EPISODE 6: Searching for Utopia

As part of Poetry & Lyrics Festival 2017, Poet in the City Producers present this special edition podcast episode.

Together we explore how the realms of poetic language and music have helped map the search for a perfect world - be it personal, political, or spiritual. We examine the potential for Utopia, and its flaws, taking the listener on a creative journey to imagine the impossible. A unique arrangement of performances, reflection and debate with Dr Ruth Padel, the Reverend Lucy Winkett, James Massiah and Niles Hailstones from Asheber & The Afrikan Revolution.

This special edition podcast episode is brought to you by Poet in the City Producers Axel Kacoutié, Amica Sciortino Nowlan, Ariel Silverman, Louisa Danquah, Milica Cortanovacki and Olivia Amura.


Ruth Padel is an award-winning poet and tutor of Poetry at Kings College London. From her first publication, Alibi (1985), to her most recent work, Tidings (2016), Padel has combined her interests in the natural world, migration and history to establish a unique voice, publishing anthologies and non-fiction works on topics such as Greek mythology, tiger conservation in Asia and the life of her great-grandfather Charles Darwin.

James Massiah is a contemporary poet, musician and DJ whose work ranges across the themes of mortality, religion and sex. Massiah has given readings at Tate Britain, the Southbank Centre and the Houses of Parliament since breaking into the South London poetry scene, alongside founding The A & The E in 2012, an organisation that discusses the arts and philosophy.

Asheber and the Afrikan Revolution are a collective of musicians and teachers who combine the styles of Afrikan, Reggae, Jazz, Soul and Spoken Word to convey their message of making a positive difference in the world. The group has given electric performances at the likes of the British Museum, Vibes and Pressure and Afrikan Liberation Day, since their creation in 2007 by Niles Hailstones.

Reverend Lucy Winkett trained as a professional soprano before becoming rector of St. James’ Church Piccadilly in 2010. Rev.d Winkett is a regular contributor to Radio 4’s ‘Thought for the Day”, and her book “Our Sound is Our Wound” was published in 2010.

Poetry, Music and Audio featured on this Programme:

  • “My idea of Utopia is…” montage featuring: Caprice, Rasheeda Page-Muir (Poet & Feminist), Jon, Inge, Nick Cope (Singer/Songwriter), Maz, Dee
  • Sunset on the Coast near Naples by Ruth Padel (2016), written for the Bristol Festival of Ideas: Contemporary Poets and Utopia. Read by Ruth Padel at Kings College London on 04.04.17.
  • “Which songs or poems evoke your idea of Utopia?” montage featuring: Isis, Neil, Charlotte, Rasheeda Page-Muir, Dee, Katie Melua (Singer/Songwriter)
  • “On a scale from 1 to Utopia, where are we?” montage featuring: Neil, Isis, Caprice, Nick Cope, Dee, Inge, Katie Melua, Jon, Elaine Mitchener (Vocal & Movement Artist), Linda, Rasheeda Page-Muir, Maz and Chris
  • Fly Me Home by James Massiah. Read by James Massiah at LBC Radio on 04.04.17
  • “Can we ever reach Utopia?” montage featuring: Neil, Inge and Joanna.
  • Asheber & the Afrikan Revolution Live Showreel 2013