If you follow me on any of my other various channels, you’ll know I’m currently in Philadelphia, checking in with Brave New Voices— an (THE?) annual youth poetry festival. I came over for it last year, when it was in Chicago, and although I’ve been involved in youth poetry and/or youth slam initiatives for a very long time now (15+ years? Nobody’s keeping count, right?) it was inspiring to see. I travelled back to London with a mind full of the desire to push things harder in the UK, to really make a difference… then got back into the grind and didn’t really live up to the revolutionary zeal I’d managed to muster through my travels. Sure, I manage an independent youth poetry community, I’ve inherited a spoken word education programme, I maintain a long-running poetry course at the Barbican, I mentor emerging poets, I still teach on an ad hoc basis, and I have my fingers in many more pies within the sector, but every now and then I have moments like this where I step back and ask what it’s all worth. Whether the work I’m doing is really having the impact I want it to. And: whether I’m doing a good enough job of communicating the vision and getting people on board.
For now, I’m simply celebrating the opportunity I’ve had thus far this week to gain some perspective. Soon enough, I’ll be back in grind mode, trying to maintain the balance between the 40,000 foot view and the attention to minutiae that keeps everything moving forward.