Stand Up and Spit, Wakefield!


Speaking Volumes and A Firm of Poets bring Ranting poetry to Wakefield’s Red Shed as part of their 50th anniversary celebrations.

Accessible, protesting, diverse, inclusive, political, working-class, humorous yet also deadly serious, Ranting poetry appeared in the late 1970s and early ‘80s. Young rowdy writers with something to shout about, it was closely allied with punk and reggae and was the vibrant precursor of today’s spoken word and performance poetry. It is verse that appeals to all, that imagines poetry for the people by the people.

Hosted by Matt Abbott, come and listen to Janine Booth, Ralph Dartford, Helen Mort and Tim Wells ‘keep the Red Shed standing here’ through poems which pack a powerful political punch.

Wakefield poets

Left to right: Matt Abbott; Janine Booth; Ralph Dartford; Helen Mort; and Tim Wells

Part of Wakefield Lit Festival


Venue: The Red Shed, Vicarage Street South, Wakefield WF1 1QX
Date: Friday 30 September
Time: 19:30-22:30
Tickets: £6 / £5 concessions

Matt Abbott cut his teeth at indie music gigs, political events and festivals, before eventually finding his feet as a full time poet. He fuses socio-political commentary with a contemporary take on kitchen sink realism; presenting down to earth, accessible and vernacular poems encompassing loneliness, nostalgia, politics and pie. He is the co-founder of A Firm of Poets with Ralph Dartford.

Janine Booth is an author, poet, trade unionist and former RMT Executive member. She has written two books published by Merlin Press:  Guilty and Proud of it: Poplar’s Rebel Councillors and Guardian 1919-1925 and Plundering London Underground: Private Capital and Public Service 1997-2010. Janine was part of the original ranting movement in the 1980’s and her latest book of poetry, Mostly Hating Tories was published last year.

Co-founder of A Firm of Poets Ralph Dartford studied Creative Writing at Birkbeck College, before embarking on a career in theatre, live music and artistic development. His masterful array of cinematic, transatlantic tales capture poignancy and humour in everyday life, alongside bleak and harrowing tales that’ll leave you deep in thought throughout the journey home.

Helen Mort was born in Sheffield. Her first collection Division Street was shortlisted for the Costa Prize and the T.S. Eliot Prize and, in 2014, won the Fenton Aldeburgh Prize. Her new collection No Map Could Show Them (Chatto & Windus) is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. Her poems have appeared in magazines including Poetry Review, The Rialto, Poetry London, The Manhattan Review, Granta, Poetry and The North. She is currently working on a first novel and her creative non-fiction has been published in The Independent and in Mount London an anthology of ascents in the vertical city.

Tim Wells began his poetry career as a teenage Ranter, stepping up between bands and at reggae nights to perform, and has been writing and gigging ever since. In 2013 he began to actively document that original scene, collecting and archiving original materials, and collecting the stories of his fellow Ranters, which became the Stand Up and Spit blog. Tim’s most recent collection of poetry, Everything Crash was published by Penned in the Margins in 2015.