If you are asking a participant to become something they have not been supported to be in society, how are you supporting them to do this?
Describe yourself in 3 words
What inspires you?
‘god’, healing, critical theory.
Tell us about your worst ever gig?
A conference for the business sector where after the first song of the first act over 90% of the hall turned away from the stage, leaving the artists one by one one to bounce words off the wall of noise. During my fifteen minutes on the mic I was able to gradually respond to the space rather than react to it, performing first to myself, then to the semi-circle of creatives around me, and finally to the growing tribe of eyes scattered throughout the room— humbled by the attention of each new mind, each sight-line an expression of gratitude. It was a formative lesson in the importance of being not only a poet-performer but an ad-hoc producer as well, relying on myself to frame how my work will be received.
What’s your number one poetry pet peeve?
Form as a means of pimping poems for prestige: Now That’s What I Call Poetry Collections with blurbs that patch-work a book together; pieces that would happily be 13 lines but are forced into being sonnets; words that get in the way of wonder reaching for hierarchy instead of the reader…
Whose words do you love at the moment?
Sarah Schulman’s Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Imagination is a great read for any writer, especially during LGBT History Month (psst… it’s available as an ebook on a free trial of SCRIBD). Growth-wise I’ve been loving the wisdom of Say What You Mean: A Mindful Approach to Non-Violent Communication by Oren Jay Sofer. And like many others I’ve been enjoying daily treats from @poetryisnotaluxury on Instagram.
What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
Through each breath there is love,
so much, you can’t even imagine it.
What’s one material thing you couldn’t live without?
My laptop broke a while ago and I’ve been enjoying the freedom of roaming the city at night finishing the final batch of poems for warm blooded things on a phone screen. I’ve been transitioning to minimalist living for the past five years now (I’m the crazy boy who sleeps on a yoga mat on the floor) and it’s empowering to be out in the world as an artist without a creative set-up that gets in the way. One thing I definitely need in this system is my bike— my third one after having two vanish from the streets of Brum. I definitely feel more alive having it here, gently encouraging me to read an audiobook in the rain or glide to the woods and climb a tree… I love my agile monkey body and I feel very lucky.