Poetry reading is the new rock'n'roll
Britain's poets enjoy the limelight as their strongly ethical works attract the rock festival crowds
Sunday 24 August 2008
The mention of poetry readings has often been enough to clear a room before the reader has even had chance to clear his or her throat. Now, the Myspace generation is taking its poetry to stages at rock festivals that would normally be the preserve of seasoned performers such as John Cooper Clarke or John Hegley.
One of the rising stars is 22-year-old Laura Dockrill, a former Brit School protégée. She has Glastonbury, Latitude and Summer Sundae festivals under her belt already and has supported Adele, Kate Nash and Martha Wainwright on tour. Her poems posted on the Myspace website have been listened to over 300,000 times. This weekend Ms Dockrill will be performing in front of hundreds of people at the Reading Festival.
"I'm playing the Alternative Stage at Reading, which can be a bit worrying as it is known as having quite a notorious rock crowd," said Dockrill. "I have had hard times before – even with Kate Nash's audience. I've had people shout out: 'I didn't come here to hear rap!' I wrote my first poem at the age of six, but I never really thought I would turn out doing it as a full-time career."
The poet, who has signed a major publishing deal with HarperCollins for her first book Mistakes in the Background, believes that performance poetry or spoken word, as it is also called, is about to break into the mainstream.
"I definitely think it's going to take off in the next few years. There's so many good artists out there like Scroobius Pip and Aisle16. They are really exciting."
Last week the final of the third annual Summer Poetry Slam competition took place at the Roundhouse in London. Poets aged between 13 and 21 performed in front of hundreds of other teenagers and a panel of judges, competing to be crowned Summer Slam poetry champion 2008.
BBC Radio, which features Bespoken Word on Radio 4, has added another slot in its roster for poetry on Colin Murray's Radio 1 show.
Graham Frost, the creator of Bespoken Word, said that a new generation had developed: "There is a new type of entertainment which is packing people in to the performances. It's performance poetry with very strong ethics. There's an empowering nature where young people from all different backgrounds are addressing issues such as knife crime, media pressure, the credit crunch, suicides. We're now seeing young people using their brains in a very creative way."
TV Jungle security stepped up after murder and 'suspicious death' near to camp
Jeff Fletcher found fame in 1990s
'At times I thought he was me'film
Review: One Direction, Fourmusic
Review: The World of Ice and Firebooks
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Black Friday 2014: Opening times for Asda, John Lewis, PC World, GAME and Argos
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
Black Mirror Christmas special: Jon Hamm episode will see people 'blocked' in real life, not just on Facebook
True Detective series 2: Rachel McAdams cast in female lead as 'no-nonsense' detective
Zoella: YouTube sensation Zoe Sugg's debut novel set to become overnight bestseller
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs
Naked free runner captured in breathtaking photographs above London's streets
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services