Tag Archives: Leeds Young Authors

Mapping Slamming UK Migrant Justice Weekend

Couple of related events happening this weekend.

First up: Leeds Black Film Club showing Maafa Legacy tonight; then following on from the Virtual Migrants Crude Killings event last week I’ve been invited to take part in another migrant justice themed extravaganza this weekend: Cartographies of Justice at Liverpool Hope University.

This event will also feature a Migrant Story Slam which includes Leeds Young Authors alumni poet/playwright Zodwa Nyoni among other slammers.

Cartographies of justice flyer

Cartographies will also feature a communal “migrant feast” which comes with a caution from bell hooks:

Within commodity culture, ethnicity becomes spice, seasoning that can liven up the dull dish that is mainstream white culture.


And speaking of LYA and London – if you’re in the big smog on Sunday and haven’t yet seen it – and even if you have seen it – check We Are Poets pon the ICA big screen at a special screening with live performances from LYA film stars Kadish Morris and Rheima ‘Mimz’ Robinson and introduced by BBC Three’s Revoltion Will not Be Televised star, Jolyon Rubinstein.

I’ll have to unfortunately miss this leg of the Slammming Mapping weekend as it’s the final week in the inspiring and deeply informative Pan Afrikan Reparations course – led by Esther Stanford and with course participants ranging from Akala, Zena Edwards and Charles Wainaina (Mau Mau justice freedom fighter). Pow.

If that’s still not enough – head back oop north sharpish from that there Larndarn (preferrably on some as yet not invented eco-speed-transport) and you’ll be able to catch the 9th Annual Lyrikal Art Attack and Yah Get Mi Under 13’s poetry slam.

Pow. Pow. Pow. And rest and breathe…

Just Poetry


“Most people I know call it Slam Poetry, Performance Poetry, Spoken Word.
For the sake of, like, the masses and for the sake of the professors…
And for the sake of the people who look at this and want to label it ‘street’ and want to label it something less than Shakespeare…
I just call it Poetry.”
– Saul Williams, featured in the Leeds Young Authors award-winning Brave New Voices documentary, We Are Poets www.wearepoets.co.uk

Catch Saul Williams/ Leeds Young Authors/ & We Are Poets at the National Shake the Dust Weekend Thursday 5th -Saturday 7th July at the Southbank, London.

5/7/12 – We Are Poets + Saul Williams + Kate Tempest
6/7/12 – 100% PROOF with Lemn Sissay
7/7/12 – The National Shake the Dust Slam Final

We Are Poets – reviews

I’m very very biased so instead of writing my own review here’s what some other people have had to say about the Leeds Young Authors award-winning documentary of their trip to Brave New Voices:

photo (c) Mark Cocksedge - click here for full photoset

BENJAMIN ZEPHANIAH“Amazing…the film itself is a poem. Poetry is an art, filmmaking is an art, it’s takes great sensitivity to bring them together – this film shows us how it’s done!”

I-D MAGAZINE –  “Lyrical, important and ultra-cool…a brilliant story and a milestone in breaking down stereotypes”

SHEFFIELD DOC FEST“From its utterly brilliant opening, through to its moving finale, ‘We Are Poets’ is inspirational!  A Poignant, truthful and uplifting film – a cracking documentary!”

LEMN SISSAY“I’m afraid I’ve never been a fan of the poetry slam but this film made me question my judgement… Because of Slam the ever decreasing circle of the poetry reading is now looking outwards  to the masses… This film made me fonder of the new generation and reminded me of what it is to be a poet.” Continue reading

We Are Poets at Leeds Town Hall 30/3/12

If you are into poetry, film, live spoken word, positive grassroots community niceness, youth empowerment, positive youth expression & creativity and if you are anywhere near Leeds tomorrow evening then there really is only one place to be >>> We Are Poets + LIVE performance from LYA, Q&A + Benjamin Zephaniah.

Featuring live performances from man like Benjamin Zephaniah + Leeds Young Authors + WAP filmstars Saju Ahmed + Rheima Ibrahiim-Robinson + Zodwa Nyoni + Q&A with the film directors & LYA Artistic Director Khadijah Ibrahiim – – all for a fiver? Bargain!

The making of this film with a minimal budget + maximum dedication, trust, and love is a story in itself and here are videos of a previous Q+A with the Directors of We Are Poets at London BFI:

Some reviews that the film has already received coming next.

Escaping the Mad-Man Jail

As a former practictioner of the dark and dubious ‘art’ that is advertising (12 years in remission and counting…) George Monbiot’s article in the Grauniad: Advertising is a poison that demeans even love – and we’re hooked on it, provides a welcome addition to mainstream attempts at addressing this all-pervasive evil.

Monbiot does acknowledge that his “column is framed by two airline adverts”  (on recent view also a Barclays ad, together with a Join the British Army ad provided by Google…) and further in depth analysis of such issues can, as ever, be found via medialens – an essential antidote to the ad-reliant corporate media – who comment:

“the deeper problem is that advertising is one of a number of filters built into the state-corporate media system that prevent us from accessing corporate unfriendly facts, values and perspectives. People are not even able to see that there are alternatives to materialist happiness. These possibilities are almost completely filtered out, maligned, ignored…” Continue reading

Prepare for Youth Poetry Power

Sticking to the RED theme set up by the first two posts – here’s a very amateur recording of two young poets it was my pleasure to coach at the 2010 Leeds Young Authors 7th Annual Voices of a New Generation Literature Festival and Poetry Slam:

I come back to this video a lot as the poem – written by a 12 and 13 year old before the student protests kicked off in the UK and before the uprisings in the North Afrikan/Arabian World – really speaks to the moment and is a great answer to the false foolish forced Shock Doctrine of big society (sic), privatisation, and cutting of public services. Yes, these young people have no problem in seeing and calling out the Empire as stark raving nekkid.

As a performance poet, this was definitely one of my most spine-tingling, hair-on-end proudest moments and it is gratifying to hear the word-sound power of da yout resonate with a crowd, to offer them a platform to share their knowledge and insight, and a creative outlet for their energy and passion.

Plus as Zena Edwards says of the recent SHAKE! project on which we are fortunate to be poet facilitators: Continue reading