A young man standing on stage, speaking into a mic, wearing a blue outdoors rain mac

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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A striking woman with dark eye brows and ring in her nose.

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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A cluster of smiling gingerbread people

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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Zena Edwards

As a lover of live poetry readings as an audience member, I love to hear individual voices. You can give a chef a chicken and they can season and cook it 100 different ways. It’s the same with poetry, I like different seasonings in my poets. Describe yourself in 3 words… Playful, Serious, determined What…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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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Black and white image of Jean Binta Breeze laughing

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 –…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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.

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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.

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Apples and Snakes @ Home

Announcing: Apples and Snakes @ Home

In these extraordinary times, we’re trying something new! Beginning on Wednesday 15 April, Apples and Snakes @ Home is an uplifting (and experimental!) five-episode series of one-hour live streamed spoken word gigs, culminating in an exciting grand finale (TBA). Incorporating performance and conversation and bringing together leading spoken word poets from across the UK –…

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