Abstract Benna officially became Lambeth’s first Poet Laureate at the London Literature Festival last October. He agreed to start right away on his year of working with the council to write, perform, build creative networks and shape the role for Laureates to come. Here’s his first update:
“It’s been about 3 months since I became Poet Laureate for Lambeth. So far it’s been about building networks through meetings with Lambeth and people in the TV and radio world.
- BBC radio interview on The Scene with my guy Lionheart. We spoke about my journey as a storyteller, launching my EP ‘Out of Darkness’ last Feb and what it means to be a Poet Laureate.
- Black tie dinner at the Claridges (styled by the talented Stephanie Tykeya – check out the pics on my Insta, Trussssss me!). It was full of food, champagne bubbles and everyone who is someone in the entertainment industry; they all wanted to know how a Poet Laureate came about and the plan going forward.
- I spoke to a room full of secondary school students about what it takes to “make it” as a creative in the industry.
“Moving forward, I found myself reflecting on ‘Out of Darkness’. I had an urge to re-listen, and it was a reminder of why I chose this path in the first place. It was to capture the stories in my environment: the good, the bad and everything in-between. The black-tie dinner made me reflect on the fact that I was the only one there from the ends. I deserved to be, but so do others who are as talented as me. Talking to the school kids reminded me of how much of a difficult journey navigating the arts is, especially if you’re talented but lack the business acumen to get your art to the people. Moving forward, I’ll need your help. I’ll be coming back to you with a project in mind very soon to address my above observations. Updates pending, bless!”
- For more about Abstract Benna’s writing, performance and thoughts: abstractbenna.com
- For more about the London Literature Festival Event: https://love.lambeth.gov.uk/a-laureate-for-lambeth