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.

Screenshot from a video of Bhumika standing next to a microphone in a dark room with pink lighting

Bhumika Billa – ‘My Mother Lives In Me’

Bhumika (she/her) is an Indian poet, Kathak dancer and legal academic based in Cambridge, UK. She writes on privilege, heritage, and mental health to bring together languages, art forms, and people.

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Commission This – Shagufta K Iqbal

The world of commissioning can sometimes be a minefield, and it can be difficult to know where to start. I’ve been practising as a poet and workshop for over 10 years now, and alongside this work, I have also been commissioned to write for a variety of different projects. Each with its own trials, tribulations,…

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Apples and Snakes: The Podcast 2

Apples and Snakes: The Podcast

Tune in and listen up. Join Award winning British-Nigerian writer Yomi Sode for Apples and Snakes: The Podcast. You probably have heard of our host, he is our regular at every Jawdance, and has been doing incredible work lately. Yomi has won critical acclaim for his works published by Penguin (Manorism), is a Jerwood Compton…

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The Educational Poet

Its September. School bells are calling in students to begin a new academic year, and for many writer teachers like me, we’re trying to find the balance and earning a living and honouring their creative endeavours. I’m a part-time English lecturer working in Further Education (FE), teaching GCSE English Language resits to learners who didn’t…

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Apples and Snakes X The Verb

This week on The Verb we’re celebrating the birthday of Apples and Snakes, who’ve been pioneering spoken word poetry for 40 years.

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The Beginning of Young Identity

Young Identity started life as Inna Voice. In 2006, we entered Apples and Snakes’ national poetry slam “Word Cup” at Warwickshire University. It was extremely exciting and we had no idea that we would end up with a project that has now become a micro charity. After Word Cup, we started running weekly workshops in…

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A Poet Walks Into a Bar

​​The first poem I ever performed in public was in the basement of a Starbucks. It was something sweet, innocent and poorly written about holding hands (we don’t all burst onto the scene masters of the Craft). As I compared notes with the other budding performers afterwards however, I slowly realised that my earnest poem…

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Blackbox: Antonia Jade ‘You’ve Lost Weight ‘

Antonia Jade King is one of the hosts of Boomerang Club, and a previous Hammer & Tongue finalist. She has featured at Poetry and Shaah and Heaux Noire and was part of Apples and Snakes Writing Room programme in 2018 and has performed at numerous events including Love Supreme festival and Rallying Cry at Battersea Arts Centre. She is currently a Barbican Young Poet and her debut pamphlet ‘She Too Is a Sailor’ is out with Bad Betty Press.

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Blackbox: Sea Sharp ‘The Tall Grass Shuffles’

Sea Sharp is a British-American poet, performer, and playwright whose work explores themes of home, trauma, identity, and anything else that makes them feel uncomfortable. They are the author of ‘Black Cotton’ (Waterloo Press, 2019) and of the Prairie Seed Poetry Prize-winning book, ‘The Swagger of Dorothy Gale & Other Filthy Ways to Strut’ (Ice Cube Press, 2017).

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Blackbox: Roger Robinson ‘Walk With Me’

Roger Robinson is a dozen men. Or more. He was born in Hackney, lived in Trinidad, but spent most of his adult life in London. He is a writer, poet, singer, musician, teacher, scholar, thinker, activist and man of letters. He is one of the few unrelenting and constant observers of life in Brixton, of post-riot/pre-Brexit Britain. He is a serious man with a great sense of humour.

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Blackbox: Jasmine Gardosi ‘Why Does She Write in Nightclubs?’

Jasmine Gardosi is a multiple slam champion, Birmingham Poet Laureate finalist and recent winner of the Out-Spoken Prize for Poetry. Jasmine uses audience participation, beatboxing and manipulation of voice and body in order to explore LGBTQ+ issues, sex education and mental health.

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Blackbox: Henry Madd ‘The World on Fire’

Henry Madd is an award-winning poet, educator and theatre maker born in the West Midlands now operating in Margate. His work, rooted in his rural upbringing, veers from the heart-warming to the heart wrenching, always with a healthy dose of comedy woven in.

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Blackbox: Marcus Joseph ‘Morning Affirmation’

Marcus Joseph is a jazz musician and spoken word artist based in Leicester. Classically trained on the clarinet from the age of seven, Marcus was inspired to pick up the saxophone full-time after attending a jazz workshop in London.

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Screenshot of a video of Subria speaking into a microphone in a dark room with pink lighting

Blackbox: Subria Wahogo ‘Reverse Racism’

Subira is a defiantly queer, unapologetically Black spoken word poet and activist based in Brighton. Their work weaves together the personal and political, through experiences and imaginations, spoken with rage, softness and laughter. Subira is the winner of ONCA’s 2018 Green Curtain Award and has been poet-in-residence at Brighton Dome.

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From Callout to Publication

How it Worked For me – Sundra Lawrence I love Apples and Snakes callouts – the news neatly folded in my inbox, a truthful subject header – Callouts, courses and mentoring opportunities – and the unlatched thrill of hope. A few years ago, I’d decided to take my writing practice more seriously. This included reading…

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Iroro Azanuwha: Not a typical poet

Some people might say that I don’t look like a typical poet. I’m ok with that.

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Not Feeling Like a Poet

“I’ve never really seen myself as a writer, more somebody who happens to write. I didn’t grow up dreaming of being a poet. I always saw my body as a more likely avenue to success than my brain.” I was good at football and running; I captained my Sunday League team and ran for my…

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Tahmina Ali – This is a Mother Poet

“…The only thing that helped me stay connected to who I was was my writing” Who am I? I am a poet who writes about things that matter to me, so I like to write about culture and identity. I am a North East poet and a British Bangladeshi. I am a new mum and…

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The Poems of Joseph Coelho

Joseph Coelho has been a long-time friend of Apples and Snakes. With his latest release, Poems Aloud, what better way to celebrate it than on World Book Day. It’s full of beautiful illustrations and stand-up and read out loud poetry for children (or anyone really!). 3 March also marks the start of SPINE Festival, a…

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Practical Poetry in Times of Revolution – lisa luxx

“I speak here of poetry as a revelatory distillation of experience, not the sterile word play that, too often, the white fathers distorted the word poetry to mean – in order to cover a desperate wish for imagination without insight.” – Audre Lorde, Poetry is Not a Luxury It was the winter of 2020 when…

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Kate Fox: This is a Neurodivergent Poet

This is a Neurodivergent Poet… I know a lot of other poets feel, as I did, that whenever they first encountered the world of poetry, they had found their tribe. I had glimpsed my tribe before. I found them in the amateur drama groups I joined from being a teenager. They were in the green…

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2021 Round Up

Hello from Apples and Snakes What to say about 2021, was it worse than 2020? Hard to choose! We kept ourselves busy making work and supporting artists through programmes such as Writing Room, Work from Home, Artists Gatherings and our bespoke Poetry in Performance development programme supported by Jerwood Arts. We collaborated again with the…

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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…

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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…

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