Q&A – Robert Steventon host of Punk in Drublic Poetry talks to us about his new book Birdfall

Poetry

Robert Steventon is a poet well known for many years on the open mic circuit around Cheshire, Manchester and the North West. As well as writing poetry Rob also hosts a successful popular and diverse open mic night in Manchester called Punk in Drublic.  His is a voice that mixes a observant humour with a sardonic and at times cutting wit, with a clear social conscience and heart. Chris Godber

Hello Rob could you tell us a little bit about how you became interested in writing and poetry? 

Having been a drummer in bands from a young age, I had a decent comprehension of rhythm and meter, paired with a narcissistic thirst for attention- having spent most of my time on stage hidden behind drums and cymbals. I was introduced to the work of Buddy Wakefield & Kate Tempest through close friends Chris Godber and Oliver Winnington in Congleton, but prior to that, aged 19, I had seen Thick Richard perform in Manchester and been enlightened to Performance Poetry’s power & potency.

Robert Stevenson on stage at Speak!

Robert Stevenson on stage at Speak

What do you like to write about in your poetry?

I’m hugely inspired when I see poetry used effectively as a platform for social commentary, and I relish the opportunity to write for that purpose but I also aspire to bring humour out of the more preposterous aspects of modern life. Writing can be a catharsis, but channelling those innermost feelings into writing that is funny and engaging is a hugely effective means of communication. The Poet I’ve seen who’s struck this balance best is Dominic Berry.

Have you been published anywhere?

Yes, my Graphic Poem collaboration with Illustrator Sonny Ross– ‘Birdfall’ was published earlier this year. I’m super proud of it, and Sonny’s artwork is utterly gorgeous.

Birdfall - Written by Robert Stevenson Illustrated by Sonny Ross

Birdfall – Written by Robert Stevenson Illustrated by Sonny Ross

Any final thoughts?

It’s lovely to see the ubiquitous spread of Poetry into popular culture; Bitesize Instagram verses from Hollie McNish, or even Joy France’s appearance on Building Society adverts. What I’m more encouraged by, however, is the surge of interest in Poetry on the stage. DIY nights like my own (Punk in Drublic Poetry), Speak! Manchester & Gorilla in Sheffield all conjure up an electric atmosphere, host a high standard of performance and manage to be massively inclusive. There are a few newer performers working their way up through nights like these, and starting to gain attention. I’d highly recommend people check out Rosie Fleeshman, Alex Slater, Amy Kinsman, Nytheone Matt & Patrick T. Davies.

Purchase Birdfall here 

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