Matt Abbott is a poet, practitioner, producer and activist from Wakefield. He first began performing spoken word in between musical acts at Yorkshire indie gigs in December 2006, shortly before his 18th birthday. From 2007-2013 he fronted alternative pop act Skint & Demoralised, which included a stint with Universal Records as well as national and international acclaim.
Since returning to spoken word in 2013, he has toured the UK frequently; appearing in theatres, at festivals, at community and political events, and on stage with bands – his first love. In spring 2015 he formed the spoken word record label Nymphs & Thugs.
His work fuses socio-political commentary with kitchen sink realism and is presented in a dynamic and engaging manner. Matt captures a lot of his activism in his poetry, and always looks to focus on the human aspect of politics.
Matt is Poet-in-Residence at the National Coal Mining Museum for England, lead creative writing practitioner at The Hepworth Wakefield, and an ambassador for Eureka! The National Children’s Museum, Trinity Homeless Projects and CRIBS International.
He was also commissioned to write a collection as Poet-in Residence on a project with Efficiency North, a social housing enterprise based in Yorkshire. This was published in July 2018.
Matt was volunteering at the Calais Jungle refugee camp when his native Wakefield voted 66% Leave. Why did so many working-class communities like his support Brexit so strongly? How can the UK ignore a humanitarian crisis just 22 miles from Dover? And does anything ever actually change for people like Maria?
Matt’s one man poetry show, Two Little Ducks, is a powerful, personal and political spoken word show from one of UK poetry’s rising stars. He channels the human side of politics to look at national identity, preconceptions, class and anti-establishment anger. Poetic flair and storytelling, with a unique insight into the summer that changed everything.
To accompany the show, Verve Poetry Press has produced a book containing the full and final version of Two Little Ducks, along with a selection of the stand-alone poems Matt composed during the time of writing his show. Together they form a collection that gives a full and inspiring taste of this poet’s pin-point way with words and great concern for common people – their complexity, their great unpredictability.
The book also includes a selection of the standalone poems that wrote during the time of writing Two Little Ducks. Altogether, this collection is representative of three years of frenzied and focused writing and performing from a poet at the top of his game.
Two Little Ducks is Matt’s first collection.
‘A joy to read and an instant counter culture classic.’ – Salena Godden
‘Matt Abbott is the voice of the UK in uprising. Powerful, empathetic and necessary.’ – Joelle Taylor
‘An artist with something to say, who knows how to say it.’ – The Scotsman
Where denim and leather sit side by side
and strip-lights sabotage slumber.
Strangers stretching blurry eyed,
non-nocturnal minds encumbered.
Not through choice but desperate need:
the overnight Megabus, London to Leeds.
Where minutes match the miles on the motorway.
The strip-lights are surrendered,
leaving cricket scores in the Evening Standard
semi-censored by midnight’s mask.
The old man squints,
with nothing but the Butterscotch glow
from Finchley Road
to illuminate his wickets.
Bare feet stick out in aisles.
It looks like a cross between a bingo hall
and a morgue on wheels.
The stuffy air stands
behind the shoulders of your lungs,
forcing them to work for every breath.
is out of order.
The stench floats just above your nose,
like the Baileys in a Baby Guinness.
Whenever you lean back to rest your head
(which is fairly often at 2am),
it cackles and catches you unaware.
And then you snooze for a bit,
with jacket between head and shoulder.
Trick your brain into thinking there’s a duvet and a mattress,
until the booze morphs a mouth
that’s munched a month’s worth of crackers.
The hot air stifles and your forehead pounds,
three quid from London to Leeds!
Look around: we’re winning at life.
We drop off at Rugby, and Leicester,
and Loughborough and Sheffield.
Sunlight creeps like a magnifying glass
on a coach full of ants
being dragged from the capital.
The particles of shit from the blocked-up bog
form a Morris dance pattern ‘round your nostrils.
The Services are always twenty-five miles away.
Jesus still loves us.
This billboard is still FOR SALE.
The cricket scores in the Evening Standard
have fallen to the floor.
The picture of the crease all creased by his sandals.
The strip-lights fight for attention,
but they’re long since a formality.
The overnight Megabus. London to Leeds.
Blurry eyes now bloodshot.
Strangers carry awkward familiarity.
Snoring and sighs, stretches and yawns:
cash is the Queen,
are the Pawns.