What inspired your poem this month?
I think black people are being lit again, as they do, from Michaela Coel and Letitia Wright in Black Mirror, to Inua Ellams and the cast of Barbershop Chronicles, to Anita Barton-Williams and the night Heaux Noire, to Kendrick Lamar’s Grammy performance, to everything Black Panther that’s been building up recently. I’ve got friends starting up flight clubs and taking their GP exams. So I’m sitting there with this brief to write about change thinking of these people, wanting everything that’s going on positively to grow and multiply and be a beginning.
As I’m thinking about all of this Tobi (@bobimono) tweets ‘I’m rooting for everybody black’ and I realise that’s the vibe I’m on, that’s everything I’m feeling and trying to write about, and that’s how I got the frame for this poem, that’s where the inspiration came from.
Sometimes I hear people talk and I see lines, stanzas, poems, so sometimes I listen in poetry now
Who do you think writes well on the topic of change?
I think of who writes the best pictures of what’s here, that often turns my mind to change more than something more explicitly so. Caleb Femi does that really well. I think of Ross Gay’s poem ‘A Small Needful Fact’ and there’s little else I’ve read that makes me want change more. I read that poem and it makes me want the past present and future to change.
Why do you think poetry is a good way to talk about change?
Poetry is a good medium to talk to express and to articulate. It’s a medium that allows for pure emotion and immediacy whilst at the same time being a medium of patience, clever thought and intricacies. I think change wants/needs/deserves to be spoken about/expressed/articulated along the whole of that spectrum. Change is passionately championing for a different future, but it’s also sitting down and calmly analysing the past. For me poetry is a medium that comfortably allows you to do both and everything in between.
How has poetry changed your life?
I write poetry now. I read poetry now. Sometimes I hear people talk and I see lines, stanzas, poems, so sometimes I listen in poetry now. Sometimes I see things and hear the images, so sometimes I see in poetry now too. I feel things I can’t fully understand or articulate and because of poetry I have somewhere to put them, I don’t have to carry them around with me. Poetry put me back on stages, which is a kind of home I thought I’d never get to go back to. Poetry has changed my life because it’s changed me, and how I engage with others, the world, myself and God. That’s how poetry has changed my life.