Freedom Of Speech – Podcast with Mazin Saleem

The theme  that Poetic Debaters will be challenged for  Pop Up is Freedom of Speech.

Here is an interview with English PEN Programmer Mazin Saleem, speaking about the important work PEN International does to raise awareness around writers, poets and journalists imprisoned for their work and the relevance of Freedom of speech as a principle.

The times of the questions have been noted here.
00:08  –  What are the fundamental principles of Freedom of Speech
01:57   –   Satire – One person’s joke is another person’s insult
03:39  –  The opposite of Free Speech?
04:26  –   Does class have an effect on your right to freedom of speech?
05:40  –  What work does English PEN do?
07:40  –  Writers’ responsibilities to other writers – Case study  Enoh Meyomesse
09:30  – How do you think being imprisoned might effect a writers writing?
10:41  –  What kind of reasons do people get imprisoned for?
11.32  –  Freedom of Speech in the UK
12:32  –  What are the overt ‘cons’ to Freedom of Speech?
13:36  –  What happens when freedom of speech is genderised, racialised or put in generational categories?
14:52  –  What is the value of freedom of speech in terms of our development as human beings?

What are your immediate thoughts?  What poem could you draft  from your immediate thoughts?

Poetry Prompt
“You ask this tongue to understand chains and it replies…”
“Stop your words, there are no ears  to catch them here because…”

~ Zena


Greer Dewdney – PDP Poet –

-5Yes Greer Dewdney! You complete the PDP team going up to Iron Bridge on the 19th April. Welcome!

It has been said of Greer Dewdney that her poems are like monkey bars, with powerful swings  of narrative throughout braced at either end by solid, grounding images. A mild-mannered archaeologist by day, Greer brings the ideologies and experiences of a young woman native to London into her work, which has been nurtured and challenged through collaborations with Jacob Sam-La Rose, Pascale Petit, Karen McCarthy Woolf, John Hegley and Ian McMillan amongst others.  She is a Barbican Young Poets alumna, and has performed in venues from the Tate Modern to the Birmingham Rep Theatre.

Sibling Rivalry

My brother was born on a blue beanbag on the living room floor.
I lay oblivious in my parents’ bed
and in the morning he seemed swaddled in the black and red curtains.
Three weeks later, I threw a two litre bottle of pop across the same living room.

That was my first attempt to get rid of him.

My second attempt involved scrawling his name in chalk
across the upstairs hallway.
Yellow calligraphy as high as my head
spelling out the unnecessary presence.

I was foiled by his not yet being able to hold a pencil.

Having failed with cunning, I returned to brute force, Continue reading

Gabriel Akamo – PDP Poet

-4And the Poetic Debaters Pop Up team is near completion. We welcome Gabriel Akamo!

Gabriel is a young poet and performer from North London. One of the winners of SLAMbassadors slam poetry competition by the Poetry Society in 2012, Gabriel has performed alongside Joelle Taylor and Dizraeli at the 100 Club  showcase night Performed at Literature Along the Thames, Tongue Fu ,  Keats’ House Festival in 2012,  Rich Mix, Portcullis House in Westminster for Parliament Week and at  the Poetry Café in Covent Garden. Other performances include recording classic love poetry and an original work for the  Peace Camp 2012 project with Fiona Shaw CBE.

Gabriel’s  keen interest in theatre, drives him to develop his writing skills and experience  for theatre stages  He has performed an original theatrical spoken word piece inspired by the 2011 production of Doctor Faustus at Shakespeare’s Globe. He is currently taking part in the NT Connections  Festival at the Artsdepot, North Finchley (and hopefully at the National Theatre). Some of his influences are  Great War poets such as Owen, Rosenberg and Sassoon and recorded an original piece  Goodbye Piccadilly exhibition launching in May 2014; the exhibition is by London’s Transport Museum as part of their First World War Centenary celebrations. Gabriel’s Christian faith and upbringing is a key influence on his work and a constant source of inspiration.


Israel (Exodus 19)

Before we crossed the desert
And arrived at the river,
The red sunset left our beaten brows ablaze with brazen cries, Continue reading

The Supporters of The Poetic Debaters Project


The Poetic Debaters Project is being supported by the Pop Up Storytelling Festival, Poetry Society, and English Pen.  Each organisation have been instrumental by investing belief, funds and some advice on the development of PDP and recruitment of young poets.

imagesThis is a shout out to Philip Cowell, Lucy Wood (Poetry Society),  Louise Sawn from English PEN. Special thanks to Dylan Caulder (Pop Up’s visionary and Creator), the incredible inspirational Joelle Taylor (UK National Slambassadors Creator at The Poetry Society) and  Mazin Saleem (PEN). Thank You for all your input.PDP logo green for change


PDP Poet Angelina Chudi

-7Great to have you as part of the mission, Angelina!

As an actor, Angelina is already accustomed to putting on performances. But upon discovering poetry in October 2013 she was exposed to a whole new world and has been hooked ever since. Angelina is a member of poetry writing class, Poets Platform, through them she gained the skill and confidence to perform at various poetry events such as BoxediN and Word4Word’s 10th Anniversary. Her background in acting and performance can always ensure that she’s one to watch!

Sometimes I just want to run away

To where? I couldn’t tell you
I just wanna run
To run and run and run
Run until the drumming of my heart echos the beat, the beat, the beat of my feet Continue reading

Orla Price – Brand New PDP Poet

-5I worked with Orla on Voices That Shake! Youth Arts and Activism project. Orla is a sensitive and emotive poet whose performances are passionate and reflective. I look forward to her contribution to PDP Pop Up.

Orla Price is a former member of the Dublin Writers forum whom she performed with and a member of the SHAKE network in London. She blogs at

Internal landscape

Out there in space the words they spin, my words
But when I speak, if I speak
If I muster that courage, it’s a mere leak
No cascading waterfall, more like a drip through a stonewall
I want to construct palaces to the miracle that is languages
Instead there are only shadows of monuments built inside.
And they say it’s easy, well they lied.
Each word a brick carefully laid, Continue reading