Marxist. Trade Unionist. Socialist-feminist. Author. Poet. Speaker. Tutor. RMT ex-Exec. Workers' Liberty. Autie. Bi. PUFC fan.

About poetry

Articles about poetry and favourite poems by others

Black culture and resistance: the Harlem Renaissance

Submitted by Janine on 28 October 2020 at 11:21

One hundred years ago, an arts movement was forming in a mainly-black district of New York City. Later known as the Harlem Renaissance, it was primarily cultural but also inescapably political. Literature, poetry, jazz, theatre, sculpture and more articulated the lives and demands of African-Americans no longer willing to be grateful that they were no longer enslaved.

O black and unknown bards of long ago.
How came your lips to touch the sacred fire?

How, in your darkness, did you come to know
The power and beauty of the minstrel’s lyre?
Who first from midst his bonds lifted his eyes?
Who first from out the still watch, lone and long.
Feeling the ancient faith of prophets rise
Within his dark-kept soul, burst into song?

James Weldon Johnson

Discussion - REVOLTING POETS: poetry in working-class and social movements

Submitted by Janine on 27 June 2017 at 19:14
Event Date

A panel of three performing poets will talk about issues including: 1980s 'ranting poetry'; the misrepresentation of working-class poets; and rhyming solidarity from Poets on the Picket Line. There will be plenty of time for discussion, and our panellists may drop some rhymes as well.


Submitted by Janine on 22 June 2017 at 09:44

In the 1790s, poet William Blake wrote 'The Marriage of Heaven and Hell', which included 'Proverbs of Hell'. Here is a modern poem of proverbs ...


If it ain't broke, it soon will be
If you want to get ahead, get yourself a trilby

A roast duck won't fly into the mouth of a peasant
No man is an island but some are a desert

This Poem is Sponsored

Submitted by Janine on 01 April 2017 at 11:08

This stanza is sponsored
by a weekend bonanza
of two-for-one deals
on our easy-cook meals
from the town's happy eater
which has paid for its meter

All of its sponsors
have generously given
a big wodge of dosh
for their brand on its rhythm

A local disk jockey
has sponsored a trochee
(That's a tum-tee-tum beat
with some well-branded feet)

Cancer Can't Write Poetry, But Poetry Can Write Cancer

Submitted by Janine on 31 December 2016 at 10:59

Poetry paints life, cancer takes it
Poetry means it, cancer fakes it

Cancer can not write, create,
Feel or think, illuminate,
Wipe your brow, commiserate

You're fucking rubbish, you are, cancer
Not a writer, player, dancer
Bring nothing useful to the table
Can't tell a joke 'cos you're not able