Event

Working Class Poetry at The Torriano Meeting House, London July Twenty Second

This coming Sunday, 22nd July five working class poets will be reading at the Torriano Meeting House (the Torriano has a rich history of supporting working class poets for a number of decades). Each of us are, or will be published by Culture Matters, a co-operative, which promotes socialist and progressive art, culture and politics. The authors are Fran Lock, Alan Dunnett, Martin Hayes, Nadia Drews, Alan Morrison and myself. Our books cover many aspects of working class life, including work, politics, and culture.

Below are details for each poet: we hope to see some of you on Sunday.

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THE POETS (more…)

Poetry on the Picket Line, news of upcoming fundraiser & poem by Grim Chip

hackneyritzyprotest460Poetry on the Picket Line (PotPL) grew out of the solidarity work carried out by the poets involved with supporting PCS members in the National Gallery dispute. Understanding the challenges of keeping spirits high on picket lines first hand, they saw an opportunity to punctuate the speeches and slogans with poetry to both entertain and agitate. The dispute was successful, as was the poetry, so with word getting round, PotPL poets have gone on to support strikers at the National Museum of Wales, Junior Doctors, Cleaners at the LSE and, most recently, the Picturehouse Cinema workers fighting for a living wage. They have performed poetry alongside Owen Jones and John McDonnell including sharing a platform at the May Day demonstration this year.

PotPL have always believed in putting their money where their mouths are and use the power of poetry to move people to build funds to support workers in struggle. For this reason, Poetry on the Picket Line are holding their first fundraiser “Cellarful of Solidarity” on Sat Nov 18th at The Betsey Trotwood in Farringdon, London. They will present some of the many poets who have supported or performed as a part of Poetry on the Picket Line including: Janine Booth, Tim Wells and Grim Chip, as well as Matt Abbott, Sophie Cameron, Dan Cockrill and Peter Raynard, with others to be announced. Solidarity messages and poems from Billy Bragg, Phill Jupitus, Tim Turnbull, Joolz Denby, and many more will be read and raffled on the night, which will end with a special Rocksteady DJ set from Tim Wells and live music from singer/songwriter Maddy Carty.

chip picket lineToday’s poem is by Grim Chip who has featured on the PP before. Grim is a poet and trade union activist, a founder member of Poetry on the Picket line.

Bulletin

The Prime Minister is being kept informed,
It is very much business as usual,
We can prove the doom-mongers wrong,
In the event of an incident,
There is no reason to panic,
Casualties are inevitable,
The Prime Minister is being kept informed,
Casualties are inevitable,
There is no reason to panic,
In the event of an incident,
We can prove the doom-mongers wrong,
It is very much business as usual,
The Prime Minister is being kept informed.

 

 

Permission, Disability, Stairs and Whispers, and a poem by Nuala Watt

I only came across the term ‘permission’ in regards of writing when being mentored by Jo Bell. Her wonderful project, 52 had given over five hundred writers the safe space to share their poetry with others in a similar position; the project had essentially given many of them permission to write. Recently I received a different type of permission when attending the Stairs and Whispers event at Ledbury Poetry Festival; the permission to accept that I have a disability.

Stairs and Whispers COVERThis was the launch of the anthology of “D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back”, edited by Sandra Alland, Khairani Barokka and Daniel Sluman, and published by Nine Arches Press. From the perspective of someone whose hearing and sight is not particularly impaired the event was a multi-media experience of poetry films, readings, and questions, supported by sign, subtitles, and the full text of poems. The editors described themselves for those with sight impairment, and in a large hall it felt like the most intimate and captivating experience.

However, it was only afterwards, when I went away, sat in a café and took a breath that it resonated with me more personally. I have a number of autoimmune conditions; Addison’s Disease, Underactive Thyroid, secondary hypopituitarism (causing low testosterone), low Vitamin D, along with asthma, high cholesterol, chronic fatigue, periodic chronic pain, and depression. I am lucky, as I don’t have to rely on welfare, beyond NHS treatment and free prescriptions, and there are times when I am relatively healthy and able to exercise. So I have had no need to register as disabled and go through the horrendously cruel process that the austerity government has implemented in the past seven years.

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Lunar Poetry Podcast & Torriano Meeting House

This past Sunday (the 8th May), was the penultimate day of the English summer. The weight of people walking around London, was lightened by their lack of clothes and perspiration. We are now descending into autumn, whilst Scotland still basks in the mid-20s. But I spent much of Sunday indoors, preparing and fretting over that evening’s events in Kentish Town.

The first was a conversation with David Turner and Lizzy of Lunar Poetry Podcasts. David, in little over a year has carried out 75 interviews with people here in the UK poetry world. It is a great endeavour, and one I hope gains a lot of interest. We spoke of course about Proletarian Poetry, but also issues relating to class more generally, poetry genres and readers, and valuing poets (i.e. with £). Have a listen, and try to check out some of the other interviews.

FullSizeRender (1)Then, I was very proud to be part of the long tradition by hosting the Sunday poetry reading at the Torriano Meeting House. The Torriano has been going for many years; in fact, my mother-in-law who came along on the night, used to go there more than twenty years ago. I was so pleased to have Anna Robinson and Tim Wells as the guest readers, along with some great open mics from Grim Chip and Nadia Drews, and a short set from myself. So although it was one of the hottest days of the year, which I didn’t see much of, it was well worth the effort. Onwards (with a brolly!).

Proletarian Poetry at the Poetry Library

IMG_0279On Wednesday 6th April, Proletarian Poetry took over the Poetry Library as part of their Special Editions series. With the poets, Mona Arshi, Rishi Dastidar, Fran Lock, Clare Pollard, Richard Skinner, and Laila Sumpton, this was always going to attract a full house. For those unfortunate enough to miss the event, there is a link to a recording of all six poets readings below, and introductions from myself (I have included in the latter the time in the recording the poet started reading and a link to the original poem featured on the site). I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

The link to the whole recording of the evening is here: https://soundcloud.com/the-poetry-library/proletarian-poetry

Proletarian Poetry at the Poetry Library

Thank you everybody for coming this evening and to the library staff who have been so helpful in setting up the event. (more…)