Tag Archives: mouthy

Mouthy Poets is coming to an end.

2 Dec

Sometimes love and passion is not enough.

 

Last week we announced in our weekly session, that Mouthy Poets is wrapping up. November 25th was our final session.

 

After 6 years of growth; 11 Say Sum Thin shows, a national tour, an international exchange, a sister collective in Germany, the region’s biggest inter-school poetry slam, two albums, scholarships, commissions, publications and more, Mouthy has achieved above and beyond what a 20-year-old Deborah could have anticipated 6 years ago.

 

During the past year we have trialed various ways of progressing Mouthy Poets and making it a sustainable model that doesn’t rely on any one individual. However, just as many serendipitous things needed to align for Mouthy to grow, these things have not come together to enable Mouthy to continue. A combination of a small team with limited capacity, a change in needs of participants/the area and unexpected funding restrains left the whole team in agreement that bringing Mouthy to a peaceful and celebratory end was the only way forward. New crops need to be planted for soil to remain fertile, and we are excited to see what will come out of all the Mouthy Legacy (once a Mouthy, always a Mouthy).

 

Our funding will come to an end in January 2017 and we will be focusing in the next two months on evaluating the past 2 years of activity and wrapping up the office and administrative systems.

 

We hope to end with a day of evaluation/ round table discussions with partners, participants and Alumni in Nottingham on the 11th of Jan 2017 with a little party after. If you are available to come, please let us know and pop it in your diary!

 

Please spread the word and if there are any evaluation/ legacy or archiving support you can give us, or if you just want to let us know what impact we had on you/ someone you know/ your organisation – please let us know on Debris@mouthypoets.com

 

Warmest Regards,

Mouthy Poets CIC

 

SST11 1DEA – Debris Stevenson

26 Apr

As a lot of you know I am working on #poetindacorner at the moment, an EP then ALBUM using he poetic techniques of Dizzee Rascal’s first album Boy in da Corner. I have 4 tracks under my belt so far, for SST11 I really want to work on I Luv U or Jezebel as a platform of exploring the narrative archs/ dynamics we are used to between the courting of men and women.

Mid Shelley SST10 second draft

8 Jan

25 mins late, but got there! Thanks for understanding 🙂 This is a bit of an experiment, gonna see how it goes…not perfect but hopefully gives an idea of where I’m trying to go with it. (This is the performance version, not convinced it works too great on paper but I’m planning on working on a more page friendly version for the zine).

Some secrets need to be kept in the dark.
And sometimes, with the really big secrets,
you need to keep yourself in the dark,
for fear the thing will ooze out of your skin,
plop itself into your lap while you’re sat at school
and say – hey!
You can implode my world now.

When I was seven my mum used to buy
packets of ten strawberry splits from the discount store.
I rarely remember eating a real meal,
but I remember licking them, one after the other
until I was so full of ice and sugar
I could trace the core of cold
right down the middle of me.
I was sat on the step with my best friend
eating ice lollies.
‘I can’t wait for it to end’, I said.
He didn’t know what I meant.

Flash –
Staring at her chest
Flash –
Waiting for her breath

When I was seventeen
I blagged my way through a tenancy agreement
by telling them I was twenty three
and a teaching assistant.
My pupils had eclipsed my irises
and left everything gray –
I hadn’t slept for three days.

Flash –
Staring at the mirror
Flash –
Reflection unfamiliar

When I was nineteen my girlfriend moved in with me.
She was encased in ice
but would spit sparks at me without thawing.
It seemed I was constantly breathing out smoke
even in the absence of a cigarette.
I didn’t know whether my insides were frozen or smoldering.
She taught me how to tie a scarf against the wind,
and I taught myself to pretend
the electric heater was an open fire,
to imagine I was warm.
Sometimes I would hold icecubes in my hands
until they melted.
Fascinated by the way they burned.

Flash –
Dirty wall
Flash –
Closed door
Flash –
Loud screams
Flash –
Bad dreams

As I grew I became obsessed with layers,
with silks and merino wool.
I would worship the cloth with my fingers,
amazed that things so thin
could hold in so much heat.
I sat around real camp fires,
and looking into them I learned
that it was heavens, not hells,
that are made of flames.
I learned to keep away the cold,
embracing strangers under stars,
and that dancing can make even the naked warm.

These
are the pieces of me.
The hard sharp shards
that add up to make me,
and I stand proud
and hiss to the wind –

I am a broken thing.

I am a broken thing.

So on the days I think I’m done
trying to sew myself back together,
and the only shape my lips can make is ‘fuck you’,
I curl my head towards my heart
and listen to the whisper –
you don’t have to stay where makes you ill.
You don’t have to sit if you can’t stay still.
And these scars,
they make us beautiful.

‘Coz sometimes I feel I could shake
the whole world with a whisper,
and that when I speak
the air will never be the same,
and that my heart is big enough
to hold the whole earth,
and I know that nothing stays the same,
except change.
When I was twenty five I learned how to breathe fire.
To stand on stages and to make ice weep.
I own more jumpers than I can make use of.
But sometimes I’ll walk barefoot through snow,
just to watch it dissolve.
And I still squeeze icecubes…
fascinated by the way we burn.

Announcing our Associate Artists 2015-2016

16 Oct

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
educators.”

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.

www.deanatta.co.uk / www.facebook.com/deanatta / www.twitter.com/deanatta

Hannah Silva

Hannahprofilehedge

“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 Marginswww.hannahsilva.co.uk

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.

Debris Stevenson – Final Draft Auditorium show #SST9

6 Jul

Current Length: 5min

I will definitely need:

-1 Handheld mic + stand

-Track will have been mixed into one

-Audio Track – this will be with you by Friday.

I might need:

-ambient mics

-20 chairs

I may be using:

-A loop pedal – I am looking into this at the moment.

Performance wise:

-I am hoping to work with Hannah Silva and my partner to create a bit more texture using Mouthy’s on stage to create a sense of togetherness and seperateness, maybe saying some of the refrains with/ over me, and laying them up using a loop pedal. This is only a maybe at the moment as it depends on time and resources really.

Lighting-wise:

-Beyond what I have stipulated below – I really trust you and Laura on this one, what is making it difficult at the moment is not being 100% clear on the way I am going to perform it but I think there definitely needs to be a sense of being on a train but also being in a Grime setting with that strobing, darkness, and togetherness at the same time as being apart.

Key:

EMOTIONAL CHANGES

TECH/STAGE DIRECTIONS

Human Farm 

.

20 MOUTHY POETS SET UP ON STAGE IN RANGE OF AMBIENT MICS, THEIR SILLOHETTES BUT NOT THEIR FACES SHOULD BE LIT.

 .

DEBRIS WALKS CENTRE STAGE TO WIRELESS MIC ON STAND CENTRE STAGE.

 .

START TRACK.

 .

TIRED, FRUSTRATED AND DISCONNECTED.

//

//

Commuters journey;

wrappers, papers, rats and goodbye naps.

Commuters journey;

Brompton bikes, fights, scenic cites.

.

Commuters journey;

ticket fines, keypads distract minds.

Commuters journeys;

wheelchairs navigate human freight.

.

BECOMING MORE ACTIVELY FRUSTRATED WITH THE SITUATION, SPACE BECOMING MORE PACKED AND LESS CONSIDERATE.

.

It’s only a reservation –

trying to feed them both from her seat –

no other space to squeeze their feet.

Have we made life so neat?

A reservation?

//

//

REVIEWING THE SITUATION IN HER HEAD – WINDING HERSELF UP IN AN ATTEMPT SHE CAN THINK OF A SOLUTION.

Lady sits with bags, baby just blinks

his eyes don’t collide either side, he just squints,

her hands hook pits, her hands look tough,

but skin splits // like her bags lookin’ rough.

Sittin’ here, two seats apart on the train,

Reddening she’s staring through her baby like rain.

.

And I’m sittin’ here thinking

human farm, human farm,

human farm. Sittin’ here.

                                                Hey, we’re sittin’ here

yes sorry sitting here,

yes please sorry, sorry,

sorry sittin’ here

our seat yes we’re sittin’ here.

.

PISSED OFF

I wanna say –

                                    She’s just sittin’ here, saying nuthin’, watch

                                   Plenty other seats on the train, cotch!

.

FEELING STUPID AND HELPLESS

But – down the aisle wheelchairs (three) –

sticklers claiming seats

now elders with priority.

Awkward, I pretend I don’t see –

.

SLOWLY HOPE IMMERGES

She’s showing hurt: —

sweat-patches by the mile.

No one questions bags,

why she’s alone

lady over there

offers hands as a home.

(Hands as a home).

//

//

Commuters journey,

suited kindly other offers cover

commuters journey,

Tesco bags pram past stags,

commuters journey,

adjacent // stacks of fragile patience,

commuters journey,

Calm, baby offers palm.

.

HOPE LOST

Only a reservation

Finally, she was just about to eat.

Only a reservation,

before a clique of work colleagues meet,

                                    Oh our a reservation?

Eyes with a touch more grief?

DISPAIR

.

Now I’m sitting here

thinking human farm,

human farm, human farm,

I’m just sittin here.

Hey, I’m sitting just here

Yes, sorry we’re sitting here,

yes us, sorry – sitting here.

Our seats, yes, we’re sitting here.

SHOCK/FRUSTRATION/HOPLESSNESS

//

//

//

//

START NEXT TRACK

Crying silent, tears are itchy, rolling down her shirt.

Strangers offering hands, but baby screeches, baby squirts.

Ladies champers-table, Marks & Spencer – what next?

No longer sittin’ here. Standin’ in aisle getting’ vexed.

.

ALMOST COMEDIC ANNOYANCE AT THE REDICULOUSNESS OF THESE WOMEN

Commuters journey;

bougie bitches don’t get deserts.

Commuters journey;

mums travel lonely carry slums.

Commuters journey;

bust, we need strangers’ we trust.

Commuters journey –

dust, no tracks without rust.

//

//

SMALL AMOUNT OF RELEIF FROM THE WOMAN GETTING OFF THE TRAIN

Only a reservation,

others assist with muggy buggy.

Only a reservation,

champers ladies ignore her like a druggie.

Finally at her station

and I wish I could say I’d done less harm,

.

REFLECTION/ REALISATION

whilst I was sitting here

thinking

human farm,

//

human farm,

//

human farm

human farm

human farm,

x3

human farm

human farm

.

DISAPOINTMENT

Thinking here –

I was just sittin’ here

sitting here thinking human farm.

sittin’ here

sitttin’ here

.

Thinking.

.

Was I doing

any less

harm?

.

FADE OUT TRACK.

Debris Stevenson – SST9 Draft 2 Auditorium/Studio Show

23 Jun

Hello All

So I am currently working on a long term project (I think) on the meeting points and collaboration potential of Grime music and poetry – as two big loves of mine. I was hoping to find an artists and use that as a starting point, but that has been logistically very difficult – I have found lots of amazing artists to work with and indeed I feel I will work with lots of them but creating something for SST9 with no experience of collaborating has proven too tight a timeline.

So I was faced with an issue of really wanting to pursue this collaboration but needing a new plan, so I decided (as I often do) to give myself an exercise:

– To start re-writing my favourite album, Boy in the Corner, by Dizzee Racal, but with poetry. For now I am going to call this the #PoetintheCorner project. And it will give me a chance to really analyse Grime Lyrics at their finest and try and replicate them within my own form. Bonus: I get an end product and a clear set of things I would like to work with other artists on.

So below is essentially my first try at this exercise, so feel free to tell me if you think it is crap! It uses the structure of Sittin’ Here – the first track on the album – and uses it to tell a story of an experience I recently had on the train…

Feedback Questions

  • I will be using a lot of staging techniques to tell the story, but on the page can you actually understand/follow what is going on? I think that is important.
  • I have been massively pushed by rhythm here so it would be good to know which line sare working and which feel forced or weird or are not working.
  • How does the pice make you feel?
  • + Generalness…

Who’s Seat?

[Intro -]

Mind your back

Still a way to go.

Baby.

.

It’s clear

(nearly there)

.

Look,

.

[Verse 1]

She’s just sitting there, holding bags and baby just blinks

his eyes don’t collide either side, he just squints

her hands hook pits and her hands look strong

but I think her skin’s split like her bags later on

.

She’s just sitting there, two seats in front on the train,

she’s staring into tray, through her baby like a pane,

she reddens quiet a lot, in fact she’s red all the way.

If she stays, disabled place – get moved slash replaced.

.

Commuters journey,

wrappers, papers, rats and goodbye naps,

commuters journey,

Brompton bikes, phone fights and scenic cites

commuters journey,

ticket fines as keypads distract minds

Yeah commuters journeys,

wheelchairs navigate – human freight.

.

Only a reservation,

trying to feed them both from her seat,

only a reservation,

but no other space to wheel their feet,

only a reservation,

but we’ve made life so neat

.

[Hook]

that now I’m sitting here

thinking human farm?

human farm, human farm

I’m just sittin here

.

Hey, I’m sitting just here

Yes, sorry sitting here,

yes me, sorry – sitting here.

My seat, yes, I’m sitting here –

.

[Verse 2]

.

I want to say

.

She’s just sittin’ here, not saying nuthin’, just watch

There are plenty other seats on the train please, cotch,

But I spot down the isle wheelchairs by the three

And I turn so fast that the answers not with me.

.

Their just talking at her, she says nothing but a smile

Slowly showing hurt, sweat patches merge miles.

No one questions bags, why she’s alone

but the lady over there offers hands as a home.

.

Commuters journey,

suited rosy mother offers cover

commuters journey,

Tesco bags and pram past stags,

commuters journey,

seat adjacent stacks fragile patience,

commuters journey,

pain, as baby’s crying like the cane.

.

Only a reservation

Finally, she was just about to eat.

Only a reservation,

before a clique of work colleagues

Only a reservation,

eyes with a touch more grief?

.

[Hook]

and now I’m sitting here

thinking human farm?

human farm, human farm

I’m just sittin here

.

Hey, I’m sitting just here

Yes, sorry we’re sitting here,

yes us, sorry – sitting here.

Our seats, yes, we’re sitting here –

.

[Verse 3]

.

She’s just sittin’ there, she’s not lookin’ up, breathes less (shame)

We’re only here till Bagshot, reservation’s’ always best.

Crying silent, tears are itchy, rolling down her neck.

We keep offering hands, baby screeches, what the heck?

 .

No longer sittin’ here. No one askin’ baggage why?

Stood flat in the isle silent side to side.

Try read myself together, tell table ladies “Fix Up”

Kick Champaign to laughin’, but subconscious shuts me up.

.

Commuters journey,

Bougie bitches don’t get deserts

commuters journey,

tickets trench human spirit

commuters journey,

mums travel lonely carry slums.

commuters journey.

Bust, we need strangers’ we trust.

.

Only a reservation

stand till bags give out

Only a reservation,

I wish I’d hug her now.

Only a reservation,

New voice saying you’re aloud…

.

[Hook]

to be sitting here

thinking human farmI

human farm, human farm

Leave me sittin here.

.

Come sit with me,

But let’s just be

sittin’ here our seats,

yes, we’re sitting here.

.

Staging Ideas:

  • So I definitely want to create the train somehow; set, lighting, seats, projection or people I am not sure.
  • Some characters will say some of these lines I think… so I need to find some volunteers.
  • I want the poem to end with at least me the lady and her baby sitting in the isle but possible lots of people to be sitting in the isle by the end might be nice.

Technical/ Props Wish List

  • I would really like a fake baby… I am not sure if it will work but it is worth a try?
  • I will need lots of people and or chairs on stage I think… I want to create the feel of the train I think but it would be nice if I could do this with lighting as much as possible.
  • I know you are looking into musical licensing, I would really like to use the actual instrumental from boy in the corner if possible… but I am looking into original music options too.
  • Considering some kind of projection to set the scene but I haven’t thought about it tooo much.
  • I think some of this will be played via audio and some live… as it is A LOT to perform in one go… But I would like to challenge myself.

Which Show?

  • With this new staging idea, having a bit stage to travel around may be really helpful to telling this story, but I am also aware of how new a thing this is for me and the risk in that – everything is taking a long time. Also still conscious that a grime vibe might just sit better in the studio… but it could also be scary…. Interested on thoughts of this too.

How Long? 

  • 5-6min – track is 4min long I am thinking + staging and encase I put it to a new slightly slower track.

Debris x

‘Writing is editing’

14 Jun

Writing is a process of trial and error, of drafting and re-drafting and of banging your head against a wall until the right words fall into the right places. Though the wall can be metaphorical, I’ve been using a literal wall this past week. And what I’ve discovered in my head-bashing was that my idea just won’t work for Say Sum Thin 9 and I’ll tell you why: it’s not a poem.

Over the past few years I’ve come to grips with how I should treat my ideas and how they would best be written. Hell, the editing for me doesn’t begin after the writing is done, it begins with the idea itself. ‘Writing is editing’ after all, as papa Hemingway once said. In short, if my idea is image-based then it will work wonders as a poem, but if my idea is character-based it will work better as a story. Granted, elements of a narrative often worm their way into my poetry, but this is more the exception than the norm. However, poetic features such as repetition, assonance and metaphor feature prominently in my fiction. I feel fiction cannot exist without poetry, but poetry can exist without fiction. This can make it difficult to differentiate where an idea would best be written as fiction or best as poetry.

I’ve had this confusion with my recent idea for SST9. We got talking about it in the office the other week and Anne was asking me loads of questions to do with who the bloke in my idea was and why he was fishing and what grinded his gears and his age, his family, his profession, what he likes for tea, what he thinks of the carnival clearing up behind him. These were all great questions that prompted me to consider my character closely. And when push comes to shove, this bloke is impossible to write about in poetry, especially if I were to perform it in character. I like to play with language and I’ll tell you what, this guy would not be caught dead playing about with language or talking about feelings or what he can see about him or anything like that. What’s going off with him would all be in the subtext, and to write subtext I need to write in fiction.

Got to admit I’m a little disappointed in this revelation regarding my idea, but sometimes that’s the way she goes. Yeah I can’t dress as a fisherman now, yeah I can’t pretend to catch goldfish after frigging goldfish and not that ever-elusive carp, but at least I not be writing a poem that should be a story.

I wonder if any of you guys have had similar experiences with your writing in the past. If you have, I’d love to hear about it in the comments and we could have a right old natter about it! And if any of you are planning on coming to Five Leaves for the Noumena book launch on Wednesday at 7pm, we could chat there over a glass of wine, or several!

Keep an eye on this space over the next few days for a catch-up on what all of Mouthy have been up to over the past couple of weeks and where we’re going in the coming weeks. Until then, ta-rah miducks!

Jordan