Poetry Library news

Lambeth Schools Become Punk Reggae Revolutionaries! | 14-Jul-16

This week, from Monday 11 July until Friday 15 July, we've had 6 wonderful spoken word artists from local schools in residence at The Poetry Library.

They are taking part in the annual BFI Lambeth Schools Residency, this year celebrating 40 years since punk and reggae arrived on the streets of London. The students are from Dunraven School, Evelyn Grace Academy and Saint Gabriel's College.

We've been inspired by The Poetry Library's zine collection, which includes zines from the 70s and 80s donated by poet Tim Wells, and the work of punk reggae poets John Cooper Clarke and Linton Kwesi Johnson. The students have also found the spoken word performances of Kate Tempest hugely inspiring - they feel the punk spirit lives on in her work!

We have also made punk reggae collages based on the work of Jamie Reid, particularly his 'Nice Image' created for the sleeve of the Sex Pistols' single 'Holidays in the Sun':

by Kiana Newman 

There will be a performance on Friday 15th July in the BFI foyer at 1pm. The spoken word students will be joined by the rest of the BFI residency students who have been working on fanzines, film, dance, music and puppets. 

Here is some of the spoken word students' work from this week:

This poem was inspired by a film by Don Letts that we watched on the first day.

The Story of Reggae and Punk

You only see if you look.
Look for true colours,
the greens and the blues.
Look for the faces filled with make-up.
 So unfamiliar.

You only hear if you listen.
Listen for our voices screaming.
Our music playing the notes of freedom.
 The sounds you have never heard before.

You can only feel if you touch.
Feel music in your veins as you sway
to the drums and guitar.
 Touching your hearts.

By looking, listening and feeling,
open up your mind to understand.

By Gréta Tisza

These poems were inspired by John Cooper Clarke's poems 'I Don't Want to be Nice' and 'Beasley Street'.

By Yonas Belay

I Don't Wanna be Cool

I don't wanna by cool
Langton Road is where you'll find my school
you try to fit in but you look like a fool.
Trying to get people's attention
no matter how hard you try
your name is never mentioned.
On Langton Road there is no
love or affection. On Langton Road
hardly anyone is nice,
trying to find help
but no one gives you advice.
On Langton Road people are
always silent.

By Rodrigo Almeida

Barrington Road 

Barrington Road is our own.
It's what we live on made of stone.
Brixton is our town.
Couple of years ago named and found.
Name of our school EGA
Come to compete you'll get slayed.
I don't wanna be anywhere else
don't wanna go Manchester don't wanna go Chelsea,
Lambeth is the place to be
if you come then you'll see.
What are my hobbies, maybe drama
if I become rich I'll be a charmer.

By Jean-Paul Cauedo


You can't let one thing sterotype the whole thing
Brixton is home to thousands
so multi-cultural it's real.
Walk down the road of Brixton Hill
and I'm sure you'll feel the chill.

By Yonas Belay

By Saibou Tunkara

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