Virtual Poetry Jam
Sunday October 17 Online International Poetry Jam
ATD Fourth World in the UK invites everyone to join an online Poetry Jam to celebrate “World Day for Overcoming Poverty”. The event will take place on 17 October from 5 to 7 pm (GMT/London time). Register here.
The Poetry Jam will feature original poetry written and performed by people with lived experience of poverty from England, Scotland, Ireland, and the United States. The evening will include musical performances as well.
Poverty steals your creative space. Time is not free. Lack of mental space means a constant battle for control over the rising damp, the needs of the family, and demands from authority. Emotionally, a history of disappointments, illness, family separations, abuse, low self-esteem, and challenges with literacy continue into the present. In the UK, ATD activists use poetry as a form of self-expression that enables them to celebrate their right to culture and make known their struggles and aspirations. More poetry from ATD-UK activists is here and here and here.
In Ireland, ATD developed a project called Lockdown Liberties during the pandemic. Through creative writing, ATD members in poverty stayed connected despite the social isolation of lockdown. In addition, they discovered how self-expression can help deal with difficult emotions, build courage to face challenges, and make problems seems smaller.
Poets from the United States will represent the Oakland Youth Poet Laureate Program. For ten years, the Oakland Public Library, in California, has supported youth voices and leadership through this program. The coordinator, Peggy Simmons, applies what she learned through her experience as an ATD Fourth World Volunteer Corps member.
World Day for Overcoming Poverty
World Day for Overcoming Poverty creates a platform for people with lived experience of poverty to be heard. It is a day when everyone who cares about overcoming injustice can gather to encourage one another and renew their inspiration.
The World Day’s 2021 theme is Building Forward Together. This theme explores the detrimental effects of both COVID-19 and climate change on families living in poverty all over the world.
“You will not silence me”
At last year’s Poetry Jam, UK activist Amanda read a poem that included these words:
‘I am a human being just like you
Because I have a voice too.
I will stand up and be counted.
You will not silence me.
I will not go away,
I am here to stay,
and I will have my say.’
Videos of Amanda and others reading their poetry are here.