Wednesday, 22 April 2015

7th May - Chill Pill ELECTION SHOW (A Ticket To Chill Pill Is A Vote For Poetry)

Get Tickets Here -
We have got such a nuts line up this month.

Outspoken boys Anthony Anaxagorou and Karim Kamar will be performing poetry and classical piano. Meaty. Beautiful. Rare. 

The rowdy godmother of spoken word, Salena Godden, will be bringing her distinct brand of unpredictability, hilarity and pin-point poignance to the big room. 

The incredible Gentle Mystics are lending us their DJ's to play us out into the wee hours with their balkan gypsy punk rap joyousness.

And Chill Pill's own Adam Kammerling is dragging his partner in hip hop crime up from Brighton to kick off their pre album launch tour!

Plus secret special guests, Chill Pill regulars, general poetry happiness and a generous dose of spring time giggles. 

See you there.

FB -
Twitter - @ChillPillUK

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Why & How Poetry In Education Matters

Student reading his favourite poem in our school anthology published in March 2015, A Complicated Answer.
Seeing a young student of his use poetry to deal with his conflicted feelings over his dad’s death reminded Raymond Antrobus, poet, photographer and educator, why the arts matter so much...

“Do not strive to be a person of success but a person of value”– Albert Einstein

Last year, I read a poem to a Year 7 class about my father's death. After that class, a boy – let’s call him Tyrone – waited for everyone to leave to tell me his father had died recently too. 
Tyrone told me that he was angry his father had died because it was his father’s own fault (he was an alcoholic). He told me I was lucky to experience my father’s death without anger in my heart. I told him I was angry at my father for a long time, but I'm lucky, because I'm a poet and I have written about him and have therefore written myself out of the anger. 
Tyrone asked if he became a poet, would he stop being angry? I said yes, writing helps you understand what you think and feel. 
Today, almost six months later, Tyrone sat next to me in the lunch hall and told me he has been writing. He pulled a red Arsenal notebook from his bag and handed it to me. The notebook was full of his wonky handwriting, and I sat reading the difficult words of a young boy who is a poet, trying to understand his father's death without anger in his heart. 
Experiences like this make me wonder how anyone can question the value of art.
“Value” is an old English word that stemmed from the old French “valor”, which is synonymous with “moral worth, merit, courage and virtue”. It seems nowadays many of us have lost touch with this root, as we don’t know how to measure value if it doesn’t have a price tag. 
I called the parent of a student recently, to tell them their child has poetic talent, and the reply to this was, “So? Is that going to make my child rich?” I was stunned, but this response makes sense in a world where our language is socially engineered by capitalism. Even the word “poet” has connotations of “poverty” and “unemployment”. 
I don’t teach poetry and spoken word in schools solely hoping students will become poets or even that they go on to study English over science. My hope is to offer students an empowering relationship with language, which promotes a building of confidence, community and relief from stress. If our education system can nurture this kind of richness then students will prosper in any subjects that are taught by passionate teachers that foster their natural ability.  
I used to be a personal trainer; I earned twice as much as I do now, but I’m happier writing poems and teaching, I’m happier in classrooms meeting young people like Tyrone, building a writing community in a school, I’m happier inviting other poets into my classes to meet my students, I’m happy that they are always excited to meet poets that look more like them than any of the poets or writers on the walls, I’m proud of many of our young people and I thank them for showing me new ways of assessing my own value.
Below is a poem I wrote commissioned by the Arts Council for their online magazine,Create, on why society ought to value the arts. I thought about how many encounters I have had in the three years I have been working in schools, how much my students have taught me about courage and what it really means to prosper. I have taught students that could hardly write or were too shy to speak, but were eventually able to engage with language and use their voice in a way that feels as important to them as it should to us.

Sound Air
Classroom chairs know Melisa’s weight.
Twelve years old, holding
at the back of the class, pinned
by her own gravity, a gravity her voice
fails to escape, even when reaching
for answers.

Hearing her find a way to hold
her quiver, silencing 
a hundred students in an assembly hall, 
knowing my words have lured her eyes outside windows
where a featherweight voice is still hard to throw—

Melisa’s nerve to read her first poem 
in her second language 
taught me the raising of back-row voices
lifts something closer to the front for us all.

Raymond Antrobus is a poet, photographer and lead educator on the Spoken Word Education MA Programme at Goldsmiths University. Born and bred in Hackney, he is also co-curator of popular London poetry events Chill Pill (Soho Theatre and The Albany) and Keats House Poets. Raymond’s work has appeared on BBC Radio 4, The Big Issue and recently in The Guardian and at TedxEastEnd.
You can follow Ray on Twitter @RaymondAntrobus 
Spoken Word Showcase, Hackney 2014
Artical originally published for ideastap, Nov 2014.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Street Photography In Montego Bay, Jamaica

It's not easy taking photos on the local streets of Jamaica without attracting attention, but I worked out a system for stealth. Equipped with a beach towel and my Canon wrapped around my neck to keep it concealed, my motion motto was - see-shoot-conceal. Here is a quick selection taken in Montego Bay with a 400d and a 50mm.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Hackney Youth Poetry Showcase Wednesday 11th March at Cardinal Pole

Cardinal Pole Catholic Secondary BOOK LAUNCH + SPOKEN WORD SHOWCASEon the Wednesday March 11th at the School.

The evening will feature:

- the Book Launch of 'A Complicated Answer'
, an anthology of Cardinal Pole students’ creative writing comprising poetry, prose and short fiction pieces written by students at the school aged 11-19.
The book has already been praised by the UK top poets and educators: 

      ‘This book will spin in the world, like a stick in a candy floss machine, gathering good things as it spins.’ Michael Rosen

      ‘This anthology [...], offers us the world in ways we may never have seen it before.’ Jacob Sam-La Rose
       'An incredible, magical, transformative book. My breath is stolen.’ Joelle Taylor

- Performances from young poets and their educators as well as readings from the book.

This event is brought to you by Spoken Word Education Programme. In its third year, the programme embeds spoken word artists
in schools to work with classes throughout the academic year. It partners with Goldsmiths University, Waltham Forest Arts Education Network,
Arvon Foundation, Spread the Word, Apples & Snakes, Eastside Educational Trust and Slambassadors.

Its aims are to raise children’s confidence, encourage self-expression, team-building and leadership skills through poetry and performance.
Cardinal Pole is one of eight schools, who are part of the programme.

When:  Wednesday March 11th 2015, 5.30pm-6.30pm
205 Morning Lane, Hackney, E9 6LG, London
Entry Fee: £1 for students  / £3 for guests
A Complicated Answer will be on sale at the showcase, for £5 each.Contact Person: Katie Hayward (School Librarian) Email: or call 020 8985 5150

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Spoken Word Education MA

Graduating From Goldsmith University with an MA in Spoken Word Education
Keith Jarrett, Indigo Williams, Raymond Antrobus, Dean Atta, Pete The Temp, Cat Brogan

Two years ago I started the worlds first MA in Spoken Word Education at Goldsmith University. This Wednesday, I graduated with full honours. Never went to University before and left institutional education at 16, but this is testimony to what is possible when we commit to our passions. Proud of my fellow poets and the Goldsmith professors and Peter Kahn, who gave me the chance to prove myself academically. I got a distinction.

Poets Who Push The Art Of Performance

"To Have Great Poets, There Must Be Great Audiences" - Walt Whitman

"Spoken Word" a term marketed and skewed by the Guardian to mean "Urban wordsmith", i.e. someone (usually young and influenced by Hip-Hop) who performs poetry or dramatic monologues or raps without a beat. "Spoken Word" audiences (i.e. Guardian readers) are still new to the art so I thought I'd share these videos of poets who truly push the performance of poetry.

David J

Laura Lamb Brown

Salvar Soler

Danez Smith

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Chill Pill is BACK! 26th Febuary at Canda Water Cultural Space (Featuring New York's Jon Sands)

Chill Pill brings the international party to Canada Water for this very special, one-off event with the incredible Jon Sands.

Come join the whole Chill Pill team, Raymond Antrobus, Deanna Rodger, Mister Gee, Simon Mole and Adam Kammerling, for the best spoken word and music party either side of the river, this time we’re amongst the bookshelves at the Canada Water Culture Space.

Jon Sands is a writer known for electric readings, and the author of The New Clean (2011, Write Bloody Publishing). His work has been featured in The New York Times, published widely in various journals, and anthologized in The Best American Poetry 2014.

Arrive early for open mic sign-up, show starts at 7.30pm…so arrive early!

£5 each

Box Office: 020 8692 4446