Spring 2016 has sprung and I’ve lots upcoming to update you on!

NORTHERN LIGHTS  This week I head to Umea in northern Sweden for Litfest 17-19 March as part of Versopolis — a festival/translation exchange programme in association with the Ledbury Poetry Festival in the UK. Umea is just 50km south of the Arctic Circle and I’ll be reading poems from An Aviary of Small Birds and new work on migration. The poems have been translated into Swedish and I can’t wait to hear them in another language.

VOYAGE   I spent half of last year in residence at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.


I ran poetry collage workshops in my studio talking to visitors about how migration had impacted on their lives.

I was particularly excited to explore their archives and discover my dad’s name in the log book of the ship in which he sailed from Jamaica to the UK. His ‘Voyage’ is now part of a larger, shared story and set of poems to be published in collaboration with Sophie Herxheimer, whose collected ink narratives from migrants and refugees forms a counterpart to my poems. The book will be available later this spring — and only available in limited edition — so one to watch out for!

TRANSATLANTICA Following on from our trip to South Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia last year, Speaking Volumes’ Breaking Ground tour showcasing black British writers in the US continues with readings in Sacramento and San Francisco coming up in May. I fly to California direct from Port of Spain where I’ve been invited to read at the Trinidad and Tobago international literature Festival BOCAS. This is the first time I’ll have performed in the region and I’m honoured to have the opportunity to share my work with Caribbean audiences.

UNIVERSITY CHALLENGE Not the TV quiz! This term I’ve been a Visiting Lecturer at Royal Holloway, University of London, teaching English poetry to undergrads as well as on the Creative Writing Masters programme. Next term I’m running online workshops for The Poetry School and leading another Riverbus writing excursion for the National Maritime Museum.

DANCING WORDS  I love cross-arts collaboration and so I was delighted to work with The Complete Works’ director Nathalie Teitler on a poetry/film/choreography/music piece for my poem Mor Bleu. The film is part of a series and launches later this season. It’s a beautifully spare lyric interpretation —coming soon to a screen near you!

Dancer Ella Mesma warming up on set. Photography Copyright Andrea Allegra.


If you can’t make California or the Caribbean then there are a few other dates for the diary …click links to book.


  • Tuesday 15 March University of Kent, School of English, Canterbury. 6pm.

  • Easter Sunday, 27 March Keats House Poets, Hampstead. 2-4pm.Workshops


  • Saturday 2 April. National Maritime Museum. Narrow Road to the Deep South. Museum and River-writing excursion. Using the museum’s artefacts as inspiration for new work we take the Riverbus west to the Poetry Library for this FREE one-day workshop.

  • Human/Nature –online at the Poetry School. In this course we explore poetry, politics, people and nature — thinking about how to write work that encompasses the complex relationships we have with the natural world in today’s pressurised environment.