Spine 2024 AiRs

Adam is part of SPINE Festival 2024, along with an incredible team of poets they’ll be leading workshops and arts activities for children in Libraries and schools across London this Spring.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

Playful, messy, grumpy 

What inspires you?

Heavy metal. And heavy metal flavours wherever I can find them. Any sense of awe and chaos. I do nature whenever I can. Trees are pretty heavy metal, so are the East London canals. 

Tell us about your worst ever gig?

I did a gig in a pub that had been moved upstairs from its basement venue, and the upstairs punters did NOT want to listen to poetry. So, while there were a good number of people listening, the ‘just in for a pint’ crowd were actively competing with us. And fair enough. They eventually cleared out and a man put a bin on his head and got the audience to blow up and release balloons while he banged on the bin with a stick and screamed his poems. One of the best performances I’ve ever seen. 

What’s your number one poetry pet peeve?

Performers putting on ‘Poetry cadence’. A specific voice and intonation that is seen as ‘poetry’. There’s so much scope for weird and fantastic brilliance in this medium. It holds so much, from monologues to cabaret, from rap to free verse, and yet a sort of unifying style can easily catch so many new writers. Poetry has the potential to be really anarchic, hence the bin-on-head man, and that seems to be lacking recently. Maybe since everyone has a camera in every audience, it’s less of a safe space. Ban smartphones at poetry gigs! At music gigs! Everywhere! (Except in the cab where I’m writing this, please) 

Whose words do you love at the moment?

At the moment I read more to my son than to myself so I’m currently a firm Julia Donaldson fan. And when I’m out, I’m loving Hearing Things by Angela Leighton.

It’s about the sounds we hear when we read. The sound of our interior language. Forms of Active Listening are interesting to me, maybe because I’m usually such a chatter box.

What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

Read and write more, perform less. It’s important to keep a healthy relationship with audience-approval. If you’re not writing for yourself, the fun of making new stuff can dry up. Also, drink more water, eat more vegetables. 

How do you relate to the themes of magic & imagination?

Poetry is magic. We are holding attention reshaping space and intention, creating small worlds and new connections. From nothing. 

What do you enjoy most about working with children, families and libraries?

I loved the library when I was a child. So many books! I love being a small part of that. 

Would you rather be able to travel 50 years into the past or 50 years into the future?

Neither. The present is the one for me. But if I have to choose, the past please. I don’t want to know what the future holds. Where’s the fun in that? 

An image of poet Adam Kammerling. He wears a blue shirt and black trousers, he wears black trainers. His arms are outstretched to each side of his body as he smiles at the camera. He has long shoulder length brown hair and a brown beard.

About Adam Kammerling

Adam has been delivering poetry, rap and spoken-word theatre workshops for over ten years. As his own practice has widened so has his education work; producing poetry books, theatre shows, podcasts and dance pieces. Reaching emerging artists, young people in schools, artists with specific learning needs, and elderly and isolated artists.

He is the creative producer of The Nest, a project established with the Fostering Network, which delivers creative workshops to young people who are a part of the Mockingbird fostering program.

Insta: @adam_kammerling
Twitter: @adamkammerling
Website: adamkammerling.co.uk

About SPINE Festival 2024