Mar 28 17

INTRODUCTION

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Songs My Enemy Taught Me – Joelle Taylor

Welcome to my blog site. On this blog you will be able to follow me on my journey to complete my new collection Songs My Enemy Taught Me. You will be able to follow the research and development process, read poetry and flash fiction (more…)

Jul 31 17

Image Bank

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Please use these images (freely available via Google) as starting points for poems – and refer to Online Masterclass post for instructions on how to find the poems within them.

Jul 18 17

Scar Tissue – Amina Ahmed Osman

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Scar Tissue: Introduction to FGM

I am very conscious of the shock value that FGM causes in places outside of where it is accepted as part of a cultural practice. I’m also aware that writers, journalists, activists and those in the medical, education and political sphere are working towards eradicating this outdated practice by eliminating the misguided, though often convenient, ignorance that fuels its justification in many Muslim and non-Muslim countries.

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Jul 8 17

Wise Words

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There are numerous festivals across the UK celebrating literature and poetry in all its forms, and the best known in the South East is Wise Words. Organised on a shoe string budget and a strong smile, Beth Cuenco and Workers of Art programme, plan, cajole and magic the festival into being each year – often attracting some of the best known names in contemporary poetry from across the world.

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Jul 8 17

Kirsten Luckins

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Kirsten Luckins is a poet, performer, illustrator, educator and theatre-maker based in north-east England. You can find more of her work at her blog www.kirstenluckins.wordpress.com , and can follow her adventures in text art, illustration and blackout poetry on Instagram @imelda_says. Her new book The Trouble with ompassion is out now on Burning Eye Books. 

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Jul 8 17

HMP Send

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Toward the end of May 2017 I visited one last women’s prison to work with the women in a masterclass. To get there we travelled from our homes to a mainline London station which took me about an hour, then caught our train and set off on a journey of around an hour and half  to Woking, before travelling a further 6 miles by taxi to get to the gates themselves. Whilst this is not particularly interesting information in itself,  I want you to put yourselves now in the shoes of a family member, a child perhaps, who has to make that long journey whenever they visit their loved one. It isn’t just the time of course, but the cost.

I raise this because it is a peculiarity of the justice system at present that all women’s prisons are now outside of London (following the closure of Holloway – currently being occupied by the mighty Sisters Uncut), so all inmates from there will need to be moved out of the capital – there are several men’s prisons remaining in London (Brixton, Wandsworth, Pentonville, Belmarsh, Thamesmead, ISIS).

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Jul 8 17

Lisa Luxx

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Lisa Luxx is a British Syrian writer, performer and activist trying to shake the west out of its slumber. She writes for the freedoms of Self, of reality, of body, of community, of revolt.

Published by Tate Britain, New River Press, The International Times, Tribe de Mama (US), The Numinous (US), i-D, The Sunday Times and more. Celebrated in the press for her “revolutionary writing” from BBC Arts through to Well + Good NYC. In 2015 she was named one of the top 4 queer poets to look out for by Diva magazine.
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Jun 30 17

BOOK LAUNCH!

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‘Joelle Taylor’s poetry roars and soars and conjures up the most extraordinary images to express the unsayable, the shocking, and ultimately the great compassion she feels for the plight of women around the world’ Bernardine Evaristo (more…)

May 9 17

Online Masterclass

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As a part of the Songs My Enemy Taught Me book research process I have been leading a series of poetry masterclass around the UK, with the aim of empowering women to write their own stories. (more…)

May 9 17

Submissions Information

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The aim of this blog site is to begin an archive of women’s voices. Some of the poems on the site are written by women who have not written before and who I have found through masterclasses, and others are from known poets. The idea is not only to create a library of women’s poetry but to also assist on the networking of those poets. This blog is ongoing. It will not end.

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May 9 17

AJ McKenna

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AJ McKenna is a fat trans lesbian known mainly for shouting at people about death threats, hair removal cream and public toilets. A multiple slam-winning performance poet, journalist, educator and LGBT rights activist, AJ uses her unique combination of humour, passion and vulnerability to tackle prejudice head-on. (more…)

May 9 17

Ali Jones

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Ali Jones is a teacher and writer, living in Oxford, England. She holds an MA in English, focused on poetry in domestic spaces and has written poetry in a variety of forms for many years. She is a mother of three. Her work has appeared in Fire, Poetry Rivals Spoken Word Anthology, Strange Poetry, Ink Sweat and Tears, Snakeskin Poetry, Atrium, Mother’s Milk Books., Breastfeeding Matters, Breastfeeding Today and Green Parent magazine. She writes a regular column for Breastfeeding Matters Magazine. She was the winner of the Green Parent Writing Prize in 2016 and has also written for The Guardian. She is interested in writing in the gaps and silences. (more…)

May 9 17

Sarah Crutwell

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Sarah Crutwell is a poet and spoken word artist from the north east. Her work aims to address the things that we shouldn’t talk about and takes on issues such as mental health, sexual violation, ingrained sexism and a woman’s right to choose. She aims for her writing style to be sharp and very accessible and for her performance style to be honest and engaging. She is available for spoken word and poetry performances and also working towards getting her first collection published.  (more…)

May 9 17

Teesside University

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In Late April I visited 2 masterclass groups of women in Middlesbrough. I had specified to my host Teesside University that I was interested in connecting with working class women of the North East – especially as that is the demographic largely held responsible for the Brexit vote, according to the British media defined consciousness. (more…)

May 9 17

Julie Hogg

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Julie Hogg is a poet and teacher with an MA in Creative Writing from Teesside University. She has had work published in many literary journals and magazines including Black Light Engine Room, Butcher’s Dog, Proletarian Poetry, StepAway Magazine and Well Versed. She has featured in anthologies by Ek Zuban, Litmus, Zoomorphic and ‘Writing Motherhood’ from Seren. Her debut pamphlet ‘Majuba Road’ is available from Vane Women Press. (more…)

Apr 20 17

Letters to an Unknown Girl

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‘They can sew it shut

But they won’t sew our mouths’

 

In the masterclass with girls from a Bristol secondary school I asked them if they had anything they would like to say to women across the world affected by FGM.  Some of the girls in the masterclass were directly affected (and so were writing to themselves) whist others shared an understanding of what systematic misogyny does to the real and imagined female body. Here are excerpts from some of their letters. If you are reading this and have survived FGM yourself, know that a 13 year old in the South West of England is thinking of you and wishing you love.
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Apr 20 17

Female Genital Mutilation

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We are tied together

Once we are tied together

There is no breaking this trust.

Alina, 14 years old

As this blog develops you will read accounts of some of the 18 masterclasses I am leading with women and girls across the UK, from as diverse a collection of communities as I can find, and who are willing to speak and work with me. The blog will take you into women’s prisons, into refugee projects, on to traveller sites, into domestic violence prevention organisations, into extraordinary advocacy projects working with Afghan women landay writers, into the care system, survivor’s groups and white working class areas of extreme economic hardship. If you work with a women’s group who would like to develop their stories through the use of poetry and spoken word, then please do contact me here.

As a part of the project I wanted to work with women and girls affected by female genital mutilation (FGM). I wanted to explore those stories, give the girls the tools with which to tell their own stories and to consider the meaning and symbolism of FGM globally.

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Apr 10 17

Amina Ahmed Osman

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Amina Ahmed Osman is a poet of Somali heritage who has written extensively around women’s issues, including female genital mutilation. Below are some excerpts from her first collection,.as yet unpublished. This poetry came to after I posted a status on Facebook about working with a group of girls in the UK, some of whom were affected by FGM. Although currently living and working in Somalia, Amina sent these through to me that night – and there will be more coming. For critical notes to accompany a reading of these poems click here.

 

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Apr 10 17

Charlotte Ansell

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As a part of the collation of an ongoing archive of women’s voices and experiences, I am asking as many poets and writers who identify as women as possible to contribute to this blog. This page is given over to poet Charlotte Ansell.

 

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Apr 3 17

HMP Downview Poetry

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This is a page of broken silences. Words are shattered glass here. I will be using this post to add the poetry created during the workshops with the women of HMP Downview, and it will be updated and added to over this week. I’ve only given the women’s first names to protect their privacy. (more…)

Apr 3 17

HMP Downview

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We travel at dawn from London Victoria station toward Sutton and my visit with the women of HMP Downview.
With me is Charlie Weinberg, the Director of Safe Ground, the arts organisation who made my masterclasses in prison possible. Joining us is Sarah Hartley from NOVIS, a group that provides education and resources to inmates. (more…)

Mar 30 17

Book Tour Dates

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Tour dates are still being confirmed along with links to the venues and prices. I should have all the information posted within the next week, so please do check back for tickets. I will also be inviting special guest poets to join me at events, including Anthony Anaxagorou and Sabrina Mahfouz. (more…)