Tag Archives: slam poetry

Urban  Bird  in – Covid 19 by Billy Colvill

From our at home activities, here is a response to where we all find ourselves during lockdown by one of the poets from  Hackney Dissent, Billy Colvill.

Urban  Bird  in- Covid 19

“ Ring-a-ring  of  roses

A  pocketful  of  posies

Atishoo, a tissue?

We  all  full  down.”

This  is  purdah.

Just  spent  my  daily  allowance  of

Essential  journey  time.

I  loiter  at  the  cross-roads

To  my  room

Full  of  possible  intent

But  know  it`s  lockdown  facing  me,

Splendid  isolation.

Have  to  keep  slapping  myself,

“ Wake  up  and  smell  the  coffee.”

I  must  have  been  asleep

When  my  carnival  of  people  passed  on  by.

I  want  my  bumping, bustling, sweaty, shoving,

Rude,  insulting  crowd

Back.

 

Everyone  has  become, “so  kind,”

So  loving,  so  polite.

And  when  those  people

Who  wouldn`t  ordinarily  give  me  the  time  of  day

Say  they  want  to  befriend  me,

It`s  been  my  experience they  want  to  shamelessly  exploit

My  singular  native  English  nostalgic  sentimentality.

Then  there`s  that  class  of  people who

In  the  blink  of  an  eye

Voted  your  wage  rise  down, voted  to

Leave  you  homeless,

They  in  one  voice  speak  through  antiseptic,

Praising  heroes  who  work  a  twelve

And  a  half-hour  shift   at  their  bidding

Without  a  paid  break  or  proper  equipment.

As  if  the  “ heroes”  weren’t  in  danger  enough.

How  our  leaders bang  on  how  much

They  love  and  care  for  the  people,

Stop  it,   my  ears are bleeding

Where`s  your  London  mob  when  you  need  them?

The  riot  of  colour?  The  noise?

What  was  I  moaning  about?

 

Dragging  my  feet  back  to  my  room,

right  now, if  I  had  the  chance

I`d Jump  in   and   join my  herd

For  the  company  and  banter

Even  though  by  all  accounts

My  government  is  leading  the  herd  to  the  abattoir.

The  instruction,

Writ  large  by  the  invisible  hand  of  Capital

For  only  the  privileged  to  see

Based  on  the  witty  professors

Statistical  probability,

The  instruction  is,

That  for  us  the  masses,

The  question, who  lives or dies,

Is  for  us  the  masses,

A  charitable  post-code lottery.

The  invisible  hand  of  Capital

Signs  off;

“ England  is  now  one  big  Grenfell Tower.”

I  swear  on  the  Roman  London  god  of  birds, Janus,

Fuck  it,

Even  after  all  what  my  families  been  through

There  is  still  no  science  for  us,  so  it`s

still  down  to  more

luck  than  judgement.

Back  in  my  room

The  weight  of  the  world  wears  heavy  on  me.

I  think  of  someone,  I  wonder,

Have  they  been  tested  yet?

Billy  Colvill ( One  is  A  Bird. 2020. Billy  Colvill.)

Hackney Dissent Documentary

In May of this year Unity Arts delievered a week of heritage workshops in Hoxton and in Hoxton Hall called

HACKNEY DISSENT

Out of which we created a short film Hackney Dissent

The workshops, in partnership with Hoxton Hall, used slam poetry, research trips (including a special day at Dr Johnson’s House).

We used sources like The Vindication Of The Rights Of Woman to inspire work from all areas of our community to make an exhibition and share in performance.

Groups of 7-11 year olds, 12-18 year olds and 18+ all looked at debate, radical writings and how to communicate ideas.

We had a well attended sharing at Hoxton Hall on 31 May and on 1 June (a very HOT day) an exhibition and sharing at Dr Johnson’s House.

With the support of Edwin Louis Fear Films the Digital Outputs volunteers interviewed participants and were also part of the final editing process.

The documentry can be found here Hackney Dissent Documentary

Also you can find some of the research materials that helped inform the outputs.

We have more Heritage Film Workshops coming up so please contact us if you have an interest in filmaking documentaries and doing interviews with experts about Mary Wollstonecraft, Elizabeth Montgu and the Bluestocking Society.

 

 

SPOKEN WORD AT DR JOHNSON’S HOUSE 1ST JUNE!

We are having a week of activities and workshops at Hoxton Hall including workshops led by Joelle Taylor, called HACKNEY DISSENT. The week will produce responses from participants of all ages and backgrounds about the legacy of DISSENT.

One of our outcomes is an evening of SPOKEN WORD!

COME AND JOIN US on 1 JUNE at

Dr Johnson’s House

A charming 300-year-old townhouse, nestled amongst a maze of courts and alleys in the historic City of London. Samuel Johnson, the writer and wit, lived and worked here in the middle of the eighteenth century, compiling his great Dictionary of the English Language in the Garret and a supporter of two of heritage research subjects, Mary Wollstonecraft and Elizabeth Montagu.

Brand new works from those versed in as well as new to Spoken Word as a performance art and a political and debating tool.

Doors will open at 645pm and the Performance will start at 7pm. 

You will get free entry and a free glass of wine and we will also have info about the whole project THE BLUE CIRCLE OF DISSENT.

Register for FREE tickets here

HACKNEY DISSENT at DR JOHNSON’S

A lovely evening made possible by a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

 

 

 

FREE HALF TERM WORKSHOPS AT HOXTON HALL

Unity Arts and Hoxton Hall will be delivering FREE half term workshops for 7-10s and 11-19s  at Hoxton Hall during the May Half Term.

The workshops called HACKNEY DISSENT  will run

Tuesday 28 – Friday 31 May from 1030 – 330

and include sessions in drama, movement, arts and performance poetry. We will finish the week with a performance for an invited audience.

All who come to the workshops will also be taken on a trip to Dr Johnson’s House in Fleet Street and all work made during the week will be included in a book in both printed and online versions and everyone will receive a copy.

If you would like to register for a FREE place please complete this form

HACKNEY DISSENT WORKSHOPS FORM

or contact Grace at Hoxton Hall grace@hoxtonhall.co.uk

 

JOELLE TAYLOR TO LEAD POETRY WORKSHOPS

Unity Arts  are offering FREE evening workshops (with extra daytime activities an option) for Over 18s  with renowned SLAM POET Joelle Taylor.

These sessions are part of a workshop week HACKNEY DISSENT (which will also run workshops for 7-10s and 11-18s)  at Hoxton Hall and other East London venues.

These various activities will take place in sessions over the week  of 27 May – 1 June  with performances at

Hoxton Hall and Dr Johnson’s House

We have invited Joelle Taylor to lead workshops for Over 18s in order to support creating spoken and written poetry of dissent.

Joelle Taylor is an award-winning poet, playwright, author and editor. She has performed across the UK as well as internationally, both for the British Council (Zimbabwe, Brazil, Botswana, Australia and Singapore) and on solo projects across Europe.

A former UK slam champion, she founded the national youth slam championships SLAMbassadors in 2001 for the Poetry Society and was its Artistic Director and National Coach until 2018.

As an educator she has lead workshops and residencies in schools, prisons, youth centres, refugee groups, and other settings for organisations including the        Poetry Society, the British Council, Arvon Foundation and English PEN.

She featured on TEDx Talks and Outsider Lectures, and was recently awarded a Southbank Centre Change Maker prize, in recognition of her life-changing work on the national youth slams. She has a Fellowship of the Royal Society of the Arts and was longlisted for the 2017 Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship.

This is a wonderful opportunity to learn from a skilled and relevant poet and all work created will also be included in a book and all participants will receive a copy.

PLACES FOR JOELLE TAYLOR WORKSHOPS ARE LIMITED

Please complete the form for more details and an application pack!