Hear from our artists!

Check out our curated YouTube playlists, including original Blackbox videos showcasing the best spoken word artists in the UK. Get the latest insights on the spoken word scene with our blogs from artists and producers. And combine contemporary writing and current affairs with our podcasts.

  • A woman with curly hair laughs. She is joined by two women in headscarves looking towards her

    Open House: Mapping the journey of ESOL

    Open House has been running as part of the SPINE Festival since 2017. The project is specifically devised for refugee and migrant communities in London, allowing participants to creatively explore language through culture. This year (2021) was the last year Open House was part of SPINE festival and we thought it would be great to…

  • A woman with shoulder length tight curly dark hair runs her hand through one side and smiles

    Malaika  Kegode

    You can have respect for your craft, community and creativity while still embracing the ridiculousness of it all. 1. Describe yourself in 3 words… Generous, Determined, Introvert 2. What inspires you? The endurance and optimism of human beings. That we have all lived through our very worst days and just keep on going. That we’ve…

  • A man with shaved head and black hoodie

    Reece Williams

    Serious poets don’t find time to write, they make time. 1. Describe yourself in 3 words… Bearded bald brotha 2. What inspires you? Most of my poems are crafted in the moments that I’m not eating (or thinking about eating) plantin. I’m inspired by the way life moves around me and I’m inspired to tell…

  • A woman with short hair, white shirt and blue jeans squats on a brick wall against a blue sky

    On Poetry and Painting – Alice Frecknall

    Subject, perspective, composition, medium, colour palette, framing, tools… these are some of the things that come to mind when I think about approaching the start of a painting. But if I said this was a list of considerations attached to creating a poem, I think it would still stand. For framing, read form; for colour…

  • A black and white photo of a woman with tight curls looking to camera

    Safiya Kamaria Kinshasa

    No one complains there are too many poems about the moon, but when it comes to poetics in the Black community, my people are pressured to question what they should write about. And when we are invited to write, we are usually asked to write on trauma as though 571 years (and counting) has just…

  • A woman with tied back dark hair and painted lips, raises her arms whilst speaking into a mic on stafe

    Neelam Saredia-Brayley

    Remember to keep consuming good art rather than just outputting all the time and getting burnt out. Don’t ignore red flags. You can survive anything.  Describe yourself in 3 words… Joyful Hopeful Queen What inspires you? Andrea Gibson’s poetry, Queer Eye, women supporting women, Jameela Jamil, strong people of colour, Aakash Odedra and his beautiful…

  • A man with shaved head in a tweed patterned waist coat and white shirt

    FAQ with Rick Dove

    In July this year Rick Dove became the oldest ever Hammer & Tongue National Slam Champion. Rick was a participant in our Red Sky Sessions and he was a huge part of the community of writers building around that program. We caught up with him to find out a bit more about his plans, his process and everything the future holds. He’s –…

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    Jean “Binta” Breeze

    We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our great friend and most powerful poet, Jean Binta Breeze. Since 1986, Jean performed at nearly 90 Apples and Snakes events as well as mentored, encouraged and inspired generations of poets through our development programmes. A pioneer, a true inspiration and total poetry legend –…

  • SPINE Festival 2021

    What’s SPINE Festival all about?

    Preparations for this year’s SPINE Festival are well underway and we can’t wait for it to start in June. The festival is for children, young people and families and takes place across libraries situated at the heart of London’s communities, both digitally and in-person. This year the festival’s theme is ‘EMPATHY’ and launches on 1…

  • Photo of a woman with brown eyes and a nose piercing looking directly to the camera

    Zena Edwards: Comfortable With the Uncomfortable

    Zena recently joined Apples and Snakes officially as a Consulting Artistic Associate. She has been a long time friend of ours so it is great to embark on this journey together. We will share more of our work with Zena over the next few months. For now, here’s an introduction interview so you can get…

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    Shaun Hill

    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 @warmbloodedthing What inspires you? ‘god’, healing, critical theory. Tell us about your worst ever gig? A conference for the business sector where after the…

  • Portrait of two older black men, one with a cap that reads 'the last poets' and the other in a cotton cap. Both with beards, looking intent.

    The Last Poets: Abiodun Oyewole and Umar Bin Hassan – Part 2

    In the second part of this blog, Artistic Director of Apples and Snakes, Lisa Mead, and Consulting Artistic Associate, Zena Edwards, delve a little deeper with our friends Abiodun Oyewole and Umar Bin Hassan from The Last Poets. They discuss how poetry has shaped them, what they think it means to be a poet, and…

  • Portrait of two older black men, one with a cap that reads 'the last poets' and the other in a cotton cap. Both with beards, looking intent.

    The Last Poets: Abiodun Oyewole and Umar Bin Hassan – Part 1

    Artistic Director of Apples and Snakes, Lisa Mead, interviewed our friends Abiodun Oyewole and Umar Bin Hassan from The Last Poets to discuss poetry as their chosen form of expression, the longevity of their careers and how it all began. In the first part of this blog, Abiodun and Umar share what kept them going…

  • Picture of Joelle Taylor wearing a waistcoat, jacket and tie. Joelle is looking to the left and holding her mouth.

    Joelle Taylor: Writing From Archives

    Lesbian history is obscured by centuries of misogyny, homophobia and class difference. As a consequence, much of the material available refers to upper and middle-class women, in the form of diaries, artworks and analytical texts.

  • Helen Seymour

    The Woman With The Wasted Face: Poets, Tread Carefully This Halloween

    Please don’t call the police, but I was thirteen when I first watched the fifteen-rated, 2002 version of The Ring. I was at a sleepover with a girl who had once announced: ‘If you’re not wearing a bra by year nine, there’s something wrong with you’, and I was as desperate for her friendship as…

  • The Golden House

    The Golden House by Ross Sutherland

    A secretive tech company decides to launch a podcast, revealing themselves to the outside world for the first time in 11 years. On the surface, the podcast appears to be a standard PR exercise, but all is not what it seems. The podcast’s presenter is smuggling secret codes into each episode— clues to a bigger…

  • A woman in a yellow jumper with flowers in her hair types on a typewriter

    Beth Calverley: In Defence of Daydreams

    Beth Calverley, founder of The Poetry Machine, has seen the positive effects of poetry through her work within health and wellbeing contexts, both before and during the pandemic. Yet she has found her own inspiration levels rising and falling unpredictably during the past five months. In this blog, Beth explores why poetry can be helpful…

  • Ming and Talia

    Anti-Racist Practice in Education

    Written by Ming Akila with an introduction from Talia Randall A+S: Could we start with each of you giving us a bit of background about yourself and your practice? Ming: I’m still trying to get used to answering this question with ‘I’m a storyteller’, even though most of the time it still doesn’t quite make…

  • Black and white collage of various poets

    The Artist’s Responsibility

    What is the role of the artist in moments of historic, social, or political importance? Is there a responsibility to act as social commentator, interpreter, record-keeper? We asked, Safiya Kamaria Kinshasa, Neelam Saredia-Brayley, Kirsty Taylor, JulianKnxx, and Shaun Hill, the five spoken word artists on our Poetry in Performance Programme supported by Jerwood Arts, how…

  • Black Lives Matter

    Black Lives Matter: Our Commitment

    28 May 2021 In response to Black Lives Matter, we have started to embed equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging (EDIB) thinking and action across all our work. Here’s an update of the things that we have done in the past 12 months and will be doing: Programming We have strengthened our commitment to programming Black…

  • Spoken Word Poetry

    Spoken word is dead: long live poetry?

    Could it be that there is too much poetry in spoken word? There can be no props, costumes and stage personas if we absorb the assumption that poetry is not a performing art.