Lines of Resistance
Writer and poet Bridget Minamore explores how women - particularly women of colour - have pushed back against the poetry establishment to create their own literary narratives.
Poetry as an escape from oppression and as a way to amplify the voices of the overlooked is nothing new. But, so often, resistance writers are male.
How have women in general and women of colour resisted dominant narratives in poetry? And how have they challenged those established voices of dissent to create their own literary spaces for resistance?
The themes explored in the programme range from 21st-century Peckham to ancient Iraq and the slave plantations of the Caribbean, as Bridget goes on a journey to uncover the lines of resistance followed by women throughout history. She talks both to established writers and teenage poets struggling to make their mark.
At the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton, south London, poet Malika Booker tells Bridget, "Story is in our DNA". The women of the Octavia poetry collective explain how the internet both helps and hinders the process of creative resistance. With the help of Arabic literature specialist Dr Marlé Hammond and British-Egyptian writer Sabrina Mahfouz, Bridget draws links from Muslim women writing in 11th-century Spain to how Muslim women write in Britain today.
And in a surprising exchange with history professor Eleanor Robson, Bridget discovers that a writer of poetry from 4,000 years ago, long cherished by contemporary feminists, isn't all that she seems to be.
With poems by Sarah Lasoye, Warsan Shire, Malika Booker, Enheduana, Wallada bint al-Mustakfi, Seema Begum and Bridget Minamore herself.
Produced by Matthew Teller
An Overtone production for BBC Radio 4.