Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Musa Okwonga, Joelle Taylor & Raymond Antrobus at one of London's first Spoken Word Schools

Since September 2013, the UK’s first full-time poetry Spoken Word Educators have been embedded in six London secondary schools.

On Wednesday 9th April students from Cardinal Pole Secondary will perform their work. Coached by Hackney poet, Tedx speaker and one of The Guardian's poets in residence, Raymond Antrobus. 

The Spoken Word Education Programme offers a highly effective approach to raising children’s confidence, self-expression, team-building and leadership skills, whilst also developing oral communication and literacy skills.

The Spoken Word Educators comprise award winning poets Peter Bearder, Dean Atta, Indigo Williams, Raymond Antrobus, Cat Brogan and Keith Jarrett. They work with young people who may not otherwise get access to arts opportunities, with a range of complex issues that affect their lives and engagement in learning. Spoken Word Poetry is a cathartic outlet for them, allowing them to be more focused and productive learners.

The key to this innovative model’s success is embedding poets in the culture of each school and enabling them to build relationships with the students, both in school and during their after school spoken word clubs.

The programme has already benefitted more than 2000 students in some of the most deprived areas of London. The participating young people have wowed audiences across London including performances at Portcullis House for Parliament Week and the launch of Words Over Waltham Forest. Joshua Izundu, a year 11 student at Cardinal Pole Catholic School in Hackney said, “I have a new appreciation for spoken word. I have learnt how to turn a picture into words.”


Showcase Details

Cardinal Pole Catholic School
205 Morning Lane
London, E9 6LG

5pm - 7pm

Nearest Station 
Hackney Central or Homerton Overground

Musa Okwonga, one of the UK's most popular bloggers 
Musa Okwonga is a writer, broadcaster, poet, musician, communications adviser and commentator on current affairs, including culture, politics, sport, race and sexuality.

A former City solicitor, Musa contributes regular opinion pieces to The Independent, Huffington Post and The Newstatesman on a range of issues, and has on several occasions been a guest on BBC Radio 4′s TodayProgramme. He has been interviewed by Channel 4 News and Sky News, and he has given talks on social media and literature for BBC Radio 3 and 4, the latter at the Royal Society of Arts in London. He has also written for The Guardian, The New Humanist and the Financial Times.

He is the author of two books on football, A Cultured Left Foot (Duckworths, 2007) andWill You Manage? (Serpent’s Tail, 2010), the first of which was nominated for the 2008 William Hill Sports Book of the Year. He has also written about football for The Blizzard, The New York Times and ESPN, and is a regular pundit for the BBC World Service.

Joelle Taylor
Joelle Taylor is a spoken word artist, playwright, performance novelist and cultural terrorist. She has performed across the UK as well as internationally for the British Council in Zimbabwe and Botswana, taking in a diverse range of venues from Dingwalls, the 100 Club, the O2 Arena, the Royal Festival Hall and Ronnie Scott’s to the Royal Court, the ICA, Buckingham Place and Pentonville Prison. Her book Ska Tissue was released in 2011 and, after a summer festival tour, is now in its second edition. In 2001 she co-ordinated the first London youth slam championships for the Poetry Society and is currently the Artistic Director of SLAMbassadors UK, the national youth slam championships. Joelle is also the coach of the UK team and delivers Master Classes and ongoing mentoring for young poets and spoken word artists (aged 12 – 19). She has a wide experience of working in both primary and secondary schools – and is the Poet in Residence at both Kingsmead Primary in Hackney and Newstead Wood School for Girls in Kent – as well as tutoring adult poetry courses (Arvon Foundation, Cardboard Citizens).

BOOK TICKET HERE - http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cardinal-pole-showcase-tickets-11161154313 (free to book, £3 on door)

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

ChillPill Speak Poems at TedxEastEnd (Society Beyond Borders)

In January, three of the Chill Pill poets (myself, Adam Kammerling and Deanna Rodger) were invited to speak poems at TedxEastEnd. The theme was "Society Beyond Borders", here's what went down...

Monday, 17 February 2014

Open Ode To Climate Change Sceptic, MP Owen Peterson

Green budget halved

in the grip of a man
who shakes more hands
than he holds.

who knows the slash
better than the marks 
they leave on the ground. 

O, Owen,
tell the men with castles
that they need canoes.

Lie to their tears
when it’s too late to stop
the flood.

There is violence in truth -
when it hits –
it winds and fires
the stomach

we’re sucking
too much turbulence
from our whirling failure.

Who isn’t frightened
of what rips doors
and uproots houses?

Q1. Can writing poems about climate change change anything?

A.     The first draft of this poem was called “Ode To Owen Peterson”, (I believe his name is Owen Paterson) so yes, ignorant poets writing about political issues need to research and channel their education through poetry.

Q2. What will you do with your educated opinion now you have written a political poem?

A.     The evening I wrote this poem, I fell asleep in the kitchen of my shared flat, leaving the heat and all the lights in the house blaring. When my flat mate came home to ask what I was doing, I said writing a poem about climate change. My educated opinion has intensified my guilt about this incident.

Q3. Really though, what are you going to do?

A.     I have signed anti-climate change cuts on SumOfUs.org, 38 Degrees and Change.org. I will participate in protests and not shy from confrontation with Climate Change sceptics. It’s about the facts.

Speaking of facts, by 2016, Climate Change will be removed from the UK National Curriculum, when I told my mother this she said “isn’t the National Curriculum the most dangerous form of censorship?”

Fact; if more people thought like my mother there would be no Peterson’s.

Actually 98% of people probably do. 

Online Love Based Spoken Word Poetry Film Festival. Day 2.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Online Spoken Word Film Festival Curated by Corrina Antrobus & Raymond Antrobus For #IdeasTap

I heart Poetry at Rich Mix w/ Inua Ellams, Raymond Antrobus, Anthony Anaxagorou, Karim Kamar, Eliza Shaddad, Sabrina Mahfouz 

On February 14th I gave a trial run of one of my dream projects to curate a Spoken Word Film Festival. Me and Film-Journalist and former Virgin-Media shorts judge Corrina Antrobus, sat through hours of terrible/terrific/traumatising love based poetry films. We were looking to challenge the idea of poetry films as a genre. How do the aesthetics of two different art-forms collaborate to compliment the meaning of the performance of words and visuals? These are the final eight films we selected for the IdeaTap's Take Over 2. We split it in two sections for the first and second half of the night. I'll post two videos that were selected on this blog for the next week on LOVE and HEARTBREAK.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

TedTalk poet Indigo Williams & UK Hip-Hop Trio 'Strangelove' at Chill Pill, Febuary 20th (DO NOT MISS)

Indigo Williams is a leading name in the UK Spoken Word scene and recently gave a moving TedTalk at Brixton TedX. She curates 'I Shape Beauty' which campeigns to champion women's equality by challenging stereotypes and gender issues. She has performed across the UK and Europe at various places and events such as: 2012 Olympics, The Big Chill festival, iTunes Festival, Camp Bestival, The RoundHouse, BBC Radio 4’s ‘Bespoken word’, The Royal Shakespeare Company, The Albany, The Royal festival hall and we're thrilled to welcome her to the Chill Pill stage.

February 20th 2014 

Stangelove is a UK Hip-Hop trio of alter-egos in a mix mezze platter of sharp, abstracted word-jazz and moody melodies. Check their latest EP below. Chill Pill can't wait to feel these lyrical break beat funk machines!