Chrissy and Swithun put Icing on the Poetry Cake

Saturday 10 March 2012

Guest Bloggers, Chrissy Williams and Swithun Cooper are bringing their toothsome Poetry Digest to StAnza next week. Read on, and try not to feel hungry. We can't wait.

When you're wandering around StAnza's weekend events, keep an eye out for Poetry Digest - an edible poetry magazine printed in "small cake" format, or small biscuit format as need arises. We'll be handing out empire biscuits produced by Stuart's of Buckhaven bearing poems by Isobel Dixon, Lavinia Greenlaw, Matthew Hollis, Christopher Reid and Jackie Kay. (As one contributor pointed out to us, this will really be a Jackie Cake.)

Poetry Digest was set up by Chrissy Williams and Swithun Cooper. If you visit the website you'll see that we created it while working as revolutionary bakers as a way to fight Communism in an unnamed Eastern European country. That's a lie, unfortunately. Really we work at the Poetry Library in London, and we thought it up as something to do on National Poetry Day: putting an e.e. cummings poem on cakes for our colleagues, so they could carry it in their stomachs.

After this photograph of it got round Twitter, we were asked to produce a few for other poetry events - including 'Feast on Words' by Poet in the City, a workshop group at the Southbank Centre, and a "reading and eating" for young members of The Poetry Society . Since then, it's turned into a cake-based events series, which we've subsequently developed into a magazine. Our aim is to give people an entertaining (and tasty) alternative to the sometimes gruelling business of submitting poems to magazines – sending them off, waiting for months, and finally having a poem printed somewhere. Putting a poem on a cake seems a more light-hearted way of getting your work appreciated, and the large amounts of sugar and frosting in every poem keeps our readings sociable and high-spirited.

We've now made three issues of Poetry Digest - 'Raisin D'Etre', 'The Big Apple' and 'Berried Alive' - and poems by the likes of Tom Chivers, Tim Wells, Claire Trévien, Jacqueline Saphra and Simon Barraclough have all appeared on foodstuffs we've produced. We've done readings with Liz Berry and Victoria Bean, and we ran a competition ('The Limelight') for the Young Poets Network .

During StAnza you'll mostly find us at the Poets Market, where we'll also have some fruit available for those who prefer their sugar unrefined, but we can also be found at a few other events, including the Saturday and Sunday Poetry Breakfasts and the Festival Finale.

We invite you to join us in eating the poets' words.

Our thanks to Swithun and Chrissy. Chrissy's own blog is at