Poetry, stories and knitting

It was here but it’s gone elsewhere!

IMG_2786.JPGThe Place is Here… is no more, it’s moved on to inspire others but we have a legacy of poems written in response to the exhibition. The poem below is not only inspired by the painting Black Assassin Saint but also named after the artist Keith Piper. Paula Sharratt is the architect of this piece… enjoy…

Keith Piper 1960

Inside The Atrocity Exhibition


Like Warholian Turin Shrouds

Screaming like Freud

Out of Print

Out of Print

Out of Print
Piper was here though

on that night

to watch the way the eyes

rolled over

his work
Keith Piper

who’d fought with the idea

the feeling

the constraints

and powerfully placed the work

as if it was already there

as if

It wasn’t absurd

to be documenting

such atrocity

within the sado masochistic complex

of oppression

as if he wasn’t just having a laugh

at his oppression

but it


matters now

When we look at Andy Warhol

Look at him

A dead billionaire

And Keith Piper is still here

Artistic conjurer

occasionally coming up for air.

Please note that I will be leading a series of Creative Writing Workshops at the Women’s Centre in Nottingham beginning the 9th May from 10-3pm. Please contact me for more details. 


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The Place is definitely here!

We were busy beavers writing and editing, rewriting and then scratching our heads hoping to release more inspiration. It worked!  Some fantastic participants were in the Nottingham Contemporary Gallery in March. All up for translating visual art into poetry. It was wonderful leading this and even more superb that I have been able to see the end results.


Below is one of the poems written by Anna Wels in response to Keith Piper’s Black Assassin Saints (1982)

Imagined, Idealistic Future

Muddy paint rags, the mainstay
Of a fine artist, roughly
Joined together, hewn of cloth:
A humble man’s offering, an
Anger Split Open.

Words are fighting to be let out:
An imagined, idealistic future.
Faces are calm, but resolute:
The Disposition Of A Warrior

Four faces the same: unity of
Purpose, universality of intent.
The raw inner throb, biological
Suffering, and impulse to be let out…

Release from pain
Resolution of injustice

Digging up history, mixing with present
To solve in an instant
Dissolve like paint and water.

An imagined, idealistic future
Shaped by a brave and courageous
Acting on anger
Not mere representation.

Bright colours denote positivity,
The darkness and drips: the terrible
Reality, the buried and accepted

Calmly covered up simply because
Too difficult to process
Impossible to change
Things will always remain
The same?

I shall be leading creative writing workshops at the women’s centre in Nottingham beginning the 9th May, 10-3pm. Please contact me for more details.

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Read a Black Author

October 2016 saw the first #ReadABlackAuthor event in Nottingham Market Square. It was a lovely mild October afternoon and a superb turn out of likeminded people. I was so spoilt for choice on what to read, local authors, national and international Black authors, at one point I ended up with three books in my lap!



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Nottingham Black Archive 

It’s great when you see all sorts of people interested in knowing about Black History, it makes all the hard work we do at the Archive worthwhile. 

To be at the forefront of documenting Black history is a huge responsibility but one worth the challenge.  Look at how engrossed people are in finding out about Nottingham’s Black authors. 


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In Memory of the Millions

The journey started in 2010, with a scrap of an idea that eventually gained weight. 2012 saw the idea fashioned into a successful funding bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund. Grant over and you’d think it was time to stop but no the force of the momentum is far too much to quit right now. So what next… Wednesday 13th May BBC4 documentary at 9pm followed by an event on Saturday 16th May at the New Art Exchange, 2-4.30pm. 


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What’s Hot? 

A year ago I was preparing to become a radio presenter again.  After debuting as one third of the Ghetto Rebel trio I was soon offered my own slot on a Saturday afternoon from 12-2pm on What’s Hot Radio. Being in charge of my own show suited me just fine and I enjoyed the challenge of it being 90% talk and 10% music. So, More Talk Than Music  was born. It became a mix of guests generally poets but not exclusively and topical/current affairs. 

Now I have the lovely Anita Barton Williams to help out with research for the show and it has gone from strength to strength. I’d love to add another member to the team, someone capable of organising guests each week. Are you that person or do you know someone who might be interested? It’s a great opportunity for someone interested in the broadcast media or even someone who is community minded. 

I’ve enjoyed the last year immensely and I’m looking forward to another year working for What’s Hot Radio. Tune in on Saturdays 12-2pm on You can even download the app on your smart phone or listen via tunein or listen back on mixcloud #MoreTalkThanMusic. 

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World War II Resources

So, Nottingham Black Archive (NBA) have completed its first ever Lottery funded project. Yippee! What do we have to show for it?

A three panel static exhibition on Caribbean Ex-Servicemen
A Book
2 community loans boxes containing objects associated with WWII and the Caribbean.
17 oral history transcripts of Ex-Servicemen, their families and their friends.
A website which contains information on what we hold in our archive.

Some of the outcomes produced are available for the community to have or to loan. So if you would like a copy of the book or DVD then contact me at

If you would like to loan the exhibition or the loans boxes then contact me on the email above for more information.

Below one of the layers of the children’s loans box which contains 17 objects including a ‘kiddy’ lamp and costumes. Lots of fun and learning to be had!


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Community Capsule Continues…

I’m the founder of Nottingham Black Archive an organisation set up to research document and archive black history, heritage and culture in Nottingham. It was set up in 2010 and has made some fantastic progress since then. Our most recent project was the Community Capsule Project which documented the experiences of Caribbean WWII veterans and their families.

At the moment we are planning another event scheduled for May 16th 2015 to take place at NAE between 2-5pm. This will be a mix of poetry, archive film footage on the World Wars from both the Imperial war museum and NBA footage and speakers. It is a project that is currently being planned with the former Sheriff of Nottingham Merlitta Bryan. It is also part of a bigger project that has the support of Veronica Pickering, Deputy Lieutenant for Nottinghamshire.

Pictures from left to right: Veronica Pickering, Tony Daley WWII Veteran and Councillor Merlitta Bryan. Photograph taken by Panya Banjoko.


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No Tears For Me My Mother

My most recent publication No Tears For Me My Mother is set to be part of the University of Warwick’s curriculum on their Caribbean Studies programme. To say I’m chuffed is an understatement.

It’s fantastic receiving this accolade especially as a smidgeon of blood, a dollop of tears and a handful of sweat was all part of the writing process.

To get day by day updates check out my Panya the poet page on Facebook.


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What’s Hot!

Amongst the new challenges for 2014 I’m gearing up to do a spot of presenting on a new urban radio show. What’s Hot radio will feature co-presenter the Reggae Postman, DJ G-Madness and me. Saturday 1st February is our debut. Check us out from 6-8pm.

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