Lemnsissay

What is your favourite word?

Frog. 🙂

What poem/piece of writing first had an impact on you?

‘Macavity’ by TS Elliot (one of the Cats’ poems).

Spoken word, books, music, film…but which medium of your creativity do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy writing poetry most, I think.  But there is nothing like a live audience!

I love the idea of public art through poetry. How did you first come up with the idea and how
easy/difficult was it to find backing for such a project?

I saw spaces that were like blank pieces of paper and asked the owners of the buildings. They were fans and
it went from there. I have poems all over Manchester on walls and I am proud of this.  But I have written
poems on albums too which in itself is public. A couple of the walled poems in Manchester are now Landmarks.
I am sooOOOoo proud of that.

Have you thought of expanding this project to other areas outside Manchester?

Yes, and it’s a long life – I hope to do it.

I met you at Patti Smith’s Meltdown where the talks involved people talking about inspirational poetry.
Which books/poems have inspired you the most?

‘On Love and Other Difficulties’ by Rainer Marie Rilke. ‘Birthday Letters’ By Ted Hughes, any of Linton Kwesi
Johnstons books, anything by Fran Landesman, the autobiography of Malcolm X and any Gil Scot Heron
albums. Also ‘Shadow Of The Wind’ by Ruz Zafon.

Most of the audience at Meltdown were overwhelmed by your performances and talent. Have you thought
about doing a one man show/taking your poems on the road?

I have a one man show called ‘Something Dark’ which will be in Edinburgh in August.  I hope you might come
there – it’s at The Theatre Workshop.

What are you currently working on?

Writing a documentary script about a journey to Australia.

If you could pick another poet/author to work with, who would it be and why?

Rainer Marie Rilke.  Rainer is incredible. A writer’s writer.

We’re holding a poetry mic for new poets at our next SSScene night  -which of course, you’re invited to!
What advice could you give these amateur poets?

The only advice I would give is to believe in your work;  to know that poets are part of the earth, where there
is dirt and diamonds and both are as important as each other.  I would love to be there  but I will be in Wales.

What has been your most memorable performance and why?

Most memorable performance was in a closed bay in Greece. I was performing a poem about a guy hanging
from a cliff while a storm approached from the sea. In the poem the storm comes in the night and draws back
to the sea.  While I was reading the poem a storm came in, it poured with rain, and then the storm actually
returned to the sea. It was magical.

Who has blown you away with their amount of talent/passion when you have seen them on stage?

That’s a difficult one but I would have to say Patti Smith. There is a writer and poet and singer who is all
artist.   

Then will we next see/hear you in London/elsewhere?

London; I will next be at my partners book launch in Soho on 27th July. I’ll be at the south bank on November
9th. Details should be available on my website:
www.lemnsissay.com

What are your plans for the rest of this year and beyond?

In the rest of this year I am touring my play ‘Something Dark,’ traveling to South Africa, Sweden and Ireland.
Finishing of a radio documentary and of course, the hardest and most important task of all is to write and
discover new ways.

Interview by Dee Sekar
Special thanks to Lemn Sissay.

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