Posts in Category: Performance Poetry

Danatum Passu by Shahid Akhtar

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A completely captivating film by Pakistani filmmaker Shehrbano Saiyid about a Hunza poet named Shahid Aktar, and how a particular poem of his has been received by his primary audience — his fellow villagers. The film documents its recording by Zoheb Veljee, who has spent five years recording music in remote locations around the world.

Be sure to click the CC icon for the English translation of the (sung) poem. It’s also available in text form in English (translated by Nosheen Ali), Urdu, and the original Wakhi at the new website Umang, which looks very promising indeed — a platform for “poetic thought in multiple languages as well as in multiple formats – including text, audio, video, and art,” initially from Pakistan and South Asia. (They also welcome submissions to their moderated forum.)

Do read the biography of the poet on the site.

“Dark and Unaccustomed Words”: three poems by Vahni Capildeo

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Trinidadian writer Vahni Capildeo, currently based in the U.K., recites three poems, interspersed with other remarks, in a very imaginatively shot performance-poetry film by Karen Martinez of Riposte Pictures. Here’s the description from Vimeo:

Over the course of a summer day in 2012, two Trinidadian artists, poet Vahni Capildeo and filmmaker Karen Martinez, set out, as co-conspirators, to have some fun and make a film, assisted by the fabulous Ava Martinez Lambert. They wandered through the environs of northwest London and this four-minute film is what they have to show.

‘The Pale Beast’ is taken from Dark & Unaccustomed Words (Egg Box, 2012). The ‘Person Animal Figure’ dramatic monologue series is included in Undraining Sea (Egg Box, 2009). ‘Calling Time’ will appear in Utter (Peepal Tree, 2013).
To find out more about Vahni, visit:

For more on Karen Martinez, check out this interview in ARC magazine: “‘The most magical thing’: Karen Martinez on Film and Filmmaking.”

Penelopiad by Jade Anouka

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A filmpoem/performance poem hybrid co-directed by Jade Anouka and Sabrina Grant, with music by Frances Lea. All three appear as actors in the film, joined by Anneka Harry and Cloudia Knight.

Scavenged Tongues, Buried Whispers By Eden Jeffries

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A film by Anthony Brown and Ashley Blakeney. Eden Jeffries is a creative writer, visual artist and activist.

Alice by Lydia Towsey

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An interesting performance poem video “Created as a collection of spoken word pieces involving projecting images onto the artist,” according to the Leicester-based filmmaker, Keith Allott. For more about Lydia Towsey, see her website.

My Time by Jade Anouka

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Another video by Sabrina Grant (with assistance from Anneka Henry) starring actor-poet Jade Anouka. Grant also interviewed Anouka on the set of “My Time.” I particularly like what Anouka says about trusting the director to bring her own vision to the project:

Over Toast by Debris Stevenson

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Like yesterday’s piece by Jade Anouka and last Wednesday’s piece by Max Wallis, this is a hybrid between a filmpoem and a performance poem in which the poet, Debris Stevenson, is also an actor (here joined by another actor, Lil Woods). Chris Keenan of Prime Objective directs.

A poetry film made in collaboration with poet Debris Stevenson for her piece ‘Over Toast’. Commissioned by Apples & Snakes for Architects of Our Republic. Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I have a dream speech’.

‘Over Toast takes us on a philosophical journey, where a mother and daughter travel to a safe place to discover the importance of asking a question.’

According to the Architects of Our Republic site, “Apples and Snakes is the leading organisation for performance poetry in England, with a national reputation for producing exciting and innovative participation and performance work in spoken word.”