Spoken Word 2042! The 30th Anniversary Commission

Not only are we remembering our thirty years of pushing the power of poetry to the public, we are also wondering about the future of spoken word (the next thirty years) and what it holds. To inspire our thoughts with their poetical prose, we commissioned nine poets from around the regions who each performed at our 30th Anniversary launch party at the Freeword Centre!

The theme for this special commission: Spoken Word 2042…. We want to look forward, to explore what the future holds, and imagine what might be next

Below are some extracts from their pieces……Enjoy!



 Ars Poetica of The Future
by Roger Robinson

Part 1. Ars Poetica

” The future is a trick. It is only a series of nows. I believe in poems. I have no valid reason but for a feeling, but feelings are good. I see it clearly now, I fear if you and I stop we will lose the current of this thought. “

” To reflect on all your hurt and joy in images and symbols is to be at peace. All pain assuaged for in a brief and sensual moment, to be for a while divine. Don’t you see…. it’s too big for pop charts. “

Part 2. The Future

” You wake up slapped by old newsprint like big moths. Redundant headlines float on the breeze, page after page of tragedy, different time, same story, documentation of world hysteria. “

” All the bitter years of squandered breaths believing them to be infinite, a fragment a history buried, the world slips from my clumsy fingers. This was before humanity changed now the headlines say we are all beasts. There is no poetry here. “



Roger Robinson (East Midlands)



Letter to an Older Poet
by Keisha Thompson

” Dear poet,
I bet you have a box of philosophy
from Palestine to Syria,
Burma to Libya,
How could there be no genius in the ashes of tragedy?
Where else does intelligence breed but in the shadow of necessity?

Dear older poet
What is the new buzz word?
Is it neo-post-post-neo #liberalism?
Does it still advocate imaginary zeros and blameless poverty?
What was the fate of those victims of Guantanamo?
Guilt spread on them like face-paint…

Poet 2042
After 30 years time, where do you keep your sanity? “



Keisha Thompson (North West)




Remember (2042)
by Michael James Parker

 ” Remember 2019,
The year of lyrical extremes
Where we all ended up in ideological ghettoes of our personal poetic dreams.
And when the consonant per minute count got to six hundred and four,
We had a high speed tongue-of-poet blowout disaster like we’d never seen before:
Images of blood and saliva were splattered all over the floor. “

” Remember The Great Poets’ Strike of 28,
Everyone remembers retching over the stench
Of heaps of dead language,
Dumped and piling up in the streets,
As the poets refused to touch it,
Move it, form it, transform it. “

” And now, in 42,
We return to the present
And speak as we find:
A room full of listening,
Drawn to a sacred thing,
Creating sunshine,
We welcome the struggle and imperfection
Of a person speaking from the heart. “



Michael James Parker (South East)




A Slow Invasion
by Sally Jenkinson

” So we are reaching backwards and forwards at the same time.
Grabbing handfuls of this past tradition
and flinging it towards ourselves and over an audience like:
‘We don’t really know how this might go…
we’re sorry, but whatever, we’re in this together. “

” And they are laughing, or bemused, or tweeting, or confused,
or frowning and meeting it with all the derision and delight it deserves.
And look at us, like cave people, all in the same place, playing with words. “

” Will we lose this, with neat electronic friends keeping us mute?
Will we chose this, over remote sonic salutes?
And is there this slow invasion pushing us apart?
Every day now I am encouraged to share my art
with the world, from home.
Make it, upload it, record it, on my own. “



Sally Jenkinson (South West)
Apples and Snakes Artist Profile


by Tshaka Campbell

” In an erased city
a muse commits suicide in her 2nd floor flat
On the same street
a cafe holds
2 poets
steel faced
bronze tongues
ink eyes spilling into each other
their voices rout. “

“These walkers and their evaporated prayers
were invented from chaos
Conjured by men with grey eyes and weak minds
Their science drawn into propaganda
and etched on tube walls
on churches and monuments
schools and museums

” Sound is music and words are ammunition
so a phrase that sings is too powerful an instrument
It can cause wars. “

” But it’s too late
The seed has been sewn
The vibrations travel the underground
like a runaway slave
2 poets
30 years from now
Reclaim our voices. “



Tshaka Campbell (London)


by Rowan McCabe

” The spoken word is to this silk skinned girl
more valuable than rubies
because lines and rhymes are the way she records
and memory is essential for a history. “

” At night the elders gather
using driftwood and scraps to make fire.
As the children sleep, beating on makeshift drums,
they share stories of the old earth. “

” More importantly, they were designing a new kind of society,
one that placed its emphasis on individuality.
Art and music warped under fresh creativity
and rap exposed the world to the word without melody. “

” Only some saw this blossom falling off the leaves.
The others? The others where like those who will not grieve,
wouldn’t believe the first signs of catastrophe,
ignoring all the warnings of the climate changing rapidly. “

” They will teach the girl this story
because it’s her identity
and without the spoken word
she’s nobody. “



Rowan McCabe (North East)



by Khadijah Ibrahim

” In the stillness of time, a restless soul ricks readers with fat scatsounds. “

” Tell the children the next generation to stand firm like a drum. Feel the same heavyweight
stance of maroon blood elevate and vibrate on the pulpit of critical. radical change. “

” Praise the day and hmm a jazz tune and scat..scat…scat and be…bop…bop…bop
and hmm a tune like your the last poet in the shift styles of beatbox and scat tunes and soul tunes
and breakbeat and feed a nation for there’s nothing new in a world today when you’re seeking the truth. “

” The truth is not equal to those who love it and those who love it are not equal to those who delight in it so find your truth and love it. “



Khadijah Ibrahim



Spoken Word in 2042
Stephen Burke-Morrison

” Apples and Snakes is the reason were all here.
The very beginning of the world’s best selling book of all time also states
that Apples and Snakes is the reason we’re all here. “

” In 2042 Spoken Word will enlighten the frightened masses an empty thought won’t do.
It will successfully merge the perturbed and famished vanished with a platform to stand on,
to express their hurt anguished. “



Stephen Burke-Morrison



Advertising in 2042
by Ross Sutherland


Ross Sutherland (East)