Following a quick spin in the great outdoors in St James’s Gardens while the weather held, Everyman Theatre’s long-running monthly open mic poetry and spoken word night A Lovely Word is heading back into the ether after testing the waters with successful online outings in May, June and July, when their nights in featured the likes of World Poetry Slam Champion Harry Baker.
This time, the popular evening marks the start of Black History Month and also celebrates National Poetry Day, with Polari-shortlisted poet Dean Atta hitting up the headline spot at 8pm, then a carefully selected line-up of 20 open mic performers in the “poetry exchange” section from 8.25pm.
This is your chance to catch Dean Atta live without having to venture to the capital – he’s described by Time Out London as “one of the UK’s finest poets” and by the Huffington Post as “one of the leading lights in London’s poetry scene”.
The team behind A Lovely Word says: “Poetry has never had a more important role to play in our community and we are more excited than ever to be bringing our monthly spoken word night back online.” They look forward to the “chance to come together … connect with other people”, saying, “It’s a chance to speak, be heard and listen that wouldn’t be possible without the fantastic selection of poets from near and far that make up our night.”
This is your chance to catch Dean Atta live without having to venture to the capital – he’s described by Time Out London as “one of the UK’s finest poets” and by the Huffington Post as “one of the leading lights in London’s poetry scene”. His debut poetry collection, I Am Nobody’s Nigger, was shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize while his novel, The Black Flamingo, was awarded the 2020 Stonewall Book Award, and shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal, YA Book Prize and Jhalak Prize. His critically acclaimed writing deals with themes of race, gender and sexuality, and Benjamin Zephaniah says: “Dean Atta’s poetry is as honest as truth itself.” Named as one of the most influential LGBT people in the UK by the Independent on Sunday, Dean’s work has also appeared on the BBC and Channel 4, and he has a regular column in Attitude.
A Lovely Word Online will be streamed on Facebook Live and Youtube, and will be available on Zoom (check back to the link to the Zoom invitation nearer the time). Open mic performers should sign up in advance – the window will open at 12 noon on 21 September and close at 12 noon on 25 September. Performers are allowed a maximum of four minutes, no hateful language is tolerated. “Show your love and appreciation for all other poets,” says the ALW team, which aims to support both emerging and emerged performance poets through artist development and advice (keep an eye out for their ongoing workshop programme). A Lovely Word is completely free, supported by the Everyman & Playhouse and Arts Council England.