Tuesday, 25 February 2014

In Protest- 150 poems for human rights

In 2013 I was delighted to work with the University of London's Human Rights Consortium and fellow Keats House Poet Anthony Hett on collating and editing an anthology of human rights poetry titled 'In Protest- 150 poems for human rights'. 

‘The 150 poems included here were written by poets with heritage from 28 different countries and provide a rare insight into experiences of oppression, discrimination, and dispossession – and yet they also offer strong messages of hope and solidarity.

This anthology brings you contemporary works from both established and emerging poets that are truly outstanding for both their human rights and poetic content. Arranged across thirteen themes – Expression, History, Land, Exile, War, Children, Sentenced, Slavery, Women, Regimes, Workers, Unequal, and Protest.

 ‘In Protest’ features the work of acclaimed UK poets Moniza Alvi, Carol Anne Duffy, Douglas Dunn and Ruth Padel- who wrote the
 foreword. The campaigner and philanthropist Sigrid Rausing wrote the afterword, saying: ‘Poetry brings tiny details to life, and in a world where human rights is mostly about reports and abstractions, where real life and real details are lost – poetry can still make us see, and feel.’

Our launch at the Bloomsbury Festival,
We launched the anthology at the Bloomsbury Festival in October 2013, and have a series of events planned to continue exploring 'In Protest' 2013- including workshops at Keats House and events at the University of Kent, the Stanza International Poetry Festival and with Exiled Writers Ink. 

  •  More information on the anthology which you can purchase for £7.99 here.
  • An interview about the anthology by Catriona Troth for Words with JAM here
  • For more information or to book a performance or workshop connected to 'In Protest' contact khpoets(at)hotmail.com or @KHPoets on twitter.  

Poetry in Rome

 I wa
In November 2012 I was invited to design and deliver six poetry workshops at both the Keates Shelley House in Rome and the British Council in Rome. Different workshops were facilitated for children, teenagers and adults with different levels of English language on a variety of themes which included ghost stories, haloween parties (!), personifying the city of Rome, childhood memories and lost property. In June 2012 I also delivered a one hour performance of my poetry at the Keats Shelley Memorial Museum and was commissioned to write three poems and a short article for the Keats Shelley Review. 

When Keats was leaving Rome

Cruel to surround you with ruins that fed you

knowing that you could not eat;

only watch through the curtain crease

as the Spanish Steps steepened each evening

when all the eyes came out to dance,

fall into quartets, and disappear still twisted

in the oldest vines.

You would watch till their lightness couldn’t lift

your sinking bed, moored here at the city port,
where wheels are tides washing in the hungry,
whilst venders shout out their urgent roses

like sirens whirling beams to wanderers

wading through this artery into Rome,

where ghosts still brawl in Coliseum arches

for foreign shoals fanning awe through heat,

before pinning the city to their lapels.

All you would ever have were tales

and now in breathing, singing, sweating Rome

they were close enough to slip in through your window

bringing the dust of pillars

that had soaked in sun for centuries

to your cool blooded sleep,

here in the shade of white flowers

painted on your ceiling and raining

enough oblivion to blur you away.

So without leaving any of your small rooms

you had “travell’d in the realms of gold”

to take missing limbs from gods

so your words could move in their shadows

dressed in new accents, bearing bright robes,

and the shards that you gathered were more whole

than any fanfare for an emperors’ hoard

being steadily plucked out of the past

to glut parlours and flirt new walls

that were growing up to frame their fathers.

This city of ruins posed like the promise of songs

you’d never fully hear, ruins so stubbornly eternal

whilst you were leaving Rome.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Keats House Festival

June 2nd: poetry workshop on parties!, 2 – 4pm, Creative Writing workshop 2
The Keats House Museum Group and I have been planning a workshop for the Keats House Festival on the theme of parties, we`ll be exploring Keats House and parties right from the invitations, to the aftermath...

June 3rd Keats House Poets Performance and Open-mic
The Keats House Poets will be back with another performance and open-mic featuring a comisioned piece by Simon Mole and Raymond Antrobus. The event is free, as always, and from 2-4pm. Sabotage Reviews wrote about our last December performance, and gave us a glowing review!