I'm not sure if I mentioned on this blog that I started working at Nottingham University at the beginning of this academic year. It's certainly a job that's been keeping me busy but I've really been loving it. The more I get to know my students, the more of their work I read, the more amazed I am with what they are capable of.
Mouthy Poets being a case in point. Run by the hard working and talented performance poet cum student cum teacher cum just about everything else, Deborah Stevenson, this is a project to help young people find their voices. And it certainly has. Their first public performance last night was Say Sum Thin at the Nottingham Playhouse and featured Inua Ellams. I have to admit that it isn't very often I'd be up for a scheduled three hours of listening to poetry. But Deborah had brought some of the Mouthy Poets to perform for us at our end of year show so I knew just how good they were. The night went by in a flash and I enjoyed every minute of the performances.
The show ran outside poetry into music, rap, dance, news report mock ups, an open mic session, art exhibition, craft shop and performers from a competition battling it out in the final. Every performance was vibrant and full of life in a way that is rare for a literary-based event. My only disappointment was that there weren't more people from the established Nottingham literary scene to see these young people perform. The room was full but they deserved an even bigger and wider audience.
And it astounds me to think that this was all dreamt up, organised, run and beaten into shape by Deborah, a twenty year old undergraduate. She is twenty one next month. Who knows what she'll do then. I don't but I have a prediction. More great things.