, Alzheimer’s, feelings bigger than our bodies, and streams of consciousness at public urinals, you might like watching him.
With his band, Middleman, he has toured Britain, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Ireland and America, including Festivals such as Leeds, Reading, Fusion (Berlin) and SXSW in Austin, Texas. Plus live sessions on Radio 1, 6 Music and XFM. More than half of the music from the band’s 2 albums has been synchronised to TV, Advertising and computer games (Channel 5, Channel 4, E4, NBA2K11).
Aisling Fahey has been writing and performing her poetry since the age of 13. She has performed in various locations across England and America, including the Barbican, the Southbank Centre and the Houses of Parliament. She won the London Teenage Senior Slam in 2009 and SLAMbassadors UK, run in association with the Poetry Society, in 2010. She is a member of the Burn After Reading collective who hold monthly poetry nights at The Gallery Café in Bethnal Green. Earlier this year, she was short listed to become the first Young Poet Laureate of London. You can follow her on Twitter @_AislingF and see some of her work on her blog: getyourheadtogether.wordpress.com
An economic refugee from the Home Counties, stand-up poet, sit-up storyteller and give-up musician Jonny Fluffypunk has been dragging his art around the poetry, comedy and alternative cabaret circuits for over 10 years. A multiple slam champion who hates competition in the arts and an outspoken voice for anarchy, peace and bicycles, Jonny ‘does’ poetry that deafly fuses bittersweet autobiography, political disillusionment and surreal whimsy in an act which has established him as a firm favourite at festivals, arts centres and housing benefit offices up and down the country. His slim volume The Sustainable Nihilists’ Handbook is published by Burning Eye Books and he has recently premiered his solo show, Man Up, Jonny Fluffypunk- One Man’s Struggle with Late-Onset Responsibility, which he intends to tour around the garden sheds, allotments and summer houses of Britain in a blatant championing of homespun DIY culture.
As well as performing, Jonny runs poetry and performance workshops, putting shapes and colours into the minds of the young. He is co-host of the West Country’s pop-up poetry gig, Hip Yak Poetry Shack, and host of Stroud’s Mr Fluffypunk’s Penny Gaff, bringing obscure art to the masses.
‘Acute social observation, intricate humour, surreal fantasy, sharp irony and wit… and England’s most pretentious moustache’- The Independent
‘This man truly relishes language. Go see him!’- Tony Allen (‘the godfather of alternative comedy’)
Porky The Poet emerged as part of the ranting poetry scene in 1983. Inspired by performers like John Cooper-Clarke and Linton Kwesi Johnson, he followed their example and started gigging with bands. It was here he met Billy Bragg, who took him on tour as a support act in 1985. This led to a fruitful period opening for The Housemartins, The Style Council, The Pogues, Gil Scott-Heron and many others. On the poetry scene, Porky became a London circuit regular for Apples & Snakes and Cast New Variety. Around about this time Porky lost all his poems in Newcastle, decided to quit, changed his name back to Phill Jupitus and did other stuff. In 2007, Phill was cajoled by fellow ranting luminary Tim Wells to start writing again and return to the performance poetry scene. In 2012 at The Edinburgh Fringe he did his first full-length show Twenty Seven Years On, followed that up in 2013 with Zeitgeist Limbo and this year debuts the all-new Juplicity as part of the PBH Free Fringe.
“Surprisingly beautiful…” N.M.E.
“Punchy, chippy, funny…” The Guardian
“Hugely entertaining…” The Scotsman
Helen is a poet and academic, which means that she not only lives in an ivory tower, but can describe it using vivid imagery and interesting metaphors. She works on both stage and page, and has performed her poetry at festivals, theatres, pubs and pavements around England, North America and Japan. She has released one chapbook and two CDs of poetry. She is also one half of the poetry-music duo, Yaffle, (with Benita Johnson), with whom she has released a CD, Howling at the Moon. Oh, and she’s the stage manager for Poetry&Words…
Abraham ‘Abe’ Nouk, the founder and director at Creative Rebellion Youth, is a spoken-word poet, hip hop fanatic, MC and an author whose craft developed from the realization of the freedom of speech. Motivated by words and their empowerment, Sudanese-born now an Australian citizen, ten years ago Abe was illiterate when he and his family arrived in Australia under the high commission refugee status.
Since realizing his illiteracy, he began reading and writing to improve his lyrical content for hip hop music when it became apparent to him – ‘the best thing you can do for yourself is to feed your mind.’ Abe went on to become third in the Australian National Slam Poetry (2013) and self-published ‘HUMBLE’ his first collection.
Deanna Rodger is an actor and spoken word poet. She is the youngest UK Poetry Slam Champion (2007) and completed vocational acting training in The National Youth Theatre’s (NYT) REP Company 2012.
She has written and performed as a poet and actor in 2012 Olympic Team Welcome Ceremonies (NYT commission), Buckingham Palace (NYT commission), Speakers House (NYT commission), 10 Downing street (somewhere to_ commission) and Honey Coated Dream (Lyric Hammersmith commission). She has recently completed the audio book recording of ‘Feral Youth’ by Polly Courtney.
Deanna is co founder of two popular spoken word events, Chill Pill and Come Rhyme With Me and is in poetry collectives: Point Blank Poets (winners of the Biennale UK Artist International award 2011), and Keats House Poetry Forum, as well as Poet Director for Podium Poets – a collective supported by Spread The Word, whose debut anthology will be released under Nasty Little Press and a board member of Safeground.
She is an experienced spoken word and drama facilitator, and is currently writing and developing her one-woman show ‘London Matter’ which has received support from POP Productions (Sky Arts and IdeasTap), Roundhouse Camden, Albany Deptford and Arts Council.
“Deanna is one of the few performers I could listen to over and over again. Her honesty, passion and humility come through with every single word she speaks and it is an honour to hear her thoughts on stage”
“Rodger is an energetic and hugely entertaining performer, and one with interesting things to say”
A Younger Theatre
Hallo! My name is Deanna Rodger and I am your poetry blogger for Poetry and Words 2014 – *applause, whoops hollers and foot stamps* and I can’t wait to get stuck into the metaphorical poetry mud, wading through words and rolling in similes!
So you may be able to tell by now that I am myself a poet and though this makes me hugely biased to the poetry tent, it’s blatantly the best place to spend your day before skanking hard in the dark fuzzy fun that Glastonbury can offer.
Well last year was my first year at Glastonbury and I frikking loved it! Sat on my bottom in the poetry tent listening to poets I usually only see online, surrounded by punters who whoop and cheer and chortle their best beer-ed support, I could hardly say no to being responsible for capturing that online. And that is what I intend to do.
This blog will slowly release the hand-selected line up, detailing where and when and who and why you should be in their faces as they take the stage. It will chat informally about certain sets and will hopefully not become over run by childlike excitement and bad grammar (note. I use the grammar rules of Deanna; lots of exclamations, random dashes and bracket overkill)
But, before the real poets are brought to the blog stage, let me introduce myself properly:
I am Deanna, I am in my 20’s and like to describe myself as a fun, gregarious character that has a unique sense of humour and a battery life that runs on coffee, dried mango and mint clubs. I am a Londoner but many holidays were spent in the countryside – wellies on, mucking out horse stables, walking dogs and eating bacon butties, so I am more than qualified to operate a smartphone in a pit of mud! – You can check out my online identity here www.deannarodger.wordpress.com and here www.facebook.com/deannarodgerpage and here @deannarodger
Here is a video of me in TedX action
and one from last year’s Glasto set
Ok first blog completed and signed off! The line up is to follow, so follow this blog to stay up to date