20min Morning Writing Workout

So if your going to do this you need to wake up 30min earlier to make time OR, you might want to do it on the train on your phone or something OR I am actually using this as a warm up for a day of writing. So this has nothing to do with the script I am writing but it acts as a creative anchor and warm up for the rest of my day.

  1. Inspo: Whilst you are getting ready put on some sort of documentary with interesting info in it. I was watching (well semi-background watching) The Insider Toxic Waste Dump with Reggie Yates.
  2. Focus: Afterwards, turn all your wifi and data off on everything, set a 10min timer on your phone and put it in a draw.
  3. Freewrite: Write freely, but let any background imagery from the doc come into the writing whenever you feel stuck, but at the same time try to dig deep into your subconscious, your dreams.

Freewrite (typos, notes and all cause I am v. dyslexic) 

I want to write a letter to you,

I want to burn the plastic around you,

I want to step my bare foot into the mud.

Find rthe sound.

Bear foot into the mud,

I am a spade. I am a pit.

 

Your looking at my eyebrows quiet a lot.

They take up quiet a large proportion of my face.

We seem so preoccupied with love.

I live next to a railway track so I can sleep through 8 alarms back to back.

 

I love everything about you except your alarms.

I want to tell you I love you but you have been talking about yourself for 40minutes now and I am not sure that you know I am hear.

So I drink your hieniken and readust the blue plastic bags over my muddy boots.

 

Do you mind if I kiss you.

Right hand on giant brass gorilla statue.

Before you leave and I wonder where in my future you could have been.

Humans are the problem.

 

I’ve learned how to love myself and now I want to write you a letter.

I want to eat omlettes with you on stools at noon.

I want my pillow to smell of your hair products and sweat.

 

Monogomy makes no sense but I want it.

Do I need it? I can feel the building works inside of me.

Low vibrations of train overhead.

Bar under a railway bridge.

Gin and tonic in the fridge.

Outside your window two pigeons are fighting over love,

Or whatever the pigeon equivalent is.

 

I saw d double set 2 doves free in east London

And their lyrics will fly like birds in the sky

Hit one of your breadrins in the eye.

And I wonder where they are hiding,

 

How conspicuous 2 doves would be wondering around Newham,

Or maybe their difference would be an advantage.

Maybe they would colonise street corners,

Start drinking marinda and chill outside dixy.

I wonder what bird or animal my lyrics might be,

If they might fly, or crawl or swim, how they would touch people –

A slap, a hit, a seduction… maybe the 8 odd spiders your supposed to eat every year

Or is it every life time, or a cat at the end of the bed,

Or the cat that isn’t yours but you feed anyway,

A goose chasing a toddler round a pond.

 

This is all getting very meta,

I want to send you a letter

I don’t believ ein regrets

I believe in becoming better

And I needed to leave you to grow

And now I’ve grown so slow

And you left no sign of yourself on our own road

Except this one dove that has no idea where to go.

 

(end of cliff hanger, phone in a draw)

 

4.   Edit: 10min timer, copy and paste free write. Edit with instincts. Give it a title.

I Love Everything About you Except Your Alarms

 

I want to write a letter to you,

I want to burn the plastic around you,

I want to step my bare foot into the mud.

Find the squelchy envelop of sound.

 

Your looking at my eyebrows quiet a lot.

They take up a large proportion of my face.

I live next to a railway track so I can sleep through 8 alarms back to back.

 

I love everything about you except your alarms.

I want to tell you I love you

but you have been talking about yourself for 40minutes now

and I am not sure that you know I am here.

 

I drink your Heineken

readjust the blue plastic bags over muddy wellies.

Do you mind if I kiss you?

Humans are the problem.

But I still want to write you a letter.

eat omelets with you on stools at noon,

a pillow that smells of your hair products.

 

Monogamy makes no sense but I want it.

Do I need it? I can feel the building works inside of me.

Low vibrations of train overhead.

Bar under a railway bridge.

Gin and tonic in the fridge.

 

I saw d double set 2 doves free in East London

And their lyrics will fly like birds in the sky

Hit one of your bredrins in the eye.

And I wonder where they are hiding around Newham,

surviving off spilt Marinda outside Dixy

picking up a weed habit off gutter-bud,

their coo growing rougher.

 

I wonder, what bird or animal my lyrics might be,

If they might fly, or crawl or swim, or slap…

maybe they’re one of the 8 spiders you’re supposed to eat every year

crawling into unsuspecting mouths. Or maybe they’re the cat at the end of the bed,

or a goose chasing a toddler round a pond.

 

You left no sign of yourself on our road

except this one dove with no idea where to go,

I watch it pecking at spilt Marinda from my window,

 

my eighth alarm a pick axe at your pillow.

 

5.  Get it Mature: File it somewhere, send it to someone for feedback, leave it for a bit! So you can come back to it in a week, month, year or something, fresh and come up with a more comprehensive strategy. I save my writing into project files – Collection, Grime Poetry, Journal and in each of those I have Ideas/Drafts with feedback/Drafts without feedback/finished so when I don’t want to write I can always edit or have stuff to send for feedback!

Have a great day!

Debris x

p.s. photography on cover image by visual fold

 

Writing Workout (2-3h) – Problem Solving.

You might be working on a show, or a collection, or a pamphlet or just know there is something you need to write about or maybe you are tired of constantly writing into the darkness and want to have more of a plan?

As I am working towards a show there a few scenes I know I need to write, and I kind find that hard (as you may have seen from my other more freestyle focused writing exercises) I really enjoy writing into the dream part of my brain and being surprised at what comes out.

But there is a fight/ cypher scene I know I needed to write, so I took this morning 7.30am-11am (after exercise + stretching for 15min) to just focus on writing this but with a few goals in mind:

  1. I don’t want to write ferociously, I want to write with consideration and accuracy – using a thesaurus or google to really ensure every word/image I choose feels right for the image I can see so clearly in my head or maybe even am fighting to find clarity with and with each word I get ‘right’ it can become clearer.
  2. I want it to be small and fierce (like me), a tight, compact, concise image that punches someone in the face so each word needs to not work in terms of what it means (dictionary definition) but sound like what it means and pull against my other word choices and the lineation to add new dimensions and layers to that meaning.
  3. Play with the language and music of grime but not on beat, a lot of what I write at the moment is too music, so I kind of want this to be a counter stretch that uses the language I grew up with in a more conversational manor.

 

How? 

1. Find a poem that resonates – I found a poem by Kayo Chongonyi in Kumukanda called In Defence of DarknessIt has a sense of the hidden but also the intimate and gave a clear sensory image in 4 stanza’s which I want.

2. Steal some rules from that poem – I took:

  • 2 x 4 line stanzas and 2 x 5 line stanzas
  • line length similar
  • Lots of sensory detail

3. Add a rule of your own – I added:

  • Make the punctuation more visible like it looks like what is happening and only use .?\/() (This is because I want to think about how my show is published, I don’t want to adhere to the formal grammatical rules but instead think about how MCs use it and how my dyslexic mind more intrinsically see’s it).

4. Set time aside and commit – This is really a longer exercise, because I want you to take time over each word, get a coffee if and when you need, listen to a song, have a dance. Take little breaks to clean your mind, it’s not about vigorously writing and editing but meditating and mulling the images/smells/textures in your mind until the right once comes to the surface but you are still working towards a full draft by the end of the allotted time…

Mosh from the Humanities Block

Editing Note: When returning to this I will take out the scaffolding of the rules I stole from Kayo, the exercise is the spring board to get the content out, the editing task will be later working out what stanza/line length etc. serves this piece best!

Have a great weekend!

Debris x

 

Writing Workout (30min) – Disruption as Opportunity

My mantra this year is disruption as opportunity, as someone that spends a lot of time planning, for a long time, disruption to that plan caused me immense anxiety. But at some point, I think it was when I learned about liveness in performance – the idea that if a crow were to fly on the stage as I perform my poem, I should acknowledge and incorporate the crow as apposed to ignore and fight it (because the crow was not in my said plan). I can still plan, edit meticulously, spend years on a poem, but actually if I want that poem to be delivered in an exacting way I can publish it or make a Youtube video but a LIVE performance is kind of about disruption, is a about a finite moment within which anything can happen. This shift in perception, that I stopped waiting in fear for something to go wrong and starting excitingly anticipating an opportunity for change, serendipity, surprise, growth has made me a much happier human and better creative. 

So, todays writing workout is all about embracing disruption which is kind of ironic because out of all the workouts I have posted with definitely went the least smoothly!

As always, I will be keeping dyslexia in every draft as evidence of my human-ness and also because sometimes they typos are more interesting!)

 

  1. Initial free write 10-15MIN – you can do less if you want of course but I actually needed this time. Write non-stop, no editing, re-reading etc. but every line must end with the words; but, if, cause, or no. (I actually stole this from Too Far, by Dizzee Rascal which I am currently analysing for my grime-poetry show). I find this so hard, I have actually kept some notes I made to myself in the free write to keep me going…

Freewrite

 

Sometimes I dance on speakers but

That doesn’t mean I don’t have a degree so

I also like reading poetry on the central line but

I can still listen to bashment at the same time but

That doesn’t mean you can touch me there cause

My body still belongs to me.

 

(stop telling Deborah start showing)

 

I’ve never been in a fight but

I did once smash a mans head against a speaker cause

He tried to grab my punananananoo cause

I was moving my waist freely and

Headstand on the speakerbox so

must be fine to grab ‘er up so.

 

I’ve never given anyone head but

A 6ft4 guy asked in a rave once, said I would rather lick the floor cause

I hate being backed into a corner when I just want to dance so

He said he could head but me sharp, so

I said cool give the police a reason to come cause

I’m tired of man having this mentality and

I can jump in your DM’s when I got a girlfriend cause

If you call me out on my comments but

What’s rong with you girl I was just joking yeah, so

If I screen shot this and send it to your misses yeah?

I’ll be a drama queen cause

I’m a feminist and even I’ll call a girl a slag cause

If I’m tusty, blusky, horney and

I can’t grab a man without feeling guilty but

I’m new to this but

People like to speak to a blank slate so

Girls toilets, Mac Donalds, Queue of Oceana so

 

(SKIIIRRRRRRTT – felt like this wasn’t going somewhere… need to gain some traction).

 

 

She’s next to the DJ booth but

She’s just laughing, face so open it’s like I want to walk in but

My hips are like that drunk toddler run; excited, unaware of space and vibrating but

Her eyes slice through people but

The whole room is usually staring at me but

But but but but but but, gender neutral toilets

GEORGE WHAT ARE YOU DOING

But me and George are kissing in the smoking area BUT

GEORGE YOU’RE GAY, but

George just felt like he needed to but

I did too and you curl up in the porch of your own house but

Both doors are locked and you are hugging your knees like a giant soft toy turtle that helps you sleep but you can’t sleep cause you are crying until blood vessles pop and there is so much red over your skin, colour shifting like a tongue under a hard boiled sweet and

They are inside, and they open the door, and they bend down to pick you up but you are too heavy they they have to squeeze into the porch with you and you feel like one of those glass boxes with all the Pixar toys in, one on top of another, waiting for a giant metal crain to try and get you but at least you have eachother, the softness of your bodies.

 

 

EDITING –

…. Keep what has weight

… if it’s too hard I just cut it (still got it saved in the draft above)

10min

 

2. Editing Phase 1  – 10min. I really feel that free write made no sense for me, so I needed an initial 10min just to read it, cut anything that made NO sense and expand on the images/ideas that felt fruitful for me. 

 

Sometimes I headstand on speakers but

I also read Heaney on the central line so

I’ve never been in a real fight but

I did smash mans head against the DJ booth cause

He reached for my punananananooo (or

phanoola as my god daughter calls it yeah)

 

I’ve never given anyone head but

A 6ft4 guy asked in a rave once, said I’d rather lick the floor cause

I’m tired on man having this mentality and

He can jump in your DM’s when

he got a girlfriend cause

If you call him out on his comments but

What’s rong with you girl I was just joking so

Should I screen shot this and post it yeah?

Why you gota be a drama queen uh?

 

People like to speak to a blank slate so

Girls toilets, Mac D’s, Night queues so

 

She’s next to the DJ booth but

drunk toddler run but

But but but but but but,

GEORGE WHAT ARE YOU DOING But

me and George are kissing in the smoking area BUT

GEORGE YOU’RE GAY, but

I curl up in the porch but

both doors are locked I’m are hugging my knees like a giant soft toy turtle that helps me sleep but I can’t sleep cause I’m crying, popping bloody vessles and there is so much red over my skin, colour shifting like a tongue under a hard boiled sweet and

They are inside, and they open the door, and they bend down to pick you up but you are too heavy they they have to squeeze into the porch with you and you feel like one of those glass boxes with all the Pixar toys in, one on top of another, waiting for a giant metal crain to try and get you – the softness of your bodies.

 

3. Editing Phase 2: Be savage/ cut out as much as you can/ and don’t be scared to stick whole words and phases together that once were in complete different stanza’s. Play, disrupt, surprise yourself/ Choose a set stanza length (I have gone with 3 line stanza’s) just to give you a format to edit into.

 

I’ve never been in a real fight but

I did once place my hand

flat on the side of a strangers head, and smash it

 

bounced

off Perspex sheath

encasing the DJ

 

He’d reached for my punananananooo (or

phanoola as my god daughter calls it). I’ve never

given anyone head but

 

A 6ft4 guy asked in a rave once when I was 15, I said,

I’d rather lick the floor cause

I’m tired

 

girls toilets, Mac D’s, night queues

drunk toddler run but

But but but but but, BUT

 

GEORGE WHAT ARE YOU DOING? But

me and George were just kissing in the smoking area BUT

GEORGE YOU’RE GAY. But

 

I flat pack myself into the porch so

I can close both doors

hug my knees like giant soft toy turtles that helps me sleep but

 

I can’t sleep cause I’m popping bloody vessels

so much red, my colour shifting like a tongue under hard boiled sweet.

They are inside. And They open the door, and

 

They bend down to pick me up but I am too empty

So They have to squeeze into the porch with me and

I feel like we are in one of those glass boxes with all the Pixar toys

 

one on top of another,

the softness of your bodies

to light to claw, grab or lift.

 

 4. Actually Draft: Give it a title/ CUT EVEN MORE/ change the stanza formation to something that feels like it has logic, I have chosen something irregular but symmetrical(ish) to hold this stream of conciousness.

 

A Real Fight

 

I’ve never been in a real fight but

I did once place my hand

flat on the side of a stranger’s head, and smash it

bounced it

off the Perspex sheath

encasing the DJ.

He’d reached for my punananananooo (or

phanoola as my god daughter calls it). I’ve never

given anyone head but

a 6ft4 guy asked in a rave once when I was 15, I said,

I’d rather lick the floor cause

I’m tired

girls toilets, Mac D’s, night queues

drunk toddler run but he said maybe I wanted a head-but

(and I thought, go ahead, then the police have a ‘real reason’ to come) but

but but but but but but but but but but but but, BUT

GEORGE WHAT ARE YOU DOING? But

me and George were just kissing in the smoking area BUT

GEORGE YOU’RE GAY. But

I flat-pack myself into the porch so

I can close both doors

hug my knees like giant soft toy turtles that help me sleep but

I can’t sleep cause

so much red, my colour shifting like a tongue under a hard boiled sweet.

They open the door, and They

bend down to pick me up but

I am too full of fog, so they squeeze

into the porch with me and

I feel

like we are in a Perspex box

with 30 odd other soft toy turtles

the clouds of our bodies, sweets in a jar – too light

for a claw, or fist or child

to grab, grope or lift.

From UK to T&T – Who do You Want to be?

So about a year ago I made a 4 year plan under the instruction of Charlie Dark – what do I want to achieve and who do I want to be by the time I am 30. I wanted to post a picture of it but it coveres; dance, poetry, performance, publishing, music, self, drawing and family so there are a few quiet personal things on there I didn’t want to announce. It is colour coordinated and each point also has a timeline of achievement and immediate to do in place.

I also made a daily to do list on top of that, because in the past I have become so focused on long-term plans I stopped enjoying my life on a daily!

Daily to do:

  1. Write.
  2. Dance, Physio or Exercise.
  3. Swim or Stretch or be present – let yourself sit in joy or peace.
  4. Performance/ Vocal Practice.
  5. Have space for compassion/ time for others; a stranger or a loved one.
  6. Spontaneity – let what could be a distraction become an opportunity, what could be seen as a disturbance becomes serendipity (this means these 6 things can go out the window sometimes!)

The balance between those long-term goals and every day enjoyment is essential for me – Coming to Trinidad and Tobago has always been a dream and though I am not entirely sure about laws of attraction this is the second time I have said I WILL GO X PLACE AT X TIME and then I have been booked to go!

So this is a summery of my balancing act for my 6 out of 7 weeks here, hopefully it will inspire you to look back at what you have achieved, sit in what you are doing and/or look forward into what you are working towards.

I have:

  • Been tasted by 475 mosquitos.
  • Made a poetry/dance film at the top of IMG_0326.JPGa fire tower with the insanely talented, efficient, calm, honest (and hilarious) Pippa Riddick
    .
  • Facilitated a week of #TalkingDoorsteps workshops culminating in a show and 17 poetry films and show in an amphitheatre in Lopinot (Cafe Mariposa) for Roundhouse, British Council and The 2 Cents Movement with support and reflective insights from Debo and Joe Hakim.
  • Written poems I thought it would take my whole life to crack into.
  • Performed to thousands of Trinbagonian (wait is that correct?) students via the PSI Caribbean across 10 schools in Trinidad.
  • Created a show in a week with Deneka Thomas, Marcus Millette, Seth Sylvester, Kyle Daniel Hernandez and Micko Burnard Logie.
  • Had countless conversations with young people who want to see real change around gender based violence and are not scared to challenge, innovate and questions.
  • Facilitated 4 out of 6 foundational training sessions for the core Artistic Force of 2cents and been pushed as a facilitator/ educator and artist.
  • Danced, spoken, opened and learned from Ariana Herbert on a daily basis – not to mention gained a new family across the world in the form of the beautiful Herberts.
  • Learned daily from the powerhouse that is Jean-Claude Cournand – reminded of the power, beauty and humility that can be contained in one human.
  • Taken about 4million selfies with students and signed a good 50 autographs (Jokes).
  • Laughed.
  • Cried.
  • Grieved for my grandmother, who passed away the first week I got here.
  • Connected with my family despite being half way across the world.
  • Celebrated my dads 60th.
  • Had a real conversation with my Mum.
  • Learned new dance moves.
  • Got the second X-ray of my life.
  • Finished a funding bid.
  • Evaluated a funding bid.
  • Started collaborations with Bridie Squires and Ash Er.
  • Curated a show for the Southbank Centre – Gyal in da Corner.
  • Felt at home with Isaiah McClean, Donald Modeste and Kars Logic.
  • Brainstormed with the powerhouse which is Marina Salandy Brown  Bocas Lit Fest.
  • Trained 5 times a week.
  • Started my Yoga practice 2-3 hours a week.
  • Stolen movement ideas from the legendary Hannah Silva.
  • Got 3 steps closer to a headstand.
  • Got my straddle splits back.IMG_0774.JPG
  • Been serenaded by a stranger with a guitar on a beach.
  • Become 80% coconut water.
  • Drawn for the first time in a year.
  • Replaced by hands with peacocks, courtesy of Thad
    dy Boom.
  • Become a paint pallet.
  • Danced on top of a cooler in a flood as the sun came up.

 

Lets see what this last 11 days has tIMG_0954.JPGo offer. Already planned; toe recovery (reason for x-ray), Mass with Fantasy, Jouvert with Dirty Medics, Machel
Monday, my second ever tattoo, 3 new tunes and a second draft of the Poet in da Corner Script

What intensions you setting?

Arvon Writing Aerobics 8. How do you deal with professional rejection?

(Snippets of conversation with Mouthy Poets and writers Caroline Bird & Roger Robinson at Arvon Totleigh Barton, Tuesday 8th December 2015.)

Roger Being a writer is about rejection. If you are not about rejection you are probably not pitching enough or not aiming high enough. I had 36 rejections for my first poetry book and the only thing that kept me going was that my mentor had 38 and he said ‘don’t come to me till you get 38’. Until you get your first success it is really hard, writing is about perseverance and rejection. If you can’t persevere through rejection, don’t be a writer. You have to be consistently devoted to this thing.

Caroline Someone saying ‘I see you, keep doing it’ and who wants you to progress – keep going until you find that person. What is much more important than listening to rejection is listening to that person that understands what you are trying to do. Stopping is not an option.

Arvon Writing Aerobics 6. How to negotiate between person goals, good poems and deadlines…

(Snippets of conversation with Mouthy Poets and writers Caroline Bird & Roger Robinson at Arvon Totleigh Barton, Tuesday 8th December 2015.)

Caroline I don’t feel like my poetry has to be working towards a deadline. Poems come from the middle of me.

Roger Poetry don’t make enough money to take on deadlines. Poetry is the thing I love. I could never write poetry to a deadline.

 

 

Arvon Writing Aerobics 3. How do you know when a poem is done?

(Snippets of conversation with Mouthy Poets and writers Caroline Bird & Roger Robinson at Arvon Totleigh Barton, Tuesday 8th December 2015.)

Roger Any more and you will kill it, any less and it is not enough. It is kind of instinct, there has to be a point where I let it be.

Caroline  It is important to trust tomorrow’s eyes on it. Sometimes you are just not going to see something on one day. You have to enjoy it not being finished and feel like you need to crack it now. Isn’t it amazing that you can go around for a whole week thinking about one word? – there is something delicious about it. If you enjoy it not being finished you are much more likely to know when it’s done.

                                                 

Arvon Writing Aerobics 2. 7min x 7poems with Caroline Bird

On Day 2 of Arvon, Caroline Bird gave us an intensive series of 7 minute long writing exercises. So if you want to set aside an hour to bang out seven poems, I recommend this as an intensive series of exercises. I have given the beginnings of my own for each task just to give you an example of the kind of thing I mean.

The rules to all these exercises:

  • Be bold.
  • ‘When you are at the top of a blank page, you have to punch up into the nothingness, you have to trust in the continuous I don’t know.
  • So get your timer ready…

 

Poem 1. – Backwards

  • Establish an event you play over and over again in your head
  • Take the event and tell it backwards:
    • Focus on the visual of the backwardness
    • Think about it as a film you are rewinding
    • How does it alter how everything looked?

 E.g.

A wave retracting from a cliff face,

my hand fizzles from the fracture

between his drawstring bag and his spine,

our legs step back in time and synchronised,

Poem 2. – Future

  • You are going to write this story again
  • But you are going to tell the story as if it hasn’t happened yet ‘you will’… it hasn’t happened

E.g.

You will mistake the rain

for fireflies, turn off your iPhone

watch them falling. Pause mid-air.

You are in the eye of a firework.

He looks at you, points at a tree

 Poem 3. – Magic Eye Pictures

  • Think of an object you always encounter at least once a day; a bed, a cigarette, a shoe etc. write down the first thing that occurs to you; a mouth, an eyelash, a beer, eyebrows, a belt etc.
  • ‘Let yourself roll down the hill, start small and trust that you will gather’
  • ‘Keep writing, this is not one you can do with caution.’
  • ‘The unlearning is based a lot on the length of this poem…’

 E.g.

Loose belts, tight belts, gentle shuffly belts, broken belts, shucked belts,

balcony belts, thrift store belt,

belts that remind you of your mother, Father, brother,

lover belt, straight out the sea wet denim belt,

thumb belt, bum belt, straight out the shower late for work

belt. Absentee belt, low-bat belt,

running for the bus and fall to the ground

belt. Heroine belt, matching belt, black belts,

Poem 4. – The Room of my Life

  • You are in your bedroom – if you have just moved house, go to an old bedroom, you need to know it well and it should feel like yours.
  • Describe this bedroom, letting the objects live and breathe and become new things.
  • Surprise yourself; don’t be scared for things not to make sense.

 E.g.

There are six identical boxes under the bed

Filled odd socks, underwear, bedtime t-shirts,

soft toys that smell of bleeding gums

and a sandwich bag filled of dental floss.

Poem 5. – ‘To say no to the taste of whiskey, this is saying no to who you are’ – Barbara Guest

  • If Barbara said no to the taste of whiskey she would be saying no to who she is. What are those little things that if you said no to, suddenly you would no longer be yourself ? The things you would lose that would mean that you were dead.
  • Don’t question yourself or wonder, just write.
  • Write a gathering list of things that if you no longer had them you no longer had you.

 Poem 6. – Misdirection

  • Think of something little that there are lots of; nails, lips, tongues, eye lashes, eyebrows, earlobes, forks, spoons, water bottles, bottle caps, grains of sand, ants, rain drops etc.
  • Write from their perspective as a collective ‘we’, think about their world view, think about their power. Think about their plans and plots, their territory and what they can do that others can’t.
  • What are their unique properties? Relish your words, their smallness and how much you can do with little phrases.
  • Let the smallness be your power.

 E.g.

Plump pops, we are punctuations of presence.

Something to run from or into, we freckle you.

We slide down the windows of your eyes

evaporate into outlines of ourselves

on shower doors and into skies.

 Poem 7. – Weaving from the Silence

  • ‘Effectively we are always just writing from a blank page of silence’.
  • ‘I would argue that a blank page is not scary but a power – you are creating something from nothing, you are putting words to the wordlessness.’
  • Rule 1: ‘I don’t want you to know what on earth you are on about’
  • Rule 2: ‘All of you are going to give yourself sections; 1,2,3… whatever you need (at least 5) the sections should vary wildly differently in tone’
  • Rule 3: Play.

 E.g.

1.

Sweet meat, cured beef, fleas breed, I need

space, lace, grace, other abstract nouns and clichés.

2.

I feel things so big I don’t know how to explain

Love anymore. Which is shit right?

3.

Plight, mice, think rice, I’m nice

Aren’t I? Nice guys finish nice,

 

‘Sometimes the only thing we know about a poem is if it is alive or dead and that is all we need to know.’ Caroline Bird

I hope you got some life out of this hour!

Debris x

Getting to know : Sacha Wise

Sacha Wise is an Alumni of my company, Mouthy Poets. She also founded and ran Spoken Word Sunday, Mouthy’s first and only monthly open mic which she ran amazingly. After Sacha’s debut performance at a domestic violence demonstration, Sacha Wise has featured and performed her poetry all over England and the USA.  Nottingham Poetry Society Slam Champion 2013, she has had her poems published in several poem anthologies, owns her own business, and classes as a ‘serial entrepreneur’.

Why did you go to the USA?

I went to further explore the relationship of creativity and empowerment in women who have experienced domestic violence. It was quite a professional and personal journey where someone who was scared of being alone ended up traveling all across the States on her own. It showed just how far I had come in my walk of being comfortable with who I am.

Why is female empowerment important to you?

My work is a discovery of self. Coming from an abusive and controlling marriage, I had to pull myself up from the bootstraps and get on with life. I cried a lot during that period. I discovered that empowerment, not just female empowerment, is the key to moving forward. I discovered that if I can overcome so gruesome an experience like domestic violence then I could technically be unstoppable if I put my mind to it. This realisation is the feeling I want all people to experience in their lives. Especially women. They are still oppressed in many cultures and are subtly, yet strongly oppressed in ours today.

What did you learn in the USA?

The open political dialogue in the USA, regarding many issues such as racism, poverty, classism and female empowerment is refreshing. Spoken word artists are free to speak about controversial issues in underground clubs and bars that touch and educate the people that are closest to these issues. The respect for spoken word in the States is due to this powerful ability to get into a person’s most intimate space, their mind, and bring a new perspective. Their poetry performances are unashamed and captivating.

Why are you open about personal struggles in your poem “Cover Me With Lace And Not Bruises”?

I remember sitting on my bed as I was writing “Cover Me With Lace And Not Bruises” and thinking to myself, “Do I really want to share all of this personal, graphic information with strangers?” I knew it was this moment of bravery that changed everything for me. I shared my broken heart in an authentic way and people in the audience would always respond to that particular poem with tears or approach me saying that the poem made them realise that they are not the only ones who have been through domestic violence. That was the most empowering thing I could have done in my brokenness, sharing the truth with other truth seekers and connecting in a beautiful human way. Somehow, that makes you more whole as a person. Looking back, I would have done it sooner had I known.

Do you have any advice for those who want to share similar experiences but are too afraid or ashamed to do so?

Just grab your pen. Open your mouth and share. It really is that simple. The only caution I would have when discussing domestic violence is that you need to make sure that you are safe first. If your partner is not the type of person to track you down, share your heart with an audience for healing purposes. Cry on stage if you have to; it probably makes the performance better as we are discussing poetry, a bunch of emotions expressed through words. If your partner is stalking you, do not share your work in a public domain but continue writing for healing and share with a close, supportive friend. That is just as empowering, and you will stay safe. You will be surprised as well; shame disappears when you take away its hold over you by speaking out loud.

If you are ever in an abusive situation, the first thing the abuser wants to do is shut you up so that you don’t have an opinion or voice, so that they can control you to a further degree. Spoken word allows you to do the opposite; it gives you a platform so you can use your unique and precious voice. Don’t despise that.

Where can you find support?

Sacha went to the USA as a part of the Nottinghamshire Roosevelt Travelling Scholarship in 2013. To find out more about the scholarship click here.

Equation is a Nottingham based organisation that provides support for victims of domestic abuse. For more information click here.

Women’s Aid is a body of over 220 organisations across England and is a national charity for women and children working to end domestic abuse. To visit their website click here.

30min Writing Warm Up: Hannah Silva

This is the second post in a series of blogs providing easy daily workouts for your poetic mind. 

Imagery by Field and McGlynn
Hannah Silva – Imagery by Field and McGlynn

I am currently on tour with Mouthy Poets, our next tour stop is Birmingham and our regional featured poet for this stop is Hannah Silva, who has very kindly provided a refreshing poetry workout for those interested in approaching text from a homophonic or visual angle:

Step 1. Find a poem in a language you don’t understand. (You can find lots here

http://www.poetrytranslation.org)

Step 2. Do a translation, not on what you think it says, but by interpreting each word into what it most looks or sounds like in English. Don’t worry if it doesn’t make sense, just have fun! I would set a timer for your first draft at 30min unless it’s super long or short then maybe add or take away some time, either way, give yourself a finite period.

Example from Hannah Silva – 

Translated from Disparo by Octavio Paz

Translations

I

salt la la pale bra

aid lent deal pen same into

aid lent deal sun I do

la la pale bra salt a comb in cab hallo

aid lent deal Vienna too

comb over nun no villa do a zoo free

aid lent den lain no chain

see pier vapour call yes dare me crane yo

in toads parts loss who yeahs deign fine

in lain car a deli tore eons ill tatters Odin hello

in ill sex oh deign lain eagles ill tattoo aye electric

suss patters into cool cruel says senile violette

ill torn a soul quell girl

haste ill blank

haste ill grit haste ill pleasure

II

Salted pale girl singing la la la

Lend me a pen and I’ll deal the same

I’ll deal the sun I do.

She wears a pale bra singing la la la

salting a comb through her hair.

Hailing a cab with a hello lo lo

all the way to Vienna’s aid,

and the nun with a comb over rents her a villa

a free zoo a lone den with no chains.

III

I lay down in the lion’s den without chains,

you can see the pier from here, the vapour pours

over call the deal off yes towards all the parts of loss,

the design is fine. Alone in the car, an eagle

tore over my back like Odin in tatters it’s been

aeons since this illness, the electric tattoo

on my sex where the bird of prey lay eye it patters

on skin into cruel senile violence, too cool,

too torn her soul to quell the girl, haste back

the illness blanks the grit of haste, the pleasure.

IV

Finish the word

Until the thought is thinking

until the sound

the word stops like a horse

facing the wind

as if a new image of suffering

continues through the night

sulfurous he’s lost in the streets of my mind

every part of us is in the fire

there’s a tree like a tattoo across the face

the wind tattoos the air

an electric tattoo in the sex of the church

in some of us and in you

in parts of us as you exhale

the summer violence the sunflower

the tornado comes until blankness

until the grit until the end.

 

From ‘Forms of Protest’ by Hannah Silva. Published by Penned in the Margins.

 

Now set your timer and give it a go!

Debris x