amazing to see off the back of harry's previous TEDexter talk that he has been added to today's TED talk on the main site - congrats harry!
harry's latest don't flop battle is now online...
[update: sorry i should have put a health warning on this. do not watch with your kids - this is not a child friendly dinosaur poem! rap battles are well... battles but don't take it all too seriously. the backdrop to this is that a rapper took on his english teacher and don't flop ended up inviting poets who bring word play and trickery to compete with rappers with their insults and rhymes... and yes i wasn't posting this as a worship trick!]
harry has a book of his poetry out which looks amazing and well... very harry like!
he has even set up a web site where you can go and order copies and it's not yet too late to order for christmas.
kate tempest was fantastic last night at the queen elizabeth hall on the southbank (which is such a great venue btw). i know i have enthused about her many times on the blog or twitter. she possesses or is perhaps possessed by a wonderful gift, the artful gift of crafting words, not just words for words sake but words that are compelled by a deeper drive or vision or calling for what is true and beautiful and just and alive and human. she is a prophet and stands in a line of prophets - those who see what others don't seem to see and who have always weighed their words and had something to say beyond cleverness or trickery or pleasure... those who are compelled to speak, entrusted with words, words of grief and hope.
she is from south london and has not lost her sense of self or roots which must be a challenge with the incredible roll she is on (mercury prize nominee, brand new ancients selling out, ted hughes award, lots of media attention right now and so on...). and she is at pains to show her thanks and humility which is refreshing.
the evening was the launch of a new book - hold your own - in which she tells a mythical tale of tiresias in an epic opening poem and then cracks open four of the tale's themes - childhood, womanhood, manhood, and blind profit. it's brilliant - you should get a copy and its all new material or at least its not in other publications of hers that i have seen. the tale of an old man who loses his eyes and yet becomes a seer, a blind prophet, is masterful.
she weaves a mix of themes of pain and brokenness and struggle and fear throughout with an appeal to truth and humanness, to come home to your real passions and live out of the gift you bring and your own call. a short review can't do justice to the gig. it was so powerful and moving and truthful. there are some poets who are prophets (and poetry as a mode of speech is surely the mother tongue of prophets) - i remember the first time i saw jean binta breeze and feeling as though empires were collapsing and new worlds emerging simply through her words. kate does this - the gods of consumption are laid bare in all their pitiful ugliness and the powerful called to account. it would be easy to assume she is fueled by christian faith as the themes responate so strongly with what christ is about but i don't think that's the case (though i am sure she would enjoy a glass of wine with him) - the false gods of religion are equally dethroned for their perpetuation of control and fear and i think christianity is thrown in with that lot in her take. but she has met the holy, the unknown god whatever name she might give to him/her and she is shining - i'd love to ask her about that some day...
i hope she does well in the mercury prize but for me kate and her voice and her poems and her words is where it's at. make sure you see her doing spoken word and not just with the band...
there were so many lines that caught my attention and i will linger with in the coming days - "wherever you are from is a holy place" is from the poem these things i know.
last year we had a wonderful day of conversations, research and reflections on pioneer mission at cms. the things presented were so interestng that we ended up publishing them as the pioneer gift (which i hope by ow you have got and read?!).
well this year's is coming up on october 14 - am particularly pleased that steve bevans is able to be with us from chicago and we have a host of other things lined up - see here for details and how to book - it's all focused on pioneering spirituality.
but it's just got better as we have now added in an evening curry with spoken word and music - making the most of gav mart and martin daws being on tour. and they will be joined for a guest appearance by none other than harry baker... looking forward to it.
am planning to head over to see martin daws and gav mart on tour on oct 15 in kingston. join us...
singer songwriter and arts curator gavin mart, + young person's poet laureate for wales martin daws - are coming to Kingston with a creative acoustic set that explores what
'it' is at the heart of the artist.
through expressions in songwriting, music, poetry and spoken word gav and martin explore the following questions:
how does the artist express their yearning for an understanding of something bigger?
what does god mean through the eyes of the artist today?
what is 'it' that triggers our creativity?
how is god understood in contemporary culture?
how can we connect with and support local artists within our communities?
at last night's labyrinth at grace chris read dreamed up the idea of music out of the ground - at various points headphones were there to stop and listen. ipods (in plastic bags) were buried in the ground with a track set to loop. in fact all the ipods were playing variations on the same track - cello, guitar, vocal, spoken word. they were from a forthcoming ep that chris and harry baker are putting together of contemplative poetry/soulful music combinations - watch out for it on proost later this summer. anyway it's about time for a worship trick - so this is no 52 series 4. steve has a photo set here
the design of the labyrinth is the one at ealing common by mark wallinger
absolutely amazing evening last night at bethlehem unwrapped. spoken word is such a powerful format. harry was of course on great form but given the context it was rafeef ziadah who headlined and made an incredible impact. she concluded with this poem - we teach life sir.
looking forward to seeing harry any hour now back from germany for christmas. he is doing one show in london while he is here as part of the bethlehem unwrapped festival. the whole festival looks great. but slammed up on 29 december is a night of spoken word featuring harry, disraeli and others. perfect for a night out after christmas. hope to see some of you there!!!
here's some blurb on the whole festival...
St James’s Piccadilly, London. December 23rd 2013 – January 5th 2014
Through music, food, art, poetry, debate and more Bethlehem Unwrapped goes behind the romanticised Christmas card images of the ancient city to show what life is like for people in Bethlehem today. The festival celebrates the culture and stories of those living behind the wall and their work for peace. Hope, humour and humanity are reflected throughout the programme, which brings together renowned musician and composerNigel Kennedy, chefs Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi, singer Reem Kelani, comediansMark Steel and Jeremy Hardy, activist and speaker Jeff Halper, actor Adjoa Andoh, film-maker Leila Sansour, video artist Larissa Sansour, writer and speaker Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, slam poets Harry Baker and Rafeef Ziadah and more.
Join us for the launch at 6pm on December 23rd for the unveiling of a major interactive art installation and find out about the rest of the exciting programme here.
i got a text from jen reminding me it is international mens' day today - i can't say i knew or noticed any difference in the air but i thought harry's poem real men is as good a piece for today as i could think of...
where the streams come from is a series of 3 poem soundscapes from chris goan out this month on proost. i love chris' poetry. check out listing and ten thousand places if you have not come across them. proost interview chris here and he has this to say about poets
For me, poetry is a spiritual act. It involves dwelling on something in a deep and even prayerful way. The process of constructing words that carry as much honesty, emotion and truth as I am able to bring to bear is at times painful, but mostly is a precious thing. The poems I like most carve a new path into something. They are full of sinew and not afraid to express the dark things - the doubt as well as the faith, the pain as well as the joy, the lament as well as the celebration. Poems like this make me cry (in a good way.) The people who write this kind of poetry often carry damage in some way. We are members of the awkward squad, outsiders who look from a different perspective. Poetry becomes one of the ways that those of us who have been sensitised can apply our sensitivity- a kind of gift.
"one of the greatest things i've ever seen" - that's how harry's show proper pop-up purple paper people was described on radio one ths afternoon and given a 5 star rating! who knows how but chris who picks out a show to review each day for scott mills landed at harry's venue and loved it (if you want to listen on iplayer it's about 1:23 in to the show). joel rang me as he was in the car and had radio one on at the time and was somewhat surprised to find harry being reviewed... the show is in a small basement at the royal oak so expect tomorrow to be packed!!!
i came across this blessing in gerard kelly's book church actually and was pleased to discover it is online on his spoken worship site here. i used it last night at an evening marling a moment of someone journeying on to something new. gerard's words are always wonderfully crafted... i am making it a worship trick (23 in series 4) seeing as i haven't added any for ages now!
May God, in whose furnace faith is forged; in whose being beauty breathes; at whose dawning darkness flees, shine on you.
May the Father, whose love for you beats with a rhythm time itself can’t stop; whose presence in your exile is the promise of home; whose certainties are deeper than the cellars of your city; whose breath is life, breathe on you.
May the son, whose story is a mirror of your own; who has journeyed into darkness to find a key to your prison; who has dived the deepest oceans to find pearls for your wisdom; who has looked into your heart and found a beauty worth the battle; who has written your name on a white stone carved in secret, hold you.
May the Spirit, who has waited millennia to fill you; who shaped the word that moved the wind of the morning that conceived you; who holds the earth on which you stand as an artist holds a candle; who fully knows you, wholly own you
So may God the faithful father, God the scarred son, God the sculpting spirit journey with you
[update: i also saw this blessing for leaders which i have used before had been put online by tom brackett]
so here's last night's footage (part 1 and part 2 here) of the deuxieme semi final of the world cup poetry slam which has three of harry's poems in. having come last in the votes after the first poem he then nails it with 99 problemes and brings it home with paper people! so that's through the first round, through the semis and tonight is the final with the last 5 - england, usa, canada, quebec, sweden. good luck harry!!!!
this week in paris harry baker gets to represent the uk in the world poetry slam finals. jen and i are heading over for a couple of nights to cheer him on - it would be rude not to! should be fun...
quite how you judge between different languages in such a nuanced word dependent art form i have no idea?!
thanks for visiting my blog. i realise it's a bit old school to expect you to actually come to my world, but subscribe to the feed or select the relevant presences from the middle column and hopefully i'll come to your world and tweet or whatever to save you the hassle of coming back :-)
there are five broad areas of content - click on the buttons below to delve deeper. or below is a list of all the categories i have posted under.
hope it all makes sense. do say hi either here or where our digital presences collide, send me an e-mail, leave a comment...
where i come across creative ideas, liturgies, movies, music tracks, service outlines or anything that strikes me, i add them as worship tricks. i started these in april 2002 when i first began blogging and they have built up over the years so that i am now on the third series. this has proved a pretty popular feature of the blog.