Verse Matters: International Women’s Day

We had a wonderful first night at the Moor Theatre Deli to celebrate International Women’s Day 2016 as part of SheFest Sheffield. Amy Kinsman (Poet) performed a fantastic set of poems and Fiona Helsing shared her amazing, powerful music. River Wolton (Poet) read her wonderful poems and there were also brilliant open mic performances from Ayan Abdi (Poet) Suzannah Evans (Bank St Arts), Marina Poppa (A Firm of Poets), Ben Jackson (Forest Sounds), …

Sheffield Poem-a-Thon for Refugees

  On 2 April, myself and many of the poets who have performed at Verse Matters are reading poems in Sheffield for the Poem-a-Thon for Refugees and Asylum Seekers, raising money for ASSIST who work with destitute asylum seekers and refugees in Sheffield. ASSIST is a fantastic charity which has been working in Sheffield for …

Verse Matters on Sheffield Poetry TV

I was recently a guest presenter on Sheffield Poetry TV for a special episode on Verse Matters. The Verse Matters episode is now available to watch online (https://vimeo.com/155382260). Check it out for fantastic poems from Louise Clines, Sarah Thomasin, Kate Garrett-Nield, Kevin Titterton, Rachel Garner, Shelley Roche-Jacques, Gee Nah, Liz Searle and Janet Murray.

From Mugen to the Moor Theatre Deli

We had a brilliant last night at the fantastic Mugen Tea House on Scotland St on Thursday 4 February. Sai Murray read some inspiring poems and a very funny (but sobering) short story, Arian Sadr gave a mesmerising performance on his Tonbak (Persian goblet drum) and Daf (circular frame drum), and and London-based Hannah Chutzpah performed some funny and incredibly …

Education, Rights and Migration

There are lots of fantastic events happening at Universities across the North of England which connect local and international issues.  On Friday 26 February, the School of English at the University of Leeds is hosting an event on Remembering Human Rights in an Age of Crisis in partnership with the David Oluwale Memorial Association. Speakers include Gary Younge, Caryl Phillips, Corinne …

Verse Matters is Moving!

I’m excited to announce that we’re moving Verse Matters to the fantastic Moor Theatre Delicatessen in March. We’re super happy about the move, which will give us more space and allow for even more collaboration, and it’s more central for all those people who come to Verse Matters by train. It will be the same Verse Matters – coming together in solidarity to share the …

“Put all weapons down”

It was another full house at Verse Matters in January, with 90 people squeezing into the Mugen Tea House for a night of solidarity and fantastic performances.  Abigail Ward got us started with a couple of her brilliant poems, followed by Norah Hamill‘s visceral and powerful poem, In the Streets of Bolton.  Ingrid Hanson read for the first time, …

#SolidarityStarDust 2016

Verse Matters is back this Thursday (7 Jan) with another fantastic line up! Sprinkle the start of 2016 with some solidarity star dust! Don’t let January finances stop you – it’s pay what you can on the door. There’s fantastic comedy and poetry from Chella Quint, brilliant poetry from the wonderful Gav Roberts and exciting music …

Soul Seed

My poem,”Soul Seed” featured on Pankhearst’s FRESH site yesterday. Pankhearst is a fantastic collective of independent writers. It was formed in 2012, and it exists to develop and promote new writers. They have published two collections of poetry and flash fiction, four full length collections of fiction, two novels, and more than a dozen Kindle “singles”. They are currently …

Residency @ Bank St Arts

I am delighted to be working as an Artist in Residence at Bank St Arts (Sheffield). I am working on a project called “Soul Seeds and Wrinkly Bellies.” This collaborative project explores the poetics and politics of pregnancy, childbirth, and early parenthood: subjects that have historically received little attention in literature. There are three related strands to the project: …

Aikin Mata

It was my privilege to meet Tony Harrison at his home in Newcastle on a wet October afternoon. We sat at his kitchen table drinking strong coffee, and talking about his early years in Leeds and his work at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Northern Nigeria, where he worked from 1962-1966. Tony Harrison is often referred to as ‘Britain’s leading …