Ekphrasis in Action – Seeing the Word.

 

imageLooking forward to running this session in a couple of weeks!

Engaging with art should be sensory experience, especially when an image is politically loaded. When we see politically charged images we often get lost in abstract ideas of justice, inequality or discrimination.  To be able to transfer a visual image loaded with cultural specificity, to the page in a written form that reflects the image, takes a visceral experience. We must be able  to have a moment with a painting, photo where the gut overrides our intellectual processes and poetry enables the viewer to see beyond the abstract.

I consider the poet at essence a social commentator who reframes and re-imagines the world. So, writing in response to controversial contemporary images, artworks and photo-journalism, participants will explore metaphor and codification in visual culture, interrogating mainstream media’s use of image and its role in narrative and culture creation as a consequence.

In collaboration with Apples and Snakes Poetry Organisation’s Power Plant program, Ekphrasis in Action masterclass: challenging metaphors  of 21st Century Visual Culture (blog), in collaboration wi Apples and Snakes Poetry Organisation’s Power Plant program, aims:

– to encourage participants to explore and examine how they observe, critic and put their ‘artist’s eye’ to work
– to ‘re-see’ and stimulate poetic flow that inspire new ways of re-imagining the world
– to enhance – subvert, reframe – the original art/image and so take on another life through brilliant description
– to generate creative writing that is reflective of the poets voice as a social commentator and writer of the century.

The session is for those with some writing experience and a keen interest in social justice and equality in media representation in all its forms.  Participants can expect a writing work-out while engaging in lively discussion about the world we live in today.

Participants are to bring a 1-2 images from mainstream media, and/or politically charged artwork (including graff art) and/or from photographic journalism.

When: Thursday 21 July, 6.30-9.30pm
Where: Blue Room, The Albany, Douglas Way, Deptford SE8 4AG

Tickets: Free. Book a place with Eventbrite

 

Meet – Proms Plus Late

BBC radio invited me to perform for a series of after Prom show events called  ‘Proms Plus Late.’ I performed 4 pieces and the Freddie Gavita Quartet played two tracks of epic proportions. Editing must have been tricky. The producer of the show chose my poem ‘Meet’. There was really great sound in the venue though. Poem begins around 3.40 mins.

Check the link for the Prom Plus Late website and more music and poetry – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01l7qwn

Meet – Proms Plus Late

BBC radio invited me to perform for a series of after Prom show events called  ‘Proms Plus Late.’ I performed 4 pieces and the Freddie Gavita Quartet played two tracks of epic proportions. Editing must have been tricky. The producer of the show chose my poem ‘Meet’. There was really great sound in the venue though. Poem begins around 3.40 mins.

Check the link for the Prom Plus Late website and more music and poetry – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01l7qwn

Meet – Proms Plus Late

BBC radio invited me to perform for a series of after Prom show events called  ‘Proms Plus Late.’ I performed 4 pieces and the Freddie Gavita Quartet played two tracks of epic proportions. Editing must have been tricky. The producer of the show chose my poem ‘Meet’. There was really great sound in the venue though. Poem begins around 3.40 mins.

Check the link for the Prom Plus Late website and more music and poetry – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01l7qwn

Performing @ The Bussey Building – Thursday 26th July ’12


The Royal Court have teamed up withrenowned UK Spoken Word organisation Apples and Snakes to bring you artists Zena Edwards, MC Shay D, UK Slam Champion 2012 Adam Kammerling and Stockwell street-poet Errol McGlashan who will kick off the night at 9.15pm.

Arrive early, grab a drink and a front row seat and be swept away by their lyrical genius. If you fancy coming down earlier, why not make a night of it and buy a pay-what-you-like ticket for Vera Vera Vera (more info below) which will gain you free entry to the Spoken Word night.

Tickets
pay-what-you-like on the door
For more information visit the Royal Court website.
The Bussey Building / CLF Art Cafe, 133 Rye Lane, SE15 4ST

Zena E with JSB @ The Ritzy Upstairs

ImageI’ve been working with Jon Speedy for the last 5 years. This year he brings the Funk Jazz Afrobeat collective JON SPEEDY BAND.      JSB start a monthly residency at Brixton Ritzy with special guest vocalists / poets / MC’s each month. For the launch night, on Thursday July 12th, I  featured as guest vocalist and poet. Continue reading

JAMINAROUND

Playing with smoke and fire in the Dorset vales
I learned how to become a fire breather, as we jammed and reasoned around the embers.
Humbling to nature should never be a difficult task.

JAMINAROUND is the brain child of the Keen Brothers. The four of them make SOUND SPECIES. The venue was incredible – a Viking round house built into the side of a hill with a long kitchen where we ate over open fires. All designed and built by their very cool Dad. Check out The Ancient Technology Centre

The line up was a brilliant selection of poets and musicians (see links below) topped off by a acoustic vibes all night around a fire. Won’t be forgetting this gig in a hurry. Love my job.


S a t u r d a y 9 t h J U N E 2 0 1 2
A  s p e c i a l  e v e n i n g  o f  m u s i c  a n d  s t o r y t e l l i n g
a t  t h e  u n i q u e  a n d  a w e – i n s p i r i n g  C r a n b o r n e E a r t h o u s e.

f e a t u r i n g;

U N I T E D  V I B R A T I O N S

S O U N D S P E C I E S  A N D  S I M O  L A G N A W I (Moroco)

C H R I S  R E D M O N D

Z E N A  E D W A R D S

T H E  B E G U I L E R S

A d v a n c e t i c k e t s £ 1 5 . 0 0
w w w . j a m i n a r o u n d . c o m

F o o d a n d D r i n k s w i l l b e a v a i l a b l e

CLICK FOR MORE ON SOUND SPECIES

Zena E Headlining @ Supa Fine Spoken Word and Music on 26th Jan ’12

On 26th Jan, I’ll be headling at SUPA FINE – a night of Spoken Word and Music accompanied by Jon Speedy from JSB, the soulful, dynamic, conscious poet Oness Sankara and the beautiful vocals of Bianca Rose. If you don’t know these ladies, it time to get to know, they’re some of London’s best female artists in their field. Click names for vibrant more info…

The venue The Hideaway (in North London) has high quality Italian food too, so you can book a table and enjoy the soul food of Poetry and great Italian grub

It’s £5 on the door but there’s a £3 concessions guest list, so drop me an email and I’ll put you down if you fancy it. This Continue reading

Snakes and Ladders

Over 2 weeks and I mentored 4 women actor/poets for  around the theme of black womens hair stories. Snakes and Ladders is part of a broader  project call PHD – Positive Hair Day by Plenty Productions in collaboration with

In collaboration with Rolemop Arts the show had a clever promotion technique ‘Kimberleys Big Night Out’ – a fake hen night made into an installation and performance held at the Brighton venue ‘The Basement.’

I had a little extract, mostly improvised with jokes in mind but I explore the idea that trying to find confidence in the manipulation of hair is a complication, a distraction to finding true confidence and self esteem from within.

Handsworth Songs – Summer 2012 -a response to UK Uprisings 1981

The UK “Riots was still very raw for me. I had grown increasingly agitated by the way the online, bar, train/bus, media and street debate had and has been raging. My sentiment had more to do with the fact that I couldn’t understand why my perspective and emotion was landing on the side of the “rioters”. Even the term “rioter” was niggling me. It seemed to automatically say “the bad guys”, it criminalises a group of people the moment the word hit the ear or the eye without them having had a a chance to explain why or how this drastic destructive action was considered an option to get a point across.
I then began to feel nervous that I was unable to write poetry about it as I was in conflict about some of the things I was seeing on the news that were out of order yet motivated by something. I remember on the 29th September Troy Davis was killed by the state of Minneapolis Justice system. I posted on Facebook, how I had no words and couldn’t I have my feeling first, as a friend had said “how could you be a poet with no words!?”. Something deep stirred inside when these “riots” kicked off and it had something to do with having grown up with my eyes wide open to the inequalities in society that directly effected the psyche, that make peole do things that seem totally irrational. The power of injustice and inequality is forever downplayed and needs to be explored rather than shouted down just to sell a political agenda and newspapers.

Then the disaffection and lack of belonging came into play as the race narrative was batted about the media arena knotted in with the fetisization of “feral youth” rhetoric. My irritation with was blurring my creative process. There was so much conflicting information and opinion flying across the country, I was as confused as the bees whose homing instincts are now confused by the wireless network microwaves crowding the atmosphere. I could not navigate my way to the page.

So it was on my when I was commissioned by Film Africa 2011 to write a piece in response to Menelik Shabazz‘s  HANDSWORTH SONGS (watch on YouTube), I managed to have a place to start. This commission became a beacon, a lighthouse in the murky rhetoric, recrimination and pontificating that blocked my view to the responsive poetry I knew I wanted to write.

HANDSWORTH SONGS made it so obvious. The film is an insightful and poetic response to the UK “riots” of 1981 in Handsworth, Birmingham, with thought provoking raw footage where the ‘discontent’ in society manifested itself as “bringing the issue to the street”, as did the new generation in response to the ‘austerity measures’ of the new government on 2009, 10, 11. And that’s me, speculating as when the discontent was reaching boiling point.

I had to write about one man’s dreams of settlement, the turbulent effects of migration, trust and mistrust and uncomfortable violent change that illustrates a country broiling in historical denial and resistant awakening.

I highly recommend a watch of the film.

Even Dogs Have a Place in the World

We were coughing in the dust
from the fall out of your war, anyway
like some kind of anti-fairy dust,
your uncertain future settled as unemployment
and division on our Caribbean mountain,
some had worn british uniforms before,
Some said we had no business in a white mans war
Them’s the ones who kept score
when You called us to you
Posters in bold font Continue reading