Your Local Arena- Caribbean Nights - Poetry

On what would have been the pioneering poet Kamau Brathwaite’s 90th birthday today, the GPI in collaboration with Lucy Hannah and Speaking Volumes launches publicity for an exciting production! Your Local Arena is a Lucy Hannah and Speaking Volumes co-production featuring BBC’s Arena film archive. It is funded by Arts Council England.

Caribbean Nights: Poetry 

It’s hard to believe now that, back in the 1980s the UK had little idea of the wealth of poetry which was and has always come out of the Caribbean. In 1986, the BBC’s Arena film Caribbean Nights: Poetry changed all that, when activist and intellectual Darcus Howe chaired a thought-provoking discussion with poet Derek Walcott (who went on to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992), pioneering reggae poet Linton Kwesi Johnson and emerging poet Fred D’Aguiar


Including clips of seminal readings by the late dub poet Michael Smith and Kamau Brathwaite, one of the founding fathers in the use of Caribbean English in poetry, this film was ground-breaking in introducing Caribbean poets and poetry to a mainstream UK audience. But even now, in the twenty-first century, there is a freshness to the debate, clear insights and, above all, a real sense of the vital need for poetry in our everyday lives.


The George Padmore Institute (GPI) is delighted to be part of Your Local Arena, co-hosting this screening of Caribbean Nights: Poetry from the BBC Arena archives, available for five days only from 11 June 2020Join the event on the Your Local Arena website:


As well as Arena – Caribbean Nights: Poetry, this Your Local Arena includes:


Caribbean Nights: Poetry — A Contemporary Response (short film)

Introduced by the GPI’s Nicole-Rachelle Moore, three poets of Caribbean heritage – Jacqueline BishopHannah Lowe and Dorothea Smartt – will respond to the film and discuss some of its themes. 


New and Exclusive Commissioned Poems

Award-winning poets Jay Bernard and Anthony Joseph  share their new poems, inspired by the film, in text and audio.


Life Writing Workshop

Watch a life writing workshop led by acclaimed author and historian Colin Grant, who uses the Arena film as a starting point to encourage you to write your own memoirs. From 11-25 June, you can submit short memoir pieces of up to 500 words to us. Colin will give feedback on the first eight pieces he receives.


So spread the word and join us in June!

Jacqueline Bishop

Hannah Lowe

Dorothea Smartt

Nicole-Rachelle Moore

Jay Bernard

Anthony Joseph