I haven’t yet been to Glastonbury to be able to compare and contrast but there seems to be such a range of things to do with comedy, cabaret, live literature and poetry programmes stuffed full of interest, wit and entertainment.
Luke Wright does an amazing job of programming three stuffed-to-the-gills days of poetry which featured headline sets from the likes of Tim Key, John Hegley, John Cooper-Clarke, Benjamin Zephaniah and many more besides. I had the honour of launching the Literature Tent on Friday evening and then introducing Rob Auton and Johnny Fluffypunk. As the festival was just getting going, the tent quickly filled up and it was standing room only and all our sets went really well which was an excellent advert for the poetry arena which opened the next day.
I also took part in the Poetry Takeaway where Poetic “Chefs” prepare poems in fast food style for punters. I ended up writing poems about tiny pets that could be smuggled into school; casting a drama student as Princess in her own fairytale; a poem for a female rugby player and writing poems to celebrate birthdays, first times at Latitude and two poems that encouraged people to make big life decisions without knowing anything about them. I also really enjoyed writing poems to be mean or have a laugh at someone’s expense on behalf of other people (I wrote disclaimers on these poems as one of them was a barrister!)
One of the last poems I wrote on my shift was for a guy who wanted to celebrate the rain because although we all moaned about it (and there was a lot of it to moan about!) he said people had a sense of camaradie as they helped each other (“Be careful! That must be really sticky as there’s an abandoned welly there”) and noted a sense of abandon late at night as people danced in the rain and had a wonderful time. I really liked the poem I come up with and so I’ve reproduced it below. Thanks to Tim Clare who had the idea of Poetry Takeaway and Show and Tell who run it so well.
So, dedicated to everyone who came to the party at Southwold in 2012 I give you
A Little Latitude
In England, we treat the rain
like the lover that drives us crazy
but we can’t live without.
We rail when she’s here,
pine when she isn’t and
ache in times of drought.
As the rain pounds down like
the riffs of 60s’ Rock and Blues,
with a bass line shocking the chest
as a cardiac arrest,
no-one cares, but dances
like the world ends tomorrow.
Lone wellingtons promise us,
if we look hard enough
we will find our Cinderella in the mud.
Keep writin’ and recitin’