Bittersweet Contemporary Black Women’s Poetry

As an anthology, Bittersweet is one of today’s finest collections of contemporary black women’s poetry in all its diversity across the Diaspora, including Britain, the US, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. It brings together best-selling authors alongside the powerhouse of new British writing.
On stage, Bittersweet is a unique spoken word experience: follow the gritty visceral lyrical poetry and unique combination of visuals and spoken word by poet, songwriter and filmmaker Jamika Ajalon, the charismatic and engaging performance style as well as the audacious and poignant poetry of Malika Booker, and the vibrant and pointed reading of Karen McCarthy. Together they create a highly charged and dynamic stage presence, a widely celebrated spoken word event.
The oral tradition of story-telling and poetry is a fundamental medium for creating culture, preserving history and transforming community and self. Revived in the ‘nineties in the US and UK by a whole generation of mostly migrant or black young urban poets, this strong expression for the experience of marginalisation, of living in more than one culture and speaking in more than one tongue, gained momentum. “In a world that renders us silent, the very act of speaking is our form of protest.”
The Bittersweet Collection, and the performance of McCarthy, Ajalon and Booker demonstrate the tremendous diversity and scope of this cultural expression. Although frequently dealing with similar topics (such as family relations, cultural history, the commemoration of slavery, alienation and otherness) there is a big difference in style and form. Some writers develop specific characters through whom they speak, demonstrating a concern for “giving voice.” Others make use of elements of storytelling, although clearly working within a lyric poetry tradition.
“[Bittersweet] makes it clear that there is a great deal of hunger for the work of these fine multicultural writers in a country whose poetry has been mired in the bog for at least one long generation. These young Black female poets are very much the future of British literature…it’s a bittersweet irony that this British poetry which exudes historical awareness and contemporary cultural vibrancy is a gift created by the formerly colonised subjects.“ — KONCH Magazine

organised by: Mesto žensk / City of Women
in cooperation with: KUD France Prešeren
with the support ofThe British Council

Date and time of event: 
Oct 13th 20:00
Place of event: 
Kud France Prešeren