“Write to Be Counted” Launch – 04/10/17

Courtesy of Nicola Jackson at Write to Be Counted

Courtesy of Nicola Jackson at Write to Be Counted

You may know that I run a choir. What you probably don’t realise is that it’s full of multi-talented people. Not only are most of my singers busy mothers, they’re also artists and actresses, crocheters and famous shoe-complainers…and lately I discovered we have a poet amongst our ranks too.

Which is why I found myself at the Poetry Cafe, squeezing into a packed performance space with a hot cup of peppermint tea. My pet poet was reading from an anthology she’s featured in, along with several of the other writers. It’s called “Write to Be Counted” and it’s a collection of poems on the subject of human rights. Obviously that’s a massively broad topic and the poems being read that night were quite diverse in their focuses. The subject of Trump came up every so often, along with the refugee crisis. Nasrin Parvaz read about the experience of arriving in England and waking up at the immigration centre in Heathrow. John Gonhorry read a powerful poem entitled “You sit on the back row” about people passively watching current affairs and not doing anything about it. There was a poem inspired by a Georgian snuff box, a reflection on motherhood and a reminiscence about a candlelight vigil in August 1968, when the peace and love movement were starting to realise that war never would be over, however much they wanted it.  These are weighty subjects but beautifully expressed and always with a glimmer of hope for the future of humanity.

The anthology is out now on Amazon and I’d encourage you to buy a copy – profits go towards an organisation that promotes free speech around the world. At times like these, when peaceful protesters get called “sons of bitches” by their President, we need free speech more than ever. Not the freedom to be arseholes to each other on the internet, but the freedom to stand up to institutionalized prejudice without losing our liberty. I’d also encourage you to pop down to the Poetry Cafe if you’re in Covent Garden – it’s a lovely little space with lots of events going on, including some for families. And it had some nice-looking cake too. Which, human rights aside, is definitely the most important thing…

Courtesy of Nicola Jackson at Write to Be Counted

Courtesy of Nicola Jackson at Write to Be Counted

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