Poetic Debaters in Essex

PDP essex group pic

Pupils from Castle View and Cornelius Vermuyden Schools

PDP Pop UP has been on a bit of a hiatus but sessions will resume again at the end of June with schools in London in the Swiss Cottage area for The Pop Up Festival of Stories on 13th July.

Meantime, at the beginning of May Sam Berkson and I went into two schools, Castle View and Cornelius Vermuyden Schools, in Essex to run PDP session for the Pop Up Festival High House Production Park. It was a beautiful day and the outside stage brought out a little extra energy from our young poets.

The theme the pupils from chose was ” Does your background affect your chances of success for your ambition?”

On a coin flip Cornelius Vermyuden opted to argue against the point – no, your background does not affect your chances of success.
Castle view had this one in the bag – obviously your background will affect your successes in life and with some strong writing to highlight poverty, difficult upbringing and charismatic performances, they argued the point well.

Cornelius Vermuyden had strong writing in favour of the posed question. They took the approach that circumstances can test you character, challenge you to step up your game. They spoke about class and expectations. But ultimately, many believed that although their own backgrounds were humble, and sometimes, demanding and stressful, it did not affect their drive to believe in themselves.

A thought provoking group of 13 and 14 year olds.

Our judges were the duo 4i2i – Tyler Day and Amiee McWeeney
We had the charismatic, dry witted Essex born Richard Purnell hosting, entertaining both children and parents a like. Richard will also be hosting the Swiss Cottage date.

Listen to some of the day’s poetic debating with PDP poets from Castle View and Cornelius Vermuyden.

0.00 –  Richard Purnell, the host- Intro, debate rules and meet the judges
2:32 – Sonny – I come From
4:55 – Billy – I will Succeed
7:31 – Judging & jokes
9:04  – Jacob, Katie and Rhiannon
11:40 – Louise and Michaela – believe and love me, I am
13.23 – Nina and Grace – Gravity
14.33 – Michaela Louise, Rebecca and Grace I come from group piece
17:12 – scoring. And the Winners are…?

Read poems by Castle View School pupils. (please zoom in and pause.)

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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

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 www.sillical.blogspot.com

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

Welcome Ruth Bertulis-Fernandes! – PDP Poet

-4Ruth is a twenty year old poet and writer from London. She has been fortunate enough to work with a range of writers including Jacob Sam-La Rose, Nick Makoha and Jasmine Cooray.

Ruth has performed in venues including the Barbican Centre, Southbank Centre and British Library. In the summer of 2012 she worked as a Young Producer for the Southbank Centre’s Poetry Parnassus Festival. She has worked at the Barbican Centre as an assistant for their experimental theatre scheme, ‘Pit Lab’ and as a volunteer for an English Immersion Camp in Spain, where she helped Spanish children write poetry. As a result of her work as a young ambassador for the Southbank Centre’s ‘Woman of the World’ Festival in 2013 she was invited to speak on a panel about young people and feminism with the poet Caroline Bird.

She has shadowed Jacob Sam-La Rose on a school project in Chelsea and Jasmine Cooray on a poetry and mental health workshop at the Dragon Cafe. Ruth was a participant in the Barbican Young Poets scheme (2011-2012) and the National Theatre’s ‘New Views’ playwriting scheme (2012-2013), for which she wrote a thirty minute play. As an Editor for Spinebreakers.co.uk, she reviews books, interviews authors and reports on literary events. She is a member of the London-based poetry collective Burn After Reading, and often participates in their monthly performances at The Gallery Cafe. She recently won an Ideastap brief to participate in the National Theatre’s ‘Young Studio’ where she will work with a variety of theatre practitioners.

Ruth will be studying English Literature at University College London from September 2014.

Publish and be Damned

I want to publish you.
I want to put you out there
so you can see, Continue reading

Russeni Fisher – PDP Poet

-2Welcome Russeni to The Poetic Debaters Project 2014!

Russeni’s interest in Spoken Word began in 2011 when he performed as the opening act at the oval House ‘Writers Rave’. Soon after this, he was invited to the ‘Poets Platform’ at the Theatre Royal Stratford East.  His work at ‘Poets Platform’ encouraged him to pursue a career in Poetry & Spoken Word. Since then, he has become a highly sought after artist, with performances at many shows across London, including ‘Heart Felt’, ‘Under The Skin’, ‘Bang Said the Gun’, and ‘Poets Manifesto’, to name a few. In the past year, Russeni has performed in venues such as the Olympic Park and Roundhouse, and he has dazzled many audience with his dramatic, engaging and attention grabbing style of performance. He is now a part of the Spoken Word Group ‘Rhythm Of Men’.