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Matt Abbott’s Spoken World

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Salena Godden

Well, it’s been a jam-packed month both for Nymphs & Thugs and the spoken word scene in general. We began this week with the huge announcement that Salena Godden, one of the UK’s most iconic spoken word artists, will be releasing LIVEwire via N&T on 7 October.

We’ve also just released the 2CD bundle Council House Poetry for Louise Fazackerley, alongside issue 2 of our quarterly spoken word zine SOAPBOX. Elsewhere on the release front, South Yorkshire-based live literature organisation Wordlife have just launched an anthology for their 10th anniversary, which features 53 poets including Buddy Wakefield, Hollie McNish, and Lemn Sissay.

There were two big tour announcements recently, with George The Poet hitting the road for The Search Party, and Kate Tempest touring Let Them Eat Chaos, the follow-up to her 2014 masterpiece Everybody Down. Safe to say they’ll sell quite well. N&T’s Toria Garbutt has two big shows coming up, supporting Dr John Cooper Clarke at Morley Arts Festival on 24 September before making her London début at Tellit Festival on 21 October.

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Kate Tempest

I’m currently approaching the end of the #KeepCorbyn tour, which has seen me join fellow poets including Attila The Stockbroker, Clare Ferguson-Walker, and Steph Pike on the road, as we rally support for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. We’ve been appearing alongside top comedians, musicians and political speakers, and the final two dates are in Newcastle (Monday) and Doncaster (Tuesday). Also, there’s a great night in Fallowfield (Manchester) called Verbose, which relaunches after a summer break on Monday 26 September.

You might be seeing a lot more poetry on TV over the next year or two, thanks to BBC2’s plans to include the art-form as part of their plans for a Saturday night arts push. This comes as A-List celebrities read the poem ‘What They Took With Them’ for the UN in support of refugees, “Instapoet” Rupi Kaur’s ‘Milk and Honey’ exceeds half-a-million sales (video below), and Hollie McNish is going viral again with her breastfeeding poem ‘Embarrassed’.

YouTube spoken word star Suli Breaks recently staged his début headline show in London, which saw people travelling from around the globe and queuing for an hour to get in. Here’s an insight from his business partner and wife, and here he is talking about his influences and the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

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Suli Breaks

London-based spoken word artist and activist Potent Whisper has written a poem to try and save the Brixton arches, whilst spoken word artist James Massiah features on the latest Massive Attack single. Scroobius Pip recently switched roles as he was interviewed for The Mouth Mag’s podcast, and Donald Trump appears to have become something of a poetic muse.

N&T’s pals Evidently were recently interviewed in the Salford Star (their YouTube channel is a goldmine of the UK spoken word scene), and Brian Bilston speaks to Auntie Beeb about how he became the “unofficial poet laureate of Twitter”. There was an inspiring feature on poet and photographer Amaal Said in The Guardian about how she’s using art to empower women of colour as well as a fascinating insight into the life of one half of trans spoken word performance duo Dark Matter(s).

Finally, I’m producer, curator, and compère on The #Shefferendum (no pressure there, then), which blends spoken word, comedy, and live interactive debate in a Spiegeltent as part of Sheffield’s Festival of the Mind on Thursday 22 September. Also, A Firm Of Poets and Wordlife were delighted to learn that our Unity Words project has received funding from Arts Council England for a 2017 programme. So it’s all tickety boo.

For daily updates and content, follow Nymphs & Thugs on Twitter at @nymphsandthugs.

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