An Evening of Poetry for Social Justice

The Finale to our Poetry for Social Justice competition was a two hour extravaganza of readings and discussions from our winners, numerous performers as well as from our wonderful Judges. The event took place on 27th May 2021 from 6 – 8pm virtually by Zoom.

Our Judges, Poets and Performers:

Desree is an award-winning spoken word artist, writer and facilitator based in London and Slough.  

Currently Artist in Residence for poetry collective EMPOWORD, and an Ambassador for MQ; Mental Health Research Charity, Desree explores intersectionality, justice and social commentary. 

Producer for both Word Up and Word Of Mouth, finalist in 2018’s Hammer & Tongue national final and TEDx speaker, she has featured at events around the UK and internationally, including Glastonbury Festival 2019, Royal Albert Hall and Bowery Poetry New York.  Burning Eye Publishers will be republishing Desree’s first pamphlet, I Find My Strength In Simple Things in May 2021 and is available for order at www.iamdesree.co.uk

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Claire Dyer’s poetry collections are published by Two Rivers Press, her novels by Quercus and The Dome Press. Her novel, ‘The Significant Others of Odie May’ is forthcoming from Matador in 2021. She curates Reading’s Poets’ Café, teaches creative writing and runs Fresh Eyes, an editorial and critiquing service. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway, University of London and is a regular contributor on BBC Radio Berkshire. Her website is: www.clairedyer.com

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Ian McKenzie has been a member of Amnesty for about 4 years and has taken an interest in human rights issues for as long as he can remember.

He was an English teacher for over 25 years and has been an examiner for English Language and English Literature for over 20 years. He is currently retired but continues his human rights activities with Amnesty. 

He has performed his poetry at various open mic events, around Reading: Bohemian Night at the Global Café; Open Page, Open Stage at Rising Sun Arts Centre; and Poets Café at South Street. 

More recently Ian has participated in international open mic poetry events and poetry workshops on Zoom, as well as continuing his activities with Boho Night and Poets Café events online.

Photograph of Professor Peter Robinson

Peter Robinson is a professor at the University of Reading and poetry editor for Two Rivers Press. He has been awarded the Cheltenham Prize, the John Florio Prize and two Poetry Book Society Recommendations for collections of his poetry and translations. His 2020 books were Bonjour Mr Inshaw, a sequence of poems accompanying paintings by the artist, and the critical study, Poetry & Money: A Speculation. In 2021 Shearsman Books, who issued his Collected Poems in 2017, will publish The Personal Art: Essays, Reviews and Memoirs, as well as Peter Robinson: A Portrait of his Work edited by Tom Phillips. Website: https://www.peterrobinsonpoet.co.uk/index.cfm

‘finest poet of his generation’—PN Review  ‘a major English poet’—Poetry Review

Dr Yasmine Shamma is Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Literature at the University of Reading. She is the author of Spatial Poetics: Second Generation New York School Poetry (OUP 2018), the editor of Joe Brainard’s Art (EUP 2019), We are the New York School (EUP 2022), co-editor of Making Home Away (forthcoming). She has worked as an editor of poetry journals, a speech-writer, and other various forms of writing and editing. She is currently Leverhulme Research Fellow, working on a book about the relationship between poetry and other genres, and their relationships to displacement. She also teaches poetry writing to refugees through local workshops at RRSG.