Friday, 24 January 2020

Poem 'Soup' served hot in Poland...

Hello to my friends in Poland and all Polish speaking comrades, 

I'm excited to see my poetry in translation today.

Thank you to Bartosz and Wizje! Dzięki!

Make time! Make love! Make soup! 

This translation is by Bartosz Wójcik

Dziękuję Ci bardzo! 

Xx BIGlove! 

"Wyobraź sobie, że siedem osób z siedmiu krajówprzyszło do 
ciebie jednocześnie w gości na zupę.
To siedem sprzecznych ze sobą wersji zupy..."

The poem 'Soup' features in 
'Pessimism is for Lightweights' 
published by Rough Trade Books

Also features on the 'LIVE at Byline Festival E.P'  
released by Nymphs and Thugs

Friday, 17 January 2020

Episode 2: Roaring 20s Radio, Soho Radio, January 18th

Roaring 20s Radio: a brand new programme on Soho Radio created to amplify the best of art, culture, books, poetry and activism as we roar into the next decade. 

Roaring 20s Radio 
presented by Salena Godden
Amah-Rose Abrams and Matt Abbott.

Our monthly residency continues: celebrating and championing the people that are roaring in the face of 2020s adversity. Each episode features exciting live studio guests, round-ups from our favourite writers, artists and poets and the Roaring ‘20s quiz. We'll also play some of our favourite tunes as we all navigate our way through the political turbulence and the headlines that dominate the world and the content of so much of our favourite art, books and culture. 

Scarlett Sabet

To kick start the 2020s we have a packed two-hour show with not one but two very special guests. The phenomenally powerful poet Scarlett Sabet is with us to talk about her glorious debut poetry album Catalyst, a fearless and startling listen made in collaboration with her partner, the inimitable Jimmy Page. Catalyst is out now! 

We also have excellence from the author, poet and man about town Tim Wells talking about his latest books - the Unbound published suede-head horror Moonstomp and he also reads from his brilliant latest poetry collection No Weakners which is out now with superb indie imprint Bad Betty Press

Also in this episode we discuss the aftershock of the general election and self care, poetry of power and protest and magic, the fantastic Condo Complex exhibitions and our shared love of spoken word committed to vinyl. We play tracks from Michael Smith, Kate Tempest, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Nadine Shah, Gil Scott Heron, Femi Kuti and many, more, more, more...

We top and tail this show with a glass raised to our friend Roddy Lumsden. Award-winning Scottish poet Roddy Lumsden had been suffering from liver disease and died of a heart attack last weekend. Roddy Lumsden played a significant role in UK poetry as an editor, mentor, tutor, critic, promoter and comrade. Condolences to all friends, family and the poetry community who are all struggling with this very sad news this week. Tim Wells shared a flat with Roddy Lumsden for some time and he generously shares some of his memories and a favourite poem by Roddy Lumsden. Rest in peace Roddy.

Roddy Lumsden 1966-2020

Follow Roaring 20s Radio 
Drop us a line and ROAR along 
Use the tag #Roaring20sRadio 

Matt, Salena, Tim
Scarlett and Amah-Rose

Monday, 16 December 2019

Beauty, Dreams, Books & Art

will share wonder in living things
beauty, dreams, books and art
love your neighbour and be kind
and have an open heart

So here is a Top 10 of beautiful books, anthologies and projects I worked on and contributed to most recently. Here comes the winter solstice. Here comes the long dark and here comes the light. These will make great Xmas gifts, unique and thoughtful presents for your friends and family or for yourself and for your own hibernation and winter holiday inspiration. 

This past year or so I've produced a lot of different work for a broad range of projects: poetry, prose, essays, children's poetry, music, film, radio work, short fiction, gorgeous books, posters, CD and vinyl. Some of these items were made to raise funds for charity, so if you get these you will support indie publishing and some great charities and have a good read all at the same time. 

Please give poetry this Xmas. Please give the gift of books. Give dreams and colour and art. It has been a very busy and chaotic time for us all, but before I hibernate, here's my top ten tasty treats:


1. EightyFour is a beautiful poetry collection edited by Helen Calcutt raising funds for CALM @theCALMzone and published by Verve @VervePoetryPres - 2019 was a year of brave people talking about mental health through poetry and art and performance. Shout out also to Jake Wildhall and Amy Acre and @badbettypress for The Dizziness of Freedom I'm proud of both of these two books, they are remarkable. Both contain brutal honesty and power and both also offer help and links to resources and charities. Let's share, let's talk, let's listen...


2. #Poemsfromagreenandblueplanet is an exciting and awe inspiring anthology packed with hope for the future and love of nature, it is published by Hachette @HachetteKids and edited by Sabrina Mahfouz. This book features a glorious range of poets, all writing with a heart filled with wonderism and love for this green and blue planet. I recommend this book for all ages!

3. “Food glorious food...” This glorious and delicious food-themed children’s poetry collection #midnightfeasts is edited by AF.Harrold. This book is beautifully illustrated by Katie Riddell, its out now with Bloomsbury @KidsBloomsbury a perfect Xmas gift for the young foody in the family! 

4. What is Masculinity? Why does it matter? And other big questions: Thanks to Jeffrey Boakye and Darren Chetty for asking me to contribute to this powerful kids book published by Hachette Kids books @HachetteKids  This whole series is amazing. A perfect gift for any child with lots of big and important questions!

5. No Holds Barred: Earlier this year I worked with Tangerine Press @TangerinePress to make these exquisite, collectible, limited edition posters. You'll find these and a plethora of beautiful handmade books and other artworks at Tangerine HQ:

6. Pessimism is for Lightweights: Framed poetry posters make great Xmas gifts and look lovely in your home. You can find these very lovely limited edition yellow letter press prints #Pessimismisforlightweights and books and more at Rough Trade Books @RoughTradeBooks You can also order whole pamphlet sets, RTB have some great bundle deals for Xmas!

7. This year we launched Others #othersbook with Unbound @unbounders Thank you to Charles @cfernyhough for working so hard on this and for asking me to contribute. It was an opportunity to give my sister a platform and help my sister Jo tell her story in her own words: We Are The Champions! Order this book! Buy this book! Give this book! Help us all raise funds for @stophateuk @RefugeeAction


8. TGI! Shout out and BIGlove to the TGI family, to Nikesh Shukla and Chimene Suleyman, this was the year they launched The Good Immigrant in America. Our book also came out in translation in Japan this year with this yellow cover. I'm so proud of you and so proud to be part of the rising TGI family! Phenomenal! Thank you! #thegoodimmigrant 

9. And this happened! The essential #smashingitbook edited by powerhouse Sabrina Mahfouz was released in October 2019 and launched at the Purcell Room on the Southbank - Smashing It: Working Class Artists on Life, Art and Making It HappenThis book contains a key, a map and some armour. It is the perfect Christmas gift for young artists and for the brave and creative soul in your family. Published by Saqi Books @SaqiBooks  Highly recommend!

10. Poetry on vinyl! Poetry CD’s! Poetry albums! Tickets to #LIVEwire events! T-shirts and zines! These will all make superb Xmas gifts! Please check out the shop and the excellent events and releases coming up in 2020 @nymphsandthugs -

That's all folks! Thanks to publishers and bookshops and all writers and readers. Give poetry this Christmas! Give books! Share the hope and the wonder and the love! This winter I’m gonna be deep inside my 'Mrs Death Misses Death' world and I’m very excited about that ... Happy midwinters to you all! Happy Holidays! Merry merry! Ding dong! Xx

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

blog post: Full moon and the general election #GE2019

Up early for a Sunday morning bike ride.

We ride together through the park, through the last crunch of autumn yellow leaves. We stop for coffee. I pretend to be Anthony Bourdain trying local delicacies as we sit on plastic chairs at a street food stall. We have delicious Brazilian treats, coffee and pastries, cheese bread, quiejo pasteis.

Above us the church bells ring, loud and clanging.

Is it ok to admit I love them and hate them at the same time? I get conflicting feelings at this time of year. The hypocrisy. The divide of rich and poor. The church bells ringing boldly for baby Jesus whilst the homeless shelter in tents and sleeping bags at the church gates. And I look at my phone and read the news, the politicians campaigning and manipulating the media, using the violence and the tragedy of the London Bridge attacker to add petrol to anti-immigration and racism rows. I send condolences to all who lost their lives and their families. Prayers for peace and unity.

This December the general election is a dark shadow that stokes more division.

I'm idealistic but I wish there was more focus on healing and listening and helping each other to save our humanity and save the planet. Because it is starting to feel like it honestly won’t matter who is wearing the crown when this island sinks into the sea. 

I sip coffee and love being here in the 21st century. We live in the future. Right now I could be in any EU city with this lovely coffee and the Brazilian lady who smiles at me. I smile back and write about December, the blue skies and the wintry sun.

Meanwhile across the street I see the usual Christmas plastic crap in all the shop windrows, clutter that will be thrown out in January and washed up on a beach, strangling a turtle or choking a seahorse on the other side of the world. This is the London I know. This is the world we know. It is a chaotic jumble of complex contradictions. But it doesn’t have to be this way - 'this is how it’s always been' - just isn’t good enough anymore.

I take a moment to write about this: this December, this one love, this multicoloured, multicultural, multilayered world, this city and this place we all call home.

We have a full moon for the election. 

This will be the Cold Moon or Long Night Moon. If there were more wombs in the rooms people might have picked up on this and how the moon cycle could effect tide and votes. Wow. It is almost as if men ruled by money decide everything and are oblivious to the rest of the population of planet earth who are in tune with nature and ruled by the moon. Never underestimate the power of Decembers full moon and all those of us that feel a surge this week. 

Bring on the RED wave.

It occurs to me that all over the country millions of people who get their period on the full moon will have raging PMT right here and right now. I wish we could harness that PMT rage and fury, like wind turbines, but rage and fury turbines. Almost everyone I know is in tune with the moon, their monthly cycle is like clockwork, timed with the lunar cycle and the oceans. 

All I am saying is: The billionaire Tories picked a really bad day to test our patience further.

On December 12th as the full moon rises - on the 12th hour of the 12th day on the 12th month - I envision a big red wave for this general election. Metaphorically, spiritually and literally. We must attune to nature and unite and rise like the moon, rise like the tides and sea. 

We must vote the Tories out. 

Please use your power, your voice and your vote to get rid of the people that enforced period poverty for so long. Let's kick out the people that hurt women's rights and women's choices and women's autonomy. Let's kick out the people that continually hurt all marginalised people; the people that ignored the tragedies of Grenfell and Windrush and Yarls Wood. The politicians that  were too scared to meet Greta Thunberg and listen to the valid concerns of the next generation. It makes no sense to vote for the Tories after nine years of the Tories.

Please use this blood and fury; this coming solstice; all your moon juice energy to send power and light to the people with a soul intention to help others and empower the poor, the sick and the vulnerable.

Winter is here. 

It will be a brutal winter for so many because climate change is here; because science is fact; because floods; because austerity is real; because people are dying sleeping rough in doorways; because the use of food banks is at an all-time high and they need our donations; because we can all do better and be better; because we ALL need the NHS and our hospitals and fire stations and libraries now more than ever; because this is IT, this is the turning tide and change is here and time is now.

Happy bloody bleed! 


With Full Moon Love Xx

Repeat after me: 

Full Moon. Cold Moon. Long Night Moon. 
Power to the people who protect the poor and vulnerable from the cold long night. 
May we enter 2020 with less shadow and more kindness and light. 
We are many, we rise with moon and tide and fight for our rights.

Sing this 3 times when you see the moons face this week:

this blood is old, my blood is mine 
I wash my blood in salt moonshine 
Tories crumble with each crumbling truth 
as true as the moon as long in the tooth 
this blood is old as blood as time 
I wash this blood in cold moonshine 
in cold moonshine I wash this time 
and feel love rise in cold moonshine



 3 POEM-FILMS 2019 




Cold outside, this is my favourite hoodie. ORDER yourself one of these toasty hooded tops and donate to @RefugeeCKitchen#RCK