It strikes me that an update is long overdue. My time away from the blogosphere has been pretty hectic with work ranging from literature-in-education projects, in London and Bristol, to performances in Sheffield, Bradford and at The London Literature Festival as well as a whole heap of other stuff.
The pinnacle of these past few months was working on a project with Youth in Action, a performing arts collective from South Africa, who were formed to help provide home based care in the community as well as raise awareness in order to tackle the HIV/AIDS pandemic. These young people (he’s says like he’s an old man) were truly an inspiration and reminded me that performance can have another purpose other than merely ego play. Youth in Action were invited to spend a month in Portishead, Bristol going into schools to share their experiences with the students and participate in lessons and creative workshops (enter myself and fellow poet, Joe Kriss). During the four or so weeks, the group gave a number of concerts in which they sang traditional South African songs interspersed with dramatic pieces exploring the reality of life in their community.
My involvement in the project culminated in the performance of a number of poems, generated in workshops we led, alongside songs, dance and drama at St. Georges Hall (a gorgeous converted church which is now a music and arts venue). The poems were written and performed by both students from Bristol schools and young people from Youth in Action. I was very proud to have been some part of the project and particularly enjoyed the way in which a number of people from disparate backgrounds came together in friendship. The finale was a particular sight to behold as the 200 or so students took to the stage and proceeded to create what can only be described as a mini carnival on stage.
This week I am assiting on a project where 14 british poets will be filmed reading their work. These videos will then be uploaded to the net and shown by Lit Up at the Singapore Young Writer’s Festival in September. Watch this space for further news on that.
Oh and be sure to swing by Pomegranate (a literary web zine created to showcase the work of poets under 30) and check out their latest issue which features a new poem of mine entitled ‘Gnosis’.
I’ll leave you with this (which I am quite taken with, currently):