Zena E’s The Writery for Freeing Writers

The Writery for Freeing Writers For the past year or so I have been collating tips, techniques and quirky writing prompts to help stay inspired for my writing. When I think about what it means to be a free writer I refer to the writing exercise of free flow, some quality free association –. Imagination…

Living The Poem

Permission to write your Self as the best book you will ever read.

Shake! – Surviving the System

For the last 6 years I have been involved in Voices That Shake as a writer, poet, project developer and facilitator. Our next course is ‘#SurvivingTheSystem.’  Each time we do an intensive, I am invited to write a blog. Why Surviving the System, Shake!? So Shake is back! We have been on hiatus for nearly…

Verbalisation with BeatFreeks at BRep

Birmingham with Beatfreeks on Wednesday 27th July. “How do you find your inspiration for your work?” is the most frequently asked question I get as a writer who performs her work. I can’t deny I am often stumped at the question. I trawl my brain for the one thing  but it just doesn’t work like…

Ekphrasis in Action – Seeing the Word.

Looking 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,…

Mind Meandering #6 – Happy International Women’s Month

Be your own bright dawn and your own bronzing dusk Love your own onyx shadow and bunished ivory tusk Be the steady hand that holds the quaking other Be the found one to the life you lost Be the open door when hurt closed the heart in your chest Learn to love the very body…

Ekphrasis in Action – An Out-Spoken Masterclass

I have been attempting to vocationally reconcile my love for photography and painting, sketches and imagery with my love of poetic writing and and would be more fitting than to run a masterclass on Ekprhrasis. I’m also in the headspace that art has work to do and I want to see incorporate politically charged with…

Writing Two Poets – Mongiwekhaya & Afruakan

Recently, I was commissioned by the British Council to interview two poets from South Africa. What was interesting was learning two very different approaches the service of spoken word or poetry in performance can offer the artist and the people who encounter this rich literary form. Mongiwekhaya is a subdued, potent spirit. His quietly considered…

Re-Imagining Arts in Action Program

Last August I was officially jettisoned into the world of community engagement through the arts. I’d already done worked on a project called End of the Rainbow with All Change and Nitro working with families trapped in a refugee loop hole of “no status” where they are not eligible to claim benefit but also not…

LLSB – Long Live Southbank

If you’ve heard about the Long Live Southbank campaign, then you’ll know it was 180,000 members and signatories pushing back against the Southbank Centre, a national arts venue, trying to take over a nation treasure to build coffee shops and schmancy restaurants.  When I heard about the campaign I got it. As a poet, I got…

‘Othered’ Eco-Activism and a Jacket Potato – a poem

In January, fellow poets Sai Murray, Selina Nwulu and I were commissioned to write poetry in response to an event called Weather Fronts exploring the storytelling of climate activism and sustainable futures. The lab-type event hosted by Free Word in Farringdon, London had attracted a healthy number of scientists and writers to see if the…

Tribute to Jayne Cortez & a Poem

So so moved and honoured to be a part of this line-up. Voices like Jayne’s returned my voice to me through their works – the one that permits me to be the Artist and Woman and Human of African descent I am wholly meant to be. The voice that permits me to raise it from…

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…

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…

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…

What an absolute privilege…

… an honour, blessing, and  a straight up bligh of the greatest degree. To perform on the Queen Elizabeth Hall stage with Baab Maal, to have him compose music to your poetry, to sing on the same stage and have him say in his alert, bright voice, “Yes you. Very good, you are very good….

Zena and the Zohar Collaborations

In between the years of 2001 – 2004 I was doing a lot more singing with bands and choirs. More than what I am known for as poet. This year I have been asked to perform quite a bit with musicians. It’s been a joy. I shall be posting more footage and audio of these…

“Raising Game EP Xtra” – My Poetry and Music Compilation

It became too much. I started to hang my head in shame. The last request on how to get hold of some of my work got me saying to myself, ‘the energy behind your fans asking for cd’s or books straight after a gig is perhaps the most significant factor in you continuing to push…

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…

NEW POETRY BLOG!

I finally have one. “Ok why another blog?”, you might say. Well, this blog is dedicated to the BIG projects and productions, the ones that take me all over the world, challenge my working artist head, that push my career as an artist forward. These blog posts trace the trajectory of the working poet that…

THE DEADLINE

In December 2010, I got a call from producer, James Robinson from  BBC Radio 4, to write and perform a piece of poetry for performance for a radio project called Verse Illustrated. Cool opportunity. The piece is about a frustrated artists who is stuck in a loop of dead end temp jobs and her infuriating…

For the Love of Music and Poetry @ Ronnie Scotts

If you don’t know, get to know – Jazz Verse Box. It’s the brain child of Jumoke Fashola and last month I was invited to be part of a Jazz Verse Box Event with a special twist of being part of the Brit Jazz Festival. I was billed long with Charlie Dark, Soweto Kinch, Sh’maya …

Leaders Of the Old Skool

When Comfort Cydelle of ONIt Promotions invited me to be a part of an event called Leaders of the Old Skool, the first thing I thought was “about time”. Don’t get me wrong. Its not like I’ve been sitting around waiting to be acknowledged. But I was getting a little concerned at the trajectory the…

The Conversational – An Interview with Zena and Naomi Woddis.

  Fellow poet, Naomi Woddis, ask me along with other poet friends to come into Reel Rebel Radio for “The Conversational 1” – series of podcasts  on Reels Rebel Radio featuring live interviews and poetry of some of the UK leading poets and spoken word artists.  It was a summers early eve… and I read…

MOHAMMED ALI’s – WRITING ON THE WALL

“Com – passion, latin, com – together, passion – suffering together we suffer, we suffer together endeavour to weather the breadth and the depth of the storm For long are the nights for the lost, forlorn, the broken, the tired,  the quietly enraged lashed by the warring that keeps us engaged with  anger and misplaced…

FIGHTING FOR THE BLACK GOLD OF THE SUN

It’s been just over a month since I performed at a gig to raise awareness of the injustice done to Ken Saro-Wiwa and 8 other Ogoni activists, by Shell Oil. I had already written a poem for a Tribute anthology called “Dance the Guns to Silence” with the poem, “Baba Wiwa’s Trees”, in 2006. When…

AN ARTISTS MODUS OPERANDI

Dedicated to the artist – the warrior engaged in daily struggle for all the truth in creativity, untainted and ego-free. Seeing past the masks of the industry to the reach the heart and spirit of the open ear and eye. The Artist So here it is Nothing more nothing less This My body These bones…