From John Cooper Clarke to Kae Tempest: these are the poets you need to hear as well as read.
Ever open a book of poetry and find yourself reading aloud? Many would argue poetry is best enjoyed, and understood, when spoken, and there are some poets who truly excel at live performance. Here are some of our favourites – and if you can't catch them in person, take a listen to the audio editions of their work.
John Cooper Clarke shot to prominence in the 1970s as the original ‘people’s poet’, renowned for his live shows. He's performed with the likes of Joy Division, The Sex Pistols and The Clash, and The Arctic Monkeys set one of his most well known poems, 'I Wanna Be Yours,' to music on their album AM.
Kae Tempest is a poet, lyricist, performer and recording artist. Their work includes the Mercury Music Prize-nominated Let Them Eat Chaos and the Ted Hughes Award-winning narrative poem Brand New Ancients.
'Through the artifice of putting words into those rhythms and into that metre, you create a different kind of truth': Kae Tempest on their new collection
Maybe it's Pulitzer Prize winner Jericho Brown's previous job as a speechwriter for the mayor of New Orleans that makes his poetry so perfect for performance.
Linton Kwesi Johnson
The Jamaica-born, British-based Johnson coined the term 'dub poetry' in the 1970s, and performs in Jamaican patois over dub-reggae.
George the Poet
You may well have heard George's podcast (subscribers will see what we did there. . .) but George Mpanga has many strings to his bow. The spoken-word artist, poet and rapper has a particular interest in social and political issues.
Holly McNish has thrilled and entranced audiences the length and breadth of the UK with her compelling and powerful performances, and her poetry videos have attracted millions of views worldwide.