This year several young Trinidadian poets took part in Talking Doorsteps, an international exchange programme that connects young poets and filmmakers across the world and shares their work with online audiences.
Happening in three stages, the first leg of the programme in January saw UK poet and facilitator Deborah ‘Debris’ Stevenson run a week-long workshop in Trinidad focused on the concept of ‘home’ across international borders while exploring writing and performance techniques. A number of young spoken word poets participated in the workshop that took place at Mariposa Gardens in Lopinot, culminating in “Poetry Under the Stars” at the venue’s moonlit amphitheater.
In June, the second phase brought two of the progamme’s Trinidadian poets, Kyle Hernandez and Ariana Herbert, to Roundhouse in Camden Town, London as part of The Last Word Festival . There, they met with facilitators, filmmakers and poets from Honduras, Abu Dhabi, Scotland, London and Hull to further collaborate and explore facilitation methods and the concept of home, particularly in relation to the international refugee crisis. The two T&T poets participated in workshops with Pen International, Apples and Snakes and the Birmingham Beat Freeks, performing at Level Up and the Talking Doorsteps Showcase and more.
September saw Alexandra Stewart and Seth Sylvester travel to Hull for the final phase of the programme for the Contains Strong Language Festival, a major new national spoken word and poetry festival, part of Hull’s City of Culture. The two attended workshops and performed at festival events at Hull Central Library, BBC Radio 3 and more. Several of the films that came from the earlier part of the programme, inclusive of these here, were screened with an introduction by writer and poet Joe Hakim. Joe participated with a focus in learning from the T&T/UK programme to develop similar initiatives back home in Hull for young people.
Following his visit to Trinidad, you can see what’s come of the Hull programme here.
As part of a committed aim to involve and develop youth participation in the local literary scene, the four traveling Trini poets have all previously been part of spoken word initiatives coordinated by Bocas Lit Fest and The 2 Cents Movement, such as the First Citizens National Poetry Slam and Courts Bocas Speak Out Tour.