Handpick’d’ poet and activist’s bid to change people’s ideas about poetry

Poet and activist Matt Abbott has shared the stage with an admittedly eclectic range of famous faces to date including musician Paul Weller, comedian Sara Pascoe and Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn. 

On Saturday 29 September the former frontman of indie-pop act Skint & Demoralised will be live on stage at Pocklington Arts Centre’s first ever Handpick’d Festival in a bid to change people’s ideas of poetry:

“I hope to change their preconceptions of poetry. It’s taught in the same way as algebra at school, and I think most people avoid it like the plague as soon as it comes down to personal choice,” he said. “But I didn’t go to University, I’m not part of the perceived ‘academic elite’ – I’m writing about everyday themes in a vernacular style. It’s also very political in its nature, but I focus on the personal and human side of issues, rather than just ranting about policies and throwing out slogans.”
It won’t be his first visit to PAC, after he supported Kate Tempest back in 2014, something which was a “huge honour” for him. After six years fronting his band, releasing three albums, Wakefield born Abbott returned to his first love of the spoken word.

Abbott first began performing spoken word in 2006, shortly before his 18th birthday, and has gone on to rapidly establish himself as a rising star on the UK’s thriving scene, focussing on socio-political commentary and kitchen sink realism. In 2015 Abbott formed the spoken word record label Nymphs & Thugs, and is also an ambassador for Trinity Homeless Projects and Eureka! The National Children’s Museum.

His Handpick’d appearance will be his penultimate performance before embarking on a 22-date UK tour with his one-man show Two little Ducks. The show, which explores such themes as Brexit, the Calais Jungle refugee-camp, and uses kitchen-sink realism to tell the story of fictionalised character called Maria, earned rave reviews when debuted at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe. The day before his UK tour kicks off his debut poetry collection is to be published. But despite his busy schedule Abbott is thrilled to have been chosen to appear at Handpick’d.

“I’m really thrilled to have been asked,” he said.
“It’s always great to be on the bill with such an eclectic range of performers, and as a poet, it’s a great way for me to curry favour with an audience that might not usually choose to watch live poetry. These kinds of festivals end-up being an annual highlight in the region, so to be part of the first ever event is awesome,” he added.

Handpick’d tickets are on sale now from the Box Office on 01759 301547 or at www.pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk where you can find further festival information, stage times and full listings. Follow Pocklington Arts Centre on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up to date with all things Handpick’d.