LISTEN Podcast : Prison Poetries at Royal Festival Hall 2014 with Marek Kazmierski, Pat Winslow, Hamja Ahsan
Hamja Ahsan organised a panel discussion about prison poetry at The Saison Poetry Library at Royal Festival Hall.
Not Shut Up magazine Managing Editor Marek Kazmierski joined human rights campaigner Hamja Ahsan and Pat Winslow, ex writer-in-residence at HMP Long Lartin prison(Talha’s creative writing tutor in prison) for a passionate discussion about the benefits of poetry and it’s ability to empower the lives of those locked up.
Talha Ahsan’s poetry is read out at the event.
Each member of the panel also read some of their favourite poems from behind bars.
Listen to or download a recording of the talk below – let us know what you think!
Location: Saison Poetry Library – Royal Festival Hall (5th Floor)
Date: Wednesday 5th November 2014
Venue: Saison Poetry Libary, 5th Floor, Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre.
Panel discussion on writing poetry in prison with poetry readings from Pat Winslow, ex writer-in-residence at HMP Long Lartin prison, Marek Kazmierski, editor of Not Shut Up magazine which celebrates art and writing by the unfree, and human rights campaigner Hamja Ahsan.
Event type / description : Panel discussion on writing poetry in prison, Q & A with poetry readings from Pat Winslow (Writers in Prison foundation) and absent prisoners. Pat Winslow will discuss teaching poetry to prisoners, and how prison inspired some of her poetry. Hamja Ahsan will talk about the role of poetry in justice campaigning and progressive prisoners rights advocacy. He will also talk about his engagement with the Saison poetry library, discovering a landscape of prisoner poetry. He will also read poetry from prisoners in solitary confinement and his brother Talha Ahsan who won Platinum Koestler Award 2012, whose poetry was projected in Royal Festival Hall. Marek will talk about the future, history and founding of Not Shut Up magazine, their new arts space in Oval and read from prisoners writings.
Name of performers: Pat Winslow, Marek Kazmierski, Hamja Ahsan
Organiser: Hamja Ahsan
Short bio & discussion topics:
Pat Winslow is poet, creative-writing teacher and of part of the Writers in Prisons foundation. She was writer-in-residence of HMP Long Lartin prison, and Talha Ahsan writing tutor, leading classes with prisoners. She will read from poems produced by prisoners she has taught and her work inspired by her experiences in prison. She is winner of Rialto 2012 and Keats-Shelley Award 2013. Her latest collection Kissing Bones is published by Templar.
Hamja Ahsan is an artist, curator, producer and human rights activist. Shortlisted for the LIBERTY Human Rights Awards 2013 for the use of poetry and creative arts in Free Talha Ahsan campaign on extradition law and Al Hamra Award for Excellence in the Arts 2013. Ahsan is the founder and director of the DIY Cultures festival ( http://diycultures.tumblr.com/
) and Other Asias ( http://otherasias.webnode.com/
) a transnational artists and writers organisation based in London and South Asia.
Marek Kazmierski is editor of Not Shut Up magazine, UK’s leading magazine of prisoner writing. Marek is a writer, translator, publisher and visual artist. Marek escaped communist Poland as a child, studied literature and comparative religion in London, then worked in a range of settings with excluded communities (refugees, prisoners, care in the community patients). Until recently, he was the Head of Diversity at HMYOI Feltham. He is a member of English PEN’s Readers and Writers Committee and runs OFF_PRESS, an independent publishing house. -
Poetry Library Collection relevance : Hamja Ahsan has drawn on the poetry library collection of prison poetry and poetry for prisons, discovering H-block poems, Ho Chi Minh, Pat Arrowsmith prison poetry in reflecting on his justice campaign. He has drawn from anthologies produced for campaigning. Talha Ahsan has been projected on Royal Festival Hall as winner of 2012 Koestler Award whilst extradited to solitary confinement. Gareth Peirce (Talha Ahsan’s solicitor) has spoken of his case at a recent event with Chase Mader at Royal Festival Hall. Marek Kazmierski’s Not Shut Up magazine is publisher of the Koestler Awards writing, whose annual exhibition is within the Royal Festival Hall. Not Shut Up magazine has been requested as a subscription for the poetry library – this would present a public opportunity to showcase and draw attention to it. Pat Winslows recent collections Kissing Bones, Unpredictable Geometry and Harvest are all stocked by the Saison poetry library. Templar publishers also be showcased.