Review: Rebecca Cooney, Poetry&Words, Glastonbury Festival 2023

Rebecca Cooney, poet and co-host of the Dead Darlings podcast for the spoken word community in London and beyond, graces the Poetry&Words stage while the sun blazes outside, the tent providing a welcome respite from the heat.

There’s an understated modesty in Conney’s poetry as she reads from her recently released debut pamphlet, Where the Lights Come On. She describes one poem as being for when ‘somehow words don’t cover it’ before perfectly complicated feelings that counter, change and contradict each other in poem after poem.

Her poem Three Day Beard grows from a poem about her partner searching for where he fits in the world after the attack on the Bataclan and grows into a powerful statement about Britain’s place in the world. There is a devasting wordplay in the parting shot as she riles against ‘the barefaced cheek of it all.’

There is wit and humour too, no less than in 13 Things to Tell a Friend Who Is Hurting, ‘ 1. Come in, I’ll put the kettle on / 2. No, sod it, I’ll find a corkscrew’, but again building into something more powerful; a statement of the love that friendship holds – ‘I see nothing but your astonishing light.’

Rebecca Cooney is at Glastonbury Festival 2023