I’m a poet, educator, freelance artistic director and editor. As a consultant for creative writing and literature, I’ve run workshops and held residencies internationally at hundreds of schools and other institutions. I’ve worked with students (year 3 upwards), poets and writers of all ages, as well as other educators– teachers and poets who work in education.
I’ve developed poetry and performance programmes with organisations such as the British Council, the National Theatre, the Arvon Foundation, the National Gallery, Apples & Snakes, Tate Britain, the Roundhouse, Glyndebourne and the Barbican. I have a background in web development and tech consultancy, and I’m passionate about exploring ways of using available web based technology in literature projects: I’ve curated the Vineyard (a web based community of poets spread between the UK, the US, Singapore and Malaysia) since 2006; I ran the FYI mailing list and website for poetry related news between 1999 and 2009; and I ran the Foundry (a web based community and news site for young poets aged 13-19) between 2007 and 2009. I’m also known for the work I do with literature in education through youth poetry slam initiatives– I served as artistic director for the London Teenage Poetry SLAM between 2003 and 2009, and I’ve been responsible for the Roundhouse Summer SLAM, the Camden Youth SLAM and Apples & Snakes’ Word Cup. I assisted the development of the first youth poetry slam in Finland, and I’m currently serving as the artistic director of Shake the Dust, a national youth slam timed to coincide with the 2012 Olympics.
As a poet, I’ve read at a wide selection of venues and festivals, including Kiasma (Finland), the Centre of Contemporary Art (Glasgow), London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Aldeburgh Literary Festival, the Gwendolyn Brooks Writers’ Conference (Chicago), the Arts House (Singapore) and The URB Festival (Helsinki). My work has been published in Identity Parade – New British & Irish Poets; Penguin’s Poems For Love; I Have Found A Song; Learn Then Burn: The Ultimate Poetry Guide for the High School or College Classroom; and Michael Rosen’s A-Z: The Best Children’s Poetry from Agard to Zephaniah, among many other anthologies and journals. My pamphlet Communion was a Poetry Book Society selection in 2006, and my new collection Breaking Silence was published in 2011 by Bloodaxe Books.
Finally, I’m the product of a post-colonial Caribbean work ethic passed down from my mother – something that morphed into my own rigorous professional drive as I strove to define what it meant to be a poet, not only for myself, but also in the eyes of the different communities I’ve belonged to. My work as a poet came to mean more than just being the best writer I could be. For it to exist in the real, tangible sense, my work has to be bigger than myself, and so it extends into helping others to find their writing voice or extend their confidence in the things they have to say, and to nurturing the development of other poets. As an ideal, I work at creating life changing experiences through literature.