What is an Activist? 
Poet in the City Digital Event for National Poetry Day 2020

In line with National Poetry Day 2020’s theme of “Vision”, Poet in the City spoke to poets who are changing perceptions around contemporary social issues. How do these poets and performers feel about being called an activist? Is it a label they chose or one that is placed upon them? We heard what it means to be an activist in 2020, in the wake of a global pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement.

We were joined by Khadijah Ibrahiim, Joelle Taylor and Amina Atiq, who performed their poetry and answered the question of "What is an activist?", discussing their work, their actions and their vision.

Meet the Poets

Khadijah Ibrahiim (host) was born in Leeds of Jamaican parentage. Educated at the University of Leeds, she is a literary activist, theatre maker and published writer, who combines’ inter-disciplinary art forms to re-imagine poetry as performance theatre. Hailed as one of Yorkshire’s most prolific poets by the BBC, her work appears in university journals and poetry anthologies; such as "Hair" (Suitcase Press, 2006) "Loss" (Magma Poetry Press 2019) and "The Sea needs no Ornaments" (Peepal Tree Press 2020). Her collection 'Another Crossing' was published by Peepal Tree Press 2014.

Joelle Taylor is an award-winning poet, author and educator who completed a world tour with her last collection Songs My Enemy Taught Me. She founded SLAMbassadors, the UK national youth poetry slam championships, as well as the international spoken-word project Borderlines. She is widely anthologised, the author of 3 collections of poetry and is currently completing her debut collection of inter-connecting short stories The Night Alphabet. Her new poetry collection CUNTO was featured on the Radio 4 programme Butch, which she also presented, and will be published by Saqi Books in June 2021. She is the commissioning editor of Out-Spoken Press, and also the host of Out-Spoken Live at the Southbank Centre.

Amina Atiq is a Yemeni-Scouse writer, performance artist & activist. Curious Mind Young Associate & BBC Words First Finalist 2019. Atiq’s work explores the conflict of her dual- identity of her heartland, Yemen and her homeland Liverpool. She is writing a one-woman poetry theatre play, revisiting her grandmother’s 1970’s Yemeni- British household.

Currently a remote writer in resident Metal Southend, working on a new project ‘Yemeni Women on the Frontline’, while working on a new commissioned writing in response to the historic Sutton Manor. Her new work can be found on IWM, Writing on the Wall and DadaFest.

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