As part of SPOKE: Air, the third season of SPOKE’s exciting spoken word events across East London, a group of young poets took to the airwaves, coached by acclaimed spoken word artist Mr Gee, to devise and record the freshest new poetry for broadcast on Reprezent fm.
Anastasia Prempeh tells us about her experience as one of the Reprezent Radio Residency participants…
When I first received an email about poetry workshops with Mr Gee on Reprezent Radio, I was drawn to the idea of trying something new and challenging myself. Reading my poems on the radio was never something I had imagined myself doing, but now that the opportunity had presented itself I was excited to try it out.
When I arrived at the first session I could see that it was a very relaxed setting and immediately felt comfortable. The theme was ‘air’ and some brainstorming had already been done on the board. We started off sharing some of our previous work and talking about how and why we started writing poetry – all pretty standard for a workshop, I thought. Then we were left to write. This was the part that made me nervous as I had no idea where to start or what to write. Having grown accustomed to penning poems when they ‘came to me’, writing ‘on demand’ was something I struggled with and for a while I sat staring at a blank page. After finally coming up with something, I read it through with Mr Gee then went straight to recording. Once all the recordings had been done and the workshop was over I only had to wait until the next day to hear the poems on Reprezent fm.
Hearing my voice on the radio was a surreal experience. The quick turnaround also meant I could take the things I would have liked to have done better, and actually try to do them better in the next session. Although you can’t be seen on radio, the workshops helped me develop my performance skills through learning to use my voice effectively. By the last session I was a lot better at seeing where different techniques could be applied in various poems, from pauses to emphasis to changes in accent/dialect.
Recording in the booth was something so new to me and even hearing my voice through the headphones was a shock, so I’m grateful I had the opportunity to use all the equipment. We also got to know more about the restrictions that are placed on people in radio: our poems were to be less than 90 seconds long and anything likely to receive complaints wouldn’t be played. It was also not guaranteed that any of our content would be played even if everything was done by the book, so it was all a bit of a waiting game. That being said, it was all very exciting and everyone was so nice that by the end of the last session we were all very slow to leave! I got a lot more out of the sessions than I had expected and am definitely glad I didn’t overlook the opportunity.
You can read more about Anastasia’s journey with spoken word here: www.anastasiaprempeh.wordpress.com
SPOKE is a partnership project between A New Direction, Apples and Snakes, Spread the Word, SWEP (Spoken Word Educators Programme), and Discover Children’s Story Centre. Commissioned by the London Legacy Development Corporation as part of their legacy activities in and around the newly reopened Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.Read More