Performance Poetry for Black History Month

Eric Ngalle Charles

Eric Ngalle Charles

Cardiff’s Central Library has recently begun holding regular Open Space events for writers to perform their work or hold a book launch. These are free to attend, and a great way for writers to reach a wider audience. This month’s Open Space featured four local poets, in celebration of October’s National Poetry Day and Black History Month. The event was well attended, and included musical elements as well as the spoken word.   

Eric Ngalle Charles is a local storyteller and performer. Originally from Cameroon, he was forced to flee his home as a teenager, becoming the victim of human traffickers and ending up in Russia for two years. He now lives in Cardiff, and his work reflects the trauma and pain of his own experience as an asylum seeker.

clare e potter

clare e potter

Welsh performance poet, clare e. potter spent a number of years living in New Orleans, and wrote her book Spilling Histories in response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Her poetry appears intriguing on the page, but this was the first time I’d heard her perform. Many of the poems contain song, and they become far more powerful in performance.

Ric Hool read to us from his latest book Between So Many Words, which is dedicated to his friend and fellow poet Chris Torrance. I particularly enjoyed two of his poems – ‘It’s about Soil’ and ‘Clean Living in Difficult Circumstances’.

Ric Hool

Ric Hool

Local poet, Mike Jenkins, entertained us with some political poems (some serious, some ironic), including one about the cuts in Rhondda Cynon Taf, and another entitled ‘I’m British Because…’ which he was apparently booed at when reading in Tremorfa. He finished his set with a musical poem, complete with mouth organ.

Open Space is a great new venture which has already been successful in providing free, open space for writers to promote their work. You can find out more by searching on Eventbrite for ‘open space Cardiff’, where you can also book (free) tickets. The next event will be on 5th November, when local writer Louise Walsh will be discussing her recently published book, Black River, set in the aftermath of the Aberfan disaster.

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