Black Joy

Rachel Long tells us about being inspired by Jean “Binta” Breeze, wanting to write poems that sound and feel real and why she set up Octavia Poetry Collective.

I’m going to continue to try to find ways to support and build and create communities, particularly for – for Black British poets, particularly for women.   

Rachel Long is the leader of Octavia, Poetry Collective for Women of Colour. She is Assistant Tutor to Jacob Sam-La Rose on the Barbican Young Poets programme, 2015-present 

 

She began writing poetry after attending a workshop with Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze, a transformative experience she describes as ‘radically intimate, and yet simultaneously expansive. I’ve been writing poems since I left that room.’ 

 

In My Darling from the Lions Long writes on love, the family, sexual politics – broad subjects, treated with a pin-sharp attention to the local and specific (an estate ‘built like Tetris’, the ‘lit throat of a candle’). Her advice for poets starting out is to ‘listen to the poems more than the noise around you; find good teachers, honour them, make good friends, create a space for yourself and for them.’
 

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Rachel Long tells us about being inspired by Jean “Binta” Breeze, wanting to write poems that sound and feel real and why she set up Octavia Poetry Collective.

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