Picture the Poet with Roundabout, by Sai Murray

Poet Sai Murray talks to us about Picture the Poet and working with youth organisation Roundabout.

_MG_3648 800 x 1000 editIt was a real pleasure to work with the youth organisation Roundabout and to help uncover some of the creative talents that the young people possess. After over-coming the ‘poetry boundary’ – the traditional hurdle of poetry being viewed as something to be studied in books rather than a fluid, live, interactive medium of expression – we enjoyed conversations that ranged from blokes and banter, to loneliness, hostel life and biscuits.

In the process, we discovered that the group contained a vast array of varying life experiences together with rap, guitar, cookery, singing, and of course writing and poetry skills.

Influenced by the touring Picture the Poet exhibition, we then wrote poems on identity and who we are; about not judging people, about listening and about surviving.

_MG_3666 800x1000 editThe feedback from the performance of these poems at the Graves Gallery in Sheffield, was a real encouragement to the young people that their voices and self-expression matters.

Roundabout staff in attendance witnessed the emboldening power of spoken word and as a result, are now fundraising to continue another series of workshops and to produce a booklet of the young people’s poetry and artwork.


PICTURE THE POET is a three-year project presented by The National Portrait Gallery, in partnership with the National Literacy Trust and Apples and Snakes. It has been funded by Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Fund; special thanks to the local organisations involved in shaping and contributing to the programme. For more information about Picture the Poet visit our project page or follow #Picturethepoet.