Tag Archives: Benjamin Zephaniah

NaPoWriMo 2019 Day 9




  • If you are falling behind – do NOT worry.
  • Do NOT put pressure on yourself to;

a) complete a poem

b) write an amazing poem

  • On one of the days you have truly enjoyed, write a few sentences reflecting this and save it in your NaPo doc. file – or post it on your website. Then when you find yourself dipping, go back and read it and carry on.


As always to read the whole post click the Day to visit the main site.

Day Nine

Today, our featured participant is MD Kerr, where the business jargon for Day Eight produced a hallucinatory excursion into the language of companies advertising specialty tile. We know how exciting that sounds, but trust us.

Our video for the day is this BBC film of a poem called “The British.” When the sun never sets on your empire, you wind up with a lot of varied cuisine! Keep your eyes peeled for the cameo by a Roman centurion. Perhaps he’s going to check on Hadrian’s Wall?

Our prompt for the day asks you to engage in another kind of cross-cultural exercise, as it is inspired by the work of Sei Shonagon, a Japanese writer who lived more than 1000 years ago. She wrote a journal that came to be known as The Pillow Book. In it she recorded daily observations, court gossip, poems, aphorisms, and musings, including lists with titles like “Things That Have Lost Their Power,” “Adorable Things,” and “Things That Make Your Heart Beat Faster.” Today, I’d like to challenge you to write your own Sei Shonagon-style list of “things.” What things? Well, that’s for you to decide!

Happy writing!

NaPo Process Notes


I read the poem I THINK I’VE GOT IT ALREADY, THANKS from the participants site. I really enjoyed reading M D Kerr’s poem and also liked the website. I don’t often save the participant poems to my resources, but today there has been a copy & paste.

It made me realise with the ‘good bones’ of Maggie Smith’s poem and the ‘dream home’ here, that yesterday another (non-NaPo related) activity I was doing online was watching videos of abandoned homes. I like the parallel that M D Kerr managed and the generous gifting of words freeforpoets_badge-red on this particular website. You can also listen to her NaPo poems on Soundcloud.


I then watched The British.


I then read about the Japanese writer Sei Shōnagon, I love the idea of The Pillow Book// Makura No Sōshi.

On Writing 

I am off to think about my own list of things.

Well so I thought… what I actually did is re-read the PDF of The Pillow Book and chose a title – Things That Have Lost Their Power, in my head I was about to write more than a list, I was going to elaborate.

Then this very short poem wrote itself.

Things That Have Lost Their Power


Catholic guilt,

daily showers,

never swallowing gum.


Benjamin Zephaniah – Birmingham Literature Festival


blf logo

To Do Wid’ Me

Benjamin Zephaniah 

Film Screening – To Do Wid Me: A Film Portrait of Benjamin Zephaniah

October 9 @ 4:00 pm – 6:30 pmTo Do Wid Me is a film portrait of Benjamin Zephaniah by Pamela Robertson-Pearce drawing on both live performances and informal interviews. It shows him performing his poetry for different audiences and talking about his work, life, beliefs and much else. You see him live on stage at Ledbury Poetry Festival, Newcastle’s Live Theatre, Hexham’s Queen’s Hall and Brunel University, and engaging with school children at Keats House in London, where he was writer-in-residence. As well as the main film, the DVD also has a bonus feature: music videos made by Zephaniah with the Beta Brothers.blf Benjamin-Zephaniah1-for-website-300x225Introduced by Neil Astley, Editor & Managing Director for Bloodaxe Books, and followed by Questions & Answers with Pamela Robertson-Pearce.In Association with Bloodaxe logo

© Birmingham Literature Festival 2013

Wednesday the 9th October I was booked for a full day of work on the understanding that I had already booked events at the Literature Festival and had to finish in a timely manner to make my way into the City. Well two reasons I am good at what I do is I am committed and thorough – so I couldn’t leave before I had completed marking and then my car was blocked. Traffic into the city was mad and although I found parking- prayers answered… I was half an hour late! Which meant I missed Neil Astley’s introduction, gutted – especially after meeting Simon Thirsk at the network event in Oswestry, back in September.

Ironically I was booked the next day for more work at the same place & could have caught up with paperwork then!

The film made by about Benjamin Zephianiah was great. I use his poetry a lot in schools and when I was a performance poet on the Leicester circuit I met a good friend of his Oscar, who also wrote great poetry and made amazing Carribean dishes!

I wanted to see this film and am a bit gutted I missed the first hour, the seats were uncomfortable and plastic and I doubt I could have managed the whole 2 hours after a full days work!

It was inspiring and poignant and insightful. A very enjoyable show to watch.