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Matt Abbott’s Spoken World

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Caleb Femi

As we roll into the second month of 2017, the exponential rise of spoken word poetry shows no signs whatsoever of slowing down. In fact, some people are claiming that it’s already in danger of becoming too popular and self-imploding. But we’ll save that for the Facebook arguments, eh?

It’s been another busy month for Nymphs & Thugs, with Salena Godden premièring an essay called ‘Skin’ on BBC Radio 3; Toria Garbutt announcing 11 dates on Dr John Cooper Clarke’s forthcoming UK tour; Louise Fazackerley going down a storm at Pen:Chant’s #Push2017 event in Manchester; and yours truly featuring on the front cover of this month’s Kentishtowner.

We also released a brand new video for Salena Godden, which features the audio recording of ‘Under The Pier’ from the ‘LIVEwire’ album, and some stunning visuals from Idle Work Factory.

So, on to UK news. Luke Wright is currently on the road with his new show ‘The Toll’, which includes a new collection via Penned In The Margins. Here’s a review from a recent show in Norwich, and if you’re about in London on Friday, you may be able to get tickets to his launch in Shoreditch if you’re lucky.

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Louise Fazackerley

The London Evening Standard published an insightful piece from Caleb Femi on contemporary poets’ relationship with technology, and how it’s subsequently diminished the need for their poetry to be published. Picador Books published their list of the best spoken word and poetry nights in the UK; Burning Eye Books gave us their January top picks; Bang Said The Gun announced a UK tour; and the Manchester Evening News debated whether Manchester should be crowned the “poetry capital of the UK”.

We’ve had an update from Newcastle’s trailblazing Door-to-Door Poetry project; The Canary did a feature on Brixton-based activist Potent Whisper; Rob Auton spoke to The List about his comedy hero Ivor Cutler; and Derby-based Jamie Thrasivoulou was interviewed by Storge.

Nowadays it seems like the White House is as prominent in our media as Westminster, and spoken word certainly hasn’t turned its back these tumultuous times. In the immediate aftermath, the New Yorker published these 16 writers on Trump’s America, including poet Mary Karr. Acclaimed poet Anne Waldman also discussed the new President, and in the wake of Trump’s shocking ‘Muslim ban’, the Huffington Post compiled over 20 writers from each of the ‘banned’ countries.

Luke Wright

The poetry of resistance is more vital now than at any other point in living memory. Malcolm London spoke to the LA Review of Books, and veteran militants The Last Poets appeared on the Guardian Books podcast.

In other world news, there’s footage of a spell-binding Saul Williams gig in Rwanda; Indianapolis born spoken word artist Tasha Jones is releasing a poetry album in tribute to Nina Simone; poetry merges with jazz and blues for #BlackHistoryMonth in Philadelphia; and Cuban poet Marcelo Morales was featured in BOMB Magazine.

Content-wise, Kate Tempest released a video for ‘Europe Is Lost’; Attila The Stockbroker has released a mini documentary upon reaching 35 years as a punk poet; I appeared alongside Catherine Madden on the Lunar Poetry Podcast (with Emily Harrison following this month); and a new creative writing zine called Grapevine published its first issue.

And finally, a tiny selection of February events: Mike Garry and the Cassia string quartet in Shrewsbury on Saturday 11; Joe Hakim in Hull on Thursday 16; Verve Poetry Festival in Birmingham from Thursday 16-Sunday 19; Spit & Polish in London on Sunday 19; Zena Edwards in Wakefield on Wednesday 22; and Mike Garry and Vanessa Kisuule co-headline Bang Said The Gun in London on Thursday 23.

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