All About Ash Dickinson
Ash Dickinson is a poet, performer and workshop facilitator. He has become one of the UK’s best and busiest spoken word performers since turning
full-time professional in 2008.
His debut collection, ‘Slinky Espadrilles’ (2012), was the first title published by Burning Eye Books. They released his follow-up, ‘Strange Keys’ in 2016. A multiple slam champion- including Edinburgh, the Cheltenham Festival and the Museum of Scotland- Ash was the 2011 UK All Stars Slam runner-up, the BBC Radio 4 (Midlands) slam champion in 2009, and he was a winner at the BBC Radio 4 (Scotland) slam in 2007.
Ash has performed in Australia, the United States, Canada (including a six-date feature tour in 2011, and the Winnipeg Fringe Festival in 2006),
New Zealand (hosting his own weekly poetry night in Wellington, he was invited to appear at the 2002 New Zealand Festival), Germany, Spain, Jordan and the Czech Republic.
Ash has headlined many shows and festivals throughout the UK. He had a four-star rated one man show at the 2004 Edinburgh Fringe, and the
following year formed part of Scotland’s renowned Big Word during its run there. His most recent Fringe appearance was in 2017. Ash has appeared at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, Glasgow Comedy Festival, StAnza, the Bristol Poetry Festival, The Larmer Tree, The Freedom Festival, The
Wickerman, the Stratford Poetry Festival and The Camden Crawl among many other events.
He has performed at such venues as Ronnie Scott’s (London), The Colston Hall (Bristol), Oran Mor (Glasgow), Jupiter Artland (West Lothian), The
Engine Shed (Lincoln), various RAF sites (including Coningsby and Scampton) and The Jazz Cafe (London), and appeared with many international
poets, as well as comedians such as Frankie Boyle, Miles Jupp and Andy Parsons.
Ash is in heavy demand to run poetry workshops and talks; in education (primary and junior schools, secondary schools, colleges, special needs,
international schools), through art education (libraries, museums) and with adult writing groups. He has been invited to showcase his workshops
at secondary school heads of English conferences for Hertfordshire, Devon, Cheshire, Hull and to the Rugby Group. He has addressed the literary
society at Stowe School three times, and was a case study in the Bloomsbury-published classroom aid, ‘Making Poetry Happen (2015).
Variously published in newspapers, magazines and poetry presses, Ash’s media appearances include BBC Radio, The Times, The Scotsman, Metro and
Ash’s School Visits
Ash runs workshops in primary schools, secondary schools, special schools and colleges. He has been invited to showcase his workshops at secondary Heads of English conferences for Hertfordshire, Devon, Dorset, Hull, Cheshire and for the Rugby Group; he’s a case study in the recently published classroom aid ‘Making Poetry Happen’. He regularly visits three to four (and five) schools a week, and not just in the UK- he has been flown out to Spain, Jordan and the Czech Republic to run poetry workshops in international schools. Ash has been invited to speak to the Literary Society at Stowe School three times.
Ash is available to deliver talks and workshops. He has over 1300 performances to his name- and over five hours of his own spoken word in his head. These high-octane performances can be comedic and surreal, bittersweet and engaging, challenging and questioning. As one of the UK’s very best performance poets, they are often all this and more.
One of Ash’s greatest strengths in education is his flexibility. The diversity of workshops requested of him is vast, ranging from performance poetry to more traditional forms, general creative writing, running slams, judging competitions, giving addresses, emceeing showcase events for parents, lyric writing, working cross-curricular, even alongside steel drummers…themes, aims, approaches- Ash shirks no challenge! He also runs workshops relating to poetry analysis- AQA, Edexcel, WJEC, unseen poetry etc and is usually very busy in the run-up to mock and summer exams.
Ash is on an ongoing crusade to make poetry accessible and interesting; to inspire and encourage students to express themselves and have fun with language. He believes in poetry as entertainment, expression and catharsis. He feels it’s inspirational for students to experience relatable poetry delivered with passion, energy, inventiveness and wit. Through the use of engaging and fun exercises he hopes to challenge any negative preconceptions of poetry. He is frequently dazzled by the level of work produced (as seemingly are many teachers) particularly by those students who claim not to enjoy poetry at the lesson’s start. Ash gets so many re-bookings, he must be doing something right!
Rich with vivid surrealism, this is poetry that holds up a mirror to our world and makes us look long and hard, and not be afraid to laugh. This is poetry polished in the spotlight of the stage, poetry that tears up the rule that says performance poetry does not transfer to the page.In the tradition of Adrian Mitchell and The Liverpool poets, Adrian Henri, Brian Patten and Roger McGough, this is poetry that is consistently accessible and entertaining. Although written primarily for the live experience of performance, this is an accomplished collection that demands a place on your bookshelf.
Mama Cass overdoses on pork. A shower gel’s compassionate talk. Revenge best served by time machine or octopus as a hat. Star Wars told in three minutes flat. Misogyny in rap, sexism at the Oscars. The running of the bullfinches. Scottish independence. Heckling Miley Cyrus. Midlife dating/midlife crisis. Syria and political satirists. Life through the lens of a food photographer. New persona after new persona. Tattoos and stalkers. Swindon is the new Disneyland. The last knockings of rock and roll. Video games and gun control. Boxing snow. Kipling and poetry karaoke. Man in the 21st century. The Smiths and electricity wastage. A three day New Year’s Eve. Love, art, death. The ways of a coffee addict. And Britain’s foremost method poet…This can only be a new book from everyone’s favourite comic surrealist Ash Dickinson.
Reviews & Recommendations
“Brilliantly surreal invention…fabulous poems” – Edinburgh Evening News
“Impressive wordplay” – The Times
“Clever and funny” – The Scotsman
“Could do for poetry what Bill Hicks did for comedy” – The Skinny
“Ash Dickinson is a Performance Poet for the Lost Generation. If you haven’t seen him, you haven’t seen performance poetry” – Federation Of
“Surreal, hilarious social commentary and wicked wordplay…a master of stand-up poetry” – Apples And Snakes
“What’s great about Ash is that he gets kids and he gets poetry. If you want a visiting poet that can entertain, educate and inspire all in one quirky package- get Ash” – Bradon Forest School, Wiltshire
“It is amazing what new ideas, new perspectives and a new voice can do to really change what we think about poetry. I felt Ash’s workshops enlivened not only the pupils’ approach and understanding but teachers’ too. His encouragement, energy and engagement inspired us all” – Sandbach High School, Cheshire
“Ash was an inspiration to staff and pupils alike. I will certainly be inviting Ash back – attitudes towards poetry need a good shake-up and Ash is the man for the job” – Reigate School, Surrey
“What’s startling about Ash is the way he instantly engages an audience of teenagers and makes poetry cool. His energy wasn’t just in his own presentation- he engaged with the writing groups he set up and encouraged individual performance. Our students talked about him and poetry for days afterwards” – Eyemouth High School, Berwickshire
“Ash is great working in an educational environment. The kids think he’s cool, we all love his poetry and he’s really flexible and proactive. We intend having him back for a third straight year- If he’s available!” – St Mary’s, Hertfordshire
“We invited Ash to help revise multicultural poetry. Boring? Ash wasn’t. He led the students into subtle relationships with the poems, was a natural teacher and had an excellent rapport with the students” – Broadland High, Norfolk
“Ash’s workshops were pitched perfectly for our youngest learners and left even our Foundation children in awe! Our Year 1 and Year 2 loved his quirky raps, poems and jokes and he left them inspired and confident to give writing and performing poetry a go. Days later we’re still all talking about him!” – Glastonbury Thorn Primary, Buckinghamshire
“Ash was funny, engaging, relevant and worked really well with the P5-P7 pupils. He was very encouraging and motivating and his workshops were fast-paced and really grabbed the pupils’ attention! A lot achieved in a short space of time!” – Castlemilk Primary, Glasgow
“Ash performed funny and exciting poems which really captured the children’s imagination. As a result, they were inspired to write their own poetry. Ash provided excellent value for money- a full day of super workshops that catered for different age groups, at a very reasonable price. We would highly recommend him for a primary school visit” – Westwoodside Primary, Lincolnshire
“Ash was inspirational – he has the ability to bring words to life. His poetry was both thought-provoking and humorous and he really caught the attention of the pupils. They thoroughly enjoyed the workshops and the opportunity to put forward their own ideas. I have already recommended Ash to a couple of schools back in the UK” – International Community School, Amman, Jordan
To Make a Booking
To make an enquiry about Ash, or any of the other authors, poets & illustrators listed on this website, please phone Trevor Wilson on +44 (0) 1535 656015, or email him at email@example.com