Last year Ledbury poetry festival asked poets to name their most hated words. For this year's festival – running from 1 to 10 July – they've asked for the expressions that have become such cliches that they have lost all meaning. Here are their responses: please add your own.
Word or phrase: “Thinking outside the box”
Why? This phrase came and bit me whilst I was considering a number of words and phrases. A friend asked if I was unwell. I told them I was thinking about defunct, soiled and spoiled words and phrases and was having trouble settling on the worst one. “Try thinking outside the box!” said my friend with a twinkle in her eye, which I missed because I became so suddenly agitated by her use of this appalling phrase. I believe that I may have wished loudly for everyone who continued to encourage people to “think outside the box” to be sellotaped inside a cardboard box while philosophers ignored their muffled cries and considered whether the prisoners were thinking or not thinking, sealed within their cardboard tombs. “Chill out!” my friend said, laughing, knowing all too well what she was doing and stepping away so she didn't have to listen to the grinding squeak of my teeth.