My seasons are all topsy-turvy. Having lived just north of the equator for a year, I’ve been back in the UK for some months and am coming out of hibernation just as the winter sets in. I’ve had a strange reverse culture shock since arriving back, but already some beautiful things have happened.
In terms of work, this new year (Autumn 2011 – Summer 2012) will be largely devoted to Shake the Dust, a national youth poetry slam project taking place across England in the run up to the Olympics. I’m part of the national production team, and am honoured to be working with some of the top poetry-in-education practitioners, arts professionals and organisations in the country. The project is the largest of its kind ever to take place in the UK. But as exciting as Shake the Dust will be, I hope it will go much further than one project, to create an ongoing national youth poetry slam. For more, keep your eyes on the blog.
This month I had the incredible opportunity to go to back to Chicago as part of the London Teenage Poetry SLAM Exchange. This time I worked with the wonderful Sifundo as co-poet coach for a team of emerging young poets. We kept a blog, which will continue to grow as the team digest and reflect on their experiences: http://slaminchicago.tumblr.com/.
One of my best memories since arriving back is going on a photographic walk in my (newly) local park with poet and photographer Yemisi Blake, where he took a picture of me for his Great British Youth exhibition. I felt a bit daunted by the idea, but Yemisi has a way of taking pictures that makes how you look less important than who you are and what you love. Thanks Yem.
More news to follow. It’s good to be back!