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The world’s first door-to-door poet: 'I thought people would tell me to piss off'


At this year’s singularly muddy Glastonbury, Rowan McCabe explained why he was delivering bespoke poetry to bedraggled campers

On a damp Saturday afternoon in late June, a man wearing wellies and a blazer two sizes too big squelched around muddy fields in deepest Somerset, his pockets stuffed with business cards. He was carrying a yellow placard that said “Poems 4 U” and asking passersby at Glastonbury festival if they’d like to hear some verse. From his hands, strangers picked cards bearing words such as “curry” and “reggae” and “robots”. He then launched into a poem on the chosen topic. Meet Rowan McCabe, who pitches himself as “the world’s first door-to-door poet”.

McCabe is more usually found on the streets of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, writing bespoke verse for whoever happens to answer the buzzer when he calls. He’s penned poems about birds and love and parenting; one to remember a couple’s first date, another for someone’s dog. He composed the piece To Amy, Sitting Her Final Policing Exam for a future constable and Gospel for a woman he nicknamed Agnostic Ana.

Related: Instagram poets society: selfie age breeds life into verse and has a new following

I want to help raise a cool girl
A girl who’s allowed to be seen and heard
A girl who knows no colour or job is “not for her”
I want to help raise a cool girl

A girl who knows she could play football
Against the hardest boy in the class
And tackle him before he has the chance to pass

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