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Longlevens poet Peter Wyton victorious at Cheltenham Poetry Festival

By citizenmike  |  Posted: March 30, 2014

By Mike Wilkinson

slam

Longlevens poet Peter Wyton

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With well over 1,000 poems to his name, it was hardly surprising when Longlevens poet Peter Wyton was crowned champion at a coveted poetry slam competition.

The 62-year-old wowed audiences at the Cheltenham Poetry Festival poetry slam last Friday with his two knock-out poems.

He beat off stiff competition from across the country.

Former RAF officer Peter, who served as master aircrew on Nimrods, first picked up his pen as a youngster when he submitted poems to the former BBC programme Children’s Hour.

But his time in the RAF, in which he served from Innsworth, meant that he never actually performed his work until 1996, the year that he retired.

Since then he has performed thousands of times all over the country.

Peter said: “I have been doing it, so to speak, since I was a small child but it was only in the 90s that I actually got on stage.

“My first performance was at the Guildhall – I remember it well.

“I have been doing performances on and off ever since.

“I love it. It is the only talent I have really as I can’t even draw a straight line.

“I love entering the competitions such as the poetry slams because I enjoy the atmosphere. It is usually quite light hearted although some poems can be quite politically charged, usually to the left.”

His latest accolade won him a platform for his work at the poetry festival and £50 just three weeks before his 70th birthday.

Peter, who now works in the pharmacy department at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, said he gets a thrill from poetry slams because ‘you never know what is going to happen’.

The event at the Everyman Theatre on Friday saw each poet go head-to-head with just three minutes to perform their poetry. They were then scored by judges in the audience before going through to a final.

One of Peter’s poems told a hilarious three-minute history of the world, but among his vast collection of varied work are pieces about Gloucester, such as one reflecting on the Cathedral.

A POEM ABOUT THE GARGOYLES OF GLOUCESTER CATHEDRAL: “NO ONE LIKES US. WE DON’T CARE.”

We are the gargoyle gang. We hang out mob-handed,

Coming the ugly over precinct passers-by.

Absit invidia, (no offence intended),

Is not our axiom, nor will it ever be.

Grotesque as you care to make us, we’ve curled our lips

At cardinals and conquerors from Norman times.

Mocking authority, we’ve yet to meet the cops

Who can force us to move along, or take our names.

Officially, we’re supposed to ward off evil

Spirits, apparitions, bogeymen and any

Other wraith or conspirator with the devil.

In practise, we’ll scarify you or your granny.

Allow a guttersnipe to give you some advice,

Citizens of Gloucester, or folk from other lands.

Don’t you make faces at us in that tone of voice,

As a gob-full of rainwater sometimes offends.

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