Spread The Word, BUREAU & the Be My Next Inspiration Trustees would like to collaborate with you on a new initiative in support of the Young Peopleâ€™s Laureate for London.
Be My Next Inspiration is an idea born to recognise poetry as a craft that inspires us all. It offers us a chance to see a reflection on todayâ€™s city, opens up voices that may not have the opportunity to be heard and allows us to take notice of what matters most by being inspired by the words of young Londoners, both now and in the future. The idea aims to help young people new to poetry to understand the excitement and opportunities words can offer to them. We want them to understand that people are listening to them and being inspired by their words. We want you to help us create that bond and produce new work, and through this collaboration illustrate why young people should be involved. Inside this fanzine are ten poems from young Londoners, both established and those just starting their journey. Take inspiration from the words, create a piece of work in any medium and let the world know you have listened. Be inspired and an inspiration in equal measure to young people.
‘No Name Club’ - Momtaza Mehri In our part of town, the pavement is an open wound, the kind we bear with pride and sometimes can’t bear at all. The evidence of our living. This road’s liquid life will unfurl ahead of you. Only a bloated stretch of asphalt Separates the touch of boroughs. Killjoy. Maybe you’ll outlive your postcode. Maybe you won’t. Market deals, devil deals, Kil/burns, Shoot-Up-Hills, streets with guns in their names, baby teeth in their pockets. Unspool their helixes to tell the tales of back-of-the-night bus rebellions, shared headphone loops, the silver haired man blaring his boom box outside the fruit stands yelling something about uba . omething that sounds like grief. Three doors down from the library, the walls once housed nuns. The heart of the street locked inside a prayer’s hum. Now, it’s a Paddy Power. Nocturnal buzz of a hundred holy scuffed feet. We lift our hands up for those who passed through, for those who are passing, For the hope that we will one day leave this place. For the fear that nowhere else will be enough. hange is painful, we know this in our blood, but so is standing still. This place grows around your stillness, climbs alongside your lineage, like a stful of vines. It is predictable. A rewound laugh track. I think of everything bright and loud
made small, orphaned, f the red lush under my tongue. The kind of soft before a siren goes off. The only constant is this upheaval, the leaving and being left behind, The consonants scratched out on brick walls. A bittersweet cartography. What is now a Poundland was once cordoned off in the eighties. Two men arrested for planning an I bombing. The script now flipped into the violence of trying to make a pound stretch. Our park is an open chest of green. igger now they’ve demolished the walkways, since the council scrubbed out the youngers and their spray paint cave paintings. Those markings you could t new born palms into. ’s long, hot summer of vicious assaults. London Met advised locals to avoid the area. These days, on id, old men bend to kiss this bed of grass big enough to drown in, They say the rain smells like disintegration, ike the warmth of stepping into the still warm shoes of a loved one. eaf through these moments in our north-western restlessness. et them remind us. Tomorrow is not a closed door.
‘The Story We All Know’ - Caleb Femi I know I am the unreliable narrator of this story but if anyone is to tell it let it be me. It starts as the wind blows through the hollow torso of a concrete estate singing like a clarinet does when bad news drags its solemn face into a crowd of kids. This story starts with the nodding of heads it starts with waiting it starts when no one comes and a crowd of kids, at the end of their waiting decide to wait no more. This story starts with kids who are no longer seen as kids as they don’t fear death or cry in hunger or crumble in the dark. This story starts in itcham where kids go to the library to huddle around the WI I like a camp re on a cold night. This story starts in Becton where one boy, desperate for more, turns another into a jagged edge.
This story starts in roydon in the young eyes of those who have seen terrible things in the night and wondered how street lamps have the courage to make it visible. This story starts in Barking where they tuck their wonder under a pillow as it is too precious to bring it into the classroom. This story starts in Bexleyheath where kids go to other kids to learn how to deal with anxiety and the greyness of depression. This story is a loop of starting and they do not know where this story starts and they end.
About the poet
aleb emi is a poet hailing from south ondon. etween , aleb was the rst oung eopleâ€™s aureate for London working with young people on a city, national and global level. e is featured in the azed list of the next generation shaping youth culture. sing lm, photography and music aleb is passionate about pushing the boundaries of poetry both on the page, in performance and on digital mediums. e has written and directed short lms commissioned by the and hannel and poems by the Tate Modern, The Royal Society for Literature, t aulâ€™s athedral, the and the Guardian. aleb performs and speaks internationally gracing major stages, institutions and festivals. He has also worked on global advertising campaigns and has won the oundhouse oetry lam and enesis oetry lam and is currently working on a debut collection.
‘A Poem for London’ - Talented Young London Poets The concrete zzles under deep frying heat. orleys is the safe haven for um’s last pound. nly two school children at a time, please, said the sign outside the corner shop. It’s empty until pm, then crammed School shirts are stuck to backs. The sun like chewing gum, The dog man has the right idea, Topless, he strolls breezy down the road Wrapped in a coat of puppies. Interconnections come in all different colours, ome a sweeter juice, some sour, The smell of the ripe sweat and condensed heat Heavy with a London odour. uffocating as the train goes into the tunnel. Anxiety building up. When will I see the light? I wonder if she runs from her body too ast the multicultural bliss, past the loving hearts and helpful hands. Underground, I know you understand. To feel the oxygen crawl down my lungs nd that I may not belong to myself. The patients of the city depend on the wires, IV, of a drip. A beat. Take me to the bottom to the Thames, let me rest on the bed. My scars are a ‘do it’ for the culture. Take snaps for the culture. Instagram for the culture. London! Stop depending on yourself! Listen to yourself! nly in a city so deep can grime cleanse your soul, Where the locals mean so much to us we
hail aye bossman’. SHE She of the she. he got your back when they came for you. Hold your ground. Pick yourself up. ix up. tand tall. ack straight. You’re protected. She’s protected. Her very own. A bowl of assorted nuts. ou we belong here. Pistachios. Hijabis. lmonds. White folk. ashews. lack folk. ombay ix you know Walnuts. andem on the wall. And if you’re allergic, then you don’t belong here. Grab your Epi-pen and GET OUT MY PUB! We built the nation from the wealth of thieves. ondon, I love you, but you make me nostalgic for a place you’ll never know, Because I hide it too well beneath your boroughs. If you looked, I think you’d nd a disappointment borne of all the ways that this summer is not last summer and last summer was not the one before. y family used to spread like dandelion seeds, But roots can’t anchor down in concrete. If it were a uestion of comfort last summer, ennies, banks, moments, bits, London, I love you, but I think you just aren’t mine yet.
About the poets reated by poets
talented young ondon
Abdullahi - Ali - Bernice - Bola - Bridget annielle ileen ahima unmi Immaculata India ane azmine - Kathryn - Lotte - Lauren - Mandisa arvell eimo hoebe hoebe rincess achel akaya umia Tahmidur Troy On one afternoon at The Roundhouse with poets aleb emi, Theresa ola, olade lusanya, ean ahoney and ia hmed.
‘PhilosopHer’ - Rakaya Esime Fetuga We sit in a sandwich shop on the main road under white flashlight ipping layers of paper like supermarket scrolls of our six-inch bread rolls at the start of the night he says I’m sick of being told second hand being the last to know how many inky ngers will grope the map before I’m told which way to go ometimes the orth tar is a needle in a haystack of translations ometimes all I see is concrete and it takes a lot of patience to lter out the useful from the useless The truthful from the senseless when you just want to keep moving Today every Google scholar thinks he knows the way on a road he’s never walked They etch out paths with the blindfolds on until the world is smudged with chalk nd the women who had lived the road don’t think they’ve read enough to talk he says we need more women rising from the brick ceilings of their housing estates who ride the Underground straight through the map sick of walking Theorists and philosophers thinkers who live in the world with heats and wounds who open doors out of alleyways for girls to have rooms and rooms of their own so they can think for a second alone that high res minds shine brighter than laptop screens and moon lights when the sun is down Girls who can drown the noise with brightness who care about the truth about those ageing in the shadows about the torture of youth
Philosopher who the learning leads her in speech like spotlight trails she’s not afraid of tarmac she’s had dirt beneath her nails but her words compel you to follow leading electric with equity to the dawn of my dreams tomorrow
About the poet
akaya sime etuga won the year old category of the Young People’s Laureate for London Poetry Award for her evocative spoken-word piece, hilsop er’. akaya said The theme of Tomorrow’ brought up a lot of different ideas there are so many issues that affect young ondoners and so many avenues for social change. I think scholars and philosophers are necessary to help lead a progressive society. In my personal context as a young black uslim woman from ondon, I feel like it’s so important that advice and guidance come from people who can relate to my experience. The poem was inspired by a conversation I had in Subway sandwich shop about how more women scholars are needed to study and teach Islam in a way that challenges the misogynist overtones that different generations and societies have added on. In the current climate, the danger of misinterpretation and problematic leadership is evident. It’s crucial to have leaders who are wellstudied and know about the everyday experience of the people that they lead.
â€˜All My Peopleâ€™ - James Massiah All these people All their opinions All their politics All their shit All the places that they live All their palaces All their pads ll their mansions and their parties ll their flats All their hives All their lows All their eyes All their highs All their health All their yoga and Pilates All their preciousness And stretching And their aching And their pain All their punches eed more sugar All their churches eed more atan All their virgins eed more laying All their idols eed more slaying Their religions nd their myths All their children All their kids And their choices And their choppers All their roads eed more lanes ll their babies need new names And their planet, a new sun All their gangsters need new guns And Iâ€™ll be shot through every one
About the poet
ames assiah is a poet from outh London whose work explores ideas about sexuality, mortality ethics through performance writing visual media. is latest project â€˜Euthanasia Party/Twenty evenâ€™ is a series of poems about fate, sex, life death from the perspective of a young determinist. e has been commissioned to produce work for the the uardian as well as featuring in campaigns for elfridges, oewe ike. e has performed readings of his work at the Tate odern, the ourtauld the ouses of arliament and has been pro led in Vogue, Dazed, i-D & GQ.
‘the relics of womanhood’ - Alaa Lafta the rst time i was i sat on your lap, and let you whisper in my ear all the things a girl should be. this is what you left behind vinegar love. and i drank it till it seeped from my pores, and burnt the hands of those who tried to touch me. i found my glow stuffed in my navel, not in the hands of a boy like you promised me. my slim waistline exists in the place between who i am and who you want me to be i will never nd it. sloppy thighs unfurl like a map and i trace the sweat-slicked lines, following the path to who i can be. i contort, spread myself thick the light does not pass through me. i am the moon’s daughter. i ate her. she sank into my palms like henna. my sumerian nose. my father’s eyes. my heritage that roils beneath my skin. i wear my rolls like bracelets around my wrists. i let myself be ugly. apricot mouth unblossoming. i am not in season. i swallow sand that sinks into my fruitless womb, and thrust my ngers down my throat to scrape it out. i will not be an oasis. even the sun struggles to breathe.
i drip milk from my mouth and speak a broken language. the poems i write in english groan in arabic and die as women. long limbed beast. my arms are branches and they will reach beyond what you can see. do not sit me on your lap and feed me my grandmother’s leftovers. I will not be the story you tell of me. tomorrow is here. tomorrow is mine.
About the poet
laa afta won the category of the Young People’s Laureate for London Poetry ward with her extraordinary poem, relics of womanhood’. laa said I rst started reading poetry at school, where our curriculum would expose us to traditional works by Shakespeare and Frost and so on. Their writing felt cold and distant to my own experiences and the formulaic structure of conventional poetry steered me away. Then I began to read arol nn uffy’s poems, and I began to approach poetry in a more visceral manner. Since then, writers of colour such as Ocean uong, atimah sghar, Warsan hire, a a lhillo, uheir ammad and more have greatly influenced me, and I no longer shy away from experimenting with the structure or themes of my poems. Lately, I have begun to explore darker topics that people often like to avoid talking about I feel like relics of womanhood’ is a prime example of how I like to capture the grotes ue aspects of femininity. I aim to make my reader uncomfortable with what they read, whether it is because my writing is political or aggressive or unapologetic, and that is something I owe to living in London.”
‘home’ - Zia Ahmed running like thoughts running from thoughts rattling from the constant battling broken pieces floating tokens token gestures token jester open sesame ali baba forty thieves forty grievances nothing to pledge allegiance with trapped in a box ballerina chopped off for bhangra man dance monkey dance to the music of the snake charmer i am karma i am kama sutra i am ni tu hune hune hoi mutiyar mundian to bach ke rahin i am your gap year you said you were lost i hope you found yourself i am slumdog millionaire downward dog eight headed god i am shiva al aeda i am auditioning for the role of terrorist one yes i can do that in an arabic accent i am dhalsim i am bollywood season on channel four at two in the morning i am ganges i am gandhi i am jinnah i am ve pillars i am sinner i am cinnamon i am cardamom i am not invited to the houses of parliament i am sharif don’t like it rock the casbah stop the fatwa allahu akbar allahu akbar la illa ha illalah i am england i am england shirt made in bangladesh i am brick lane i am curry house of the year two thousand and ve i am rogan josh i am so damn lost i am so damn lost just looking for a place that’s home looking for a shape that’s whole mera joota hai japani home is where your heart is yeh patloon inglastani nah home is where your heart lifts sar pe lal topi russi nah home is where you’re ok to stay till you leave in a casket phir bhi dil hai... phir bhi dil hai...
About the poet
ia hmed is from orth West ondon. e was on attachment at aines lough for , having been a recipient of the hannel laywrightsâ€™ cheme bursary. e is a ondon aureate and former oundhouse lam winner and was shortlisted to be the Young Poet Laureate for ondon .
‘Thoughts after buying an England bucket hat ahead of this year’s World Cup semi-final match against Croatia’ - Bridget Minamore England. Eng-land. Land of eating bland food when it’s not from another land
Who will write a andem to uilder to Auntie dictionary? Who will reveal how much language they already share? England.
Land of rain, rain, go away Eng-land. and of vans, land of white and go home or face arrest vans Land of lions, three they say, three lions for a country too cold for them anyway and of football home of football home of my love for football despite all these thoughts I wish I didn’t have when thinking about the word ng land. ome of buying overpriced England football tat to wear while still flinching at ngland flags outside my neighbours house, Land of contradictions. England. Eng-land. ng, like in , like slicing off the last g in ing English words like freezin and jarrin and amazin but keep your g in peng, keep your g in ting, no one says pen tin to the mandem when discussing a girl they like. Eng, like, “in”, like innit bruv, innit being a word I hear with the same frequency from the boys on the street corners to the builders by my house to my mum’s mates outside church
ome. ome ome land. omeland security style boarders around our boarders, now. Watery boarders sharing water with watery Mediterranean graves. England. Eng-land. Land. My land. My land? My sort-of land? My passport part of this land, a so called united kingdom of lands and my land in this kingdom is ngland. y home is supposedly ngland. Why won’t ngland love me ow long is this complicated relationship supposed to last for ow many years can ngland string me along and tell me he loves me and how long am I going to feel that despite those words he wants me I still don’t quite belong? nd yet for minutes yesterday I felt like Eng-land was My-land England. Eng-land. My football-loving, hopefully World up winning land, ou are so, so ugly to me sometimes. till. part of me likes how easily I nd you to be beautiful.
About the poet
ridget inamore is a writer, poet and journalist. She was shortlisted to be ondon’s rst oung oet aureate, and is part the creative team behind Brainchild Festival. Bridget teaches poetry and drama workshops around the country, has read her work internationally, and regularly speaks on panels and events about everything from politics to pop culture. In ridget was chosen as one of The ospital lub’s merging reatives, as well as one of peaking olumes’ tars of lack British Literature. Titanic (Out-Spoken ress , her debut pamphlet of poems on modern love and loss, came out in ay .
‘3 Tiny Moons Poems’ - Ella Frears ‘I Knew Which Direction To Go’
‘The Moon Bathers’
from the way the moon was tilted towards the sea. y heart, pulled gently from my chest, was carried over the waves as though sleep walking. I held my breath, concentrated on the new space within. There was pain, but it was not new pain.
ast night we slept under a full moon. Our bodies wound like pale snakes through the silver-tipped grass.
Pray now, whispered the sand and I fell to my knees thinking moonlight, moonlight, moonlight until it was no longer a word but a colour and then a feeling and then the thing itself. Walking
I catch the moon, winking through the trees. I’m gripping my house keys, sharp end pointing outwards between my knuckles. It’s like glimpsing an old friend through a crowd. I soften. She is a sliver, leaning towards the soft end of yellow. I breathe in the night, lift my ngertip to ll in the circle, s uinting. Turning onto the stretch of road that I don’t like, lampless and narrow, I tell her I will be calling on you as a witness if something happens. I will testify that you saw the whole terrible thing through one half-closed eye.
We opened our mouths and let the light fall in. Have you ever tried it? It is the closest light to water, pooling on your eyelids, cool and wordless on your tongue. We slept deeply, eyes open. ur breath becoming something pulled from us. We felt the weight of the water in the air and wild laughter began to well-up inside. We threw back our spotlit heads and let it pour forth until morning.
About the poet
Ella Frears is a poet and visual artist based in south-east London. She was shortlisted for Young Poet Laureate for ondon and has had poetry published in Poetry London, The Rialto, mbit and the oth among others. lla is a trustee and editor for agma oetry and has completed various residencies for Tate Modern, the National Trust, Tate St Ives and most recently she was oet in Residence at Royal Holloway University writing about the assini pace ission. Ella was shortlisted for the Manchester oetry rize . er debut pamphlet Passivity, Electricity, Acclivity is out with oldsmiths ress.
â€˜Self-Portrait as Riverâ€™ - Caleb Femi You look inside yourself and see a trick mirror rippling a version of your face and a hydro-panic settles into you. The rst mirror was a river. The rst face met a uestion that split it in two. Who is on the right side? The you that you know, who sits counting all the wet days of summer Or the you that you do not know, who exists on neither side of maritime law the searcher, the possible, the transparent eye?
Totally Thames residency commission as part of Young Peoples Laureate for ondon programme .
Become A Collaborator We would love you to collaborate with us on Be My Next Inspiration. You have been given, sent or seen this fanzine as you have something that can help your creative flair, passion or will to make things happen for young Londoners. The more work created and more voices onboard will attract more young ondoners to attend the Young Peopleâ€™s Laureate for ondon Tour, make young Londoners feel they can inspire people through their words and help young Londoners feel that their voices are being listened to. The fact you are reading this means that you are one step away from helping young ondoners, so take that next step. We have four commitments we would like each collaborator to agree to, we hope you will rise up to the challenge. e inspired from the ten poems in this fanzine and create in any medium you wish. hare your creation with the world and with Spread The Word. elp make oung eopleâ€™s
Laureate for London Tour a success. e inspired and an inspiration in e ual measure to young people. Let us know if you are on board by dropping an email to serena@ bureauagency.co.uk by the th ugust . If you are now on the path to being involved thank you! #BeMyNextInspiration
Next Steps Digest the ten poems in this fanzine, explore the poets through the following links and take inspiration and create in any medium you wish. Momtaza Mehri www.twitter.com/ruffneckrefugee momtazamehri.contently.com/ Caleb Femi www.twitter.com/calebfemi5 www.instagram.com/caleb.femi www.calebfemi.com Talented Young London Poets www.spreadtheword.org.uk/poemlondon-talented-young-london-basedpoets Rakaya Esime Fetuga www.twitter.com/rakaya_esime www.rakayaesimepoetry.wordpress.com James Massiah www.instagram.com/jamesmassiah www.jamesmassiah.com Alaa Lafta www.spreadtheword.org.uk/announcingthe-winners-of-the-young-peopleslaureate-for-london-poetry-awards/ Zia Ahmed www.twitter.com/ziasighs www.painesplough.com/person/ziaahmed Bridget Minamore www.twitter.com/bridgetminamore www.bridgetminamore.com Ella Frears www.twitter.com/EllaFrears www.ellafrears.co.uk
Share your works with us for the Young People’s Laureate Tour Platform. Please send all works to : firstname.lastname@example.org no later than the 22nd September. Please include your name and any social handles so we can shout out a thank you! On the 27th September 2018 release your work to the world and let young Londoners know you are inspired by their words and want to carry on being inspired. This is not just a digital project so let your works or voice be heard or seen any way you want – a blog post, social moment, a conversation, a poster, a t-shirt, a tag the list is endless but the aim is the same: Be inspired and an inspiration in equal measure to young people. A few helpful #, @ and www Please use - #BeMyNextInspiration Instagram - @spreadthewordwriters Instagram - @bemynextinspiration Twitter - @STWevents https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/ projects/ypltour/ www.bemynextinspiration.co.uk We are looking forward to hearing from you and seeing how you too, are inspired. Thank you © Individual poem copyright remains with each respective poet
About Young People’s Laureate for London Tour Spread the Word’s Young People’s Laureate for London, Momtaza Mehri, gives London’s young people a voice through poetry.
The Young People’s Laureate Tour helps young people to develop their skills and talent. It’s a gateway for those who have started the poetry journey and for those who wish to start the journey. tarting the nd ctober and visiting six London Boroughs including Barking and agenham, rent, romley, ingston, edbridge and utton, each day offers workshops, performances and open mic sessions for anyone who wishes to attend.
Run by Spread the Word, the Young eople’s aureate is on a mission to aise the visibility of poetry in the capital, nationally and internationally ngage and inspire ondon’s young people with poetry through the issues that affect them upport the development of ondon’s talented young poets in a tangible way. uring her tenure, omtaza will be engaging young people aged across ondon with poetry through ommissions esidencies at the ritish ibrary ree Word The ctober allery esonance t aul’s athedral o curating a oetry ab for talented young poets upporting the oung eople’s aureate Tour taking place in six outer London boroughs
The tour dates and locations are as follows Monday 22 October: Hook and hessington ibrary, ingston Tuesday 23 October: Willesden Green Library, Brent Wednesday 24 October: Redbridge entral ibrary, edbridge Thursday 25 October: Barking Learning entre, arking and agenham Friday 26 October: ibrary, romley
Saturday 27 October: utton Library, Sutton
We as Be My Next Inspiration, want to help get more attendees to these days and let the people who attend know we see them as inspirational gures.
Board and Trustees Be My Next Inspiration is a collaboration between Spread The Word, Young People’s Laureate for London, BUREAU, our Trustees, some of ondon’s notable young poets and we hope, you. I SPREAD THE WORD - Ruth Harrison & Rishi Dastidar BUREAU - Pete Hellicar eff oardman TRUSTEES a c ridget inamore aleb emi Dan Joyce Ella Frears Frank Laws Harris Elliot Hello Skinny ames assiah omtaza ehri u teve at ane ommunications Stevie Gee Sunil Pawar Suzannah Pettigrew The eitgeist gency ia hmed Young People’s Laureate for London – 2018 is the last time this project will run as there is no funding in place for next year’s Laureate programme. We believe this initiative must carry on.
For your inspirational notes.
SPREAD THE WORD TOUR
“The tour is about invigorating, reinvigorating, young people and saying: “Look. You have your life. Where do you want to go with it? Tell people where you want to go and how you want to go there.” It’s our role as facilitators, as organisations, as libraries, as people, to make that happen.” Caleb Femi, Poet, Tour Ambassador
Be My Next Inspiration is an idea born to recognise poetry as a craft that inspires us all. It offers us a chance to see a reflection on tod...
Published on Jul 23, 2018
Be My Next Inspiration is an idea born to recognise poetry as a craft that inspires us all. It offers us a chance to see a reflection on tod...