The Legend of the Burning Man

We had the amazing opportunity to be a part of and witness an amazing performance by Insectotropics live at Bell Square London. We had the pleasure to take part in the performance "The Burning Man," which is based on the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi, a Tunisian street Vendor that was often harassed by the police.

The event itself became a catalyst for the Tunisian Revolution and sparked a wide-spread uprising against autocratic regimes. After this form of protest, the then president Zine- El Abidine Ben Ali was told to step down after 23 years on his seat. This lead to many other countries followed suit in an attempt to end their autocratic governments. We know this as the Arab Spring.

The performance was based around the theme of revolution, determination and resistance. It was a pleasure to be a part of and to watch. Bouazizi stood up for his human right of freedom and his message was heard around the world.

We are living in unprecedented times where it's important to hear the voices that have been seemingly suppressed. It is up to organisations to promote what we stand for in freedom of speech and expression, and we're humbled to be at the forefront of this in West London.

Join us every last Monday of the month at Hounslow Youth Centre from 7-9pm. Email poeticalWordEvents@gmail.com to secure a slot! 

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World Poetry Day

We celebrated World Poetry Day in the best way Poetical Word knows how: spreading creativity and poetry as far and wide as we can.

We were invited by CARE UK to put on a poetry show for the elderly and engage them in all that is poetical. We shared poetry with them, played music for them, sang with them and ultimately had a great time.

Furthermore, we led the group through a Creative Workshop and facilitated a session where we asked them to write down some of their favourite words and we transformed them into one big poem, eccentrically performed!

To conclude the event, we couldn’t help but continue our tradition with a photo of everyone together.

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Hounslow Soup Kitchen

The goal of Hounslow Soup Kitchen is to enable individuals to strengthen their individual capacities by being an active member of the society they live in. We plan to do this under the following umbrella of services:
1) Advocacy: Liaison with benefit services, local authorities and job opportunities/ recruitment services to define a clear route into long term housing and benefits.
2) Medical: Access to medical care as well as health and wellness sessions.
3) Personal Care: Haircuts, threading, essential items, toiletries and a mobile shower facility.
4) Clothes Bank: A space to wash dirty clothes and stock up on new ones, sock/underwear bank.
5) Food Bank: A service that provides health conscious hot/cold meals as well as warm drinks.

This is an ambitious task and we're keeping the words of inspiration Elon Musk at the fore: "If something is important enough for you, even if the probable outcome if failure, you must try."

So we started by setting up a soup kitchen at a local community centre on Benson Estate, Hounslow. The team at We Are One allowed us to use the premises for two weeks after which we served food at a local squat for the rest of the month.

We’ve realised a few salient things during this project:

  1. There are a wealth of homeless services already providing food, access routes into housing, benefits and alcohol and drug rehabilitation services in the borough.

  2. The homeless in Hounslow are generally getting the help they need, however there are many who are addicted to hard drugs.

  3. There are a few homeless individuals who are highly visible and give homeless people a bad name. Some aren’t even homeless, but suffer from mental health issues.

  4. Our resources are beginning to stretch and are better utilised working with already established services, or to revamp the project towards a new model.

After we took some time to think about the next steps, we decided on the following:

  1. To provide seasonal practical help. For example, when a cold snap hits, ensuring the homeless are all indoors somewhere and are warm throughout the day.

  2. To create a pamphlet of homeless services that has all the information a homeless person could possibly need- on what day to access which service in what location of the borough.

  3. To provide some hope and support for the homeless by a “Beggars to Buskers” project.

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The Brew Crew: launch

This year was the year when we launched: The Brew Crew. A monthly break away from society and its troubles. The Brew Crew serves as a place of inspiration where writers can recluse to tap their creative juices. Currently based in Starbucks on the High Street in Hounslow, every month we gather to write, read and create through the poetic spirit.

We are working with an amazing poet who goes by the pen name, Lady Poe to bring you this creative space. Participants can choose whether to be guided through a prepared class, or to sit aside and work on their own thing in the company of creatives.

With the rush of modern day scheduling, it seems as though we need to find time to allow ourselves to feel; and to express that through the written word. We hope to channel the activities of the group towards producing an annual journal.

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Neurodiversity Shindig II

A regular occurance now at Hounslow Youth Centre happening every few months.  

We have been working with Autism Hounslow to bring a range of events to celebrate Neurodiversity in the arts. Each one of the participants are amazing human beings for just coming along.

We ate dinner, danced, recited poetry and had a variety of different spoken word pieces performed. We worked creatively to add to our growing art piece and we even had a poet who read us a poem she had completed after 15 years!

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Poetry & Chill with Apathy Threads

This was a sublime poetry evening co-hosted by Apathy Threads on the 11th of February at Tartine Artisanal in Tooting, and bore witness to raw spoken word, poetry, rap and readings. Tartine Artisanal is a cafe which boasts its French-Moroccan roots inside its food and decor. It proved the perfect place to have cake, some tea and a healthy dose of Poetry.  

Headlining the night, was the amazing Bella Cox who wowed us away with her poetry. We were also in the presence of BBC Radio 1Xtra dj and presenter Mim Shaikh, who shared an intimate piece of poetry talking about his father who he’s never met, and his struggle to find him.

At its core, the event brought together artists and creatives across London and the venue management was a pleasure to work with.

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Exploring Objects and Nature

On Thursday 1st February, Poetical Word was invited to Osterley Park House via Autism Hounslow, to take part in a creative workshop exploring objects. We were each told to bring in something that has a special place in our lives, as we would be going deeper into exploring the relationship we have with it.

We started off by describing its place in our life and how it got there. It’s a very interesting exercise that brought the participants together right from the offset. After that, we talked briefly about humanity’s relationship with nature.

We were then able to visit an audio exhibition in the park house museum before creating our own soundscape through the natural environment; like the rustling of leaves underneath our feet or the sound of gravel inside of a glass jar or even the sound of a heavy stone being thrown in a well.

Looking forwards, we decided to cement our new found friendship with Autism Hounslow by creating an art piece of the things we saw and discussed.

We used different techniques and objects to inspire us to come up with a creative manifestation of the energies of the day.

With each experience and event with Autism Hounslow, we are constantly inspired by the encouraging and transformative effect art and creativity continues to play in our lives.

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Burns Night

We kicked off 2018 with celebrating Burns Night at the Brewers Inn, in Wandsworth.  We had a huge turnout and the acts were a spectacle to behold in themselves! We arrived, set up the performance area and ushered in a hearty 2018 in true Scottish tradition, albeit with our own poetic twist.

Due to overwhelming favour in support, we decided to substitute an original haggis with our sweeter, more appetising, haggis cake- for the evening.

With our host Laurence ushering on acts like Soulish, Tristen, Brett, Anna and the immaculate Paul Point, the evening hosted a mixture of music, Scottish themed poetry, recitation of Burns’ poetry, spoken word and an actual Scott who sang with the crowd, his rendition of Auld Langs Syne.

With an energetic crowd, it was a truly bonnie ol’ night and a perfect New Year debut for Poetical Word.

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Xmas Gifts 4 All 2017

Our annual charity endeavour was in its third and final year in 2017. This year marked the culmination of three years of service and community spirit and this is how we done it.

During the 2015 Christmas period, Poetical Word delivered £700 worth of gifts to children in West Middlesex Hospital with aims to serve the community and those who would be spending Christmas away from home. The following year, we were able to do the same in addition to visiting an older people's care home and putting on a poetry show.
In 2017, through some effective marketing campaigns, and the help of local community groups, we were able to raise £1300. In addition to the above, we were able to deliver 110 essential packs to the homeless in central London.

These essential packs has items in them which we felt a homeless person cannot do without. As our founder has experienced homelessness himself, he has first hand knowledge of the project needs. As such, we had items like toothpaste, toothbrushes, female sanitary pads, socks, gloves, a woolly hat, a brand new woolly zipped hoodie, a reusable bottle of water, hand wipes, toilet accessories, deodorant, razor blades and some dried fruit or granola bars.

We worked with a host of organisations including, Humanity First, Grenfell Tower Relief Project, Autism Hounslow, SWAT  (the Sikh Welfare and Awareness Team), Hounslow Holy Trinity Church and many other individuals across West London to raise money and prepare for the project. One of the ways in which we raised money was through mentioning it at our events, collaborations and also holding a movie night. Without the support of the local community, this project could never have gone ahead.

In total, we handed out 110 homeless essential packs as well as an additional 132 throughout the festive period.

One of the other objectives of the XG4All project was to spread cheer to the children at the West Middlesex Hospital Paediatrics ward. We got together a small team that worked tirelessly to ensure everything was ready for Christmas Eve. The team was lead by Mindy Sidhu who was instrumental in bringing the project together. Our initiator, Dr. Randeep Karwal was also instrumental in providing guidance when needed.

Delivering this project allowed us to be there for those people who couldn’t spend Christmas at home with their own family. Where many people spend this period in festives, there are also many people who feel extremely left out, lonely and isolated, so we decided to sacrifice our Christmas for the sake of theirs; and the effect it it continues to have is lasting.

We created a video which documented the project, which can be seen on our YouTube channel or our website.

One of the highlights of this project for us was helping Hounslow Youth Centre put on a dinner for those alone at Christmas. The event saw around 150 older people enjoy a hearty Christmas meal in the company of Hounslow Mayor Cllr Sue Sampson.

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UK Unsigned Hype

On the 14th December, we got together a group of poets and spoken word artists and headed out to Camden, where the UK Unsigned Hype team were putting on a creative open mic.
We feel it’s important to go out as a collective to represent our community across London.
There seems to be a lot of opportunities for groups like Poetical Word to establish themselves in the poetry and spoken word scene in London. After this event, we were able to meet new people and network to potential partners. The UK Unsigned Hype team deserves credit for having been established for over a decade, providing a high quality event experience. They can be found across all Social Media platforms.
 

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Word II

On 7th December 2017, we were honoured to join our friends in the Orchard Cafe for “Word II: A night of poetic stories of objects and collections from our local creative community.”

This was a ‘pop-up event’ in collaboration with Open Ealing and Gunnersbury Park Museum. It was a beautiful spectrum of both amateur and professional poets performing at a surprisingly artistic venue surrounded by amazing art.

This was an great opportunity for Poetical Word to network with wider communities outside of Hounslow and extend our reach to Ealing.

Following this magical event, through networking and reaching out to the audience, we’ve had regular attendance by individuals who attend events we’ve held since.

Working with Gunnersbury Park, namely, Sharon Walters, has been extremely easy  and very well planned. We are eagerly looking forward to more collaborative events and creative projects in the future.

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Visit to Gunnersbury Park Museum

Gunnersbury Park collections are rich and diverse and provide a fascinating insight into the history of Ealing, Hounslow and the surrounding areas.

From the famous Lucozade sign, formerly visible to motorists driving along the M4, to beautiful collages by textile designer Joyce Clissold, many of the items in Gunnersbury Park collections tell local stories. Poetical Word visited some of these collections to create a real connection with the lives of local people in the past.

The collections included materials that trace the history and development of the Gunnersbury estate, its landscape, and the people who lived and worked there. From paintings to maps, plans and inventories to architectural items and the stunning collection of carriages owned by the Rothschild family, the collections we saw provided a fascinating glimpse into Gunnersbury across the ages.

We were able to see some of the archaeology collections, including Palaeolithic flint tools, Bronze Age swords and Iron Age spearheads. We also saw local entertainment collections, including many items relating to the golden age of Ealing Studios, local industry collections that trace the growth of manufacturing in the area and personal collections of local people.

The aim for this immersion was to create a spoken word piece which was to be presented to the public at a poetry event in December.

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DECADENCE: The EP launch and art exhibition

AZON is a Singer/Songwriter and Producer who dreams in fashion but lives in spirit, made his EP debut with Decadence on 21st August at the prestigious Bunker Theatre.

Two members of Poetical Word assisted in performing alongside him as supporting dancers as well as assisting in the publication and distribution of marketing materials for the event.

AZON is no stranger to us at Poetical Word, having first joined the team in 2015, he would later go on to become an integral part of the organisation and grow from his accountancy roots into an artist in his own right.

DECADENCE, the EP, explored the depths of self-indulgence and the battle of the ego. The journey was cleverly intertwined with dance and performance and lead to an interpretive art exhibition which allowed spectators to be immersed in the mind of AZON.

Since he first graced our stage, AZON has been the source of inspiration for much of our work in the community. He aims to explore art through music to create innovative, thought-provoking content, and we look forward to marvel at him as he goes through his creative epic. Feel free to marvel with us- you can listen to his work on SoundCloud (soundcloud.com/soundsofazon) and his website (azon.world).

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Neurodiversity Shindig

Autism Hounslow is a Community Group that works to improve life for autistic people - their families, friends and carers in Hounslow.  They are run for and by autistic people and their families and friends.

On the 3rd of August 2017, we launched the Neurodiversity Shindig in partnership with Autism Hounslow to promote acceptance, awareness and inclusion through a series of performances and talks. The event launch was hosted at the Watermans Arts Centre, Brentford, where the group meet once a month for an evening drop in session.

The Neurodiversity Shindig was a chance for people on the autistic spectrum to come together for some food, conversations and light entertainment. Poetical Word was instrumental in providing a compere to emcee the event, as well as infrastructural event support for Autism Hounslow.

The gathering had over 50 people in attendance. That,  coupled with the many new friendships formed made the Neurodiversity Shindig a huge success. We’re thrilled to be working alongside such a noteworthy cause and look forward to future projects together.

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Two, two year celebrations?

Our two year anniversary was celebrated twice this year due to the poetic nature of hall bookings!

Towards the beginning of the year, we were planning to move to a venue where the needs of our poetry collective could be suitably catered for. From starting off holding our events at Meze Mangal to Lusso Gelato then moving again to Il Bebo’s and now at the Hounslow Youth Centre, we feel like we’ve been welcomed with open arms.

Not only does Hounslow Youth Centre cater for our poetry events, it’s also home to a number of community organisations that are dependent on it to function. We’re eternally grateful to Lorna and Steve for their continual support.

Our first event was at the Youth Centre, and our second at Hounslow Community Centre and had regular poet, Anton Badham, headline for us.

When we do something that benefits others, over and over again, an accumulated energy is generated which starts to snowball and we begin to feel collectively motivated. We think this motivation is the basis for our development and boosts civic pride in those it’s cultivated among.
As always, the event was an encouraging platform for our participants and spurred the administration to continue working towards our collective aims.

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MERAKI- END OF YEAR CREATIVE SHOWCASE

Meraki is a Greek concept that can't really be translated into one English word. When a person does something with their entire being, and puts something of themselves in what they do; that is Meraki at work. Be it writing, singing or performance poetry, be it even the smallest task; if you do it with your whole being, you do it with Meraki.

We found this concept to be one we should try and inculcate into our daily lives, and thus decided to theme our event around it.

Meraki marked the third consecutively running end of year event for Poetical Word, after Ubuntu in 2016 and Eunoia in 2015. The end of year celebration took place at the Hounslow Youth Centre.

With a theatre-esque stage, sofas and bean bag lounge area, the ambiance was reflected throughout the audience, our magnificent guest performers and of course, our gracious host. The audience boasted our esteemed Councillor Mukesh Malhotra, who presented four special awards to individuals who had embodied the concept of Meraki and made a significant contribution to the work Poetical Word has been engaged in throughout the year.

Among awardees were Solomon Adams, who has been instrumental in providing and maintaining an epic audio setup at our monthly events. Manjinder Chirajh who has developed his exceptional craft of spoken word throughout the year. Our outgoing host, Asiya Egady, who has been a part of the Poetical Word foundation for over two years and has carried us through with exquisite compering. Last but not least, Mindy Sidhu, the project manager for Xmas Gifts 4 All this year.

One of our most important achievement this year was our community engagement project Xmas Gifts 4 All, which was launched in 2015 and has been growing from strength to strength over the years. 2017 marked a milestone for the project which saw 110 homeless essential packs distributed in London along side S.W.A.T. (Sikh Welfare and Awareness Team), 26 children in West Middlesex Hospital received personalised Christmas cards and gifts as well as 46 older people at Care UK's Charlotte House in Isleworth receiving the same and  a poetry showcase accompanied by cake! You can watch the video here.

Meraki showcased some of our headliners throughout 2017 as well as some regular open mic performers and special guests. We had the event topped off with the legend Usaama Minhas himself (Hammer and Tongue National Grand Slam Champion 2018).

When we do something with our entire being, we find in it a joy that we at Poetical Word know only how to express, through the spoken word. It was a privilege to have the support of Hounslow Youth Centre, Councillor Mukesh Malhotra and every attendee at Meraki, joining together in poetic celebration.

We look forward to welcoming 2018 and what it brings. Individually we are one drop, but together we are an ocean. If you'd like to get involved, email poeticalword@gmail.com or click on the Contact Us tab!

“Word”

Gunnersbury Park Museum, poetry open mic launch event

WORD is a poetry and spoken word event organised by the Gunnersbury Park Museum in association with Poetical Word to promote art and creativity. Poetical Word was approached to help launch a series of events aimed at making art more accessible to West London residents.

We were specifically asked to host the event and bring our stage set up.

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The stage was set and Poetical Word showed up to deliver an engaging and memorable evening. New friendships and poetic acquaintances were formed, some of which are still flourishing.

 

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UBUNTU

End of year celebratory event

Throughout the year, Poetical Word works with a few individuals towards set outcomes. These may be outcomes based on qualitative and or quantitative means. Where some individuals want to get their work out to a wider audience or visit more open mic’s, some would prefer to work on their craft, refining their art. We think this is worth pursuing because it strengthens the creative energies associated with Poetical Word in Hounslow.

It's hard enough for a creative to be good at what they do, but to promote themselves in the current climate can seem an impossible task. This is one of the reasons why we theme our annual special event. It serves as an active way to motivate and bring together creatives who want to achieve something. Through sharing our vision, we are motivated by collective energies. This year, we've named our end of year celebration UBUNTU which has a very beautiful story to it.

An anthropologist studying the habits and customs of an African tribe found himself surrounded by children most days. So he decided to play a little game with them. He managed to get candy from the nearest town and put it all in a decorated basket at the foot of a tree.

Then he called the children and suggested they play the game. When the anthropologist said “now”, the children had to run to the tree and the first one to get there could have all the candy to him/herself.


So the children all lined up waiting for the signal. When the anthropologist said “now”, all of the children took each other by the hand ran together towards the tree. They all arrived at the same time divided up the candy, sat down and began to happily munch away.


The anthropologist went over to them and asked why they had all run together when any one of them could have had the candy all to themselves.
The children responded: “Ubuntu. How could any one of us be happy if all the others were sad?”

Ubuntu is a philosophy of African tribes with Xhosa and Zulu origins. It can be summed up as “I am what I am because of who we all are.”

Bishop Desmond Tutu gave this explanation in 2008:
“One of the sayings in our country is Ubuntu – the essence of being human. Ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can’t exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness. You can’t be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality – Ubuntu – you are known for your generosity. We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.

With this beautiful concept in mind, we set up our end of year celebration which was set at the finest Italian restaurant this side of town - Il Bebo’s.

We gave out special awards to specific individuals who have played a vital part of the organisation and form the crucial support network which spurs creatives to bigger and better things.

As our first time using this venue, we found the management and staff extremely helpful and accommodating. The relationships we have built with our venues have been all under a goodwill agreement where they give us the space in return for customers!

To have been among such an eclectic community at the heart of Hounslow is truly inspirational. Our end of year event brings together all of our previous headliners throughout the year, to showcase their work. This culminates in a truly unique event where creative and created are appreciated to flourish. We think that’s pretty good and were driven to continue to provide creative spaces like this going into the new year.

 

 

Xmas Gifts 4 All 2016

West Mid Hospital Paediatrics & Charlotte House Care home (Care UK)

Our annual charity endeavour for 2016 built on last year’s Christmas gift donation to the paediatric ward in West Middlesex Hospital. This year we wanted to include the opposite age spectrum and spread the Christmas cheer to residents of Charlotte House in Isleworth.

Research shows that 18% of older people live alone while 43% report feeling lonely on a regular basis.[1] Lonely seniors are more likely to decline and die faster. The aforementioned UCSF study also found that people 60-years-old and older, who reported feeling lonely, saw a 45% increase in their risk for death. Isolated elders also had a 59% greater risk of mental and physical decline than their more social counterparts.

With these statistics coming to fore, we realised that this part of our society currently suffers from a form of social neglect, and we need to do something about it. As one writer put it, “At youngest we’re most pure. At oldest most experienced. But at both we’re the softest at heart. Maybe that’s why those ages get along most. It’s somewhere in the middle that we lose ourselves.”

Being among that middle age bracket, we decided to manifest the idea of being the softest at heart and get together as a force for community cohesion and understanding. In doing so, we were able to raise £500 to go towards this endeavour and delivered it on Christmas eve. Amongst our group we talked about the aforementioned quote and increased in our understanding and compassion towards others, especially the young and elderly.

One of our projects throughout the year was called Project Canvas. The idea was to associate one letter from “Poetical Word” to each month of 2016. We asked our audience to paint or draw something that represented them that night so we can capture a year long snapshot of our creative energy. In December we took the letter D on a canvas and had some of the kids at hospital draw on it as well as the parents leave messages of support.

We look forward to next year's charity endeavour with a renewed zeal. If you'd like to get involved, get in touch!

[1] Study conducted by researchers from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).  Source: AgingCare.com

Broken Circle Show 

Don City Radio Station


Two of our collaborators who go by the stage names of Mental Minks and K-Tellz run a weekly spoken word show at the hip hop community radio station Don City Radio in East London.


Towards the end of the year, Poetical Word was invited to share our creative journey so far and some poetry with the Broken Circle team. We were able to market our end of year event, UBUNTU, and charity endeavour, Xmas Gifts 4 All, in an attempt to maximise attendance as well as donations.


The experience served as a base for prospecting towards the future to possibly set up a more local and regular radio slot or podcast in the future.