The Wire


Roger Robinson calls for one hundred poems about Windrush

“There’s a responsibility being squarely placed on the shoulders of artists in these troubled and dark times”, says poet and King Midas Sound's Roger Robinson

Roger Robinson has placed a call out over Twitter for artists and writers to send him their Windrush poetry. The announcement read:

“All poet family. I've had enough of how Caribbean elders are being treated. My friend n fellow poet @ZenaEdwards mum has to fill out a Windrush form to stay in the country she lives ffs. I’m writing a poem about [Windrush] and I want to gather a hundred poems about it. PlsShare #vexedandvocal”

The tweet comes after Edwards and Robinson had worked together at Battersea Arts Centre with Apples and Snakes in a production called Rallying Cry. “It was an immersive piece of theatre that illustrated the conversation and thoughts of 19 poets with a creative citizenship practice,” explains Robinson over email.

“There’s a responsibility being squarely placed on the shoulders of artists in these troubled and dark times. Many poets and artists have had to upgrade their Creative Citizenship practice, by that I mean use their art practice to challenge stale and outdated notions of who, what or how a citizen could or should be”.

He continues: “All week I had been talking with Zena and other poets that art can effect strong emotional changes and that the proximity it creates can defeat apathy. So when Zena Edwards posted in social media that her mother had to fill in those degrading Windrush forms I knew something had to be done. At first I put out a social media call out for a hundred poems for Windrush respect and then art organisations; and the poets started sending poems and organisations like Beatfreeks in Birmingham and Apples and Snakes in London lent their support.”

With the works, Robinson plans to host a poetry show and compile a document of work with proceeds going to those affected by the scandal.