Written by Aoife O'Connor / Leeds Young Authors 04/05/2016
“My name is Aoife O'Connor. I'm 18 years old and I’m the team captain for the 2016 BNV team from Leeds.
I like to write because there are so many important things to say and writing gives me a voice for expressing issues that are meaningful to me. Everyone needs a form of expression and writing poetry is how I choose to express myself.
I write for no other reason,
than the fact that,
there is no one else,
who would willingly listen,
to me open my mouth.
Listen to what I have to say,
in the way I say it best.
No where or one,
that could teach me,
to say it better.
The reason that I like to write poetry is very different from the reason that I perform my work. A performance poet is referred to as a spoken word and/or slam poet depending on how they perform. This is how I'd sometimes refer to myself, as I enjoy the performance element and it works quite nicely with the style that I write in as a poet. I chose performance because it gives me the opportunity to go into so much more depth with the language and performance elements; it allows me to play with the tone and pitch of the piece and really emphasise the wordplay.
What I write on can vary from piece to piece; social and political issues are always interesting and allow me to research and develop knowledge on the topic of the poem. It's interesting to take a topic and look at the personal effects that it has on you, finding a relationship between the wider aspects of the situation and it’s impact on you.
My dream to attend the BNV poetry slam and workshops began when I first joined LYA, after I saw a screening of the documentary ‘We Are Poets’
in the Town Hall. I saw the skill, talent, and emotions that the poets were able to portray and this inspired me. It was also the first time I realised that this 'thing' (poetry/slam/spoken word) existed. Since joining LYA, I have been focusing on learning and improving my skills as a writer and performer. From this, I competed in Voices of a New Generation
(LYAs own poetry slam). After competing for a couple of years, my writing and performing improved and I developed my passion for slam.
This passion fuels my desire to represent Leeds, Yorkshire and the UK at BNV in 2016. I want to push myself and improve my skills as a writer and performer, to bring them back home and to work with the next generation of poets. I am also looking forward to the positive and energetic environment of BNV and meeting and building a poetry community – this is simply the magic of BNV.
Of course we also aim to score well and to show the other poets how we do things in Leeds!
My plans for next year include starting university and continuing to improve myself and just to mature as a writer and performer. I plan to begin a BA in Creative and Professional Writing. I hope to get myself out there as a young poet and to continue to hone my skills to turn my passion into a profession.”
Aoife and her team members Becky, Darren and Khalidah are fundraising and looking for sponsors. They are seeking to raise about £6,000 to cover registration, flights, accommodation and meals. They have set up a Gofundme site that you can donate to
. You can also contact Emilee Moore (an LYA volunteer) on 07717030916 or E.MooreDeLuca@leeds.ac.uk
for more information about this project and ways to support it.