A poetry revue with a finely honed political edge. Our lineup is multi-talented, featuring musician, songwriter and comedian John Hegley, author and magician Nick Toczek, artist and spoken word performer Asma Elbadawi, writer and artist Jay Bernard, young poet laureate for London Selina Nwulu, journalist Atif Tauqeer and host (and co-founder of A Firm of Poets) Ralph Dartford. All master poets, all with their own distinctive voices and preoccupations, but with one thing in common: a keen awareness of what’s going on out in the world and a fierce desire to call it out.

It’s poetry with a punch, not a caress, so expect to be confronted with punk spirit, passionate verse and lyrical dexterity across a night of diverse performances as these unique poets take on the big political issues and themes that will challenge, entertain and jolt you upright in your seat.

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About The Poets

Asma Elbadawi

Born in Sudan and raised in England, Asma’s dual heritage deeply influences her creativity, paired with a focus on international development and female empowerment. Published work includes the Muslim women’s anthology ‘The Things I Would Tell You’. Performances include: Liverpool Acoustic Festival, Word of Mouth, London as well as Sudan and Malaysia.

John Hegley

John Hegley was born in London and studied at the University of Bradford. He was host of Border Television’s Word of Mouth poetry series and was a Perrier Comedy award nominee.  In 2019 John was one of the poets involved in Putting You in the Picture, a project which took children to art galleries to delve into and respond to works of art.

Selina Nwulu

Selina Nwulu is a writer, poet and performer and the third Young Poet Laureate of London. Her work has been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies including collections by the RSA, Lunar Poetry and Emma Press. Her first chapbook collection, ‘The Secrets I Let Slip’, was published by Burning Eye Books in September 2015. She has also performed at Glastonbury, Edinburgh Fringe and Fiery Tongues Festival in Ruigoord, Holland.

Nick Toczek

Nick Toczek is a writer and performer from Bradford. Throughout the 1970s and 80s he toured with bands and as a poet, and ran both music and poetry clubs in Yorkshire, becoming an integral part of the Ranting scene. Since the mid-90s Nick has been a best-selling children’s writer. He is also a professional close-up magician, a skilled puppeteer, a prolific print journalist and an experienced broadcaster.

Photo by Gaynor Toczek

Ralph Dartford

Ralph Dartford is the author of Cigarettes, Beer and Love (Ossett Observer Presents 2013) and Recovery Songs (Valley Press 2019). His forthcoming third collection, Serotonin Songs will be published by Valley Press in 2021. Ralph is writer and tutor who mainly works with people who are in recovery from alcohol and substance abuse. His spoken word performance show, Recovery Songs continues to tour nationally.

Contributor

Atif Tauqeer

Atif Tauqeer is a journalist working with Deutsche Welle Radio. His Urdu poetry, which has been published in several collections, is often charged with frustration at the political situation in his home country of Pakistan. He is currently working on his first English novel.