No Word Unspoken means be bold, speak out, there is power in what you have to say.
Poetry helps us make sense of the world. At weddings we read poetry to celebrate, at funerals it helps us to grieve. Tony Walsh’s This is the Place and Ben Okri’s poem Grenfell Tower, June, 2017 are recent examples of how poetry can help us to unpack, process, and communicate even, and perhaps especially, in the most challenging situations. Poetry is about human connection. It’s people listening to each other, sharing their stories, conveying important messages.
We believe poetry and spoken word is relevant, immediate and democratic.
It’s vital and innate and has always provided a powerful format for protest. Apples and Snakes started in the 1980s; we’ve seen how artistic expression not only reflects but also shapes the events of the day. We’ve worked with artists including Benjamin Zephaniah, Kate Tempest, Lemn Sissay – artists who both clarify and complicate the world with words.
The recent surge in the popularity of poetry is not surprising.
At a key moment in our history – when we are more technologically networked than ever and yet feel increasingly isolated – poetry provides a lens through which we can view the world anew, discover, explore, and understand, it provides a space in which we can connect to ourselves and to one another. For us, poetry has never been elite. We’ve been challenging the expectations of what poetry is for over 35 years. It is protest. It is dialogue. It is confrontation and it is empathy. It isn’t escapism, it isn’t inaccessible. And it isn’t confined to the page. We have staged performances at picket-lines, on buses, in supermarkets, gardens, swimming pools, in theatres; we have made work in schools, prisons, libraries. And we are only just scratching the surface of where poetry can go and who it speaks to.
Artists are at the heart of what we do.
We were keen to get their take on the statement: No Word Unspoken. We asked some of the brilliant artists we’ve collaborated with in recent times to respond with voice recordings, videos and written phrases. This page showcases their responses.
What does ‘No word unspoken’ mean to you? Add your voice! Tag us on social media using #NoWordUnspoken and tell us what speaking up and speaking out means to you. We’ll add our favourite contributions to this page. There is power in what you have to say.
Apples and Snakes Artistic Director Lisa Mead on #NoWordUnspoken
“I think #nowordunspoken means being not necessarily fearless but brave. Standing strong in your truth, who you are and what it means to be you in that moment. It’s freedom of speech. Therapy. Because it doesn’t matter how small the word, the impact can move mountains.” – @huniimgrey
“It is the breath of thought #nowordunspoken” “We give colour to what people call black and white but see in grey. #nowordunspoken” – @tkfmc
“The utter subtleties from the way in which the finger caresses the rim of the glass with intent to communicate to the attempt to enunciate an unfamiliar name with the correct rise and fall of tone and accent. Words are just the human translation of the communication that has transpired through the roots of animals for centuries. Whilst we celebrate the art of subtleties… Practise the purpose of directness Elevate the fear of judgement. Then… Forever we will develop. No word unspoken.” – @deeveewrites
“I think there has been a culture of if there is something going on, we don’t talk about it. We sort it out ourselves in our own communities but this hasn’t worked. And we are beginning to learn that by leaving #nowordsunspoken we better each other through shared experiences. And it lets us know we aren’t alone in the struggle.” – @zuvapoetry
“To me, #nowordunspoken means that even when words aren’t spoken through our voice they are spoken through are behaviour, dress, body language, music taste, how we treat others etc etc. A quick rhyme of mine in response… In therapy, an empty chair
speaks just as much
as the client turning up
and spilling out their guts.” – @_rachelblue_
“Writing poetry is personal therapeutic release with my inner self, to re-read and relinquish emotions and pain. We all have a ‘thing’ and the more we share the more we will understand we can lift each other up, so leave #NoWordUnspoken.” – @Syeeda23183221