Editor’s Intro: we spend an evening with Transforming Poetry at the Inkwell Arts Centre. Leeds. Uk. It is introduced by Tony Martin Woods, a Spanish born poet, who teaches Spanish studies at Leeds University and who has been resident with his English family in Leeds for the last 20 odd years. This month’s session of local poets focuses under the title heading Transforming with Hamza Lakhal, a Saharwi from the Western Sahara, now occupied by Morocco, to whome it was sold by the Spanish in 1975. Hamza’s poetry is presented in Arabic following classical Arabic lyricalism but with political, social reference to the oppression of his peoples in the Western Occupied Sahara. Some translations together with readings are provided by Hamza with the local poets. Further intro into the background is also given throughout the evening by different speakers and poets together with their own blend of preach, protest, diatribe political poetry, making for an interesting evening looking into the heart of the British Midlands. Robin Ouzman Hislop
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John Cooper Clarke (born 25 January 1949) is an English performance poet who first became famous during the punk rock era of the late 1970s when he became known as a “punk poet”.He released several albums in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and continues to perform regularly.
His recorded output has mainly centred on musical backing from the Invisible Girls, which featured Martin Hannett, Steve Hopkins, Pete Shelley, Bill Nelson, and Paul Burgess.
In July 2013, Clarke was awarded an honorary doctorate of arts in “acknowledgement of a career which has spanned five decades, bringing poetry to non-traditional audiences and influencing musicians and comedians” by the University of Salford. Upon receipt, Clarke commented: “Now I’m a doctor, finally my dream of opening a cosmetic surgery business can become a reality.”
Clarke’s poem “I Wanna Be Yours” was adapted by Arctic Monkeys and frontman Alex Turner for the band’s fifth album, AM, released on 9 September 2013. Speaking about the poem to the NME ’s Matt Wilkinson, Clarke said:
I wrote it along with a load of others at the time, I tend to write like that. I remember when it was – about ’83 or ’84 or something like that. It’s come to my attention that it’s the wedding favourite. The number of people that have said, “I had that read at my wedding”, or “My husband proposed to me using that number”… It’s been very useful in the world of modern romance! It is to modern wedding ceremonies what “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” by Eric Idle is to humanist funerals. I probably go to a great many more funerals than you do, so take it from me.
Harry Baker is the current UK Poetry Slam Champion, heading to represent the UK in the Poetry World Cup in June. He is currently Studying at the University of Bristol. He was going to do medicine before all the poetry started kicking off and he thought he wouldn’t have the time to dedicate to his craft so thought he would switch to something ‘nicer’ like German and Maths.
This has led to Prime Number Poems and Bilingual Raps, and instead of a gap year of writing, traveling and performing his time is now taken up with trying to squeeze poetry in every area of his life (including doing his German Oral Presentation in rap form.)
As part of his adventures so far, he has gone from Gangsta Maths to Dinosaur love, with wicked wordplay and rhymes often interspersed with awful puns. A member of last years brilliant Roundhouse Poetry Collective run by Polarbear, he has also performed solo all around the UK and internationally as far as Chicago, New York, Munich, Warsaw and the summer festival Circuit including Bestival, Latitude and Secret Garden Party.
Harry is also currently working towards his second One-Man show at the Edinburgh Fringe (Proper Pop-up Purple Paper People), attempting to build on last years 5-Star Rated ‘Super-amazing Mega-awesome Gap Year Adventures: Birth of a champion’
Kate Tempest (born Kate Esther Calvert, 22 December 1985) is an English poet, spoken word artist and playwright. In 2013 she won the Ted Hughes Award for her work Brand New Ancients.
Tempest first performed when she was 16, at open mic nights at Deal Real, a small hip hop store on Carnaby Street in London’s West End. She went on to support acts such as John Cooper Clarke, Billy Bragg, Benjamin Zephaniah and Scroobius Pip. She toured Europe, Australia and America with her band ‘Sound of Rum’ and worked with organisations such as Yale university, the BBC, Apples and Snakes, The Old Vic and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Tempest has performed at such venues as the Glastonbury Festival, Latitude, The Wandering Word tent at Shambala, The Big Chill and the Nu-Yorican poetry café, where she won two poetry slams. Her first poetry book was Everything Speaks in its Own Way, followed by her first work of theatre, Wasted. At 26, she launched the theatrical spoken word piece Brand New Ancients at the Battersea Arts Centre (2012), to great critical acclaim.The piece also won Tempest the 2013 Off West End Award (“The Offies”) for “Best TBC Production”. Tempest’s influences include Virginia Woolf, Samuel Beckett, James Joyce, W B Yeats, William Blake, W H Auden and Wu-Tang Clan.
In 2014 she released the album Everybody Down (Big Dada), which was produced by Dan Carey and was nominated for the 2014 Mercury Prize.
Margaret Atwood is a poet, novelist, story writer, essayist, and environmental activist. Her books have received critical acclaim in the United States, Europe, and her native Canada, and she has received numerous literary awards, including the Booker Prize, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and the Governor General’s Award, twice. Atwood’s work has been translated into many languages and published in more than twenty-five countries. Among her numerous honors and awards are a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Molson Award, the Ida Nudel Humanitarian Award, and a Canada Short Fiction Award. In 1986 Ms Magazine named her Woman of the Year.
She has served as a Writer-In-Residence and a lecturer at many colleges and universities. Margaret Atwood lives in Toronto.
Her awards and honors include the Lannan Literary Award, the Pushcart Prize, the Griffin Poetry Prize, a Guggenheim fellowship, and the MacArthur Fellowship. She was also the Anna-Maria Kellen Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, Germany.
Carson was the Director of Graduate Studies in Classics at McGill University and taught at Princeton University from 1980-1987. She has also taught classical languages and literature at Emory University, California College of the Arts, and the University of California, Berkeley. She is currently a Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan.