You have reached your destination!

The launch of Verse Matters was wonderful. Helen Mort kicked the evening off by reading a few of her fantastic new poems, taking us from the irritations of ‘blonde jokes’ to the diets of climbers.    As Helen was about to read her final poem, a phone chipped in with precision timing: “You have reached your destination”. It certainly …

Once I caught a fish alive…

There’s some fantastic spoken word and poetry events going on in Sheffield at the moment. Up Scribe – a group who have been working with homeless and vulnerable people at the Cathedral Archer project – recently launched a book of fiction, memoir and poetry by the writers they have been working with. The book, called Lights Through the Shadow, …

Poetry in Pudsey

I’ve never been to a poetry night in Pudsey before. But Poetry and a Pint at Cafe Lux seems to be going from strength to strength. A Firm of Poets have a residency at Cafe Lux, which is part of Pudsey Wellbeing Centre: a place where ordinary people are standing up and sharing their poetry with the …

A busy old weekend in Yorkshire

It’s a busy weekend in Yorkshire for poetry. Big ROMP kicked us off on Friday night in Rotherham with the usual warm welcome and fantastic poetry. Poets young and old read poems, and shared stories and beautiful acoustic music. I performed a couple of new poems: “Sweetest Victory” and “People inside People”. ROMP Anthologies are coming very soon, …

ROMP/ A Firm of Poets Workshop and Performance

Last Saturday (23 May), I headed to Rotherham for a workshop run by A Firm of Poets. Ralph Dartford put us through our paces before we performed as A Firm of Poet Associates. I performed “Wrinkly Bellies” (recording coming soon) alongside four other talented poets, including Kev Titterton, Liz Ferrets and Carol Eades. The main crew were amazing. Gav Roberts (ROMP) …

South Yorkshire Poetry Festival, 22-24th May

There are some fantastic events on this weekend in South Yorkshire. You can head to Rotherham to a poetry workshop run by A Firm of Poets and ROMP, followed by performances by Ralph Dartford, Victoria Garbutt, Gav Roberts, Alison Dunne and Wayne Dyson. In Sheffield there will be fantastic performances and readings by Kei Miller, Ben Wilkinson, Kayo Chingonyi, …

Verse Matters: A Feminist Arts Event

We’re getting closer to going live with Verse Matters: a new feminist arts event that I am setting up in Sheffield. We’re teaming up with a fantastic new cafe at The Hide on Scotland Street where we’ll be running every first Thursday of the month from 7.30pm. Verse Matters provides a platform for poetry, spoken …

Pound a Poet

The South Yorkshire Poetry Festival kicked off last night with more than a splash of Henderson’s Relish at the Fat Cat in Sheffield. Four poets performed their work as part of Gorilla Events’ Pound a Poet. Sarah Chomasin’s set, which included “Misogynist Sandwich” jostled alongside some striking open mic performers, including Anamoli Meraki. The crowd was super supportive and there was …

Archives and Transitional Justice in the Arab World

This is a proof of an article I recently wrote for a special issue of the Postcolonial Studies Association newsletter on the Arab World: In the midst of a revolution, we do not always expect documents, records and archives to be at the forefront of people’s minds. And yet, the destruction of documents and seizure of records, …

Review: Michael Ondaatje’s The Cat’s Table (2011)

This is the draft of my review of Michael Ondaatje’s The Cat’s Table – recently published in Wasafiri: Review: Ondaatje, Michael. The Cat’s Table. London: Jonathan Cape, 2011. Hardback. ISBN 978-0-224-09361-3, £16.99, 286pp http://www.vintage-books.co.uk ‘You fellows know that there are those voyages that seem ordered for the illustration of life, that might stand for a symbol …

Review: Return عودة

Return عودة : The Yard Theatre, 3-7 July (Tube Hackney Wick) Return is a stunning and timely piece of verbatim theatre that tells the story of Dina Mousawi, a British Iraqi woman from Bradford, and her return to Baghdad after the Occupation of 2003 to ask women about their ‘stories’. This is no stereotypical tale of woe, …