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Geraldine Clarkson

‘I think possibly that what I write comes out differently for having been suppressed, there’s more of a pressure to it—and, when it does emerge, it’s maybe colliding with a different world from the one in which the material was laid down – in the manner of geological layers, perhaps!’

Geraldine Clarkson is from the UK Midlands, with roots in the West of Ireland. She has three poetry chapbooks, including a Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice and a Laureate’s Choice. Her work has  featured in many anthologies including Furies: A Poetry Anthology of Women Warriors (For Books’ Sake, 2014) and Witches, Warriors, Workers: An anthology of contemporary working women’s poetry (Culture Matters, 2020).

She has performed poems at the Royal Albert Hall, broadcast for the Proms Extra Lates on BBC Radio 3, and also at several festivals, the Poetry Society AGM, and at poetry venues in London, New York, Dublin and Edinburgh. Her first full collection was with Monica’s Overcoat of Flesh, Nine Arches Press 2020.

CRUCIFOX

Crucifox is more a state of mind than a particular creature or person. The collection circles rebellion, emergence from disappointment and fasting, new beginnings, recreation following destruction; soulwork; inspiration and the act of writing itself.

There is a focus on female desire and feral impulses behind polite exteriors; assumed responsibilities and pre-packed creeds; the role of women within close-knit community, the silent and marginalised aspects of women, their masking and unveiling and the stilling of their tongues. There is no shortage either of vermin and sleaze, crime, including murder; along with curlicues, cleaners, clowns, gambling, lotteries, and a lot of luck…

SAMPLE POEM

Before the flames came/Encounter 

When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, behold, a smoking firepot
and a flaming torch appeared and passed between the halves of the carcasses.  

—Genesis 15:17   

On a hill, I always thought, I’d have an encounter, woman
to God; or in the candled calm of some huge-statued
basilica, its sparkling dark. Perhaps at a tree-
starved shrine, with pilgrims stretched in crocodile;
or in bed—through the night—like in Psalm 63. 

Maybe via an angel, masquerading 
as a stranger. Or in the bath,
public or private—it’s not unheard of.

But—en la poesía—how could it happen?—
pen and paper prodding to prayer—to prepare.
Just as father Abram—with promise of offspring
plenty as stars—offered sacrifice:

animals caught, blood-let, slaughtered, halved, set out in a line. 

'Geraldine Clarkson's exuberant poems continually delight with their striking originality and linguistic panache. I never know where her often whimsical, at times surreal narratives will take me, but I always enjoy the journey.'
Carrie Etter

MONICA'S OVERCOAT OF FLESH

Geraldine’s debut collection Monica’s Overcoat of Flesh was published by Nine Arches Press in 2020. Richly detailed and formally audacious, the collection is an exploration of enclosure and freedom, of silence and music, and of the impermanence and wonder of the flesh.

These poems contain the uncontainable; spellbound and courageous, they roam from South American monasteries to the shorelines of memory and the truth-towers of the self, surveying matters of faith, being, tragedy, and womanhood.

'Geraldine Clarkson's poems are musical, often playful incantations that delight in the power of words. Formally inventive and vivid with natural imagery.'
Carol Ann Duffy

Geraldine’s poem ‘The Fainting Room’, which features in her pamphlet Crucifox, was performed by Rebecca Hare for Live Canon and shortlisted for the Live Canon International Poetry Prize 2018.

CHAPBOOKS

Declare (Shearsman, 2016)
Dora Incites the Sea-Scirbbler to Lament (Smith|Doorstop, 2016)
No. 25 (Shearsman, 2018)
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Annie Fan

‘I hope, and I think any poet hopes, really, that this pamphlet is playful — with gender, language and inheritance, with things shared and things solitary.’

Annie Fan reads law at Oxford University where she was President of the Poetry Society. Her work has been broadcast by BBC Radio 3 and appears, or will appear, in Poetry London, PN Review and The London Magazine, among others. She is a Barbican Young Poet, a shadow trustee at MPT Magazine and has recently been accepted on the Ledbury Poetry Critics Programme.

WOUNDSONG

Annie Fan’s astonishing debut pamphlet interrogates the wound as a symbol of fertility, girlhood, queerness and immigrant identity: what does it mean to puncture, to cleave another person? Does a wounding have to be violent? In what ways can a wounding be tender? Can we speak to our wounds? Can they speak back? Do we inherit our wounds? Are there male wounds and female wounds? Is gender a wounding? How do we imagine our wounds in our dreams?

These poems feel fresh and inquisitive both formally and in terms of their contents. They herald a wonderful new voice in poetry.

SAMPLE POEM

Self Portrait with Rain
 
1.
These are the things I grew myself,
maddening green from soil, scraping
silt from the backs of wrists
like some sacred deposit. In summer,
I’ll pull away clementines the size
of a fist and spit out pips all over
the lawn, heaving with moss
like thick clumps of hair in the shower.
 
2.
I spend lifetimes washing,
find my hands over and over as I scrub
turnips, the early cherries, potatoes
damp with musk and leave them
on cool counters, open the windows
to each storm. I say: go away,
I do not want your dark water or
men in long coats; I can’t swallow
your measure or find enough
pillboxes to hold the pebbles.
 
3.
Today, I press my chin to the ledge
of the window and unearth
my arms and hands, stained from damson
picking. The rain doesn’t stop. But,
somewhere: dawn and the hum of hollowing
seeds planted in dry weather, like a sigh
or shout or song for when the sky
breaks open and gives out
something kinder than light.
‘Annie Fan’s poems have a rare knack for balancing between vulnerability and assurance as they navigate such diverse histories as Kepler’s discoveries, a faraway famine, or the last days of Empress Wu Zetian. Bravely troubled by questions of difference and desire, they trouble us too – as all the best poems do '
Theophilus Kwek

TOWER POETRY COMPETITION 2018

Annie won the Commended prize in the 2018 Tower Poetry competition with her excellent poem about sisterhood and mathematics,  ‘How to Invert a Hyperbolic Function’ which features in her debut pamphlet Woundsong.

More from Annie!

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Meryl Pugh

‘This long prose poem came out of nowhere, dream-like – but as I shaped it, I found it pointed to what is real and social: Western cisgender womanhood, heterosexual marriage and the negotiations of privilege.’

Meryl Pugh lives in East London and teaches for Poetry School and the University of East Anglia.  Her first full collection, Natural Phenomena (2018, Penned-in-the-Margins) was a Poetry Book Society Spring Guest Choice, a Poetry School Book of the Year, Highly Commended in the Forward Prizes and long-listed for the 2020 Laurel Prize.

WIFE OF ORISIS

Wife of Osiris is a a pamphlet-length prose poem which considers the ambivalent privilege of heterosexual marriage via the Egyptian myth of Osiris. It asks what happens to good intentions in unequal romantic contracts and where loyalty, wonder and tenderness are best placed in misogynist, violent or indifferent environments. This is an exciting new work from Meryl, wonderfully realised.

SAMPLE POEM

She walks in light pyjamas through groups of people holding wine glasses, under arches, over paving, through lobbies and foyers and atria; she is looking for her street, her flat. The concert is about to begin, there are smiles, but she has gone the wrong way and feels stupid. She is not going to the concert.

The wife of Osiris is too bright and hard for this place, she bursts out through the double doors into the night, she begs her god’s fire to come out of the sky and take her. But the street light is still the street light, the young glance nervously, there is no one here who wants her or who she wants. And her husband, who knew it would be this way, is still absent.

PREVIOUS PUBLICATIONS

Relinquish (Arrowhead Press, 2007)
The Bridle (Salt, 2011)
Natural Phenomena (Penned in the Margins, 2018)
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Charlotte Lunn

‘There’s still a large stigma around mental health and emotional abuse. The purpose of Metamophosis is to shift perspectives on these subjects and provide a safe space for people to go on their own healing journey and find their voice.’

Charlotte Lunn

Charlotte is a poet, bookseller and workshop facilitator. After studying creative writing at The University of Derby, she became the Events Co-ordinator at Scarthin Books and has regularly reviewed books for BBC Radio Derby. She has featured at poetry nights across the midlands. When she’s not writing, you can find her in a pile of snacks, on a yoga mat or part way through a cup of tea.

METAMOPHOSIS

Metamorphosis is ‘feeding us to the years we are not yet ready for’, the healing years. A transcendence through abuse which is both about human connection and a connection to nature. Influenced by Plath and spoken word, Charlotte explores her repressed childhood, mental health illness and the journey to recovery.

SAMPLE POEM

Who are you today?  

In front of this mirror,
I am faceless,
different masks hang
on the wall, I

must choose one to
wear for
the rest of the day. 

A piece of scalp
and jawbone are
missing from one face,

   another, its mouth
cleaves to the side
an expression unable

to bear much
at all, I choose the
last face, the one
that is perfect,

the one that has not
yet been harmed,
the one that is not

really mine. 

’Charlotte Lunn’s poetry is powerful, thought-provoking and incredibly honest. A rising star on the spoken word scene in the East Midlands, Charlotte’s work touches on themes of love, loss, the body and the mind, and she writes with warmth and sensitivity that few can replicate. In this dazzling first collection, Charlotte takes the reader to difficult places, but her poems remain hopeful and uplifting at their core. I ’ve been excited for this collection for ages, and it’s every bit as good as I was hoping!’
Leanne Moden

TALES OF DERBY WOMEN PAST

First produced between April and October 2020, Tales of Derby Women Past is a poetry project documenting the unheard and seldom-told stories of women throughout the history of Derbyshire. Charlotte was one of Derbyshire poets commissioned to write and perform a piece under the guidance of She Speaks UK

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Shazea Quraishi

Writing for me is about discovery, and there has to be some truth for it to be meaningful. ‘Authentic’ is a word we hear a lot – but it’s important with writing, especially poetry.

Shazea Quraishi

Shazea Quraishi is a Pakistan-born Canadian poet and translator based in London. An alumni of The Complete Works I, her first pamphlet,The Courtesans Reply, was published by Flipped Eye in 2012 andThe Art of Scratching, her first book-length collection, was published by Bloodaxe Books in 2015.Her poems have appeared in UK and US publications including The Financial Time, Poetry Review and most recently The Hudson Review & New England Review.

THE TAXIDERMIST

Brand new and long-awaited poetry from this elegant and meticulous poet.

What has the body of a white mouse to show us?
What is art?
And how can we live with death?

The contemplative and poised poems in this collection tackle the vast questions of life and art. Their simplicity is beguiling, their vocabulary – hypnotic, as tiny details build slowly, calmly, to create a vision as broad as existence itself.

The Taxidermist is Shazea Quraishi’s first published collection of poems since her 2015 debut full collection The Art of Scratching (Bloodaxe Books).

SAMPLE POEM

Day 3  

Sunrise
the highest tree in the garden is the first to be lit
Birds come   one orange-red bellied   another bright-
yellow black-headed   black wings tipped with white
and another   a pair
Sky blue as the bucket by the tap
air cool   an ant crosses her foot
  bees in the lavender bush

A bird perches in a leafless tree
dun-coloured   long-tailed quiet
watches her watching
preens under its wings

Here   the other side of the world grass looks different
earth bleached by sun   flowers blaze
air smells   how to describe it   orange

'There’s so much life buzzing through the pages, I was left in no doubt this is a fascination with life, not only its end.'
Charlotte Gann

THE ART OF SCRATCHING

Taking inspiration from sources including historical and medical texts, curator’s notes and the Complete Kama Sutra, Shazea’s first collection explores love and loss through a range of voices: an Iraqi mother holds her fragile son; under the guise of ardour, a courtesan searches a client for signs of the woman she loves; a wife is unsettled by her husband’s new family…

The Art of Scratching includes The Courtesans Reply, a sequence written in response to the Caturbhani, four plays written around 300 BC on the life of courtesans in India.

Shazea Quraishi’s first collection reveals the poet’s flair for re-imagining and feminising historical texts, and for inventing her own edgy fables of family life and childhood.’
Carol Rumens
The Guardian
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Sophie Sparham

“I gave up everything to write and perform. I gave up my career, my nine-to-five wage and worked three part-time jobs where I had less responsibility so I could have more time to write and trial workshops. I regret nothing!!!!! This is the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.”

Sophie Sparham is a writer from Derby. She has written commissions for BBC Radio 4, The V&A and The People’s History Museum. 

Sophie co-hosts the poetry night ‘Word Wise’ which won Best Spoken Word Night at the 2019 Saboteur Awards. Last year she became the first poet to perform at the metal festival Bloodstock Open Air.

THE MAN WHO ATE 50,000 WEETABIX

‘If I was asked to make a film of my life / I’d capture every unextraordinary moment.’

Beth’s astonishing debut collection  takes the umbrella theme of the smile and shares it out – with great generosity and care – among a multiplicity of subjects, moods and meanings. Smiles can be brave, shy, sad, or a lighthouse beam of joy. They can be a mess of countless other things.

This subject seems so appropriate to a poet whose presence, way of reaching out to every member of her audience, and most of all her smile, seem to create smiles all around her. Her leaps of imagination take the breath away. Her use of recurring imagery draws a safety-net of light around her listeners and readers.

Some of the smiles that inspired poems in this collection are contributed by people whom Beth has met on her adventures with The Poetry Machine. These poems are worthy of your great attention. We dare you not to smile as you read.

SAMPLE POEM

Sunrise Over Aldi

It won’t always be like this, somewhere
boys will put down their postcodes and weep
into tracksuits, step over double yellow lines
and loiter with one another. On the south side
of the city a mother will embrace her daughter
for the first time, try on her new name and
find that it fits her lips. Caroline she will say,
Caroline, Caroline, you look beautiful. 
It won’t always be like this, somewhere
a seventy-year-old bird watcher will buy a motorbike
and find that he too can fly, a black woman
will show a mixed-race girl how to tie a headwrap
and something in her heart will leap. Somewhere,
someone will utter the words; I love you,
I miss you,
I’m sorry. 
An atheist will speak Allah and smile at the taste
of honey on his tongue, the dead will climb out of
their graves and shake those standing in line
at the bank. Somewhere, you will look down at the
stars shooting across the duel carriageway and
decide to climb off the iron railings. In the shadow
of the service station, you will wait for dawn.

'I don’t believe there’s anything ordinary, anything commonplace about Sophie. In fact, since reading her poetry, I’ve come to believe that - in the same way that there’s no such thing as bad weather, just unsuitable clothing - there’s no such thing as an ordinary moment, only ordinary ways of looking. Reader: you’re in for a treat'
Helen Mort

SAMPLE VIDEO

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Natalie Whittaker

‘The thing that motivates me to write is a line or a sound or an image that I can’t get out of my head… The need to transform emotion (usually negative emotion) into something approaching comprehension.’

Natalie Whittaker is a poet and secondary school teacher from South East London. Her debut pamphlet Shadow Dogs was published by ignition press in 2018. Natalie is one of the London Library’s emerging writers for 2020 / 2021. Her poems have been widely published in UK magazines and anthologies; she was commended in the Verve poetry competition 2020, and won second place in the Kent and Sussex poetry competition 2020.

TREE

In Tree, Natalie Whittaker is writing about her personal experience of stillbirth and the mental illness that can follow such a traumatic event. It is a subject that is still rarely addressed in poetry, writing or conversation. That she is able to do so here, in eighteen intricate, carefully crafted poems, in a way that is engaging, communicative, distressing and yet also beautiful, is a testament to her abilities as a poet, her strong grasp on the power of language and the power of her imagination.

With these powers, she brings a harrowing subject close up and enables the reader to truly feel, to see, to understand, to share. It is a brave and necessary work, wonderfully and heart-breakingly realised.

SAMPLE POEM

the first week

Interflora deliver
three identical bereavement bouquets
white and green
within a week  the lilies die
their leaves spawn small black flies

in the kitchen  I put away the pans
and a blood clot pushes out of me
like a ragged rotten plum
into maternity tracksuit bottoms

the same night  my milk comes in
breasts are sauna stones  tears are steam
I slide cabbage leaves
into a maternity bra
go to bed  sweat into cabbage leaves
white and green
on the wall  there are small black flies

'‘Tree grows from a place of great pain – the experience of losing a child to stillbirth – but Natalie Whittaker’s brave, unflinching and ultimately redemptive poems find a way to make sense of such a devastating event. Through the poet’s desire to speak directly to her daughter, the poems stand as a memorial to a life that never was; in their preoccupation with time, with the passing of seasons, with the re-entry into the ordinary world after a great personal tragedy, they are ultimately a memorial to the preciousness and precariousness of life. This is a devasting book, but one that needed to be written – it is also one that needs to be read.’
Tamar Yoseloff

SHADOW DOGS

Natalie’s first pamphlet, Shadow Dogs, was published in 2018 by Ignition Press. They describe it as a collection of concise, haunting poems of suburban tales half-told, whose visceral and disturbing images are conveyed with unexpected intrigue. This is an absorbing debut delivered with acute, tender emotion from a writer who genuinely cares for their craft. These twenty-one poems herald a poet coming of age.

The twenty-one poems collected here are often short and restrained but, to steal from the pamphlet’s title, the elegant sentences and striking images cast enormous shadows, conjuring something much bigger than themselves. Because of the care with language and the sense of a lived life in these poems, they have long after-lives, resonating after they have been read.
Jonathan Edwards
Poetry School
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Marina Sánchez

‘The urgency of these poems would not let me sleep until I wrote and gathered them and they found a home in this pamphlet.’

Marina Sánchez is  a Latinx mix of Indigenous Mexican/Spanish/ British living in London. She is an award-winning poet and translator, widely published in literary journals. Her poems have been placed in many national and international competitions and then anthologised. Her debut pamphlet Dragon Child (Acumen, 2014), was Book of the Month on The Poetry Kit website and was featured in the British Library’s The Hidden Surprises of Poetry Pamphlets Event (2019). Some of her poems are included in Un Nuevo Sol (Flipped Eye, 2019), the first UK Latinx anthology.

MEXICA MIX

In her new pamphlet, Mexica Mix, Marina Sánchez, one of the most distinctive poets from the UKs Latinx community, explores her experiences of living in Mexico, Spain and the UK.

Through the arc of Family, Icons and Earth, she writes a profound, rich and well-crafted sequence of poems grappling with displacement, bilingual identity and mixed heritage, challenging cultural icons and affirming her relationship with the planet, rooted in her Indigenous Mexican ancestry. By turns lyrical, urgent, sensual and subversive, her powerful use of vivid imagery and language both voice the personal and engage the collective.

Place your hand on this book and you will feel the heartbeat of the poems inside.

Marina Sánchez’s poetry is charged with fervour and passion, and deep connection with her Indigenous Mexican and Spanish roots – Nahuatl (Aztec) and Spanish tongues entwine to tell their stories, reclaim lost knowledge and celebrate their existence.

SAMPLE POEM

Clouds of Doubt

Mother’s mouth was a story-telling flower,
painted in her favourite bougainvillea
lipstick, conjuring clouds of doubt
about where she was born.

Sometimes she’d say it was Cuernavaca,
‘the city of eternal spring’,
on the slopes of her beloved volcanoes
and the Chichinatzin mountains,

where dad would stop to buy her orchids.
Other times, she’d say we came from Mixtecs.
But she looked down on ‘indios’ and ‘prietos’,
only pointing out her skin colour

to boast how she turned chocolate in the sun.
While she resented my questions,
what else could I do? As a child,
I felt the weight she carried,

how she seemed trapped in her game
of concealing and revealing,
then sighs, quick laughter, silence.
My ancestors lie like budbursts in these tales.

_________________

Indios: native Indians from one of the many indigenous tribes in Mexico – Prietos: slang for someone who has dark skin
'"What if language was a body of water..." the poet asks. In these urgent and powerful poems Sánchez’s ancestral voices are in full flow, singing praise to life, the maternal, and the elemental.'
Cheryl Moskowitz

DRAGON CHILD

'Amazing poems on such an enormous and difficult subject. Perfectly put together. Beautiful. A real achievement.'
Mimi Khalvati

Published by Acumen in 2014, Marina’s first pamphlet was a series of poems both personal and universal. Personal as they stemmed from her experience of learning her daughter had CHARGE syndrome and universal as they touched on the hopes and fears of all mothers for their children.

The pamphlet was Book of the Month on The Poetry Kit website and was also featured in the British Library’s The Hidden surprises of Poetry Pamphlets Event with Gemma Meek (3 June 2019).

'A fine, direct and poignant exploration through a landscape that has no other map'
Jim Bennett
Poetry Kit

More from Marina

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Beth Calverley

I feel very strongly that poetry is for everyone. A lot of people think they can’t do poetry. What I say to that is, poetry is just listening to the world, thinking about the world, and writing it down from your own perspective”

Beth Calverley is a poet, creative coach and founder of The Poetry
Machine. Her poetry lives and breathes, holding your hand through crisp emotional landscapes.

Beth co-creates poems with people via her supportive practice, The Poetry Machine. She collaborates with places of work, learning, care and play, helping people to express what matters to them most.

One of Rife Magazine’s 2018 influential young people in Bristol, Beth was a Roundhouse Slam Finalist 2018 and a Bristol Life Awards Arts Finalist 2020. She is Poet in Residence at UH Bristol & Weston NHS Foundation Trust and was published in These Are The Hands, the NHS anthology endorsed by Stephen Fry and Michael Rosen.

Beth has performed at iconic venues such as Birmingham Hippodrome, Bristol Old Vic and London Roundhouse. She has worked with the BBC, Sky, Oh Magazine and The Prince’s Trust, among many other brilliant local and national organisations. Beth is also part of House of Figs, a music and poetry duo, and co-produces Milk Poetry, a nurturing platform for spoken word in Bristol.

BRAVE FACES & OTHER SMILES

‘…I told you / ‘I really like your smile’ / and, to my surprise / you gave it to me.’

Beth’s astonishing debut collection  takes the umbrella theme of the smile and shares it out – with great generosity and care – among a multiplicity of subjects, moods and meanings. Smiles can be brave, shy, sad, or a lighthouse beam of joy. They can be a mess of countless other things.

This subject seems so appropriate to a poet whose presence, way of reaching out to every member of her audience, and most of all her smile, seem to create smiles all around her. Her leaps of imagination take the breath away. Her use of recurring imagery draws a safety-net of light around her listeners and readers.

Some of the smiles that inspired poems in this collection are contributed by people whom Beth has met on her adventures with The Poetry Machine. These poems are worthy of your great attention. We dare you not to smile as you read.

SAMPLE POEM

Spellbound

Amidst the silver clouds and spectacles,
I met you:

lady with the loveliest smile I’ve ever seen.
History rippled your cheekbone map from lip to ear,

cauldrons so clear
I knew straight up
you were magic.

Silence slurped at your cup,
a tiny trick that gave you substance.

Spellbound, I edged closer.

Back then, I was invisible;
too shy to smile without looking for the pieces
of pushed luck in my soul’s reflection,
too shy to risk cracking my face in case it caved.

To me, your laughter lines were loud, sudden.
They drew me in.

The purr of your perfume,
the sheathed claw of your beauty
hinted at a life not read to girls at bedtime.

Your smile was the shock
of near-bad luck turned good.
A black cat walking the right way.
A magpie, joined in the end
by the flutter of a friend.

That’s when you looked straight at me,
like a glass of cold water.

I spilled my thoughts in awe –
appalled at my own daring,
I told you

I really like your smile

and, to my surprise,
you gave it to me.

'This is a rich, absorbing, heart-warming collection, sensitive to life's pleasures and pains. Beth Calverley makes us attend differently to ordinary things - a single look can be 'a glass of cold water', a room 'a tangle / of buttery light', a smile 'a too- / tight scrunchy'. We should all smile more, and we should all read more poetry. This collection covers all bases!''
Helen Mort

SAMPLE VIDEO

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Sharena Lee Satti

“I write because my heart burns with an

endless desire,

A slave to myself that fuels this wild flower,

Tamed only by spilling ink onto paper,

Releasing emotions that vanish like vapour,

POETRY is my one and only cure.”

Sharena Lee Satti is an Independent spoken word  artist, and Poet from Bradford, West Yorkshire

She is a very passionate poet who writes poetry about her own personal life, current environmental issues, social stigmas, homelessness, poverty and discrimination. She speaks openly about her past and the struggles she had to endure. She found her voice and encourages others to find theirs through poetry and self-expression.

She shares her love of spoken word through performance art. She is an influential, uplifting voice in Bradford, spreading her empathy and love of poetry in her local community. 

Sharena has been nominated for the British Indian awards, Media arts and culture and has recently being associated with Chelping, Red Bull amaphiko, Film and Photographer Tim Smith and Balbir Dance, Kala Sangam (The artist takeover) Bradford Festival, Bradford Literature Festival, and BBC radio, NHS, The south square arts centre, Mend, Bradford producing hub, Saltaire festival, Ilkley Lit festival, Bradford Libraries, Leeds Lieder, BBC Leeds, Drystone radio, Bcb Radio and BBC Radio 4.

She has facilitated spoken word events and has worked closely with schools delivering Poetry workshops.

SHE

The poems in She cover an already long career as an inspiring live poet, host and workshopper – it is obvious straight away that Sharena has produced a formidable body of work. Her collection features new work plus some selected poems from her earlier books.

Her poems are real, raw and honest, addressing issues such as survival, cultural-identity, life’s battles, self-love, bod dysmorphia and many other subjects that people struggle to speak about. Her love of nature is also evident. She writes with her emotions to the fore and her heart at the centre – and with a power that can leave you breathless.

SAMPLE POEM

What Is Love?

Its unlimited conversations and pauses of silence
It’s a language that speaks through every heartbeat
It’s a feeling, a sensual kind of healing
That penetrates the soul that has full control of you
And everything that you do, because when you love
You love without limitations or any navigation
Because love takes its own route
It rides through thunder storms and open seas
Tidal waves and a hurricane’s breeze
It’s like an open sky on a summer’s evening
When the sunset fades into the horizon
And you get that warm, fuzzy feeling
Love is an understanding, it’s being patient
It’s holding it together at the times you want to fall apart
When the beating of your heart pulses
When it palpitates, when life sometimes invalidates how you feel
Love carries you to a place that allows you to heal
Love is wireless, its eye communication
It’s an intuition, a spiritual vibration
It’s velvet red roses stemmed with pin-pricked thorns
It’s the early morning sun rays as a new day dawns
Love is eternal, its more than physical contact
It’s loving her soul more than her body in fact
Love is poetry and she is your muse
Your electrical fuse that ignites your heart
Love is a whirlwind of overactive heartbeats
Where eye contact meets
And you know this is the only place you want to be
Where she makes u feel wanted and loved and she shows you
you are worthy
This is Love.

'Sharena's Voice is bold and vital: both in its bravery and in its unflinching vulnerability. If ever you feel alone in the world, read her poems!'
Matt Abbott
Nymphs & Thugs
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