Bree SST9 1st Draft

1 Jun

Completely different to my original idea.This is just a narrative at this point, and an incomplete one at that. Here it is:

[Headline from August 8 2014] ‘Alcohol ban at Nottingham Caribbean Carnival over safety fears’

[Announcement] “Changes to the parade route for what is now to be known as the Nottingham Carnival Weekend. It is thought that funding cuts have prohibited plans for the usual route around the city centre due to the sheer scale of the costs of diverting traffic”


My mother and my grandmother before her

would tell me stories of how

Caribbean Carnival was born


European colonisation of the islands

and the slave trade oppressed

a culture rich in their own rhythms

European carnival traditions –

Slaves banned from participation would

hold their own festivities

behind closed doors

with instruments made from household goods


Their own instruments taken from them –

drumming banned

to stop the passing of secret messages

in rhythms the masters could not understand


In Trinidad,

when slavery is abolished,

people take to the streets.

Free from the constraints of oppressing chains,

expressing unity, community and cultural integrity


Pushing back against a culture

forced upon them

The people dress up in costumes

to parody their oppressors –

masquerade bands and dancers

in riotous colours

Their bodies sing of freedom

Their hearts are connected


Now, here were are Nottingham Carnival 2015

Wining and gyrating have been replaced

with whining and castigating

as people argue over a £2 entrance fee.

Leave your bitterness in the queue please


3 Responses to “Bree SST9 1st Draft”

  1. MouthyPoets June 2, 2015 at 9:45 am #

    Bree! This is great it’s bittersweet yet funny and nostalgic I’m a sucker for all these things but this is a very good start especially love the lines about Slavery are you planning to weave in these narratives Abit more maybe write two three separat smaller poems as link them together .neal.

    • MouthyPoets June 2, 2015 at 11:34 am #

      Thanks Neal, very helpful 🙂 Yeah, I’m planning on telling it from different perspectives throughout history. I want to show how the meaning and spirit of the Caribbean Carnival has changed over the years

  2. MouthyPoets June 3, 2015 at 11:30 am #

    Hey Bree,

    Love the final 2 lines in particular but the whole idea feels really strong actually, I like this sense of headlines being at the beginning do you think you could maybe carry the use of this more consistently throughout the poem – like with the dates and everything to sustain a sense of universal movement alongside a personal story?

    I also want more details on the stories of carnival passed down, the specific details and sensory elements of them, do you think you have more you can put into these?

    Any thoughts on performance, really interested to see what you could bring to this. We are working on finding a steel pan banned, maybe we could bring them in for this?


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