Poet Andrew McMillan on Gearing Up for His Nottingham Poetry Festival Performance

Interview: Georgina Wilding
Wednesday 01 May 2019
reading time: min, words

Georgina Wilding spoke to Andrew McMillan ahead of his Metronome show as a part of Nottingham Poetry Festival on Wednesday 1 May...


How has your week been in the run up to the festival? What’s been going on in your world? 
It’s been busy! i was in London last night for Carol Ann Duffy’s last ever event as poet laureate; we were reading poems to raise awareness about the plight of insects - it was a wonderful moving event. I got back at 2.30am this morning, went to the gym at 8.30am, and now its about 5.30pm and I think I’m ready for bed.  Then it's time for Nottingham tomorrow!

Can you give a little insight into the work you might be reading at Nottingham Poetry Festival?
Mainly I look at masculinity; the history of poetry (mostly) has been men looking at women when they didn’t want to be looked at, I was always interested in what would happen if you turned that male gaze on other men. It turns out men are fragile, scared, disappointed.. and that’s what I’m interested in exploring 

Gigs bring a whole new level of life to the work on the page, can you tell us your best gig story? 
I was once performing in what I suppose hipsters might call a yurt, with rugs all over the floor to add a bit more ‘texture’ as interior designers might say; it was cold so I was holding a mug of tea and, as I approached the stage, I tripped up over the rug, threw the tea over someone on the front row, and then got ironically applauded as I managed to get up in front of the microphone - it’s hard to pick a room up after that. 

If you had to sell yourself/your gig in a short elevator pitch to, say, Alan sugar what would you say to convince him to see you? 
It’s at least the seventh best thing to do in Nottingham on a Wednesday evening. 

What’s coming up next in your working life that you’d like us to know about?
My play, Dorian, about gym culture and body dysmorphia, will be touring the North this autumn!

You can catch Andrew, with support by Milla Tebbs and Joshua Judson, at Metronome on Wednesday 1 May. You can also bag 2-4-1 tickets by using the promo code NPF241 on the Nottingham Poetry Festival website.

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