Poetry Jam has always been a place for people to share, listen and support each other - and one of the beautiful things about it, is that no two people share the same experience. We’ve had six years of incredible memories and moments, that have helped define a young Brum creative generation - and that certainly deserves a celebration.
Cast your eyes back to the first Poetry Jam you ever attended (if you have). Think about what that space meant to you, to everyone else, how it made you felt, and the memories that have continued to be created month after month. We wanted to share a few with you from our team and community from over the years.
Paige Jackson, First Poetry Jam 2016
“Poetry Jam has given me the space to be vulnerable in front of strangers and people I care about it. It has helped me to not feel so alone when I have felt isolated. Just as equally it has opened up my eyes and heart to other people’s experiences which has only allowed me to empathise more and treat others with compassion. I’ve never felt judged only lifted and supported by others.”
“I’ve never felt judged only lifted and supported by others.”
Amerah Saleh, First Poetry Jam 2013:
“When Unhindered Reign first performed together I felt my whole body stand still with their stillness of such a beautiful piece.”
Amy Clamp, First Poetry Jam 2018:
“I will never forget the power of our 5th birthday at the Town Hall; the Poetry Jam video played as the event opened, the crowd dropped perfectly quiet and then bursted with a roar as soon as it finished. The performers were incredible and the crowd so encouraging and supportive, clicking as soon as anyone lost their place or started to appear nervous.”
Bohdan Piasecki, First Poetry Jam 2013:
"I remember bringing along legendary New York poet Jon Sands, who happened to be in Birmingham on tour - and seeing him jump on the open mic to perform the poem he'd written for his brother's wedding. To this day I use the memory of the round of applause that followed to help me through the times when the world feels like it's past redeeming: this was a cafe full of smiling, whooping, cheering people, young people from all kinds of backgrounds, beliefs, and creeds, coming together to celebrate a story of love overcoming prejudice; there was something there, something universal, welcoming, and primal, something good."
Rahima Hussain, First Poetry Jam 2017:
“The memories I have of Poetry Jam are never actually things that I can replay in my head, but they're more just like feelings I can describe. One of my first memories when I started going while it was at 200 degrees, was not knowing anyone and wondering why on earth there was so many people cramming themselves in such a tiny space. As the night went on and people ran to the sign up sheet, and the people that performed poured their hearts out I realised its more than just people reading poetry. Its about the atmosphere and about the feeling of belonging; its about knowing that even when you mess up or even if you were to stop halfway and didn't want to finish, you know that people would still clap and click their fingers because its not about being the best poet. That was the first time I had gone to an event for a while, and it didn't disappoint me at all. It was the first time I had felt like I belonged somewhere and like I didn't have to feel any pressure because everyone was so open and accepting, even if its just listening..”
It was the first time I had felt like I belonged somewhere…”
Anisa Haghdadi (Founder and CEO of Beatfreeks):
“I remember the time a poet took his top off mid way through a poem and I was sat right in front of his nipples thinking about safeguarding for the entire 3 minutes. It was intense.”
Personally, I have only been to two Poetry Jam’s so far, and I can honestly say that I too saw all of these things in even just the one evening (maybe not the nipples, but there’s always next time). It IS a safe space, it IS supportive, it IS full of compassion, it IS beautiful emotion, it IS a family, it IS truly a poetry jam.
We’re absolutely ecstatic to be celebrating Beatfreeks’ 6th birthday with a special version of the night that started it all. On Thursday 7th February, we welcome each and every one of you to Poetry Jam 6. Come along to the birthday, leave your troubles at the door and enter an evening full of people with open arms. See you there!
P.S. We’d LOVE to hear your favourite memories too! Please post them below and/or on Twitter with #PoetryJam6 @Beatfreeks.