Lambeth Laureate celebrates his home borough

5 June 2023

Written by: Lambeth Council

News and announcements

Poet Laureate Abstract Benna is celebrating Lambeth since the Windrush generation arrived with an exhibition, stories and prose reflecting his themes of identity and community. First, a poem about growing up in the borough.

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Lambeth Laureate celebrates his home borough

The Lambeth that made me

i’m hoping I won’t lose them in metaphors

sometimes the literal isn’t fit for all

but these memories aren’t miniscule

i got my principles from what felt like a mini school

from the back streets to the main roads

the friday nighters who swear they ain’t cold

to the preachers and self-worth teachers who saved souls


i got my life lessons from the strength of the people

we went from boys to men, men to mandem

friends to fam, side roads felt like landings

houses like rooms, every single one had a place in this home

you helped raise the kids known for the rep that proceeds you

still I saw all the seeds you would so and so

i know they blossomed in so and so

like they blossomed in me true

though we don’t own the land we cultivated your frame

pumped art through your arteries, culture in your veins

in this landing place for baby sheep

we acquired the skills to lead

and helped turn an Island to a Weland


look what the Grandparents did

made sure Identity didn’t die in diversity

look what the Parents did

Poet Laureate for Lambeth is to help capture and share the lived

experience of a whole generation

a platform to push and promote elevation

because storytelling is a key to our own preservation

Creative connections

“I’ve been Poet Laureate for Lambeth since last October. It’s been a pleasure re-connecting as a writer and creative with the borough I grew up in. As my themes are identity and community, and in line with the Windrush 75 anniversary this year, I’ll be putting together an exhibition and anthology of stories and prose to celebrate key moments in the borough since the Windrush generation. It’s due to be launched later this year and will culminate in an exhibition of history, of community, of celebration, of culture for you, for me, for us, because storytelling is a key to our own preservation.

“Watch this space for more on the project and how you can get involved coming soon”.

More information

See Abstract Benna’s new video with the message “Storytelling is a key to our own preservation”