Aisling Fahey is a member of the Barbican Young Poets run by Jacob Sam-La Rose and is currently studying English Literature at Exeter. She has performed at Rich Mix, the Barbican and Tate Britain and is a regular on the spoken word scene, having performed at events such as Bang Said The Gun and Come Rhyme With Me. She is a winner of the London Teenage Senior Slam 2009, the Museum of London Slam and Slambassadors UK. In November 2010 she formed part of the London All Star Team and took part in a poetry exchange in which she performed and led workshops across Chicago, USA.
Bethan is from Newcastle in North East England. She got into poetry through the rap and hip-hop music her older brother listens to, mainly people like the Beastie Boys, and Sage Francis. They may seem a million miles away from spoken word but everyone has to start somewhere. Her first slam experience was two years ago at the Wordcup competition in Manchester. She found it to be a really great experience and it was nice for her to make new friends from all over the country. She has continued writing since then, developing her style and working on performance techniques. She finds writing is a really good hobby because it reflects well on her school subjects such as English and History and it presents her with lots of new opportunities, such as being a Peer Mentor.
Catherine Woodward is a poet living and working in Norwich, she is originally from Preston, Lancashire. Catherine likes to write poems about mass consumerist culture and the internet, all her favourite writers are robots. Catherine regularly performs at spoken word events in Norwich, she is a member of the comedy quintet Fractured Discourse. In September Catherine will be launching a UK based blogzine for Internet Poetry, Bad Robot Poetry, she is also working on two free e-books, Disgrace ;) and Spot the Dog. Her pamphlet, Snapshots of Rude: from Rude Tube and the Idiot Box, is due to come out on Holdfire Press in late May.
Elmi is part of the prestigious Young Identity poetry collective Manchester. He writes poetry, short stories, plays and film. This dynamic artist/performer has performed across the country with poets like Jean Binta Breeze, Saul Williams, Chuck Perkins, The Speakeasy Collective and The Spoken Word All Stars. Elmi has had his words displayed in the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, the Platt Hall Gallery of Costume and the Whitworth Art Gallery. Elmi together with a cast of 7 other poets that form the Inna Voice ensemble are currently working on the Picasso Theory a piece of new theatre entirely in verse that Premiered at the Contact Theatre in the summer of 2011 and is due on a national tour in 2012.
Gayatri is part of Mouthy Poets, a writing group based at the Nottingham Playhouse. Working with the other poets has given her inspiration, confidence; a wealth of knowledge about writing and performance techniques and a great appreciation for what words can do for young people. Ever since she entered her first writing competition at 13 years old, she has been a great believer that creative writing and spoken word can change the way one sees the world and can help people through tough times. In September she is going to university in London to study Nursing, a profession she deeply admires. She knows that she will always write, maybe about the people she meets, maybe about the capital- but definitely about Shake the Dust.
After her first spoken word open-mic in October 2011, Georgina has developed a passion and ambition to promote the power of expression amongst youth, realised from her own personal experiences. Taken under the wing of Deborah Stevenson and the Mouthy Poets collective, she is set to facilitate a performance poetry workshop at the Lyric Lounge, Corby in July and hopes to continue in the same direction. Georgina aims to help unleash the educational and personal values of performance poetry and work towards becoming a professional spoken word artist. Being a peer mentor for Shake the Dust is an event she’s very excited to be a part of and a vital step towards her goals.
Since summer of 2011 Lewis Buxton has spent an inordinate amount of time toddling round Norwich and occasionally London in search of open mics. His style has been described as “full of socio-political anger” yet with a tendency for fatuity as well. He has successfully organised his own open mic night in Norwich called ‘Freewheelin’ and has recently been voted president of the University of East Anglia Creative Writing Society. Despite the long late night bus rides home after gigs, the occasional yet tedious drunken hecklers, the thin line between ‘poet’ and ‘pretentious idiot’, Lewis loves performance poetry and all that goes with it (except possibly having to write biographies in third person).
Kareem is an 18 year old boy who likes Thom Gunn’s definition of poetry best: “memorable speech”. He found the word Quaint and felt the meaning applied to him so goes by the pseudonym Kuaint (pronounced Kway-nt). He particularly loved it when Jay-Z said that you can find poetry in anything if you search for it. He loves the fact that through writing you can bring the Montagues and the Capulets together with a happier ending. Poetry, for him, gives him the chance to speak however he wants. Since having a stammer for God knows how long has impeded Kareem in face-to-face contact – he has replaced his face for a page, and he likes his new look. Hopefully he’ll be studying Creative Writing and Drama in University so Kareem can add a stage to his face as well.
Harry’s interest in poetry steams from his favorite quote regarding it, “at a touch of love, everyman becomes a poet”, and after dealing with the stresses of teenage life became actively involved in writing. Since 2010 Harry has been a member of the Barbican Young Poets collective run by Jacob Sam-La Rose and Dorothy Fryd, where he developed his writing and went on to have several of his pieces published. He developed his style of a mixture of personal and political commentary, addressing issues with his family, infatuation with freedom fighters and frustrations with modern society. In 2012 Harry won The Poetry Society’s national competition, Slambassadors along with seven other young poets and performed at the 100 Club in Oxford Street. He intends to continue writing through his gap year, where he hopes to use traveling as inspiration and then again through university.