Today is Sunday, today is like creamy mud


Satisfyingly exhausting.

This morning I awoke before my alarm, which is always an achievement. It’s hard to sleep with so much to take in. My bedtime has averaged at 5 and I am looking forward to one more night before returning to curtains and walls. I have discovered that Berrocca is in fact the best thing straight away even if you don’t want to drink it, and that a shower doesn’t have to be long just cool enough to take the heat of the hangover away.

As I listen to Scott Tyrell, the tent slowly fills. He reviews Bethlehem Inn which I’m guessing from his review is like sleeping over at Glastonbury (Yes, in my mind we are all at one big giant sleepover!) He cautions our anger and tries to persuade Dave (id Cameron), that we, like humans, do care about stuff! From what I garner, Scotts festival tips are:

– Embrace the mud – Jesus was born in it

– Say no to anger – its victim may want to save you

– Buy a spare t-shirt with poets as owls on it – Save the owls, take them home, care about them.

Later today, we welcome the fantastically great, Michael Rosen at 14.00. This is a real treat and a perfect Sunday afternoon must see.

We also have the SLAM at 17.00, last years slam winner, Torrey Shineman, will be taking to the stage at 15.45 for a full set, This full set can be won today at the slam.

But before then, we have some more feature sets including: Rob Auton – Glastonbury Poet in Residence (14.50), Raymond Antrobus (15.20), and Helen Gregory (16.45).

So come see there’s loads to see, it’s chilled there is a mat to lay on and we are a deaf friendly tent!

Ill be staring at you all from stage at 16.15!.Deanna.xx.


Scott Tyrrell



The full line up

Full line up



So close I can smell the leaves – Headlines and Hosts

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

Rosen, Photo by Goldsmiths, University of LondonPhoto courtesy of Goldsmiths, University of London

Sunday 14.00

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’.


John Hegley

John Hegley

Saturday 18.05

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


Friday 18.00

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


 More about the hosts

Paula VarjackPaula 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

dreadlockalienBirmingham 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.

Featured Artist: Hollie McNish



We’ve decided to interview some of our past performers to find out what they’re up to now, hear about their enduring memories of the festival and whet your appetite for the new Poetry&Words  line up in 2013.  Here’s an interview with the first of our featured artists – Hollie McNish.  (Photo by Gary Death.)


What is your connection with Poetry&Words?
I have been invited to perform once at Poetry and Words. I entered and won the Glastonbury Slam during that time. The prize was to perform at the next year’s festival, so I got to go again. Was pretty damn chuffed. On the way to the festival that year I found out I was pregnant and spent three days with morning sickness in a single tent wandering around in a haze and trying not to be ill on stage. I didn’t want to tell my partner over the phone so had three very strange, surreal and amazing days! But I definitely have a special relationship to the festival now!


Ed: Hollie also contributed to the BBC Radio 4 show, Glastonbury Poetry Diaries, while she was on site with us in 2010.


If you had to describe the Poetry&Words stage in just three words, what would they be?
A Poetry Pocket


How would you describe Glastonbury Festival to someone who’s never been there?
It is not what you expect – unless you only stay in the main areas. Glastonbury is one of the most diverse festivals there is. You can spend 3 days getting massages and healings in the Green fields or completely mashed in the dance arenas. I reckon a balance is good. There is so much more to the festival than you can ever imagine and instead of sticking to the areas you know, you should explore it all. Take a two hour break to just walk around and find stuff. Like the Poetry and Words Stage. It’s right at the end. Next to the most amazing areas, like Green Fields and Arcadia. Arcadia. Arcadia. I’ll say it once more. Go to Arcadia! Fire bass monsters.


Can you name two other poets who you admire?
My current favorite poets to watch are Keith Jarrett and Dan Cockrill (of Bang Said the Gun). I like them because they talk to you. They don’t shout at you. I like poets that shout too but right now, I’m leaning on the side of talking with quiet passion. I’m trying to stop shouting so much myself. I don’t shout off stage at all so not sure why I always seem to start on stage!


What kinds of things inspire you to write?

I think, honestly, mainly, newspaper articles, adverts, magazines, studies, my daughter and food. I’m not so deep! I’m quite easily inspired to write, generally when I don’t have enough space inside me to fit the aggravation some things cause me, or, on the other side, the love and amazement. I like to get them both off my chest or I feel overwhelmed by things a lot of the time. The world is so messed up and so amazing all at once.


Where is the most unusual place you’ve performed your work?

On a public bus in Paris banlieue at rush hour. I had to do it for a festival to ‘include the town’, which is good in theory, except I think some people genuinely do not want poetry on their bus to work and that perhaps sometimes poets forget that! I finished one poem and an old man tapped me on the back and said, “merci, je n’ai rien compris, mais merci. (Thanks, I didn’t understand a word but thanks). That made up for it a bit!


What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on how to balance an amazing toddler, sleepless nights, relationship, day job and a growing amount of poetry work! But in terms of poetry, a few things at the mo. I’m developing a set of poems into a show called ‘Something we don’t talk about’ with Battersea Arts Centre, being shown on November 23rd and 24th for the first time. I’m also working on putting together a lot of my poems into another set about immigration, emigration and scones. I’m project managing a Walking Tour of Cambridge, looking at the history of women through poetry, photography, art and architecture. That’s with my day job. I work at an Architecture Centre. Apart from that, I’m still writing a lot, some for kids now, and just wondering what to do with it all other than save it on my computer and leave it there!


What’s the closest rhyme for ‘orange’ you can find?
Je mange. Can we use other languages cos that works well? Je mange // une orange!


Can we have a poem please?

Here is one I wrote at Glastonbury, which might be most relevant. The video also shows the greener side of the festival which some might miss. Hope you enjoy it x


Where can we find out more about your work?

I have finally set up a website, here…