Festival of the Spoken Word 2019


Friday 5 – Sunday 7 July 2019

Jade Cuttle

The rawness and direct power of the spoken word can make for some sensational goose-bump moments. With that in mind, our festival of spoken word began on a balmy Friday evening with our audience, surrounded by the ancient structure of our thirteenth century barn, seated informally around scattered tables, glasses of wine in hand. It was in this spirit of an open-air jazz café that Jade Cuttle performed her ‘poem-songs’, composed from the inspiration she draws from nature, accompanied by her guitar. Ben Norris seamlessly followed this with a few of his performed poems, both personal and relatable, his work was amusing and sobering and is testimony to the power of good story telling. Friday evening culminated in the excellent food of the Mess Restaurant laid out in the barn, poets, performers and audience members dining together.

Suede bassist & author Mat Osman

The relaxed atmosphere and good weather flowed over into our Saturday events which began with a fascinating workshop lead by Tristram Fane Saunders equipping us with some creative exercises for producing some unique metaphors. ‘Why speak when you can sing’ with Tariq Goddard, Ryan Donnelly and Nathalie Olah comprised of a fascinating panel discussion following a performance by Ryann and a reading by Nathalie. In the afternoon Tristram, winner of the 2018 new poets prize and commissioning editor for the Telegraph, performed from his new chapbook ‘Woodsong’ published this June. Jade joined with some more dulcet sung verse which culminated in a Q & A.  Next, Matt Osman, the bassist and founding member of Suede, discussed his new book ‘The Ruins’ with publisher Tarriq Goddard. This insightful discussion revealed Matt’s writing process and his experience of performing music as opposed to the intimacy and honesty of writing. As Saturday afternoon turned into evening Ben Norris performed more from his book ‘Some Ending’, the honesty and beauty of which ignited the focus of the room.

Poetry Takeaway

Though The Poetry Takeaway worked tirelessly throughout the day creating personalized poems they still managed to inject a superb energy into their performances which were funny, chippy, sexy and truly wonderful. This was followed by the talented Sugar J and Bump Kin, a truly singular duo that fuses hip-hop with poetry, musical beats and spoken rhythm. The final performance of the day was the warm and witty Laurie Bolger. Laurie’s poems capture those relatable moments of sharing something with someone you have never met, a moment or a meltdown, they are the stories of ordinary and extraordinary life.

Our festival of Spoken Word was beautifully ended by a truly engaging workshop by Caroline Goyder. After two days of being submerged in the joy of listening it was perfectly fitting that the audience left equipped with the tools for bringing their own voice to life.

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