Spoken word at the Edinburgh International Book Festival: Protest

The Babble On strand of events at the Edinburgh International Book Festival kicked off with a bang today as some of the UK’s finest spoken word performers joined together for a celebration of the genre as a form of protest.

Who better to compere such an event than one of the original ‘ranty poets’ Phill Jupitus who opened Protest! with a nod to the spoken word movement of the 1980s, performing one of his best loved poems, 'They’ve all grown up in the Beano'. Scotland’s own Elvis McGonagall took to the stage with a selection of political poems that were scathing and hilarious in equal measure, including ‘Making plans with Nigel,’ a satirical ode to the values and vision of UKIP leader Nigel Farage, and ‘Stop your swithering Jock,’ a referendum themed poem composed especially for tonight’s Page Match edition of the Book Festival’s Jura Unbound programme.

Hannah Silva performed her uniquely individual loop pedal poetry, addressing topics as varied as sexual exploitation (The Riverbank), public sector strikes (Opposition), and the return of amputees to war zones (Prosthetics). Her poems, set against a backdrop of looped vowel sounds and repeated phrases, were both eerily haunting and stunningly shocking.

Last but by no means least, Hollie McNish offered powerfully personal poems that explored sexuality (Big Bricks), the difference between generations (Bungalows and Biscuit Tins), and motherhood (Embarrassed).

Babble On continues over the weekend with appearances from Luke Wright, William Letford, and Rachel McCrum and a special edition of Jura Unbound in the Book Festival’s Spiegeltent from 9.00pm tonight.

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