by Asia Patel
In 2013 I was amongst around twenty poets long-listed for the first Young Poet Laureate for London prize. I remember meeting Warsan Shire that day; she seemed quiet, perhaps nervous, yet confident and bold. We performed one piece to a panel of judges, and I was either before or after Shire. Although she prefers writing to performing her work, I remember being blown away by not only the words, but the delivery of her poem Ugly. I remember that I had already heard lines quoted by Kayo Chingonyi from a workshop he was leading for students at the school where I work. It was no surprise when Shire was shortlisted, much less when she won.
To have the power to write poetry that sticks in the mind is certainly a gift that Shire bestows in much of her work. I have since had the pleasure of seeing Shire again at the launch of the first Podium Poets anthology, by Spread the Word, and attended workshops lead by her on an Arvon retreat. As an aspiring poet, she is an inspiration to many as a writer and as a human being.
by Jess Howard
TW: Suicide, self-harm, anxiety.
A year ago, hearing the words adult colouring books would have conjured up bizarre images of decorating mildly pornographic imagery with gel pens and coloured pencils. Fast forward to the end of 2015 and colouring books designed specifically for adults has become the new craze. From Harry Potter-themed books to those focused on the 1960s, almost everyone has encountered this new fad at some point. But where does it stem from, and does it really work?