Larmer Tree Poetry & Lyrical Lostwood

Lyrical Lostwood is Larmer Tree's poetry and storytelling arena.  I hosted, curated and performed in the poetry line-up here on from 2011-2015.  I also programmed poetry workshops at Lostwood and the Tall Tree Clearing.  In 2016, I reluctantly said goodbye to the festival, to focus more on my poetry and research work elsewhere.  Larmer Tree Festival poetry is still very much a feature of the festival programme however.  You can find out more about this on the Larmer Tree Festival website.  

Larmer Tree Mud by David Johnson


In 2015 Lyrical Lostwood featured: delicious anarchocynisists The Antipoet; witty, honest slam champ Sara Hirsch; Roundhouse resident artist Antosh Wojcik; multi-slam winner and ‘inspirational woman’ Molly Case; former Birmingham Poet Laureate Spoz; witty, observational performance poet David C. Johnson; poet and musician Kayo Chingonyi; poet and founder of She Grrrowls Carmina Masoliver; poet, person and blag artist Vanessa Kisuule; crowd energiser Michael James Parker; and Lyrical Laureate, spoken word writer, performer and educator, Cat Brogan.  These poetic antics were overseen by Jack Bird (while I focused on bringing my new baby into the  world!)


Lyrical Lostwood 2014 offered afternoon workshops on poetry writing and performance for adults and children, courtesy of former Birmingham Poet Laureate Spoz and U.K. slam champ Sara Hirsch, and evening spoken word from cutting edge performance poets heralding from the U.K. and beyond: Yaffle, the Antipoet and JustSomeGuy each fused music with poetry in excitingly different ways; Zena Agha is a Palestinian-Iraqi poet musing on everything from creepy boys in nightclubs to immigration and integration; Oli Forsyth performed thoughtful and often humorous poems on what it means to be a ‘Mannish Boy’; Mama Tokus presented comic poetry on womanhood, technology, music and wordiness; and grand bard of the Gorilla Poetry collective, Lazare, brought rhythmically-infused poetry to the leafy corners of the Lostwood. We also hosted 2014’s Lyrical Laureate, Dan Simpson, who ran workshops on poetry in performance, taking festival goers from page to stage and giving them the opportunity to take part in a crowd-sourced Larmer Tree poem. You can listen to the end result here.


The 2013 Lyrical Lostwood line-up featured a cacophony of wondrous wordsmiths from across the country and brought the largest audiences yet to our wonderful woodland hideaway.  The 2013 Lyrical Laureate was stand-up poet, Angie Belcher, who brings both vulgar and vapid into vivid perspective. Joining her on stage were: Carmina Masoliver, a London poet who delivers raw, honest poems about universal and personal matters; Sally Jenkinson, who is described by top poet Kate Fox as “sensuous, surreal, bold and beautiful”; Edson Burton, a popular playwright and poet, who combines creative writing with research, poetry performance, talks and storytelling; Poeticat, an alternative DIY ethos band with influences from heavy rock, opera, world music and poetry; and Nichol Keene and Toby de Angeli, who performed their unique brand of spoken word poetry with musician UUOO.  We also showcased festival favourites: Joelle Taylor, a poet, playwright and the Artistic Director/National Coach of SLAMbassadors UK, the Poetry Society's youth slam championships; Yaffle, a duo who fuse poetry and music in deliciously captivating tales of love, loss and the wonders of life; Scott Tyrrell, one of the North East's favourite performance and slam poets; and The Antipoet, the world's finest exponents of beat rantin' rhythm ‘n’ views!


Larmer Tree’s poetic offerings continued to go from strength to strength in 2012, with a fourth year of Lyrical Lostwood performances. There was something for everyone here, from the bitingly slick raps of Dreadlockalien and Meg Beech, to the comedic ramblings of Scott Tyrrell, Lydia Beardmore and Anna Freeman, the nerd chic lit of Dan Simpson, the penmanship of Adam Horovitz and Jo Bell, and the mesmerising music/poetry harmonies of Yaffle.  Lyrical Lostwood poets also banded together to act as the Lyrical Laureate this year.  For my part, I ran two Lyrical Laureate workshops where participants composed their own poetic message in a bottle.  You can read the found poem I created from some of these pieces here


In 2011, Steve Tasane, Rosie Harris and Lyrical Laureate, Kayo Chingonyi hosted interactive poetical spectacles in the afternoons. Meanwhile, the evening saw comperes Joelle Taylor and myself directing linguistic gymnastics from Pete Hunter, Polly Malone, Peter Wyton, Sophia Blackwell, Katie Bonna, Richard Marsh and Benita Johnson.