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What a performance! Robert Garnham looks back at ‘faffing around’ and ‘flopping at slams’

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Comedy performance poet Robert Garnham has published a collection of essays, covering topics ranging from advice on “how not to do the Edinburgh Fringe”, fishing for poetic material off the coast of Devon, and that nightmare moment when someone you hardly know asks you to provide a poem that you’ll read out at their wedding. 

Other subjects covered in Yo-Yo: Ruminations of an Accidental Poet, published by Puddlehopper, include being an LGBTQ poet, and realising that “I was turning into some kind of ‘safe’ gay performer for straight audiences”. There are also two pieces in the collection that were first published on Write Out Loud -  an encounter with the bizarre world of Britain’s Got Talent, and another originally titled ‘When did performance poetry get so serious?’, a subject that does have quite serious implications for a comedy performance poet.

The book is full of wry and entertaining observations, suffused with Robert’s intrinsic, self-deprecating, and appealing modesty. In a piece titled ‘On the road with Hammer and Tongue’, he reflects that “I’ve been very fortunate in my spoken word career to have had some amazing opportunities. I’ve made television advertisements for a certain building society, and supported some of the biggest names in comedy. But with every amazing opportunity, there’s been plenty of suffering and this usually revolves around the accommodation.”  

Robert himself summaries his collections of essays as “telling stories from fifteen years as a performance poet. Festivals, fringes, fleeting appearances on TV, filming, faffing around with props, flopping at slams, it has it all! Essays from Write Out Loud, Chortle, Litro Magazine and and Torquay Museum’s lecture series, and some written specifically for this collection. Plus one new poem!”


You can order a copy of Yo-Yo: Ruminations of an Accidental Poet here




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