Thursday, 7 February 2013

Elevate - 10th Feb 2013 - Poetry Collection (In Print)

I'm not one who usually makes a lot of noise, at least not about myself. This is testified by my entrances and exits at parties, which usually go by me quietly walking in unnoticed, occupying some awkward space in the corner, where shadows dwell, and leaving in an equally inconspicuous manner. Self promotion has never been one of my strong points, and how I've started this post is a pretty good example of that.
This brings us to the topic at hand; my first poetry collection in print. But first, let me tell you a story. I hate poetry. I don't understand it, I don't get it. I just hate poetry. These were my thoughts as an African Caribbean teenager growing up in a, what is now identified as "urban", predominantly inner-city, "working class" environment and culture. The poetry that I was taught at school did not represent my experience(s), or world view so I felt far removed from the art form. Back then, as far as I was aware, poetry was "old". People who read/wrote poetry sat crossed leg, smoked pipes, wore monocles and spoke like this (if you can imagine the voice). So, I very much found my home in Hip Hop and Rap. Memories of Wu Tang's album(s) being passed around on tapes recorded from the CD of the one kid in class who could afford to buy it. (I have to throw in a special mention to Garage music, a memory which will never be tainted - you feel me?). Little did I then know, of the beautiful history and connection that poetry has with Hip Hop, that even my favourite MCs, such as Mos Def, or Tupac, wrote poetry.
I stumbled upon poetry, like a drunkard into unguarded wine cellar, it was almost to good toI be true. I never wrote with the intention of sharing my poetry, it was personal, it was for me. I did not feel near enough courageous to share such an exposing art form and I would not have, were it not for a particular incident. Some years ago, my brother from another (DengLondon - shout out to you) and I used to organise a debate/discussion night called "Can We Talk", and on the first night, we asked a comedian to come down and provide the funnies, but at the last minute, they cancelled and it was no laughing matter. Especially with a room full of approximately 200 people, who were anticipating some form of entertainment to end the show, not just a wave goodbye. So DengLondon urged me, "you write some stuff, just say it... say some poems". I thought he was crazy to even suggest such a thing, however, pressure bursts pipes and makes diamonds so I soon gave in. To cover my back though, I said "this is Aomething that I had just written". I performed the poem - thanking the high heavens for my good selective memory - and watched the expressions in peoples faces change as the words seeped into the consciousness was beautiful, as was the feedback, and I haven't looked back since. Some months later, I then began attending a few open mic events, as suggested by friends. I watched other poets perform and I was in awe. David J was enthralling. He was the first poet I saw perform live, and I was dumbfounded. I have since been on the poetry movement - I call it a movement, not a scene - and seen many artists perform such as Kat Francois, Zena Edwards, Tshaka Campbell, the list goes on, and there is a growing nucleus of young(er) spoken word poets,  but these artists were influential to my own development as a "poet" or simply, a human being.

Poetry performances (photography by Rob 'Sloetry' Covell @Sloetry or Matata Films @teakay09)

On and off, for the past two and a half years, I have been performing poetry at various events. Last year, I released an eBook for a limited time - also entitled Elevate - to test the waters, and received positive feedback. I felt compelled to develop my form, and artistry, so for the past year, I have been working on the print release of "Elevate" and have developed it in many ways. Every aspect of the book is mine, from the cover image, to the the synopsis. I had a vision in my mind, and kept going for it. I hope this book captures my journey as an artist, and allows me to expand into and connect with a higher stream of creative consciousness, which will be expressed in further creative works that I produce. There is more to come. This is the beginning.

Elevate is a collection of 12 poems, intended for either the page or the stage, as an expression of the subtle nuances of the human experience. 

The book will be available to order online through my blog and other social networking sites (I will provide the link on the 10th when it is released). 

I will also release through mainstream distributors such as Amazon, etc. The eBook version, which will also include some of my photography (though I'm not a photographer - yet -  I just admire the art), will be released a few weeks after. I will keep you updated on EVERYTHING. I am thankful for the support. Please share with your friends, colleagues, family, or person on the train who you see in the morning 5 days a week but don't say hello to. If you are on the social networking site Twitter, use #Elevate.
 I am self publishing this project, so the support is very much appreciated. Thank YOU.
Below Is an excerpt from one of the poems "Real Men":

The book will be sold at £5.99 online (plus postage and packaging) or £6 in person (because who has 1p change?lol), at a show/event etc. 

For now, I leave you with a poem from the "Elevate" collection. "Live (People Should...)" performed at Poetry Served on the 31st of January. 

"People should live,
In the moment, for all we have is the present,
Tomorrow may never come,
And if it doesn’t, make today,
The day that you wrote your name into the stars,
Shining brightly along your journey wherever you may be."

1 comment:

  1. 'imagine Roses are red written Hyroglyphics'


    Your whole demeanor is right on point.

    Keep it up.

    Fatima Ismael