This week I’m handing over the pen (keyboard?). We have an exciting guest post from Halah Mohammed, a spoken word poet from Brooklyn, New York who has been traveling the world on a Watson fellowship this year researching autobiographical narratives shared through spoken word poetry. She blogs about her experiences and posts interviews with poets here. Recently she came up to Scotland to check out the slam scene here and attended events including Loud Poets, Rally & Broad, and Last Monday at Rio. She also interviewed poets – excerpts from her interviews with Carly Brown and Catherine Wilson are posted here and here, and more interviews (with Agnes Torok, myself, and more poets) are coming soon. Halah kindly agreed to write a guest post for this blog on her perceptions of the Scottish word scene. Enjoy!
After almost seven months of traveling around the world and interviewing spokenword artists, I planted my feet on the cobble stones of Edinburgh. I exhaled a long mist of breath as I looked out at the city spread out before me. I was cold and everyone looked warm under the brightly colored lights coming off the buildings.
But the beautiful lights weren’t the only sources of warmth in Edinburgh. Besides the museum galleries, wall-to-wall packed bars, copious amounts of cups of tea, words warmed the minds, bodies, and souls of many in the city, including me.
A few nights after my arrival I watched Loud Poets Kevin Mclean and Douglas Garry deliver warm fuzzies to everyone in the room with their poem about loving “big guys.” Agnes Torok, another Loud Poet, set the place ablaze with her fiery satirical lines about injustices, classism, and gender inequality. By the end of the night I was sweating, overheated by the words of every Loud Poet and guest poet in the room.
Their words showed me that spokenword isn’t just hot breath, literally or metaphorically speaking. For some it is a heater turned high or an anonymous warm fuzzy. For others it’s a bear hug from a “big boy”, a cup of tea, or light streaming down from a building; it is warmth when you need to feel it the most and in Edinburgh, Scotland I did.
Ed. note: I’m hoping to do more guest posts in the future and use this blog as a sort of community space for new ideas, discussions, and reflections on the spoken word scene in Scotland, and creative practice more generally. If you are interested in writing a short post and having it featured here, please get in touch!