Verse in Dialog

Human v Computer Poetry Slam


University College London, Apples and Snakes poetry organisation and poets, Zena Edwards from Verse in Dialog in collaboration present Human Code Computer Tongue.

When: Monday 20 February 2017, 10am-4pm

Where: UCL, 5th Floor Reception, One Euston Square, 40 Melton St, London NW1 2FD (Please report to the ground floor reception)

Tickets: FREE – but booking essential!

Booking: To book your place, please complete a short expression of interest form and email it to with the masterclass title as the subject.
Apples and Snakes Website

Technology offers us one of the most exciting chances to dialogue about what we imagine our world will be like in 20, 50, 100 years; what our plans are for the next generations are and how will technology play a part in that future. But most importantly, what stories, myths, fables, tales, epics, limericks and yarns will we be telling ourselves about ourselves in 2017? And how will those stories serve us? Continue reading “Human v Computer Poetry Slam”


Next Moves: Coffee Shop or Chicken Shop?

©V:iD’s director Zena Edwards has been busy working on the upgrading of the infrastructure of the collaborative youth project Shake Youth, Arts and Media project, but it launches it community engagement with the project called Tale of Two Cities later this year. The fine line between regeneration and gentrification seem like it evaporated and there are so many stories to tell about the transition, like an jagged crossfade from one world to another.


Like many other boroughs, Hackney is going through a social and environmental change that sees them closer to the wealth of the city and Cyber-Circus, but priced out by the gentrification happening all around them.

This launch phase of an extended project will see 14 young people from ‘Inspire’ referral unit in Hackney go through a program with a local historian, photographer, Agenda and  Zena to produce Spoken Word poetry with images about Hackney in response to the changes taking place. This project gives them the chance to reflect on a fast changing landscape that although happening all around of, they maybe isolated from.

There will be  live performances, an exhibition of the images taken in familiar places areas like Haggerston and Dalston and audiences will be able to see the work performed at  free events, in situ for free for two weeks accompanying the online blog.




neon fury

The Fury Project is an interdisciplinary arts exploration of the emotion of anger,  and seeks to  tell stories that carve paths to justice, transformation and empowerment. Using the power of spoken word/poetry, monologue, live vocals, dance and performance; the visceral nature of multi-media arts installation and techniques  of inclusive  artists/audience interactive debate, a diverse group of artists deconstruct the ancient Greek mythological tale of “The Three Furies” and reconstruct it for 21st century notions of Womanhood.    Personal narratives are made political by the very nature of genderizing and racializing the emotion of anger.

This exploration began in South Africa and Holland as part of the Afrovibes Festival  in 2012 commissioned by UK Arts International and the British Council. It had a reincarnation as a spoken word monologue and dance performance with film in London at the Canada Water Theatre space, in association with The Albany, Deptford in 2013.
After the vocabularies of dance, text, audio and film had served as devices for exploration, the voices of the public brought tangible manifestations of thoughts and feelings around the energy of anger through an interactive and participatory art installation piece – The Fury Transformation Tree. With support from the Three Faiths Forum,  Zena Edwards, Cherrelle Skeete and Katie Pearson bind fabric with members of the public and collect their anger stories for a jukebox to reveal the multiple ways in which anger manifest and discover the vast cultural differences in attitude diverse people have toward this unifying human emotion.

The Fury Project will be launched again in 2016.


At it’s foundation, ‘Conversations’ is an arts project that brings together a team of creatives who believe that organic interplay between art forms is a medium for spontaneous dialogue and thought provoking storytelling.

Professional Performance Poets, Spoken Word Artists, Musicians, Filmmakers, Visual Artists and Theatre Practitioners combine their skills in a series of workshops or “Lab Sessions” producing a spontaneous performance at the end of a Lab Session day. The workshops and performances are exploratively theme based. For example:

It’s My Life Innit? – Autobiographical moments that changed lives
To Intimacy and Beyond – exploring intimacy in the 21st century

Audience responses to previous Conversations performances –
“Creative and Fun!”
“Original and exciting, great vibe.”
“Great concept, perfectly executed.”

“… there is true complicity between all the performers on the stage and the excitement of the unexpected is electric. As an audience you feel that a space has opened up for true dialogue, a real exchange of passions and ideas… What emerges is a new art form, that is not quite song, not quite poetry, not quite jazz but the point where all three meet in conversation.” – Antonia Windsor, journalist for The Guardian newspaper.

Conversations Promo Film

The History

Conversations was first developed with spoken word artists Zena Edwards in 2002 when she was Poet in residence at the Poetry Cafe. She revived the project again in close collaboration with Award winning Saxophonist, Soweto Kinch in 2008 as pilot and after a successful show at The Albany in Deptford in November 2008, Conversations received a Lit Up award from the National Live Lit Consortium. Since, the project has been developed to include film, visuals, movement and creative input from lighting designers and sound technicians.
Although the focus of Conversations is largely based in the creative process, these other artistic skills can provide a fuller product in the form of a highly interactive stage performance and a unique live performance recorded product.

Read Zena Edwards Blog – Conversations: Inception

The Poetic Debaters Project

And then: The Poetic Debaters Project

click to go to PDP blogThis is perhaps one of the most exciting projects ©V:iD has been involved in. It is an issue based gaming program using poetry to raise awareness around issues that are important to all age groups. PDP explores diverse polemics from youth unemployment, gender issues, power and propaganda, bullying, to the politics and conflict and conflict resolution.
It has recently received support from The Poetry Society, English Pen,and has amazing production support by Pop-Up. Right now, we cannot say too much but there will a be a pilot of the PDP in the Spring 2014. Watch this space!


The Fury Project

The Fury Project

neon furyThis is a project that has been in development of nearly 2 years now and has made a successful application for a commission with 3 Faiths Forum and King’s Cultural Institute in June of this year. The collaboration extends into working along side Dr Althea Legal-Miller who PhD focused on sexualized Violence, the Black Freedom Movement, and the Leesburg Stockade Imprisonment of 1963. The main artists on board are Zena Edwards, Katie Pearson and Cherrelle Skeete, supported by Rasheeda Nalumoso of Live Traces.

The commission is funding an art installation in the form of a jukebox, kindly donated by sound artist, Isa Suarez, to be encased in a structure called The Transformation Tree and will be exhibited at the Red Gallery in Shoreditch from the 1st – 14th October.
It is a project that has been exploring anger as a concept, but especially that of Women and Young Girls. There will be Anger workshops in collaboration with the dynamic poet Errol McGlashan to explore peoples perception and relationship with anger, an often misconstrued emotion.
Take a look a the the The Fury Project Website to see how the project has developed and listen to examples of the anger stories shared on its Tumblr blog. Each contribution has helped the project evolve. You maybe surprised what you will hear. Its truly a interactive peoples initiative.

Arts Awards and ©V:iD

I am  now Gold Arts Award trained so can facilitate young  and aspiring artists to bronze, silver and gold Arts Award achievement. The awards themselves are gaining momentum as a valued accreditation, so this is a great asset to the potentialities of the ©ViD.

It is my plan that ©CV:iD will be able to offer Arts Awards on a regular basis. It is an exciting time for artist-educator practioners because our expertise is not something that can be learned in a text book. We all have very distinct paths of acquiring that expertise and it deserves to be noted as vocational bonuses that we can offer it up in strategized coursed devised by us in tune with the needs of young people in school, about to leave school or in college. Even those ready for degree level.

Click to take a look at what the Arts Award has to offer.

~ Zena


Zena shares the story of her trajectory into Youth Arts and participation –

“The power of your own voice, opinions and perspectives on life is such powerful force for change especially if its used creatively.

Creativity transform lives.

Creativity and education combined can change society one student’s voice at a time and the work that I do through poetry and performance provides a platform that enables young people to explore, validate and affirm their voices , to build confidence and improve literacy through the images and metaphor of poetry.

The storytelling aspect of the work I do also encourages social analysis and inspires a re-imaging of a cohesive society where they play a part in positive change through their creativity.”


Voices That SHAKE! 2013

Zena Edwards has been a core project consultant and devisor of  Platform London Youth Project, ‘Shake!’, and finally the time has come for it’s delivery. Shake! has been in development since it’s pilot 2010 and successfully received two years funding thanks to the hard work of Jane Trowell at Platform. Zena spent a day withe the Shake! team creating the courses curriculum.

“Had a brilliant day today. I’m very excited about delivering this program. Lot’s of interactive learning through creative writing, film making online graphic design…and it’s brilliant that in such hard times, so much can be offered for free. We have a great team – Ed Lewis (Demand the Impossible), Farzana Khan,  Simon Murray and Derek Richards from Hi8us Films South. Plus the Platform London team who are offering all kinds of support, information, research and delivery tips that are invaluable. It’s going to be an amazing year for Shake!”

The first Shake!  intensive course is free and runs from 18th February – 22nd Feb. The continuity workshops and mentoring through to Shake’s summer intensive course. Dates to be confirmed.

Click for more on Shake!  info and for details to enrol.


Travelling Light. A One Woman Show

What is it ?
Travelling Light is  a feast  of  poetic story-telling binding three generations of women, through a gritty and moving autobiographical account of a fractious and touching mother/daughter relationship.
It is a multi- artformed account of a mother, daughter of a Windrush Migrant from the Island of Nevis , who is reunited with her own mother after  60 years of seperation. But it is her daughter, the poet performer who retells this story  through her own eyes and  the mouths of  other ‘factional’ characters who bring the show to dynamic life.

The Inspiration
“The idea for the show came from my life experiences of growing up an only child of a single parent from a scattered Caribbean family circumstance in North London. On our first trip to the island of Nevis in August 2009, we discovered that my mothers mother had been living for the past 45 years in the South East of London. She’s 82 and still alive. Incredible. ” – Zena Edwards

The Performance
Travelling light is a docu-poem unfolding the moving autobiographical story, the show unpacks the paradoxes that  haunt and  challenge gender definition and role playing in society. Through the crafts of poetry/spoken word, visuals, song, movement and blogging, Zena Edwards propels the audience through a time warp of evolution  in Womanhood, touching on themes of  sex, domestic violence,  love relationships, race, illusion and  the dreams and aspirations of a young  woman though some of the most challenging eras of modern Womanhood.

Travelling Light  & ©V:iD
TL’s multi-artform  delivery and the universal nature of it’s content is a good example of the kind of work that adheres to ©V:iD  mission.  The R&D stages of TL involves participartory workshops and  collaborations with other in the UK and internationally artists.



The Science of Storytelling

Click for image source

 There is always a good reason to tell a story, to sit down and listen to a story, to be the storyteller. One of the best reasons is because we can escape and venture  to other worlds with heros and protaganists we can love, hate or replace with our own secret wanna- be selves. But it can’t get any better when someone scientifically breaks it down as to why  reading and hearing stories are good for your health. This article – “The Science of Storytelling: Why Telling a Story is the Most Powerful Way to Activate Our Brains” – gives you the lowdown on why we should get healthy doses of stories for our brain’s development and health. This is great news for ©V:iD as it’s in the business of telling stories by any means necessary!

HKB Finn and Leeto Thale – Conversations performances

The objective of Conversation performances is to expose an audience to a high quality musical, spoken word and visual experience. How? True to any conversation, the freedom to contribute with an opinion on a theme allows the audience to be taken on a genuine journey as poets, visual artists, musicians and dancers respond to each other; with movement, lyricism, instrumental soloing and selective imaging.

Also, our shows work in a way where an organic dialogue between the artists on stage and the audience create a sense of community. Using clever poetic and musical gaming the audience becomes integrated into the performance itself. Don’t be afraid. You’ll be enjoying the vibe. You won’t even know its happening.

Importantly, many professional artists are constantly looking for places to develop and generate work they can add to their repertoire. Conversations provides them with a rehearsal space to experiment new work with others and a platform to share. Its important to stress that the artistic emphasis of Conversations is to explore creative process, enhance the collaborative relationship between the art forms and generate new and exciting work.
However, from a commercial perspective, the process in performance is the product. Sounds risky, but that’s why it works!

Albany Conversations: It’s My Life, Innit? – Sept 2009


“… there is true complicity between all the performers on
the stage and the excitement of the unexpected is electric. As an audience you feel that a space has opened up for true dialogue, a real exchange of passions and ideas… What emerges is a new artform, that is not quite song, not quite poetry, not quite jazz but the point where all three meet in conversation.”

Antonia Windsor, journalist for The Guardian newspaper

“Thought provoking, relevant, and a great way to spend a Friday evening.”

“Creative and Fun!”

“Original and exciting, great vibe.”

“Great concept, perfectly executed.”

“The vibe , the respect, the poetical and musical talent, the incredible improv, this is the most brilliant night!”

“Inspirational and then some.”

“Brilliant mixture of very talented people.”

“Nice Vibe, innovative performances and audience participation.”

“Everybody worked as a team and ended up producing some real, beautiful art.”

“The talent filled me up with the food of music and poetry of Love.”

“Liked the freestyle, the combination of music, spoken word and audience involvement.”

” It wasn’t just a poetry event, it felt more like a poetry/song performance and I liked the fluidity.”

” I love spoken word and this was a well put together production.”

“Great, creative teamwork on stage that still engaged the audience.”

“Inspiring, dynamic and expressive.”

“Refreshing, inspiring, entertaining.”

“Interesting and stimulating.”

“To put poetry and music like that was great to hear.”

” Excellent performances and good ideas.”

– Audience Responses

Past Conversations’ Team

This crew of people were prepared to go out on faith to follow an idea of a pursuing a fresh way to create. Sometimes being a working artist, you can find yourself in a groove where your art can become stifled as you try to pay the bills. “Conversations”was an opportunity for them to meet like-minded creatives, to experiment with new ways of generating and exploring that elusive creative energy and then to share the process with an audience. It proves to be a fulfilling experience and we team up again for Conversations – To Intimacy and Beyond in September 09

Click image to get to know them better.

maxwell conversation my life 3

Maxwell Golden – Wordsmithery is his joy and misery. Theatric MC with street class


HKB Finn – Afro Spoken Herb Artist Extra-Ordinaire


Zena Edwards – Spoken Word Songtress with Passion

leeto conversations my life

Leeto Thale – Soul-full Spoken Word Masterchef

lucid flow

Samira “Lucid” Arhin-Acquaah – Fluid Lyricistic Word

Soweto conversations it my life

Soweto Kinch – Saxophonist virtuoso and Wordsmith-meister

ason Yarde

Jason “Yardestick” Yarde – Saxophonic complexities made easy


Jessica Lauren – Cinematic keys

speedy guitar man

Jon Speedy – guitar talking in tongues


Sam “Blue” Aguard – Smooth Touch Drummer

larry converations my life 2

Larry Bartley – Double Bass earthing us all

Thebe conversations my life

Thebe Lipere – Master Drummer calling

Cheryl Alleyne – The Beat Mama


YOUR MUM VISUALS – Kelly Budge and Matt Williams, Optic Stimulation, The VJ Queen and King

likkle flowa

Orville “Kungadred” Edwards- Film, The All Seeing Eye

Images on this page of Maxwell, Leeto, Larry and Thebe taken by NAMVULA.

Conversations – Verse In Dialog: Inception

Conversations began in the basement of the Poetry Cafe in London’s Covent Garden with myself, Randolph Matthews (Vocals, Percussion), Henrik Jensen (bass), and Mauricio Velez (percussion and lautist). We were all fascinated with the way poetry and music were virtually one language if we as the artists allowed ourselves to be open to the processes of how music and poetry sonically danced together. Over the year of my poets residency at the Poetry Society we held workshops with fellow poets and musicians and developed a, not necessarily new approach to collaboration but a very dynamic and explorative one.

Since, ‘Conversations: Verse In Dialog’ has become a mission and jettisoned me in to a hungry space of exploration where being a part of, or even watching the act of dialoguing art-forms intensifies a storytelling experience, and collaborating with artists and audiences who want to come along for the ride can be all immersing and invigorating. ‘

My Life  eflyer
Conversations @The Albany, 7th Nov 09




Its been in the making for the last 5 months. The great thing about To Intimacy is the investment that everyone involved has dedicated so much to make it a blinding event.

The technical team at the Albany have been on board form the top and have a fantastic lighting, stage and sound design. So big thanks to Fiona, Ben and Dave.

Sophie Brady is the right lung of the project. As the producer of To Intimacy her input has been priceless as her belief in the project in its entirety. Sophie has embraced the projects big picture objective and of the possibilities for participants who want to explore their creativity through “Conversations”.
Today we had a tech meeting and everyone is starting to feel the excitement of the night. It’s going to be special….

The love of inspired and improvised multidisciplinary dialogue can focus purpose. There is so much to learn in the processes of spontaneous play, natural response, truisms and profound insights to artistic personalities are revealed and by pushing the vessel of the story to  be a clearer channel, the clearer the waters of the stories will run.

Creating ©V:iD cic was a result of one of these moments and I am truly grateful for the three musicians who held a common belief, whose openness and skills ignited the conversations flame.

“… there is true complicity between all the performers on the stage and the excitement of the unexpected is electric. As an audience you feel that a space has opened up for true dialogue, a real exchange of passions and ideas… What emerges is a new art form, that is not quite song, not quite poetry, not quite jazz but the point where all three meet in conversation.” – Antonia Windsor, journalist for The Guardian newspaper.


Thanks to Abi Idowu and Orville

See Full Conversation Workshop program

The Security Sessions

cropped-cropped-security_image_black_wideThe show Security asks many questions from the cities that we live in – how do we interact with the people we meet and what do the politics of the time mean in regard to the stresses and strain put  on people relationships because of economic, conflict-worn and

What we do find is that extraordinary things happen in the most pressurized situations and the Security Sessions challenge the way we see the world and each other.
The Security Sessions is an exploration of art-forms  to raise and interrogate themes and issues that concern us all and the bridges we can build between culture and generations to  encourage healthy discourse around these themes.

Participants will engage in creative writing, photography, movement and words

They are related to the 5 characters in the show. Each of them have blogs of their own and will be sharing their thoughts and ideas around the themes that are most relevant to them.

Click to go to Ayleens blog about young womens issues.

Click to go to Mahmoud’s photography blog – how do we physical see our environment? What stories can we tell in one image?

Algernon Dennis Brooks – aged 80Creative writing for senior citizens and inter-generational and documenting oral history workshops.

Elijah Paul Benoit – aged 16 exploring creative writing, storytelling and performance.

The Performer – The Storytellerexploring performance skills.

Tha Endzexploring writing themes of belonging, citizenship and environment.

Security – A one Woman Showdown

Z_cam“SECURITY” is a comical and moving tale of unexpected friendship which confronts the issue of security and identity through a fusion of performance poetry, hip hop theatre, movement and song. It’s the chaotic stories of four ordinary characters, four extraordinary people with stories of resilience and evolution. They live in Tottenham but their stories could be about any inner city areas such as London, Handsworth, Liverpool.

In 2009, I was commissioned by The Battersea Arts Centre, Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Apples and Snakes Poetry Organisation to write a show pushing the boundaries of poetry in performance. It took nearly 2 years to write as I had to learn what it meant to come out from behind a microphone as a poet and fill a whole theatre space with the presence of characters i was also responsible for incanting.

Metamorphing between characters, using clever dialogue and challenging myself as a performer and writer, I fused poetic language to a fast-paced and intensely stirring monologue to delivery an engaging one hour five minute show.  Post shows, I’d have people telling me they forgot I was a woman when I played the male parts because they were so engrossed in the story. I had to offer tissues for tears.

The Participation work has held the most drama for me, as photography, writing and telling stories are may passion and enabling others to tell their stories is just as satisfying is creating my own.

Find out more about the Security participation.

“Security” is a concept that unites what is real and what is imagined. The entire project includes a book, a film, a workshop program, a forum, a journey.”


“As a performer and writer, Zena Edwards takes storytelling into the twenty-first century.” –  Sara Hirsh, Pure Poetry

“Edwards is a superb performer, equally at ease as an elderly Caribbean man, as a would-be teenage MC, Ayleen, or as a lonely 47-year-old Palestinian photographer, Mahmoud.” Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

“I was kind of expecting it to be good and technically impressive.
Well, it’s much better than good – I’d say that if you are interested in spoken word, poetry, story-telling, theatre and or performance arts in general, this is pretty much essential viewing. I laughed and I did cry and moments from the show come back to me with relevance and intensity and I think they will for a long time to come.” – Francesca Beard

For more online reviews, click

~ Zena

Voices that Shake!

shake flyerShake! arts and activism project has just  recently landed ACE funding for two years to continue its works!!
In 2010 Shake launched as a pilot and the Stephen Lawrence Centre in Deptford. Eric Soul, Zena Edwards, Ed Lewis, Simon Murray and Ana Tovey were acting facilitators using Film, DJ-ing and Music as well as the spoken and written word to creatively raise awareness around the murder of Stephen Lawrence and the eco-struggles of writer and activis Ken Saro-Wiwa.

The funding news is brilliant and  for a year, while ©ViD has be project consulting with Platform of London, some of its young people had  been invited as young delegates to The Rebellious Media Conference, developed the Britain on Trial project and had gifted Doreen Lawrence with a framed poetry piece that she had made a personal request for at a Shake fundraiser in 2011.

Roll on February 2013 and for the new Shake! intensive project. Watch this space for participant recruitment news!

Voices that Shake from Chocolate Films on Vimeo.

Shake! Developed in partnership with CViD, Liquorice Fish, African Writers Abroad, Afrogroov, Chocolate Films, and  Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust.

Zena Edwards is “Raising Game” – EP Xtra

Due to popular demand, ©V:iD brings you Zena Edwards collection of poetry and music in “Raising Game” extended EP.

“This is a selection of my favourite spoken word and music collaborations over time . I’m proud of them all and thought it was time to have them compiled so I  can look back on them as a  personal legacy  as I move into 2012. I’m have some brilliant collaborations in the pipeline so I’m  very excited. The title raising game is to remind myself that I although this  is a selection I am proud of, I expect much more from my creativity in the near future. I feel I have more to offer.”Zena Edwards

You can go to Bandcamp have a listen and download the extended EP of 9 quality tracks for £7 or download individual tracks for your selective listening pleasure. Your feedback is most welcome please email at  to leave feedback  and to get on the mailing lists for all her performances and creative projects as well as links to poetry and music downloads, links to blogs sites. Enjoy!

End of the Rainbow

Left to right: Yemisi Blake (poet), HKB Finn (Rapper and musician), Robert Mitchell (Piano and composer), Susanne (All Cange Coordinator), Felix Cross ((Dierctor at Nitro), Zena Edwards (CV:iD and Poet facilitator), Arun Ghosh, (Flautist and composer), Alex Wilson (Piano and Composer)

All Change collaborative initiative with Nitro encouraged people from migrant communities who use Islington Council’s NRPF service, to create art to tell they’re immigration stories  using poetry and music.

Using photography, `collage, music and poetry, Zena inspires families and young people who use independeant No Recourse to Public Funds services to tell their stroies in ways that rehumanise after trauma.


Conversations TV is now Live!


It is a blogspot dedicated to showcasing

the  innovative  fusion o f verse in dialogue

with other arts forms so you can browse through

posts of poetry with animation, dance, music and film.

Click, take a look, be inspired.

Write to us at (subject: conversationsTV) to share your work.

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑