Glastonbury Festival 2024: Poetry&Words Preview

Last year, Poetry&Words was one of the highlights of our festival with incredible spoken word sets from Griot Gabriel and Rebecca Cooney and Gecko‘s lyrical musicality. Expect to find us chilling out there again this year, particularly in the late morning and early afternoon – after all, a few spoken word sets are the perfect way to ease into the day.

In fact, Poetry&Words is the only stage dedicated to poetry at Glastonbury Festival and each year they host a variety of poetic talent – spoken word and performance poets, rappers and even the occasional word-loving musician, like Gecko.

The tent also hosts the annual Sunday Poetry Slam – any festival-goer can take the stage to share their work, with the winner taking home a trophy and a guaranteed spot on the following year’s Poetry&Words line-up

This year also sees Spoken Word Theatre on the Poetry&Words stage, with four theatre shows on this year’s programme, and, in true Poetry&Words fashion, there’s a mix of newcomers and familiar faces elsewhere on their line-up. So, whether you’re easing into the day or taking in one of the late-afternoon headliners, you won’t be disappointed.

Photo: Charles Gervais, Both Hemispheres Photography.

Poetry&Words Picks of the Weekend

Sam Danson: Bi-Topia / Friday and Saturday from 19:10 to 20:00

One of this year’s spoken word plays, Bi-Topia is Sam Danson’s debut show. It’s been touring the country in a production directed by Rikki Beadle-Blair, with the play challenging the reasons why LGBTQ+ people are disproportionately affected by poor mental health, and the awkward struggles of coming to terms with your sexuality when growing up in a military family.

Look out for our interview with Sam Danson, coming next week

Degna Stone / Saturday from 18:28 to 18:58

Degna Stone is an award-winning poet and poetry editor based in northeast England whose debut collection, Proof of Life on Earth, was published in 2022. She’s told us that she’s “excited and nervous. But mostly excited.” We are too. Liz Berry described Stone as a “spellbinding poet: passionate, political and precise.”

Look out for our interview with Degana Stone, coming next week

Read our interview with Dominic Berry about this year’s festival here.

RJ Hunter / Friday from 12:03 to 12:28 and Sunday from 15:49 to 16:14. Also performing in Scissors on Saturday from 19:30 to 19:45

RJ Hunter is an Edinburgh-based writer, theatre-maker and performance poet. Their work explores queer experience and silliness, highlighting the joy and freedom that comes with both of those things. Their debut poetry pamphlet, ‘Flustercuck’, was released in June 2023 and they were Roundhouse Poetry Slam Finalist & Loud Poets Slam Champion 2023.

Read our interview with RJ Hunter from earlier this year here

Black Liver: Miss Nobodies / Sunday from 12:03 to 13:03

Black Liver is Ruth Cockburn & Keith Carter. They’ve been seen and heard on BBC Radio 4, Sky and BBC1. Where did they get the name? Well, Ruth is from Blackpool and Keith is from Liverpool. Miss Nobodies is one of this year’s theatre shows with the two-hander taking us through the history of the last 100 years in a shop in a Northern town

Look out for our interview with Black Liver, coming next week

Imogen Stirling / Friday from 13:27 to 13:52 and Saturday from 17:04 to 17:29

Hailing from Scotland, Imogen Stirling is a playwright, performance poet and producer who creates startling and expressive hybrid work straddling the worlds of poetry, theatre and electronic music. She’ll be performing solo at this year’s festival, without an electronic artist – “unusual for me these days”, she says – in a show that will include “old and new pieces, alongside teasers and excerpts from some new and upcoming projects.”

Look out for our interview with Imogen Stirling, coming next week

Princess Arinola Adegbite / Friday from 17:11 to 17:36 and Saturday from 14:39 to 15:04

Princess Arinola Adegbite, professionally known as P.A.BITEZ is a multi-award-winning British Jamaican-born Nigerian poet, performance artist, musician and filmmaker who combines social activism with surreal Afrofuturistic sensibilities. Her poetry has been commissioned by BBC, Selfridges, Chanel and the University of Cambridge.

Dominic Berry / Friday from 16:43 to 17:08

Dominic Berry was the Glastonbury’s poet-in-residence in 2017. His poems in the role brought to mind the festival’s famed mud (“In Glastonbury, we are all defined by / the mud”), 5am mosh-pits, and emotional Leftfield debates (“The homeless, sat on cracked up streets, are called a liability / and then they’re labelled lazy, so we’ll feel no culpability”). He’s back this year, performing a career-spanning, retrospective solo set.

Culain Wood / Friday from 15:47 to 16:12

Salford poet Culain Woods returns to this year’s Glastonbury festival following his performances at Poetry&Words in 2022. “I’m even more excited than the first time,” Wood told us. “I love it. It can be a place where you see humanity at its finest, weirdest and most interesting.” He also hosts the Slam Poetry competition alongside Dominic Berry.

Look out for our interview with Culain Wood coming later this week

Roger McGough / Saturday from 13:38 to 14:08

Photo: Giacomo Giannelli

Poet, playwright, broadcaster, and children’s author – what can we say about Roger McGough that hasn’t already been said? His anthology collection which spans from 1959 to 2024 is released just two days before his performance on Poetry&Words – The Guardian has called the collection ‘triumphant’.

Follow our full Glastonbury Festival coverage here: