Just Another Poet the You Tube channel supported by the Books Council of Wales
YOU TUBER Taz Rahman is on a mission to show that poetry can be as exciting as a rave at a club night.
A day at the Hay Festival in 2019 inspired Taz to start a poetry channel on the video-sharing website featuring interviews the budding writer and poet recorded with other up-and-coming writers.
Taz, from Cardiff, started filming at poetry events and was surprised that his Just Another Poet channel was attracting attention: “I started the channel with the vision of creating a free portal that would allow readers more permanent and organized access to writers.
“As I began to interview and film at poetry gatherings, I found that established writers were also interested in being featured, as the channel allowed greater access to their writing and the craft of their writing. So I continued.”
The platform, described as “Wales’ first YouTube poetry channel”, has since had hundreds of views for in-depth interviews with poets, including Eric Ngalle Charles, who has won acclaim for his writing, including on migration, and Dyfan, winner of the National Online Eisteddfod Crown 2021. Lewis.
Taz has also traveled miles researching and compiling content for the channel and last week he traveled to Swansea, to film with a nature writer and poet, after attending an event in London the previous evening.
“Queen Elizabeth Hall was packed with 750 people on a Wednesday evening to listen to Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, Max Porter, former Scottish Makar Jackie Kay and this year’s TS Eliot Prize winner Joelle Taylor,” Taz said.
“Looking around me, I would say that more than 60% of the room was occupied by people under 25. The RAP Party looked almost like a club event, but revelers had gathered to listen to Will Harris from Granta, Isabelle Baafi from Poetry London, Fahad Al-Amoudi (White Review Poetry Prize winner) among a very diverse lineup.
Taz has now secured funding from the Books Council of Wales, alongside Creative Wales, to expand the Just Another Poet channel and its content.
The funding is also intended to help reach new and diverse audiences eager to experience poetry and literature, through their phones and other new technologies, while broadening interest in poetry and literature and building visibility of Welsh writers.
Although poetry has inspired youth-oriented cultures such as hip hop and, more directly, spoken word performance and slam poetry, Taz is not concerned that formal verse is something more commonly associated with literature. GCSEs and textbooks.
“It’s a frequently asked question and one that the channel hopes to address in a very small way, or at least make a start in its digital mandate,” said Taz who added since he had the green light he would receive the Books Council Wales. While funding, he researched poetry events in London, such as the RAP Rhythm and Poetry event which has featured poets and DJs together since 2010.
“Obviously London is a huge scene for poetry, however, the key to attracting a younger and more diverse audience, in my opinion, is in curating the program, mixing in other art forms like these two events to make poetry more accessible.
“We should be able to replicate a bit of that in Wales in our own way and generate interest. Why are the open-mic poetry events in cities like Cardiff, Swansea and Newport packed with people and especially young people? There is interest. »
Just Another Poet is one of 13 projects supported by Books Council Wales. They range from the creation of new publishing houses owned and managed by publishers and authors from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds, to mentoring programs for authors from underrepresented backgrounds and projects collecting and telling stories.
Taz, who works as a photographer, said he will now be able to devote more time to his channel and introduce new features: “Filming, video editing as well as travel and general admin expenses were the main stones. stumbling block so far.
“I also sometimes had to take time off from my other career as a professional photographer to attend events and interviews.
“The funding will address a number of these issues and allow for more ambitious planning in terms of content that may be created for future programming segments. I will also be able to look at this whole aspect of ‘poetry writing’ rather than just poetry and hopefully promote the ‘poetry culture’ in Wales a bit more.
“A new segment (Seren Esgynedol) to welcome creative writers at the very beginning of their career at the local level is being created.
“The wonderful naturalist writer I interviewed earlier has young children and struggles with childcare costs, and can only devote four hours a week to her writing, which she has been doing for a year.
“There are a lot of aspiring writers out there beside what we generally accept as marginalized backgrounds, and I hope to give some of these creatives a little exposure.”
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A total of £186.00 was made available by the Books Council and Creative Wales and the New Audiences grant was made available in three categories: Band A – up to £2,500, Band B – £2,501 to £15,000 and Band C – £15,001 to £40,000.
Helgard Krause, chief executive of the Books Council of Wales, said the grants are intended to be catalysts for change in the industry and said: ‘The purpose of the grant is to strengthen and diversify parts of the industry of publishing that we at the Books Council currently have, and the grants specifically prioritize new publishing ventures, authors and audiences.
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