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Letts Vibe by Lambeth school students | 29-Jun-17

Staff Pick from our Poetry Library Open Day 2016.

Letts Vibe / by Lambeth schools students – London : BFI, 2016.

For five days in July 2016 we had six spoken word students in residence at the National Poetry Library. Aged 13-15, they were part of the annual BFI Lambeth Schools residency which draws on a theme from the BFI Summer Programme, this year celebrating 40 years since punk and reggae arrived on the streets of London.

The group wrote poems inspired by the work of John Cooper Clarke and Linton Kwesi Johnson, and slogan and manifesto poems. They also had a go at making punk/reggae collages based on the work of Jamie Reid, particularly his ‘Nice Image’ created for the sleeve of the Sex Pistols’ single ‘Holidays in the Sun’. Another group of students worked on putting a fanzine together which features the spoken word group’s work. The zine is named in honour of Don Letts – the students watched his legendary Super 8 film footage from 1977 of punk and reggae acts performing at The Roxy on the first day of the residency.

Coming a few weeks after the Brexit vote in which 75% of the 18-25 year olds that voted, voted to remain, it felt like the perfect time to embrace some punk/reggae values and rail against the establishment. And it was wonderful to see the digital generation adopt the aesthetic of the DIY generation and produce a zine that we were proud to add to The National Poetry Library collection.

We will be welcoming more students from Lambeth schools this July when we'll be creating spoken word inspired by the BFI's India on Film season. 

Lorraine Mariner
Assistant Librarian

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