Tag Archives: Zena Edwards

Continent Chop Chop – Virtual Migrants tour

Virtual Migrants collective has been working hard on a touring poetical musical digital mash-up theatrical production that connects austerity, refugees and climate justice. We’ve been in rigorous rehearsals upping our performance game in song, poetry, story-telling and even a lil slice of grime. Guided by the calm soul energy wisdom of Amanda Huxtable the show is now ready for the road.

Blurb about the show and tour dates are below.

A performance project by the Virtual Migrants collective.

‘Climate Change Kwansabas’ – performance + download

Here’s the performance from Zena Edwards, Selina Nwulu and myself that we put together to showcase our commissioned poems at Writing Climate Change at the Free Word Centre.

Our collection takes race and climate as its central theme. In looking globally at who is most affected by climate change, we see that those disproportionately affected are countries within the global south, people from the majority world who directly rely on the land or the sea for their food and survival.

We consider how climate change impacts diaspora communities and how ongoing inequality and historical legacies of colonialism have led to migration and dislocation from ancestral lands. The collection seeks to engage with dialogues about climate change that take into account the criminalisation of Black communities.

You can download these poems together with all the other commissions from writers Sarah ButlerNick HuntStevie RonnieDan Simpson  as a PDF here.
Check the Free Word blog to watch the other commissions and for a panel discussion.

Power Propaganda Perceptions

Today. Pow.

A showcase of Power>>Propaganda>>Perceptions>> from the participants on the third Shake! course that took place at the Bernie Grants Arts Centre in August 2013.

Featuring freshly created poetic, filmic & musical responses to injustice from:

Poets: Christianah Babjide, Onysha Collins, Zena Edwards, Lucas Kelly, Jordan King-Burrowes, Sai Murray, Charlene Obi, Annie Rockson, Lateef Shofoluwe

Music: Marcina Arnold & Ed Lewis

Film: by Enayet Mannan, Khadiza Shahid, Richard York, Minaz Waris, Hannan Majid, Derek Richard, Minaz Waris, Umaru Saidu

“Reach” premiere of short film supported by HI8US SOUTH and The Rainbow Collective created during the Shake! course. See here for trailer

Featuring panel discussion & Q+A with film creators/Shake! participants.

Check the Shake! blog for more info.

SHOWCASE#3-front-web

A poem for Jayne Cortez

I’m diaper-deep in solidarity breast-feeding at the moment so unable to attend the tribute to Jayne Cortez in London tomorrow (check the fittingly impressive line-up below). I was lucky enough to meet, listen to and dialogue with the Firespitter on a few occasions and in 2011 I took part in an Inscribe workshop which Jayne faciliated. One of the tasks she set us was to write about the subject of “freedom” – the poem that she urged me to complete is below:

Necessary Freedoms

In answering a poetic task set by sister Cortez he recounts
his admiration for brother Malcolm and sister Nawaal.

In contemplating the true essence of freedom he asks himself
how free can we truly be? Can we be so true to self that we

forget self? Forget who we are supposed to be, and just be? Free.
Naked when all others are clothed? Sit, while others stand?

Stand, while others sit? Dancing to the beat of our heart. So
fucking free to scream, to shout, without consequence, without

conscience? To cry, and not know, not care, why. Laughing for
the beauty, for the futility of it all. Om…………………………………

He meditates on Malcolm…olm. Om. Omowale el Haaj Malik el
Shabaaz. Yes, being once already dead one can truly live without

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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