Category Archives: Poetry

Poetry Submissions

Continuing our work to support Black Writers, and provide opportunities that allows their work to be viewed by wider audiences, we have launched our Black In The City Poetry Submissions. For details on how to submit see our website




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The power of words and actions!



Still in rapture after last Saturday afternoon’s successful, “Read A Black Author,” flash mob. The aim of this fantastic event was to raise awareness of black authors and poets; boy did we raise awareness!

There I was at 2:45 smiling as I approached the famous Nottingham Market Square lions. Grinding to a halt, I pondered whether or not we were gathering at the left or right lion. The right beast stared into the grey distance, whilst a few Saturday afternoon shops sat at its feet gazing lovingly into their plastic bags. Onwards to the right lion; this is the spot I thought. Before long Panya Banjoko arrived, booked poised and smiling expectantly; it was about to begin.

Whilst Panya and I chatted about which books we’d bought (read on for further info), our fellow readers gathered – books aloft, glasses ready and a determination to raise awareness.

Greetings over, we sat down on the marbled steps of Nottingham’s Council House and got our books ready; a hush descended. We began to read. Initially I was aware of the inquisitive looks of shoppers and pedestrians, though soon they disappeared like shifting clouds in the distance; we became immersed in our reading. Not a sound was heard.

All too soon the event was over and we chatted for a while as we compared books. What a wonderful way to share a love of reading and writing – especially by black writers who are underrepresented in all levels of the writing industry.


Some of the attendees included:

Panya Banjoko – poet, performer, author and Unesco City of Literature Patron.

Sand Mahal –  UNESCO Nottingham City of Literature Director

Members of Black Writers and Artists Network


Books read included:

Blessings in the Storm by Carolyn Clarke

Daughters of the Dust by Julie Dash

Hari at the Castle by Panya Banjoko

Oscar the Curious Cat by R M Stevens

Nottingham Connection by Lee Auboin

New Horizons of Hope by Victoria Williams

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Plot by Claudia Rankine


I look forward to next year’s event.


Charmaine Smith











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New Horizons – indeed!

The book launch of one of our members Victoria Williams, was a thoroughly magical and inspirational event. Mrs Williams’ book of poetry is interwoven with her spiritual beliefs, culture and motivational words.


It was an evening of readings, warmth and laughter; a culmination of Vicki’s undeniably hard work. I was particularly pleased to attend because I have seen Vicki’s drive and determination in creating poetry and sharing it with a wider audience.  One of my favourite poems is, “Vanity Saith The Preacher,”

Vicki summed up the launch by stating:

“Don’t fear failure so much so that you refuse to try (as I had many mishaps from manuscripts to printing) but I never gave up trying. Along life’s way, when one fails to be victorious you must not procrastinate. Just get up and try again. I can say like Maya Angelou – I know why the caged bird sings.”


We wish Vicky every success



Victoria Williams and Charmaine Smith

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Note to self: every little counts


Note to self: every little counts

For weeks I have not written or read any poetry. The demands of a new job and illness have taken my time and motivation; I have ground to a halt. Recently I spoke to a fellow writer (Panya Banjoko) about this and she advised me to set aside time every day to write – even if it is only five minutes.

Now I am over my illness and I have had time to reflect, I acknowledge that the everyday occurrences of work, family and the unexpected are not excuses for procrastination and nothingness. In order to continue, I need to organise myself – better. My target is to read/write at least 4 times per week for at least 30mins (from experience without realising, at least an hour passes before I come up for air). I feel such a target is realistic for me!


Thirty minutes of focused reading/writing is better than nothing. I am going to start with, “The Day 30 Poetry Challenge: Prompts to Inspire Daily Writing Habits.”


I look forward to the challenge…….







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Community Dialouge 2: The Screening…


You are all invited to the next Nottingham Black Archive event which takes place on the 30th May at the ACNA centre. Last year NBA embarked on an Intergenerational Project in partnership with ACNA centre where we interviewed youth and elders of the Nottingham Black community to investigate how we as a community can bridge the generation gap. NBA produced a short documentary that explained what the project was all about and the outcomes, and would like to share this with the community.

We are also taking this opportunity to explain NBA’s various new projects, ignite  dialouge, share poetry and food…hope to see you there!

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WISA Patois Poem

Below is a poem written by editor of the West Indies Students Association (WISA) Mr. A R Deer taken form the  WISA magazine 1967/1968 edition

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Filed under Mr. Powe's Donations, Poetry