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The Body Sonata – A Collaboration with Post Everything

As promised, you’re getting the podcast! You can listen/download to it here.

From the Post Everything website:

Combining the sonic signature of the Barbican with the unique voices of the young creatives making work inside the building, The Body Sonata podcast deals with borders and scale. From the barriers between blood vessels to the line we draw between earth and space, the Barbican Young Poets discuss their own relationship with the world around them in collaboration with Post Everything, whose members are Barbican Young Poets alumni. Featuring poets, Megha Harish Gabriel Akamo, Cameron Holleran, Anna Kahn and Eleanor Penny.

Find out more about the Barbican Young Poets and read anthologies of the poets’ work: barbican.org.uk/youngpoets

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St. Paul’s Round Table Discussion

As mentioned in this post, I was asked to take part in a discussion about reclaiming London landmarks through art and how we can make young people feel like the city is their own.

It was great to be in a room with so many different groups, about six or seven collectives from around London were represented in total. There was a lot of discussion about the role of the Cathedral in London life and how the intersecting factors of race, religion, class and gender (to name a few) have conspired to keep London’s famous places out of the hands of its citizens.

We talked a lot about community engagement – how do we get people from the local area (ie. Hoxton/Shoreditch/Bethnal Green/Mile End, not the City of London) to use St. Paul’s as a venue for their cultural performances and exhibits?

I don’t have an easy answer except to say that whatever it is will require a lot of work. I hope something constructive will come of these discussions. Before I left the Cathedral, I got chatting to the chaplain who was on duty that day – she was an elderly vicar from Hackney who does one day a month helping in the Cathedral. We chatted for almost an hour about theology and art and how the two can and should come together to shine a light on injustice and hold up examples of goodness in the world. I am not religious but we found a lot to talk about and her views on many things surprised me – she was of the opinion that the Church had failed to act as Christ would have acted by shutting the doors to the Occupy protesters. She proceeded to tell me that the Cathedral walked a fine line between remaining spiritual and remaining open (it receives no government funding so relies entirely on donations and ridiculous entry fees). We discussed how art that presses on those cracks might be useful.

She’s invited me to her parish church to have a look around, chat some more and maybe even do an artistic project within her community!

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Hiatus

I’ll be going on a bit of a hiatus. Mainly because most of the poetry stuff in London tends to die down around the summer time (for a bunch of reclusive shut-ins, poets sure seem to enjoy the sun) but also because I will be working with Hoxton Hall over the Summer, helping to facilitate their amazing Summer School programme!

I am super excited for that and also my first trip to Portugal 🙂

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Watermarks Anthology Launch

So, in case you missed it, I am being published in an anthology. There are going to be two launch nights, one in Hebden Bridge and one in my native Manchester. I might be attending (along with my mum) and reading at the Manchester one but it will depend what my schedule is like.

The Hebden Bridge event is going to be held on Wednesday 29th June at The Book Case in Hebden Bridge. People can arrive from 6.30pm for a 7pm start.

The second launch takes place on Tuesday 6 July at the Portico Library in Manchester. The event will start at 6.30, with the reading beginning at 7pm. tickets will cost £5 and includes a glass of wine. Ticket money raised will go to Flood Relief and can be bought here.
The anthology can be bought here.
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I am being published!

This is so unreal. I got an email today saying that, while I didn’t place in the competition, my poem ‘Advice for the Patient’ made the ‘Highly Commended’ longlist so will be included in the anthology! Considering that they had over 500 entries and only 10 have made it into the book, I feel very chuffed.

I submitted a poem for the Watermark competition – there was prize money but the competition was to be put into an anthology that would be sold to raise money for the Watermark Flood Fund. Part of the reason I submitted was because my home area of Salford was badly affected by the Christmas flooding. Now I’ll be a part of a fund relief effort!

As soon as I have a link/further details, I will update this.

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BYP SHOWCASE THOUGHTS

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I only went and did my poem lying on the floor, didn’t I! It surprised everyone and had people getting up out of their seat to get a better look at me. The poem itself went down really well and had people laughing and feeling engaged. The night itself was extraordinary with every poet bringing their A game. It was truly a night of titans. We were all pushing each other to perform our best and it really showed in the variety of form, content, delivery and energy.

I’m thinking that I won’t do BYP again, having taken the programme as far as I think it will take me but there’s an alumni program looming in the horizon, so it’s not the end, just the start of a new chapter.

 

Photo credit to Aaron Lee

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BYP Showcase

ARGGGGH! It’s tonight! I’m going on stage without paper and I’m going to try something experimental. ARRRRRRRRGH!

I’ll be wearing lipstick and a cat jumper and being all together too comfortable in my skin which I am not used to but BYP has made me feel like I can be myself and be accepted for who I am.

My poem is about not making sense. Another scary thought as my biggest fear as a poet is that no one will ‘get’ the poem – not that it will go over their head because I’m so dense and clever and whatnot but because I’ll have tried to be those things and just end up sounding stupid.

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Dialogue Festival

I’m performing tonight at an event that I have just found out is sold out! Dialogue Festival promises to be an exciting mixed media night and I am honoured to be a part of it.

I shall be reading a poem written in response to a photography exhibition that is to go up at the Barbican soon. I’ve got a 3 minute slot and I’m on a balcony. I’m also slightly scared of heights.

Wish me luck!

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Podcast recording

Today, I’m off to the Barbican Centre to take part in a podcast recording collaboration between the Barbican Young Poets and my wonderful friends, Post Everything.

Really excited to see what they have planned for us. Keep an eye out for the podcast when it’s complete!

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2016

So the tail end of 2015 saw me back with the Barbican Young Poets, doing a few spots with Burn After Reading and being invited to Deptford Cinema to do a reading as part of their superhero season. Oh, I also contended with rising rivers in my hometown.

I’ve been busy doing a lot of writing and reading (I finally have a poetry bookshelf!), especially around how to make a living from my craft. If I have a resolution it’s to try and push forward with my plan to turn what I do into a career.

February and March will see me collaborating with Barbican/Guildhall, firstly on their Dialogue Festival (to be held in Barking) and then at the Barbican Weekender. I’m thrilled to be taking part in these, simply because it’s going to give me a big push regarding collaboration with other poets/artists.