The Bookroom, Uncategorized

No Witty Title Here – it’s Too Poetic and Incomprehensible.

Jeremy Jeremy Jeremy!

I have to say this is more of a ranting response than a well formed argument however, he’s stepped on a tiny nerve deliberately winding up poets…


It’s pretty silly actually, why doesn’t Jeremy Paxman encourage “ordinary” people (whoever he means by “ordinary”) to engage with poets and poetry? Poetry is not a pop song with sampled verses, auto-tuned vocals and lyrics written by someone who isn’t the singer; mass produced for commercial use in clubs like Broad St bars. It’s a completely different culture and it’s accessible for those who want it. I know so many poets, including myself, that have connected with someone “ordinary”, who have never thought they’d like poetry because of the prose they’d learnt in school. Maybe it’s time to change the syllabus? I can name poets that run workshops in schools engaging with young people all around! I can name poets that have successfully produced EP’s out of their poems! Poets that make a good living out of what they do! So surely Paxman doesn’t know every single poet and poem that exists out there – his generalisation just isn’t good enough in terms of a whole demographic of poets who already do exactly what he’s talking about.

And what is that with making poems simpler? Not all poetry is understood because it’s the expression of the poet/writer! As George Szirtes said in his article in the Guardian today, ‘poetry is felt, not fathomed’. So why should we compromise our art?


Step out of London, rub your eyes, see the rest of the country… The rest of the world Jeremy! Poetry is massive – I meet new poets nearly every week! I take my friends who aren’t into poetry to events when I can drag them along and they enjoy it or at least say ‘actually that wasn’t that bad!’. So for him and the judges to scrutinise the work of artists for them to prove that their poem is worthy of a prize based on it’s accessibility to the “ordinary”, poems that probably actually has some real meaning and credibility unlike those mass produced pop club songs that shows exactly how “ordinary” he is… Step outside the bubble of wealth and stop stirring it up, or at least encourage for lesser known poets to enter poetry competitions such as the Forward Prize – there are a lot of poets who feel that they haven’t even got a chance in winning!

Maybe Jeremy, you should come along to Poetry Jam first Thursday of the Month, Urban Coffee Company – Birmingham, it’s free entry, I’ll even buy you a coffee and a cake, and you tell me the poetry is incomprehensible?

J x



Uncategorized, Women-kind

The ‘F’ Word

2014-05-05 19.01.36

“You’re one of them!’
“One of who?’
“One of those feminists!”
“No I’m a woman!”
“So you’re a feminist!”
“No, I’m a woman. A woman that simply refuses to be your doormat, prostitute or victim to your inequalities formed by sexist, prejudice and sadist determinations and decisions. Anyone can be a feminist, I’m just a woman who has the power to say no. I didn’t earn it, it was always mine to claim.”

I previously wrote an article that was a write up about a lovely event I went to called Alto. In it, I had discussed what feminism (the “F” bomb) means to me and I had decided that feminism means being a human that wants to fight for change (not my exact words but something to that effect). Since then however I have been thinking and the thought has been niggling at me for a long time, I keep asking myself, ‘Do I really like the term Feminism.’ And is it really a term or a label?

For centuries girls and women have been fighting for women’s rights, right from Joan of Ark to Pocahontas, Emmeline Pankhurst to Malala Yousafrai. When Joan of Ark was told she could only wear women’s clothes and said she would rather go naked, the name feminist was not around, the term did originate from France in the 1800’s (as feminisme) however it wasn’t until the 1960’s that it was popularly used. So if it wasn’t used up until the 60’s, can we agree that we did just fine without it?
Unless you’re an extremist feminist – branding all men the same, hating every male specimen that ever existed and wishing you could send them all into a vacuum somewhere in space – then you have a good cause and fighting for equality is a beautiful cause, always. But it seems that the more feminist work that is being done, the feminist name is a labelling of women with bad connotations from anyone that disagrees or dislikes the modern-day feminism movements. Just how the terms racist, fascist, sexist – holds bad relations. I guess it depends what side of the fence you’re on – but you don’t see a racist happily waving a flag saying – ‘I’m a racist!’.
I feel as if the more good women’s rights work that is being done the more the term is being used as a brandish and not a celebration which is a huge shame, because not every feminist does generalise all men and hold sexist views against the male species, as it is a massive contradiction on the fight for gender equality.

The other thing that I think about is whether you can call every female a feminist. I proudly wave a flag for what feminism is supposed to stand for, but I’m not sure I would call myself one; firstly because I don’t like to think of myself as someone who is labelled as something, I already carry enough of those around in everyday life, first being a girl, second being of mixed heritage – they both come with their labels and stereotype prejudices. But what about the women, who simply say ‘No!’? Is it fair to label them as feminists because they recognise that they, as a person not just as a woman, have a right to say no or yes to whatever they like? If they don’t want to be a housewife but a successful business woman? Is that a protest by being a feminist or simply a choice?

Possibly we should think about where we place the name feminist and who we place it onto. You don’t even have to be a woman to be a feminist, you just have to be someone that believes in the fight for women’s rights and equality, so is the name ‘feminist’ really important today and is it right to use it?

J x


Could you live on £1 a day?

There are some things that people would do for charity and other things people simply wouldn’t. I wonder what percentage would not give up their usual daily intake of food and drink for a great cause? Who would be willing to live on as little as £1 a day for 5 days to raise money for the people who have less than that and those who have nothing at all?

An old friend of mine is doing just that with Live Below the Line

It takes the greatest of hearts and will power to be able to commit to something as tough as this, but the rewards, the cause it’s so worthy this act of kindness cannot go unsupported. So you can support Tamsin by just simply donating something towards this cause. You don’t have to be willing to live on £1 a day to help, you just need to want to help.

Click the link to show your support and donate what you can: