Sunday 30 December 2012

2012 Accomplishments / Notice Board Resolutions for a poet in 2013

1. My first book of poems published by Burning Eye.

2. Being accepted by Goldsmith University to pilot the Spoken Word in Education MA. 

3. Being a shadow poet coach with Dzifa Benson, coaching The Albany Young Poets in the National Olympic Slam 'Shake The Dust' (Finished runners up)
4. Chill Pill receiving standing ovation after showcase in Ireland at The Liss Ard Festival.

5. Completing 14 Day Poetry Tour of Germany & Switzerland.

6. Exhibiting my first photography exhibition at The Albany and publishing my travel journal 'The Coloured Experience'

7. Completing whole summer of poetry gigs at Festivals nationwide including Secret Garden Party, Festibelly, Live & Unamplified, Lee Fest, Hamswell and more...

8. Completing Autistic Pieces EP with Alex Patten

9. Being in The Poetry Shed with Adam Kammerling

10. Having such amazing line ups (Soweto Kinch, Mystro, Sabrina Mahfouz, Harry Baker, Inja, Jive Poetic, John Osborne etc) and continuing to sell out Chill Pill poetry showcases.

Noticeboard Resolutions 2013

1. Keep myself Inspired - ("I do not write to kill time / nor to revive it / I write that I may live and be revived - Octavio Paz)

2. Maybe I'm getting to the point where my age can no longer excuse reckless love.

3. Never ever apologise for being a poet.

4. My friend Derrick Brown once said - "Do not ruin love by wanting it so bad"

5. Study hard or go yard.

6. Remember the people you love won't be here forever - sometimes they must come before everything else.

7. Sadness is ok.

8. If ideas aren't coming out as poems maybe they want to be short stories, speeches, journal entries, scripts, essays, photographs  - try not to block creative possibilities.

9. Eliminate the word "bitch" from casual speech and refer to God as "her" not "him"

10. You've said "that's gay" as a negative term for the last time in your life. Continue to challenge the language used by yourself and those around you.

11. Never say you're too busy to go to the doctor, you can't do anything without health.

12. Don't be too polite, sometimes you need to tell your friends to fuck off.

13.                                           More of this

Less of this


14. Yo! Don't forget to have fun!

Monday 24 December 2012

Christmas Poem For Family

looking for gifts
gifts to box and wrap that will say
Corrina, Martin, Mum, Grandma, I saw this
and thought of you, thought of you like I do every living day and I love you,
I love you all like it isn’t Christmas, like it’s just another day and it might snow and that’s ok, and the fire is electric and I haven’t said I love you for a while and that’s ok because it is Christmas.

We don’t need excuses to sit together and eat Roast this afternoon, 
we don’t t need to wish merry anything,
because at least half our family is still alive and no one is hungry 
after the turkey and the pudding and the Queens speech 
and Grandma might need a nap, and I might eat another mince pie, 
and we might all watch a movie about miracles that we don’t need because the fire is still on,
                   and I love loving all of you.

Christmas in Senegal 13 years ago

Thursday 20 December 2012

Book Review - A Difficult Place To Be Human by Anthony Anaxagorou

The common accusation from a page poet to a performance poet is that performance poets rely on dramatics rather than substance to move an audience. The page poet feels the words of performance poets aren’t as considered, they’re too abstract or full of generalisations and random flowery clichĂ© images that don’t tie into the overall theme of their long-winded (so-called) poems.

The common accusation from a performance poet to a page poet is that they’re boring, obscure, dense, lacking in urgency or rage or any energetic emotion that could keep a room awake. They can’t speak to anyone that doesn’t give a fuck about the moon or a poetic weather report.

Both of these arguments are out of touch and poets like Anthony Anaxagorou are proof of this.

Anthony is a fiery twenty something year old from London who has just published a book of poems entitled ‘A Difficult Place to Be Human’.

Anthony is like Vladimir Mayakovsky or Yevgeny Yevtushenko on the poetic intensity scale, which is to say he is fiercely political but deeply romantic (and probably has the soul of a Russian humanitarian poet). 

I think most poetry editors would’ve told Anthony to condense his words, “too much Anthony, tone it down” they’d scream, but I know Anthony, he’s a poet integral to his charge.

However, every good poem needs a head and a heart but when you have a head like Anthony (the man is a walking encyclopaedia of history, politics and poetry) you can’t say that his inspiration (and heart) isn’t informed.

Anyone out there doing a thesis on the Spoken Word needs to study Anthony Anaxagorou on page and stage. Poems like Surgery, The Blind Beggars Grave, Non-Believer, Counterpart are wonderful testimonies to Anthony’s page craft. He achieves a control of language, subtlety and a condensation which well-read poetry readers could fault on his more “performance based poems” like ‘What If I Told You’ and ‘The Masters Revenge’. It’s clear that Anthony’s raw and rugged style is what makes his poetry exciting and accessible and this has resulted in him having one of the biggest followings on the London Spoken Word circuit.

His poems, ‘I Mean’ and ‘The Science Borrowed From Stars’ are two favorites of mine because they move me equally on page and stage, which is a rare experience. A poet that comes with lines like “you listened as a leaf does to its season” just has to be listened to.

“That night I whispered in your sleeping ear / that life isn’t always about following your heart / not everyone we meet is good / in a world where love is the only war we’ve yet to wage”

Anthony writes poems that address the light, the darkness within himself, the people he loves and the world. 

He makes Kafkaesque music with lines like “the world did not know us / but we knew it / as a wounded dog that needed death”.

But Anthony is not self-loathing or cynical like Kafka, he’s too well travelled for that. A Difficult Place To Be Human urges people to be informed political campaigners for humanity, while knowing how to love ourselves so we can love each other. 

Pick up a copy from his website now -

Concrete Disco - Sounds of the Void feat Raymond Antrobus

Thursday 13 December 2012

How Spoken Word In Education Is Changing The Landscape For Modern Poets

This year Goldsmith University launched their first Spoken Word Education module as part of the Teacher / Writer MA program and I’ve been lucky enough to be one of the six London Spoken Word poets piloting it. The other five are Indigo Williams, Keith Jarrett, Dean Atta, Cat Brogan and Pete The Temp – If you know your Spoken Word poets you’ll be familiar with these names.

Since September we’ve been going into a secondary school in East London and leading lessons on poetry and performance as well as setting up a Spoken Word poetry after school club which had over eighty sign ups from years 7, 8 and 9.

Peter Kahn coordinates the program, a teacher at Oak Park and River Forest High School in Chicago. He runs the largest school-based spoken word club in the world and is featured in the award-winning documentary Louder Than a Bomb. 

The project is also partnered by some of the UK’s leading institutions and organisations such as Apples and Snakes, Avron and Spread the word. 

We challenge the idea that “poems are old fashioned and have to rhyme” and we get students talking and writing from their personal experiences to generate poetry in their own voices. Many teachers have already given positive feedback about the impact of having poets in their school. Some students really open up in their poetry and it can get emotional. This has been a good way to hear the kids that are calling for help. Ultimately we have a lot of fun with language, performance games and watching the kids develop as young poets. We’re all coming across more and more talented young poets and we call it our mission to nurture talent and give poets higher platforms to aspire to. This will change the landscape of Spoken Word and poetry for a new generation. 

I didn’t discover Spoken Word until I was twenty but if a quality poet came into my school when I was fourteen I definitely would have been hooked sooner.

Some of the top Spoken Word Educators in the country including Jacob Sam La Rose, Simon Mole, Polarbear, Charlie Dark and Hollie McNish all make a living mentoring young poets and improving the standards of Spoken Word poetry nationwide.

The more exposure top quality poets receive the more impact Spoken Word poetry will make as an art form.

If you know of any schools that would be interested in setting up a Spoken Word Club please contact :

Monday 10 December 2012

2 Poetry Shows Not To Miss (Outspoken in London & Speak Up in Birmingham)

...and then December 19th I head to Birmingham to speak poems at Speak Up with superstar poets - Jodi Ann Bickley and Alex Gwyther.

Speak Up with Jodi Ann Bickley & Alex Gwyther

And Now That It's Cold

Street lamps don’t turn off without me seeing you
in a dream
that by morning blows fuses in my chest.

I am faulty without you.

This is what it is to have my heart
standing in the shower at 6am
wearing a T-Shirt you slept in,
I am not clean 
because I can still smell our summer
because it is December
and this morning I’m not your coffee
                            I’m not your coffee.
I am alone
in the kitchen staring at the fridge -
how cold
the distance between us?

I don’t know why it matters
now that I’m barefoot in the bedroom
and suddenly warm
in the thermal
of that day in Bristol,
when I fell down the stairs
in a sleeping bag
and you laughed
but only after you knew I was ok.

If I dress in all-black, like a Chilean poet
you will miss me tonight and
I will write the saddest lines.

But now I’m pulling out 
all my clothes from this closet
finding nothing you haven’t seen me in,
today is the same
and the barriers at New Cross Gate
tell me again,
I am not Pablo Neruda
I am on Platform 1
It’s 7.32am
and the train I want is somewhere else
            with other passengers
and that has to be ok.

I’m not living with a shadow
that might push me on a train track,
I am learning to fall down my own steps
to get up alone in the dark,
laughing at my own jokes 
                  but only after I know I’m ok.

Friday 7 December 2012

Pre-Order Shapes & Disfigurements Of Raymond Antrobus (Poetry Collection)

Pre-Order Your Copy Here -
“…all you need / are the right words,” writes Raymond Antrobus, but as this all-too-brief collection, Shapes and Disfigurements, demonstrates, the best poets need also compassion, insight, craft, taste, and a pitch-perfect ear to the cadence and tones of the human voice and mind. Antrobus has these gifts in buckets—his monologues are stunning studies of voice and substance, and his lyric poems are graceful and finely crafted. Yes, he is a poet to watch, for sure - 
Kwame Dawes (Poetry Professor at South Carolina University & author of Wheels)
"truth resonates throughout this work, whether it is giving voice to the voiceless through experimenting with monologue, dialogue and duologue in a poetic container or using the right pitch, tone and language to create beautiful eloquent lyrical poetry that 'interrogates depression' with poise delicacy and a precision that leaves the reader wonderfully moved." -
Malika Booker (Poet & Author of Breadfruit)

"'This is a poetry of conversations and chance encounters.  Raymond Antrobus gives everyone a hearing and he weaves their voices into astonishing poems of grace, generosity and compassion.  In 'One Night at Zulu Bar in Cape Town' a girl cries out 'This music is so good it hurts', the same could be said of this collection.  Buy it and cherish it.'' -
Professor Sean Eliott (Poet & Creative Writing Professor at Birkbeck University, Author Of Waterhouse & The Tempest)

The reason that Spread the Word tries to support writers like Raymond is because of collections like this. Raymond's poetry is vivid and emotional, raw at times or just plain funny. This honest and engaging first collection takes the poetry of the everyday global encounter, and speaks it vividly onto the page.
Spread The Word

Blistering. Raymond's verse have sharpened tremendously in last few months. And in his 'A Conversation With...' pieces he's found his own voice. And what a moving voice it is too. - Poejazzi

'Imagine what a sentient creature must feel seconds before facing its death in the slaughter house. Imagine dying from heart break but having to still remain alive. Indeed that is from where Antrobus lives to write - those places that are forever hurting while quietly begging for grace - 
Anthony Anaxagorou (poet, author of A Difficult Place To Be Human) 

''If aliens came down to earth and asked me to provide them with a document on humankind, I think I would give them Shapes and Disfigurements of Raymond Antrobus. And hope they read English. Because unlike a lot of people, Raymond listens. He listens so well. And he scribbles and he remembers and I think there is something so special about a poetry book which contains one voice but so many people’s stories. So many poetry books ignore people, this one gives their words the pedestal society won't.
My first time hidden in the back of the Poetry CafĂ© in London, scared to read my own pieces, I saw a young guy approach the stage. Cool, calm, book in hand. And I still cannot believe the passion that broke from his lips when he parted them. I had never seen anything like it…and still haven’t. I haven’t forgotten that moment, the point when poetry was thrown into the air and blown out into the audience like a sweet scented hurricane that reached me right in the back corner. This man has so much to say, not because he likes his own voice, but because he likes words, poetry, people and sharing all of these observations with us. And no matter how many times I now see Raymond perform, I can never catch everything in one reading. I am madly happy that now the notes in his hand I saw years ago in that dimlight room in London have found the credit they deserve. I have now read this book nine time this evening and still haven’t caught it all yet. Thanks goodness. What a perfect collection.'' 

Hollie Mcnish (Author of Paper & Multi Slam Champion)

Wednesday 5 December 2012

Autistic Pieces (Poetry EP) Reviewed by Huffington Post

Pleased to wake up today to see The Huffington Post heard the Autistic Pieces EP I recorded with Alex Patten and liked it enough to review it.
"Autistic Pieces marries the vivid images from Raymond's words to the subtle atmospheric soundscape and vocals from Alex resulting in an honest storytelling wave that just washes over you with a sea of feeling and emotion."

Tuesday 4 December 2012

It's Saturday & It's Not Too Late

I got home last night
drinking and missing you
and thinking how
if you walked me home
you’d have seen a taxi
kill a cyclist and we could sit listening
to bedroom music and light
candles by the window
and I would say
we may die soon so I might as well
let myself love you.