Living The Poem

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

Healing Justice Principles: Some of What We Believe

“Some things we believe in: the healing power of pleasure, creating majority people of color and Native spaces for healing, centering the genius and leadership of disabled and chronically ill communities…” – Bad Ass Visionary Healers, radical healer babes for liberation. I was introduced to the practice of Healing Justice by Farzana, the youth coordinator…

HCCT:Rmx – Human Code Computer Tongue: Remix

Human Code Computer Tongue (HCCT) took a second run around the conversation of Artificial Intelligence and Creativity. In February 2017, a collective of poets and tech heads came together for HCCT  to explore what the future of AI in creative spaces means for humanity. An open call-out to linguistic code developers and poetic creative writers…

HCCT:Remix at The Free Word Centre – 5th December ’17 @ 7pm

A Verse in Dialog & Apples and Snakes production in collaboration with University College London: Human Code Computer Tongue: Remix – the relationship between human and artificial creativity and consciousness In an evening of spoken word poetry and lively debate, we will revisit and expand upon themes raised by participants of the HCCT:Rmx masterclass in…

Eyes on the prize… award.

In February, I was nominated for the Jerwood Compton Poetry  Fellowship. I can’t deny I would have been really ecstatic to have won the £15,000 award, as well as the have had a multitude of opportunities such an ward in the world of literature affords you. It would to tide me over in the most…

Home Speak@ SOAS – Happy International Mother Tongue Day!

It was with great pleasure, I collaborated with the brilliant minded Mandana Seydfinnipur to create “Home Speak” as part of the School of Oriental and African Studies ‘Language Festival 2017.’ Seydfinnipur, director of the Department of Ancient and Dying Languages wanted to shake up the SOAS Institution for a moment for International Mother Tongue Day….

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…

Human Code Computer Tongue

University College London, Apples and Snakes poetry organisation and poets, Zena Edwards from Verse in Dialog in collaboration present Human Code Computer Tongue. When: Monday 20 February 2017, 10am-4pm Where: UCL, 5th Floor Reception, One Euston Square, 40 Melton St, London NW1 2FD (Please report to the ground floor reception) Tickets: FREE – but booking essential! Booking: To book…

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…

Legacy – Step One in Being a Freelance Artist

“Legacy” – Writing to make footprints that won’t blow away on the wind This goes without saying when it comes to the arts. I have been involved in youth arts (via writing and performance mainly) since 2000 and its youthful voices that re-imagine our worlds, the physical and emotional world, the fighting and resting world,…

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,…

What Women Believe – finding our poetry

What do you believe? Take a moment. Sit with that question. Bullet point your conclusions on a piece of paper and ask yourself, “could that change tomorrow?” Every second of the day we are asked to believe in something.  Something nor from us. Particularly as women. Often we are asked to believe in something that…

Voices That Shake goes to the Allied Media Conference 2016!

Shake!: What began as a small pilot project has now become a movement of over 100 young people artists, campaigners, activists and community organisers. Since 2010, the Voices That Shake  Youth Arts and Activism Project has been on a incredible journey raising awareness around the true democratizing of power, community rebuilding, well-being and healing justice,…

Directing “Substance” – A Hip Hop Theatre Dance performance

I was invited by Jonzi D,  creator of Sadlers Wells’ Breakin’ Convention  join a collaboration with Redbridge Drama Centre.  The commission was to devise and develop  a spoken word and dance piece to tour schools and community centres in the Redbridge area to raise awareness around substance abuse and sexual exploitation in youth culture. The two…

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…

Mind Meandering #5 – You’re Too Much

“You’re too much, too big, too open, too tall, you’re hands are too big, you’re too conscious, too choosy, too negative, too bold, too brash, too timid, too dark, too skinny, too direct, too sure of yourself, too placated, too self conscious, too doubtful, too strong, too humble, too black girl, too black, too man-ish,…

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…

Keeping them Alive – 13 Dead, Nothing Said! – The New Cross Fire

On 25th March 1981, 25,000(!) people of African descent from all over the UK marched through the streets of London (imagine this) on Black Liberation Day as a staggering response to the deaths of 13 young people in who attended a birthday party in New Cross today in 1981.

Perception, Power and Race in UK Arts

“MINDING THE PERCEPTION GAP” – a 9 part video critique and commentary of UK arts and its issues of ‘diversity’ – Case study Exhibit B  I have never embarked on a homespun project like this before. Filmed in my front room over a week with shifting light. As the week went on I became a…

Perception, Power and Race in UK Arts – Trailer

What does it mean to be an Artist of colour, an artist on African descent in the UK? Late 2014, I wrote a blog post in response to the South African theatre-maker Brett Bailey at the height of the UK controversy over his piece, ‘Exhibit B’. A year later, wanting so much to create something…

Blind Spot – Race and Environmental Activism

When Virtual Migrants were set to devise a new production, “Continent Chop Chop”, directed by Amanda Huxtable, performance poet, editor, activist and fellow Shake! core team member, Simon Murray asked me on board but in video presence. “What is CONTINENT CHOP CHOP? ‘Continent Chop Chop’ is a touring transmedia production linking narratives of climate change…

Mind Meandering – Mourning Self

Social media can sometimes be such an aggressive confrontational space we often take our passion to market and trade verbal blows in intellectual or all out slanging match style. But what happens when the subject touches a genuninely raw nerve that so distresses that you feel like an open wound. This happened when Ceil the…

Food Fight – Shake Youth Arts Actvism and Media

Shake! Rides again. As a core member, co-devising, structuring and facilitating Shake Youth Art, Activism and Media project, I decided to get personal in promoting the next intensive course – #FoodFight. Here is the blog entry for the project’s blog using personal experiences with my vascillating relationship with food. Thursday, 2 July 2015 Thoughts on…

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…

Dee Dee’s. Pt 1

London. 2015. Yes, you are seeing right. “Hello Everyone Thank you all for the phone calls, notes, emails, tweets and Facebook message of support we have received regarding the racial abuse we were subject to on Monday 25th May, 2015. On what was supposed to be our break on a Bank Holiday, it was with…

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…

Mind Meandering #1 – On Storytelling

What started as short blurb with an image for a Facebook post turned into a small project for me – Mind Meanderings. FB: what’s on your mind? What’s your mood? Me: …….*sighs*…. Zena Edwards79 strongly believes #CreativityIsLife #Stories:ReflectionsofCreationWeAre I often go on and on about Storytelling. Because we live by them. What we speak, what…

‘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…

States of Violence – Shake 16th Feb 2015

Shake Youth Arts and Activism project has a new intensive course brewing. From Monday 16th February, we shall be unpacking one of the most contentious subjects our species confronts: Violence. We will be exploring what makes violence, physical and ideological, an integral part of modern day life. As a poet I think about the word…

Boycott an Art Exhibit – Race and Art – Open Letters: 1

Race and the Arts. The present modes for dialoguing about race in the arts served a distinct purpose up until the mid nineties but now they are clunky, many are obsolete in their effectiveness. People of colour are interrogating and refreshing their arts practice all the time but receiving fewer opportunities to flex their creative…