Tag Archives: Poetry

Writing and Repair – A Healing Justice Conversation

Ahead of the first in the series of Healing Arts workshops, run by Voices That Shake!’s Healing Justice collective, here’s some nourishing quotes from writers on the healing power of writing: a conversation between Audre Lorde, James Baldwin, bell hooks, Toni Cade Bambara, Toni Morrison, Gloria E. Anzaldúa, Junot Díaz and others.

And a link to the essay that derives one of my favourite go-to quotes (which I’ve possibly mentioned on every single Shake! course is also up here: “Creativity is the Immune System of the Mind…”).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


bell hooks:
Writing is my passion. It is a way to experience the ecstatic. The root understanding of the word ecstasy—“to stand outside”—comes to me in those moments when I am immersed so deeply in the act of thinking and writing that everything else, even flesh, falls away.

Arthur Koestler: There is no sharp dividing line between self-repair and self realisation. All creative activity is a kind of do-it-yourself therapy, an attempt to come to terms with traumatising challenges

Toni Morrison: There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.

Maya Angelou: When I am writing, I am trying to find out who I am, who we are, what we’re capable of, how we feel, how we lose and stand up, and go on from darkness into darkness. I’m trying for that. But I’m also trying for the language. I’m trying to see how it can really sound. I really love language. I love it for wate it does for us, how it allows us to explain the pain and the glory, the nuances and delicacies of our existence. And then it allows us to laugh, allows us to show wit. Real wit is shown in language. We need language.
Continue reading

Advertisements

Continent Chop Chop doc doc

Here’s the freshly released documentary from Virtual Migrants touring theatrical performance #ContinentChopChop.We laboured, loved and learned long and hard on this project and will be taking the essence of this theatre-film-poetry-music-digital-arts-community-engaging-connecting-politics-intervening stylee mash-up forward in new ways over the coming years. More ripples soon…

[repost from http://virtualmigrants.net/film/continent-chop-chop-documentary/%5D

Continent Chop Chop documentary re-launches critical climate justice creativity by Virtual Migrants

At the end of 2015 Virtual Migrants toured Continent Chop Chop, an innovative theatrical performance which is now the short film – the Continent Chop Chop documentary.  This film exposes the complex process involved in making an authentic artist-activist statement that avoids being didactic, doesn’t pull punches, and steers away from the common trappings of climate change art and performance.

Here it is, please leave comments below or watch it directly on YouTube and leave comments there: www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAPKS3IobTk.

Background to the Continent Chop Chop Documentary

‘Continent Chop Chop’ is a touring transmedia production linking narratives of climate change to the broader issues of poverty, race and social justice. Using interwoven narratives portrayed through music, poetry, and projected imagery, it will ask:

Continue reading

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

Gil Scott-Heron Jism & Ass

“When is it going to be that we start to define our own art and start to describe what we do, in terms that we know and that we can follow and continue…”

Since hearing of the sad passing of Gil Scott-Heron I’ve been gorging on the many tributes, obituaries and of course his message. My go-to Radio 1 shows, Benji B and Gilles Peterson, didn’t disappoint.  The latter of these featuring musings from the maestro on the etymology of Classical Black Dance Music aka Jazz Music aka “Jism and Ass music” taken from Gil’s last album “We’re New Here“.  I couldn’t find a transcription of the full Jazz Interlude so I’ve transcribed the audio myself (below).

Continue reading

Talking TABOO in TINA’s Twisted Face

The ludicrous and ugly dogma of TINA (There Is No Alternative) withers against the blossoming beauty of TABOO (There Are Billions Of Options).

Written and performed by Dorothea Smartt of African Writers Abroad – one of a series of new poems from the anthology “No Condition is Permanent: 19 Poets on Climate Justice and Change” published by PLATFORM. TINA: refering to Margaret Thatcher’s infamous phrase “There Is No Alternative”,  TABOO taken from title of this 2009 workshop: “There Are Billions Of Options”.  Poetry commissioned as part of PLATFORM’s two-month season of events and exhibition CWords: Carbon, Climate, Capital, Culture held at Arnolfini, Bristol in 2009. Film made by You and I Films.

Listen to Dorothea read and discuss this and other poems with Naomi Woddis on the excellent Reel Rebels radio show The Conversational.

+ check this inspiring essay from Patrick Reinsborough which references Dorothea’s poem and the ‘meme-ic’ notion of TABOO:  Giant Whispers: Narrative Power, Radical Imagination and a Future Worth Fighting For.

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

Merry World AIDS Day!

It’s Global AIDS day today.

And there’s a foot of snow outside my window.

How are these two related? Shopping of course! Yes, as well as reminding us that ‘climate change/ climate chaos’ (or better yet ‘climate justice’!) are more appropriate terms than the more easily dismissed and ignored ‘global warming’, this latest record-breaking bout of weather also reminds that Christmas is on it’s way. Christmas and shopping of course being intertwined. Snow, Christmas and shopping – or rather – rampant greed and over-consumption leading to crazy weather patterns  a less promoted notion…

World AIDS day has also been captured by the mega-brands and now, just like Saint Nicholas, it sports a suit fashioned from a distinctly commercial shade of red – what else is there to think about on World AIDS day but buying that (RED) branded product to show how much you care?

Here’s a poem I dedicated to Product (RED) recently published in the non-affiliated Red Anthology, the first collection of Contemporary Black British Poetry for 10 years:

Red: Contemporary Black British Poetry

not affiliated with Product (RED)

SAVED BY SHOPPING

dear santa
i would really like an afrikan baby Continue reading