Body by Raisa mclarey francis

28 Nov


Dear body,

I know you exist
And that
I only have one
of you

But I feel like
a tortoise
Leaving my body shell
behind me

Coz l see you
Just like a shell.
I don’t look after you
Don’t nurture you

Use you
like I’m using someone

One day I feel good but the
I hate you!

And sometimes others tend to just use this body for all sorts….

Im sorry body

You must understand that I need to be more connected to you
More protective of
dress you with pride

Protect you

Like I protect my child.

Show how proud of you I am like my child

Make sure you eat

and those who want to use you,
They can’t no more

You are my body,
you are not my shell.
You are the whole of me
And we have eachother.

To my body
Me and you against the world.
I love you body…….
I’ll save your tears so I can write for years

Announcing our Associate Artists 2015-2016

16 Oct Announcing our Associate Artists 2015-2016!

What is the Associate Artists programme?

At Mouthy, we aspire to create diverse voices, educated and supported by world class talent, enabling young aspiring poets to step into the professional world with confidence in their craft and identity.

At the centre of Mouthy is our Core Collective of 50 15-30 year olds and to deepen our investment in them, I am happy to announce our new annual Associate Artists Programme. Three new Associate Artists will be welcomed into Mouthy every year to;

  • become part of the family,
  • lead friday workshops (alongside core artists and facilitators at Mouthy, Debris Stevenson and Anne Holloway),
  • lead masterclasses,
  • develop and perform their own work to perform as part of the collective,
  • develop and challenge themselves as artists and therefore challenge the Mouthy poets around them,
  • support Mouthy to connect the the national poetry scene,
  • and provide 1-1 tutorials in specialised areas.

How do we choose them?

We have learned over the years that working with Mouthy is a very specific commitment due to the intensity to which we work with young people and the combination of developing writing, performance and event coordination. For this reason, to select the Associate Artists we consulted the collective and our stakeholders to create a long-list of artists with a national and international reputation. Those able and interested in the programme created our short-list and were invited to deliver workshops for Mouthy and attend a Mouthy show. Through engagement, dialogue and evaluation of these processes our Associate Artists were chosen. We hope to find other ways to work closely with the Artists on our long and short-lists!

Every year, we aim for 1 of the 3 Artists to me a graduate of the Mouthy Core Collective and Educator Training programmes, creating a clear route of professional development for poets growing through Mouthy.

Who are they?!


Dean Atta 

Dean Atta

“I have admired the scale and ambition of Mouthy from afar for a number
of years. As I have come closer to the organisation what I admire most
is the heart and community spirit of its members. Now I am officially
part of that community what I look forward to most is getting to know
the individual mouthy members and bringing my experience to the table
to help them develop in their practice and careers as writers and

Dean Atta is a poet and educator, with a BA Philosophy and English from the University of Sussex and MA Writer/Teacher from Goldsmiths College, University of London. Dean is a member of Keats House Poets Forum and Malika’s Poetry Kitchen. He is an Associate Artist with Mouthy Poets and New Writing South, member of the Creative Team for Eastside Educational Trust and a Performance Poet with Apples and Snakes. Dean’s debut poetry collection I Am Nobody’s Nigger was published by The Westbourne Press in 2013 and was shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize 2014. / /

Hannah Silva


“Mouthy Poets are an incredibly hard working, talented and warm group of young people, I am very honoured to have the chance to work with them this year. I am inspired by the ways in which they use poetry as a tool for living, communicating, building confidence and creating. The focus on diversity, collaboration and development makes Mouthy Poets very special and important. There’s no one way of being a poet who performs, I’m looking forward to learning from others, adding some of my experiences and approaches to the mix, and writing new material along the way.”

Hannah Silva is a Birmingham based poet, playwright and performer, known for her innovative explorations of language, voice and form. She was shortlisted for the 2014 Ted Hughes Award, and won the Tinniswood Award for ‘Marathon Tales’, (co-written with Colin Teevan for BBC Radio 3). She is currently touring ‘Schlock!’ a solo performance made by splicing together Fifty Shades of Grey with a novel by Kathy Acker. Schlock! was commissioned by The Poetry Trust for the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival 2014 – tour destinations include Flip Festival in Brazil and ‘Literature Live!’ in Mumbai. Her first collection ‘Forms of Protest’ is published by Penned in the

Ioney Smallhorne

 cheekyIoney’s poems are influenced by her Jamaican heritage, her experience as a Black woman in England and her love of the natural world.

She bravely uses writing to oppose social injustices, to question the status quo and to confront abuse. A principle volunteer with Nottingham Black Archive, Ioney has a great passion for history and often uses it to fuel her writing. An original members of the dynamic collective The Mouthy Poets. As a Spoken Word Educator she encourages young people to harness the power of poetry to realise their own greatness.

Ioney is also a film maker and enjoys translating her poems to the screen.

Charlotte H – National Poetry Day – a dedication

8 Oct

In a crepuscular recognition of National Poetry Day and in anticipation of the new Mouthy year, I thought I’d post a few verses composed over the past year or so in Mouthy sessions.


You told me how some fish have names

derived from cod like codling, codlet or tomcod

but how some names have become

too well established,

so well established that they’re hard to shake off

even if they don’t fit anymore.


Field these questions to me I

will lob them with my bat

backhand if you like.

I will pretend I’ve answered them

secretly under my breath but

I will have whacked them into outrageous space

before your very eyes


Like I’m wearing a neon orange

T-shirt that says ATM.

A foolish foreigner who doesn’t know their secrets.

I have eaten powdered meat and potatoes brought back

to life with water boiled over coals sold cheap to me at twice the price.

This year though, I talked in their language and paid the same as them

still twice the price.


George Bush Senior is after me. He is in a limousine chasing me up the lane to Primary School but we are both moving glacially. He has guys in the back. Jump to on stage in the school play. It’s a slapstick comedy scene where I hide from the baddies by donning the costumes and fake moustaches of different characters. A lift. A space lift.


We acted it out in the classroom

because I didn’t know what the words meant

and it was something meaningful to do

with our time together in Los Almendares

I didn’t know if he fell from the branch

or the branch fell from him

I stood in a chair and she mimed catching me

When I handed her ten dollars or was it pesos

she checked the glass in the door for passers-by

And I didn’t understand if they were looking

up at her or down at her

In that room where we laid it all out

I also got the measure of things but

I still have trouble with subir and the other one.


Did you know you can get your hair longed?

I got my hair longed.

Thought it would look nice for the St George’s Day Parade.

Turns out they made it from Chinese noodle soup. Has to

Be the soup first. Not just noodles or it won’t work.

Can’t wait to show my noodles to St George.

He’ll love them. Back in his day you couldn’t get your hair longed.

China didn’t exist then. It was just England.

I suppose we’ve got something to thank them for.


Stock rotation gone wrong

on the kitchen table

giddy aroma floated away as

we backed and forthed about

unpacking our bag for life.

Knowing we hadn’t lost everything

I sliced the skin with a knife

in the wondrous way I was taught

long before life-hacks packed

juice into the driest of feeds

Well concealed, playing dead

teeth unleased

a reservoir of tang.


Emerging pixellated from the bleak

The shape of a town beset by its own nook

The geodestiny of an overcast corner

The arse-end of a plastic bag

No through roads.

Only inroads on which cats have shut their eyes for good.

God save those children

Those little blackened, mouldy lumps of feta

crumbling into cheese sludge when

it rains bin juice.

Overhead the crows fly by

refusing to even shit on this place.

raisa-Too humble too nice your soft

7 Aug

I don’t have time on the roads these days

Smacking aggressiveness through my


Don’t have time these days eyeballing

People walkingaround.

Whilst I’m out trying to live a life

Some are tooo stuck into people’s business

Like hey why’s that girl skinny

The same aggressor spends hours in the mirror trying to get skinny.

Not realising that everyone wasn’t meant to look the same. Minds being controlled by the media…. Her being skinny is none of your business.

“waite do you even no that girl”

“why’s that girl fat”

Same aggressor spends hours in the toilet beingsick.  hours infront of her own family being called fat. Nights looking for how to change.

These Young women don’t even know how progression could be made if our minds weren’t adopted by the media ways.

The media is becoming a man.

It’s the head of the government.

The formula one.

The  woman beater

The headmaster.

It’s like a beast is secretly hidden..

We can see it hear it.. But we serve it astho it’s a religion.

(this start of my poem has more progression. I was free writing this whilst stopping a 10 months old pull my hair out)

To him anonymous-Raisa

5 Aug

To him anonymous 

I want you to see through
This dress
That I spent ages buying….
See beyond the innocent fingertips used to
Create this peice I’m wearing…
I’d rather you see me naked..
For the first time…
Forget the first date glitch.
The nervous twitch
The food falling off my fork staining the
I’ve done this a thousand times.
First dates where you must dress sexy
Heels worn
Dress sexy
Perfume on
Eyelashes stuck
Fake smiles….
Best underwear on!
Forget about past relationships they say
But I have scars right upto
My neck…
I just wanted to show you!

RAISA poetry

5 Aug


We sat on the grass

Whilst it pricked my infant skin..

Picking grass with infant hands..

Watching the cracks in the dried out clay like soil…

With insects like ants…

Tumble around..

Like an army

One by one behind one another…

Carnival remember the sound of music that changed each year…..

And that time I was lost inside a crowded tent..

Where adults legs looked like tree trunks…. Growing from the dry cracked earth……

Lost at 4

But I still remember the jungle sounds

1993 wicked wicked

Jungle massive…

Blarring through my ears….

People doing something exciting jumping up and down all limbs floating…

What are they doing..

I can’t find mi mum..

Can’t see her…

It was my cousin he,lost meh….

The worst 5 minutes of mi life..

Haa imagine thats note compared to now.

Soon as I got older it was me dancing around all limbs a float..

Costumes that dug into ya forehead and the ones that dug into your waist..

Just for one year..

It’s tiring you know but when I take a step back the costumes the dancing iss sooo unique!

Gwarn I say dance and dance again


17 Jul

Last night was amazing
dawnings, don’t want to gaze into your empty haste,
how did we get here
I just remember being too close face to face,
reminiscent kisses wishes
lead too that once loved place,
maybe when I’m honest were just chasing our reflections
paying no homage
to the occupants just tenants,
to feel the need to feel to have a heart,
place some pins within it
in hope it might begin it
in this desolation were in it,
dystopia plagues me and I know the one thing that saves we
will be love.
Cast asunder in my calcined I as the ego,
alcoholic beverage seems to fly,
we can all be a nation languishing in why,
we can all be moments trapped by moments yet to try
its not original,
its a script,
ill script
El epitome disorder,
try to find your green, love yourself,
now that’s an order!


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