Poetry Club is the brain child of Jason Barnes, hosted by the wonderful Marwood Coffee Shop on Ship street, Brighton. The event has been going strong since it’s conception and now in its fourth month, the event attracts a huge, diverse following of attendees.
It is a non-judgmental space to share and discuss the poetry tied to a monthly theme. Working with subjects such as mental health, protest or the musings of individual poets.
This month Queer Defiance is the subject of Poetry Club and I was offered the chance to collaborate with the organiser and founder of the event Jason Barnes.
House of Quinn managed to steal a few precious moments with Jason just before the event to ask him a bit more about Poetry Club and what Queer Defiance means to him.
Q: How did you end up in Brighton?
A: I moved to brighton in 2011 to study a masters at Sussex uni. I Work in child protection social work since graduating.
Q: What is Poetry Club?
A: Poetry club is for poetry lovers and doubters. It's most especially for those who thought (wrongly) that poetry was out of their grasp because they weren't intellectual or intelligent enough. The key aim of poetry club is to demonstrate that poetry speaks of our everyday struggles and is accessible to us as our love for lyrics. I was drawn to poetry by its power to unify people and movements. Poetry is a powerful vehicle for change and revolution.
Q: How did you come around to starting Poetry Club and why?
A: I was scared to start poetry club because I was worried that it would be perceived as something snooty or stuffy. However, the club has taken on a life of its own because people have connected with the themes we've covered such as protest, oppression , mental health and queer rights.
Q: This month’s subject is Queer Defiance. What does Queer Defiance mean to you?
A: Queer defiance to me is saying proudly at family functions, 'No I don't have a girlfriend because I'm gay.' Queer defiance to me is holding hands with the person I love without worrying that it might make our heteronormative society uncomfortable or ill-at-ease.Queer defiance is celebrating being gay, not trying to blend in or be something that I'm not.
The subject of Queer defiance is something that is close to my heart. The importance of equal rights for everyone and not only the Queer community. I really wanted to take this opportunity to get involved in an event that is a celebration and reflection on the actions and activist of the queer community. Through history and up to the present day, we are still fighting.
In celebration of this, and in collaboration with Poetry Club Brighton, I have created a series of recreation, equal rights banners from historical and recent pride and queer rights events from all over the world. In remembrance and solidarity, to reflect and look forward. To insight and remind people that we are still fighting. That people are being prosecuted, victimised and abused. Misunderstood, unheard and pushed to the side lines. We stand up, we fight and we are proud.
The series of eleven banners and posters by no means covers the huge numbers of amazing people, protests and historical activism. But hopefully the body of work will be on going. Created from recycled and reused materials. The banners are a visual display of taking the time to listen and to get involved in anyway we can.
If you want to know more about Poetry Club, or pop down and attend you can find the facebook group here or have a look at the Queer Definace poetry event here.
You can also find out more about Marwood Coffee Shop here: