Posted by: scottishwriters | December 22, 2017

On the eleventh day of Christmas, the SWC gave to me…

…Eleven Best Poetry Performances on 2017

I have always found something captivating about listening to an author read their poetry out loud. Hearing the words spoken rather than just reading them on a page can give new meaning, nuance, and emotion to poetry, not to mention the impact that accent, setting, and music can have. This list could have been much longer, but here I have included some of the poems that I have enjoyed the most throughout 2017 from Scotland, the UK and beyond.

 

  1. Caleb Femi is the current Young People’s Laureate for London who in 2017 produced ‘And They Knew Light’ for Channel 4’s Random Acts. ‘And They Knew Light’ is a powerful short film that encourages the viewer to challenge their preconceptions of young people living on a London estate.

 

  1. Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan’s ‘This Is Not A Humanising Poem’ won second place in Roundhouse’s Poetry Slam competition at The Last Word Festival of 2017 and when you listen to her words I’m sure you’ll understand why. Her voice is strong and her message is even stronger.

 

  1. Katie Ailes is just one of many poets who is part of the Loud Poets collective aiming to make poetry something that can be enjoyed by the masses. ‘This is Science’ was written as part of the Experimental Words project that pairs poets and scientists and is an experiment in communicating the research of world-class scientists through poetry.

 

 

  1. Of course I had to include one of the most well-known voices in Scottish spoken word in this list, Glasgow’s own Kevin P. Gilday. One of my personal favourites is ‘Messiah of Possilpark’, produced as a contribution to the BBC’s The Social.

 

  1. Agnes Török’s ‘Life or Death Bilingualism’ describes the feeling of being split between two languages as if they are two separate parts of yourself but also the joy that having multiple languages can bring.

 

  1. In 2017 12-year-old Solli Raphael became the youngest ever winner of the Australian Poetry Slam national final with his poem ‘Breathe’. This poem is a beautifully performed message of hope, sure to make you smile.

 

  1. ‘Compassion Fatigue’ is a poem written and performed by Ebony Stewart for the 2017 Women of the World Poetry Slam. “There are no new topics, just old problems written into new pleas to a country that refused to reckon with its own sickness”.

 

  1. Andrea Gibson was one of the first spoken word poets I ever heard and their poems still have that same magical and powerful quality for me. This year they released ‘Your Life’ from their upcoming album accompanied by a beautifully shot video by Sarah Megyesy.

 

  1. Ben Norris’ amusing yet thought provoking poem ‘Planet Earth 2’ explores the idea of what a Planet Earth 2 would be like. This poem manages to tackle love, gender, race, technology, politics, hope, consumerism, and numerous other issues in one witty and succinct poem.

 

  1. Another one from the Loud Poets collective, this time Catherine Wilson’s ‘Slice of Life’. This poem wonders what influence Catherine has had on other people’s lives, from the “cups in the sink” she might be to her flatmate, to “the uncomfortable warmth on a loo seat” she might be to a stranger.

 

  1. Finally, a Christmas poem to finish with. Get Lit is an organisation that “brings classic poetry to the streets and street poetry into the classrooms” and their poem, O! {ode to Christmas}, is a wonderful feel-good celebration of the magic of writing a Christmas list, both as a child and an adult.

Words by Kate Jackson

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