Books and Publications



Bearing the torch of balladeers, Romantics, madmen and fools, Garden of Madness deploys its technologies of rapture with all the music of the fireside tradition. This collection riffs on centuries of ecstatic verse to help sing-in this age of re-enchantment. From the effusions of a heart engulfed in spring, to its ­­­­­­shivering catastrophe in the backyard of a boozer, Garden of Madness chronicles the clash of titans that dramas each human heart. Enjoy a constellation of exhalative incantations, and celebrate the quivering miracle of existence as you stand before immanent death.


‘Each of these poems is a spirit-mushroom, the fruiting offspring of Pete’s vast and generous heart and his Trickster-inflected intellect. Visit word-heavens of praise-poetry and the murky underbelly of the human mind. May this collection inspire both heroisms of the heart and radical survival in this mad and beautiful Earthly garden.’            

(Tom Hirons, poet and author of Sometimes a Wild God)

Non- Fiction

Award-winning poet Pete Bearder presents the unwritten history, science, and skill of spoken word and answers some strangely under-explored questions: What is the history of performance poetry in the UK? How does emotional contagion happen in live literature? What has spoken word got to do with hypnotism and ecstatic states? This groundbreaking book explores a thriving ecology of artistry, and how it can serve us for cultural, social and political renewal.


‘a fantastic piece of work’ – Michael Rosen.

‘Refreshingly light hearted, intellectually passionate and experientially sure footed’ —Liminalities, Journal of Performance Studies

‘Stage Invasion is required reading for anyone studying or fascinated by the art’ —Oxford Brookes University Poetry Centre


Numbered Boxes is a journey through the stanzas of school days, family, work addiction, heartbreak and back into school as a teacher. Much of the book was written while Pete was teaching full-time in an East London secondary school as part of a world-first pilot project, the Spoken Word Education Programme. The book opens the lid on containers built by institutions, and those harder to unpack, the ones built by ourselves. The final section of the book breaks free from the shadows of these confines and escapes into the debauchery of mid-summer, drawing on a body of work written while Pete was Glastonbury poet in residence in 2015. Numbered boxes channels the energy and wit of his stage performance, into a body of lyric, narrative and comically surreal poetry, crafted to deliver on the page.

“His work has all the energy and promise of ‘the opening remarks of spring’ and, line by line, poem by poem, it delivers.” (Luke Kennard)

“This poetry is activism with heart and the heart is the centre of this beautiful book. A true voice for this generation and the next” (Salena Godden)