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Power of the Spoken Word

Updated: Feb 16

There are more ways to deliver a message that you might imagine and in our article, four talented and innovative poets show you entertaining and lively ways in which you can make words work for you.

There is nothing quite like hearing the human voice breathing life into words. The spoken word is to the written word as fire is to wood. It’s only when we see a piece of work performed that we can really appreciate the nuances of the language, the way that the words slot into place, opening up new vistas of understanding. There’s nobody better to bring a work to life than the person who wrote it.

The arena of performance poetry is a particularly stimulating and exciting one to experience. The raw power of the delivery and the electric atmosphere that it creates make for unforgettable events.

Performance poetry is more than just a recital; the key word here is ‘perform’. There’s real emotion and drama in the delivery of the words. There’s truth and pain, magic and pleasure. A well-delivered poem is more than just a selection of words, artfully arranged; it’s a moment at which a human soul opens its door and invites the audience in. They won’t return unchanged.

Specialist Speakers

Rose Drew

Physical anthropologist, performance poet & events manager, political activist and all around rabblerouser.

Rose Drew is from York by way of Miami and she has hosted a monthly poetry & prose open mic in York continuously since January 2006. This event is allegedly co-hosted by her partner Alan but she rarely lets him have a go. She has offered performance poetry workshops at various festivals since 2009. Rose has supported Buddy Wakefield, Rob Auton, Kate Fox and other luminaries and has performed at York Literary Festival, Ryedale Book Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe and Ilkley Fringe among others, as well as book fairs. Rose is a not-so-young woman who writes about sex, death, skeletons, politics, and can be funny but not hahaha funny. She’s won a few slams. Rose and Alan also run the small press Stairwell Books. Rose’s two favourite places to be: in a lab analysing human skeletons and on a stage in front of an audience.

“You have a certain openness which touches the heart as well as the mind.”

“…keep on living out loud. It is an inspiration.”

“I really loved your Feminist poem last night and what a mind-blowing performance.” – Laura Alexandra Munteanu

“You are such an exciting performer, I really enjoy your work.” – Sarer Scotthorne.

See Rose’s performance here

Alan Gillott

Owner of a small press, writer, editor, composer, singer, poet and performer – Alan Gillott is a truly versatile individual whose passion about his work ensures that he is well-known throughout the North-East of England.

He has been writing poetry since his teenage years and was encouraged to perform it by the late Alasdair Aston, the renowned naturalist and poet.

While pursuing a career in the IT industry, he took the opportunity to perform his poetry wherever he was able – South London, Pittsburgh, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut where he met his wife-to-be, Rose and began what was to become a big part of his life – open mic hosting. During this time, he also founded the Wilton First Tuesday poetry group.

On his return to York, he and Rose founded The Spoken Word, a poetry group which offers performance slots for poets and authors. The group is now in its sixth year.

Alan is co-owner and co-editor of small press Stairwell Books, specialising in poetry anthologies, short stories and novels from new writers. It also publishes Dreamcatcher, an international literary journal. He has continued both to write and publish poetry and has had some of his poems set to music by composer Edward Caine, combining poetry with another of his passions, music.

He has been a choirmaster for several churches in both England and New York and has sung at Catholic basilicas in Brooklyn and Washington DC as well as the London Welsh Choir and the London Symphony Orchestra Chorus. He has also written music for small choirs with which he has been involved.

Laurence O’Reilly

Laurence O’Reilly is an acclaimed performance poet based in North Yorkshire. Some of his pieces focus on the frustrations with modern technology and the unintentionally humorous results that may arise from the interactions between humans and their many devices. He has also written and performed pieces that deal with the social problems faced by people in their personal and work lives.


Charli Goodfellow

Charli has been writing poetry for 16 years, but only had the guts to start performing 2 years ago. Being Irish, her poetry tends to be about crazy relatives and things which make her angry, which can sometimes be one and the same. The highlight of her poetry ‘career’ so far came in 2014 when Charli supported Hollie McNish in York. Outside of poetry, Charli is a Girl Guide leader who likes to kickbox, sing loudly in the kitchen and hang out with her dog.

See Alan, Lawrence and Charli peform here

Event Information

The event is based around technology and communication and how we can use current methods and thinking to inspire the face of business and education today.

We are really excited about the event and have pulled together a fantastic line-up of speakers. All are leading experts in their respective fields. We have speakers from Apple, Microsoft and Google along with thought leaders, technology experts, spoken word professionals, international artists and even a UN investigator.

We know this seems a broad spectrum of speakers but we wanted to take people on a journey through communication, starting with new thinking and learning methods, reminding people of the power of the written and spoken word, the effect of art, energy of music and how we can use technology to get our ideas to a global audience.

Get your tickets here

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