Word Force

The precision, power and poetry of words.

Poetry at Clapham Book Festival this year. Introduced by local poet, art critic and  editor of international poetry forum The Bow-Wow Shop, Michael Glover, our poets are Daljit Nagra and Cecilia Knapp.

Michael was born in Sheffield, something treated with humour and humanity in his memoire Headlong into Pennilessness (2011, ACM Retro). His latest poetry collection is Only So Much (2011, Savage Poets Collective). Eagle-eyed readers might remember his popular and well-attended session at the very first Clapham Book festival in 2016. This year he introduces our poetry event.

Daljit Nagra will be familiar to Radio 4 listeners as Radio 4’s first ever Poet in Residence (from 2015 – 2017) and as presenter of Radio 4’s Poetry Extra. Born near Heathrow, he too lived in Sheffield where he first got the poetry bug and later moved to London to study English at the Royal Holloway. It wasn’t until he was 30 that he felt confident enough to consider trying to get his work published and, with support from established poets and The Poetry Society he eventually submitted a pamphlet Oh My Rub! for the Smith/Doorstop Books competition, which he won. His first collection Look We Have Coming to Dover! was published in 2007 by Faber and was Poetry Book of the Year for The Guardian, The Independent, The Financial Times and The New Statesman.

Since then Daljit’s work has been short-listed for numerous national awards, including the coveted T.S.Eliot Prize, as well as winning the Forward Poetry Prize (twice). His latest book is British Museum (2017 Faber & Faber) ‘To anyone experiencing the sinking feeling that poetry in Britain is becoming depoliticised, Nagra’s work is a tonic.’ The Independent. ‘[Nagra’s poems] do that rare thing in poetry of stretching language, making it do things it hasn’t done before. It’s multiculturalism at its most complex, individual and real.’ Scotland on Sunday. He teaches poetry at Brunel University and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Cecilia Knapp’s latest work is Finding Home (2017, Burning Eye Books) is based on her one woman theatre show exploring loss, mental health and womanhood. Her first poetry collection, also Burning Eye, is due for publication in 2018. Predominantly a spoken word poet, Cecilia has performed at all the UK’s top festivals, including the Edinburgh Fringe. She was featured in the BBC series Women Who Spit (spit being the term for spoken word poetry). She was artist in residence at the Roundhouse and, more recently, at Pimlico Library and writes for the theatre, touring a devised experimental theatre piece entitled Rear View with Yorkshire based company I.O.U..

Cecilia has been described as ‘mesmerising’ and ‘totally gripping.’ Her writing has been described as ‘light as a birds feather’ (Lyn Gardner) and focuses on the poetry in everyday life, experience and human interaction. She believes writing and sharing stories to be transformative and uniting, focusing, in particular on the restorative power of creativity, especially on mental health and well-being.

All three will be discussing their love of words and their art and craft at 12.15 on May 12th at Clapham Book Festival, Omnibus Theatre, tickets £10/£8 concessions. Come long and join in.

If you would like to read more about the Clapham Book festival ( past and present ) why not try                       Crime Land                   How to Get Published                  Walls Have Ears                                    History Writing                    Seduced by History                  Death and the Past


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