The video footage of the Open Generation event has been put up now. You can watch the videos here, where you can access content from across the weekend. See below for my performance of ‘Apology for Yarl’s Wood’.
Remember to check out this post to find out more about the poem and organisations connected to the topic.
Last weekend I took part in the Festival of Ideas as part of Open Generation, a project which saw spoken word artists, photographers and film makers come together to having our say on migration, in partnership with the Migrants’ Rights Network. I’d been mentored by Joelle Taylor, who has helped push me to practice and memorise my poems more, as well as help with confidence and performance preparation techniques. The day started with an early morning meeting, which meant I was able to stay for the two hours of TEDx Salon about free movement and saw some great talks with discussion at the end.
I went to one of the talks during the rest of the day called ‘Redefining Britishness’, I went to a workshop by Adam Kammerling, and got a bit of rehearsal time with fellow poet Melissa McDonald (who’s only done six performances and is already making waves!) There was so much inspiring stuff going on – too much to regurgitate here, but hopefully some videos will go up and I can share them another time.
We all got a plaque for taking part; there were prizes for each category, and I was lucky enough to win one. I was very pleased to purchase a tripod and some other bits from The Flash Centre, with some very generous vouchers. I will also be headed to The Dorchester’s China Tang for a birthday meal with my boyfriend, thanks to this. I admit, I initially felt uneasy about it being a competition, but it is nice to get this kind of recognition. I put the tripod to use this week at She Grrrowls and it made it so much easier… once I’d figured out with a couple of others how to put it up! Plus, having a luxury dim sum meal on my birthday makes up for all the soups and sandwiches you end up eating to find something cheap as a poet.
My poem itself was based on a Congolese woman who was raped, used as a sex slave, and then came to the UK to be detained at Yarl’s Wood. It was inspired by this Guardian article by Natasha Walter. I have known about these atrocities for a while and it was hard to write a poem without acknowledging the frustration that I too have a part to play in them, but thankfully more is being done to source conflict-free minerals (see Intel), yet we must still raise awareness. Poetry Meets Art is an event that does this, hosted by a wonderful woman called Emma Ako. I asked Emma for some places to share with people around this topic, so here’s where she suggested:
Save The Congo
Congolese Action Youth Platform
Mothers of Congo
I’m currently typing up notes from BARcademy, a writing and professional development week with Burn After Reading that took place in August 2014. That was 6 months ago. There’s a little indication of how my life is going.
So, I think it’s about time to have a look at the previous year and what I’m currently up to. One of my greatest achievements of 2014 (and my life) was being published by Nasty Little Press, and this was followed by an incredible summer of performing at a total of five festivals. I performed at Latitude, Secret Garden Party, Camp Bestival, In the Woods and Bestival. I also managed to fit in a sneaky four day holiday to Spain. I was ill for at least three weeks because of all this activity – just in time for the new term at work. I graduated from the Roundhouse Poetry Collective programme and formed Kid Glove. We now have a logo too – designed by Matthew Dickerson. We’re currently working a Twitter and a website… and on a show about adventure! This will be scratched at the Roundhouse’s Last Word Festival on Sunday 31st May at 1.30pm. Tickets are free, so book yourself a spot now. We’re resident artists at the Roundhouse this year, which is really cool.
This year has seen a bit of success so far (though I would like to be booked for more features, please). I am delighted to have had a poem accepted into Popshot Magazine! This will be available from 1st April and I’m thrilled to be in it after a lot of submissions in the past. I have also filmed my ‘Paradise’ poem with Guy Larsen, and I’m currently waiting to see it and show it to everyone, which should be by the end of the month – exciting! I will also be working with Joelle Taylor to produce a political poem in the run up to the election, which will be performed at the Festival of Ideas 2015 as part of Open Generation on Friday 10th and Saturday 11th April.
Lastly, make a note in your diaries for the next She Grrrowls event, taking place at Apples & Pears on Thursday 19th March. It will feature Maria Ferguson, Natacha Bryan, Kitten Killers and Cat Bear Tree. Join the event here. Please support these next two events – if we get a good turn out we will be able to confirm the next few months.