This year’s Glastonbury website poet in residence is Desree, an award-winning spoken word artist, writer and facilitator based in London and Slough.
Currently Artist in Residence for poetry collective EMPOWORD, Desree explores intersectionality, justice and social commentary.
Poet In Residence for Glastonbury Festival 2022, producer, and TEDx speaker, Desree has featured across the UK and internationally, including Sofar Sounds, Royal Albert Hall and Bowery Poetry – New York.
Following the sell-out of her first self-published pamphlet I Find My Strength In Simple Things (2017), Burning Eye Books published the pamphlet in May 2021.
For more info head to her website.
We will be posting Desree’s work throughout this year’s Festival, and she’s kicked us off with the wonderful poem below. You can also see her perform in the Poetry&Words tent at 4.00pm on Sunday 26th June.
Why won’t my tent fit in its tent bag?
Rum and cider are done, and dust has caked all three pairs of shoes.
All clothes are in the wash, and first aid kit remains unused.
The met office told us it would rain and storm, so we packed to get wet,
but maybe the thunder that they predicted came from Kendrick Lamar’s set.
The farm, turned city, turned farm again, as they start to pull down stages.
The tents will go, the grass will grow, we’ll forget all the stories and faces,
but this feeling will stay with us all, long after the cow’s return.
All the people that we danced with, all the lessons we have learned.
Thank you to the volunteers, from litters pickers to those on the gates,
all the organisers and staff making sure the whole thing operates.
My knees are tired, my back is sore, it’s been a while since I spoke to my friends.
Might need a whole year to rest, so next year I can do it again.
My body-ody-ody-ody-ody-ody-ody-ody, my choice
My body, my, mother fucking, choice
hurricanes through the congregation.
hands on our knees,
ready to repeat this scripture.
King James’ version has been left at home
because he doesn’t have the thighs or the stamina.
“Now I’m bossed up and them same hoes mad at me
Acting like they ridin’, whole time tryna pass me
Watchin’ me go through it, still tryna drag me”
We drop our ass in prayer.
We grab at our bodies
that it’s still here,
still belongs to us.
We lick our fingers and
clutch at our crutch,
because we know it is within us
water is made holy.
One hand nursing a paper cup,
the other, an earthquake of a palm.
Trying to navigate the hoards of people,
that have sprung up, on this city of a farm.
But you do not let go,
as you guide me through the crowd.
You are armour close,
squeeze my hand to calm me down.
You know I hate this part,
feels like everyone is in the same place.
But when the crowd grinds to a halt,
you turn so we are face to face.
No scrubs comes on and you start singing,
a private rendition just for me.
We can’t even get close to the stage,
but I’ve got your version of TLC.
To all the partners and friends,
lifelong ones that started today.
Thank you for holding more than our hands,
when we find the festival a little difficult to navigate.
When my anxiety feels like drowning, in the sea of it all
Thanks for turning water into waterfalls.
I wasn’t able to get the train to Glastonbury this year but
This country was built
off trade unions, the power
has always been ours.
Bass and Giggles
The ground has been stomped flat.
A euphony of bass and giggles
make the air taste magic; life giving.
This, the smell of resilience and beer.
A euphony of bass and giggles
means the sky feels different here.
This, the smell of resilience,
shakes the dust off hope.
A whole world cut from dreams.
Guide ropes and limbs stretch open.
We leave newer than we arrive,
as our bodies metabolise 808’s into joy,
the ground is stomped flat.
Where is my tent?
One bottle of rum. Twenty-four ciders. Three pairs of shoes
My Ghetts t-shirt. My Little Simz t-shirt. Remove First Aid Kit. Replace with booze
Wellies. Shorts. Jumpers. Rain mac. Sunglasses. Never know what’s going to happen.
(Leave all Headdresses and Tams at home. Appropriation is not fashion)
A whole case of beer in my tent, yet still paying £6 for a cold pint
But would give anything to mosh along to “WE GON BE ALRIGHT”,
Because we need it. Endless Love and Beautiful Nights;
our hearts and our feet beat for it.
Finally, we gather. Unwashed. Unearthed. Unflinching. Undone.
So many missing laughs and tents. So many of us missing someone.
But we will dance for them this year. Two-step. Skank. Mosh.
We will raise our hearts and our glasses, remembering everyone we lost.
Glasto will feel a bit different this year, considering everything we’ve been through
But please, still save a dance for me, by moonlight, next to the cleanest portaloo.
You can also see Desree performing the poem below.