Looking Back on 2018 as we Move Forward to 2019

It was our final event of the year on December 18th, as we came together in Urban XChange Bar & Grill to look back at 2018, and make plans for moving forward in 2019.  As it was the final event of the year, we of course had poetry and spoken word as well, bringing The Kickback and Poetic Insight together.

As always, I started by asking everyone what their thing about YPI was this year and what they think worked well.  Responses included:

  • “Positive vibes.” – Elisha
  • The mix of different venues, being in Thornton Heath worked well. – Joan
  • A lot of people were inspired by hearing other people’s work. – Jess

I then wanted to know if they had preferred The Kickback or Poetic Insight.  Mhairi preferred Poetic Insight, saying that it was nice to have people sharing poetry and socialising, as “The Kickback is very heavy.”  On the other hand, Elisha said that he liked YPI as a whole, not preferring one event over the other.

The next question was, which topic at The Kickback did you gain and learn the most from?  Elisha said that Healthy Relationships was deep and that there was a lot to learn – “[It’s] good to teach other people out there where you’ve been.”  Mhairi’s was Goals, as she gained a lot of perspective and advice, and also met some people she could relate to.

Following on from that was the question of which Poetic Insight they enjoyed the most or had the greatest effect on them.  Dreams & Goals really stood out in Mhairi’s mind, while Elisha thought that Poetic Insight during Thornton Heath Arts Week was a really good one.

I then asked, what I feel, is the most important question: What can be improved?

  • “Everyone should bring a friend.” – Mhairi
  • Spread the word a bit more through social media.  Maybe do live videos. – Jess
  • Live-stream The Kickback and get people to send in questions.  That will increase engagement. – Kris
  • Get info in schools and colleges. – Vanessa
  • Do The Kickback in schools and colleges. – Kris

In preparation for 2019, I asked what topics they would like to see discussed at The Kickback.  Topics suggested were:

  • Depression – Jess
  • Social Expectations – Vanessa
  • Gender/Identity – Kris
  • Sexual orientation – Jess

And of course, I asked what themes they would like to see at Poetic Insight.  Themes suggested were:

  • Family & Friends – Mhairi
  • Responsibilities – Elisha
  • Equal Rights – Jess
  • Happiness – Mhairi

When asked what other events they would like to see put on, Mhairi said a bigger and better festival (we were one of the partner organisations who brought the Living in Poetry Festival to life), while Kris said, “Try doing a cypher.”

I also asked if there were any individuals or organisations they would like to speak at or host our events.  Joan said that she would love for us to get Temi Mwale down if we were speaking about Youth Violence, which I am really going to try and do next year, as I tried to get her to both The Kickback and Poetic Insight this year, but her super busy schedule sadly prevented it.

After The Kickback segment, it was time for Poetic Insight to see out YPI in 2018 in true inspirational fashion.  First to the stage was Elisha, who spoke about responsibilities and having confidence in yourself.

Following on from him was his best friend Jessica, who debuted a beautiful poem called My Light in the Dark, which was about her daughter, who happened to be sitting right in front of her.  It was a really special moment.

Friends, Adora and Vanessa, came to Poetic Insight together for the first time last month, and were so inspired that they made the decision to go home, write some poetry and share it this month.  In the first half, Adora shared a powerful poem about isms, particularly colourism, and cultural appropriation.  In the second half, Vanessa opened up to us with a deep and real poem about growing up raised by a single mother.

Henry graced the Poetic Insight stage for the first time, getting us all up in our feelings with two poems about the inability to stop thinking about someone you’ve fallen for.  It was a very different energy to fellow first timer, Fatima, who got political with a powerful poem about Theresa May.

Returning to the Poetic Insight stage was Script Index, who made us all smile with his performance of Remind Me.  He was followed by Mhairi, who shared a very honest poem coming to terms with a 2018 that had been tough for her.

Runner up of our logo competition, Vinicia, not only received her cheque on the night, but took to the Poetic Insight stage for the first time, sharing a strong poem about colourism and Black Lives Matter.

Kris brought his rhythmical style back to Poetic Insight, performing a poem about people who inspire him.  Then it was time for Tiarn to make his Poetic Insight debut, showing us that he has a beautiful way with words through his poem about the hurt that can occur in relationships.

As it was the last Poetic Insight of the year, I decided to perform, making me the final poet onstage.  I performed War Zone, as youth violence has been one of the things that has plagued my heart most this year and it needs to be continually addressed.

So that’s a wrap for 2018.  This will be the last blog post of this year, but we’ll be back the first week in January.  A heartfelt thank you to everyone who has read and shared any of the posts, interacted with YPI on social media or come out to any of the events – I really appreciate you.

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