Mark Grist is da poet not to be missed
He’s, like, an English teacher, but with a twist.
He let you do your own thing and don’t slap your wrist
He enough to make Michael Gove get pissed.
Yeah, OK. This is an evening all about Mark Grist’s journey from English teacher in Peterborough to internet sensation as a performance poet. It tells how his love of teaching and his passion to try to engage the naughtiest of his pupils found him being led by them away from sonnets and Wordsworth to see the worth of the words in the rap/hip-hop/ spoken word culture of da youth. He bubbles and fizzes with enthusiasm for teaching, for the power of words, and with amazement at his luck in being able now to make a living doing what he loves. This is not a standard spoken word evening, nor a stand-up show, nor yet a classroom lesson with a trendy teacher who’s down with the kids – but it has elements of all of them. Grist is witty, self-effacing, and searingly honest about himself as he performs some of his poems (they must rhyme; he just can’t live with free form verse); tells of his terror at trying his hand at (and winning) rap battles with teenage tearaways; and how this led to his going viral on the internet and attracting attention from TV and the tabloids. All this without a shred of arrogance or self-importance from a man whose stated childhood ambition was to be a rock star. Committed, warm, hugely enjoyable: a very humane, entertaining evening from a very humane, entertaining man.
John Christopher Wood