Whose Poem…? Reflections on Community and Collaboration

Whose Poem…? Reflections on Community and Collaboration

Being National Poetry Day and Black History Month it was great to be asked to do a Poetry workshop for Sutton African & Caribbean Cultural Organisation,that gave me the opportunity to reflect on both. 

The workshop is called “Whose Poem is it Anyway?” and was designed originally as part of the Creative Collaboration Festival. This was delivered online, in 2021,  for the local arts festival, organised by the Arts Network Sutton in conjunction with The National Lottery Community Fund and Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6789951771482697728/

The pamphlet cover

It was delivered over Zoom to a small ticketed audience. However, that connection with the workshop poets led to other creative collaborations and inclusion in other creative works.

Most notably “Down the Rabbit Hole” as a guest artist getting to be an Architect in Wonderland creating decorations with Sutton residents for the Christmas light switch on. (https://www.facebook.com/samiartis/posts/636234301871048)

Another opportunity was being a talking head in a wonderful film project ‘Talking Heads, Living Histories’ merging AI, local area archive and current footage.(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlgMEmG4Uwg)

Dallas Style trailer featuring My sister and myself

It was great to have the opportunity to revisit and in place retool this workshop for a live audience. It had elements of film, music and actual spoken word poetry from me and wonderfully the group on the day all fearlessly delivering their lines of poetry created in the session..

The workshop is about how to create a collaborative poem and creates a safe space for the participants to engage with each other ,the subject and the art form.

They are presented with the connective tissue that spoken word has to oral tradition and through my work Hollingdeanland, a soundcloud released album (https://soundcloud.com/imag_conscious-design/sets/hollingdeanland) that their cultural, generational and pondering are a rich tapestry to generate lines, verses and stanzas. Hollingdeanland had been my opportunity to reflect of blackness, starting parenthood and my middle class malaise of the world of 2008.

Blackness, parenthood and being middle class explored in a spoken word album

We also looked at how a poem that you right can develop and mutate through collaboration. Through the poem/song “Come Fall With Me” which I had originally written and has had a wonderful development over the past decade. (https://soundcloud.com/colourandpitch/sets/sumsuch-fall-with-me)

And finished off with showing ways of collating your poems and where poetry can take you in my case to the concept of Poetry Film with “Walking is…” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hP4fInW2BQ&t=11s)

My Poetry Film

We are told stories by our elders of their experiences and then in a healthy society in a cyclical the next generation tells the generation before and after more stories. 

Was great  to walk away with 12 more poems based on the concept that the workshop was originally devised for in 2021. An honour and privilege to assist creativity in the community I love! 

The reality is everyone is a poet

 whether you already know it

(Or not)!

#nationalpoetryday #blackhistorymonth

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