4713_193293355561_787830561_7090781_4926153_nRa’ed Poetical recently caught up with one of London’s best known spoken word poets in the circuit, James Massiah. Here’s what he had to say…

How long have you been writing poetry?
For as long as I can remember, my first performance was at the age of 14.

What made you start?
I needed an outlet for my creativity. It was also a way for me to become more involved in church activities and promote what I believed to be the truth in a more palatable fashion.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
From my own experiences really.. More than anything else it will be a particular incident or circumstance that serves as the catalyst for me to begin work on a new piece. My musings on religion, politics and the world around me often end up being immortalised in verse form

What makes you different from other poets out there?
Probably, the fact that I’m so true to the person that I am. There is no one else, poet or otherwise who has lived my life, thought my thoughts or seen what I have seen, therefore the things I discuss in my poetry, even the way I dress or conduct myself whilst performing it will be unique to me, by virtue of the fact that each of those things would have been informed by the imprint left upon me by experiences and episodes in my life thus far.

What can we expect to see in the near future from James Massiah?
Songs, poems, performances and more. I’d hate to limit myself by outlining the specifics, but as long as I have the ability to think and feel, manifestations of these thoughts and feelings will come in whichever form they come.

What poets on the scene do you rate?
Deanna Rodger was the first poet I met in London and we’ve been great friends since our first introduction in 2008. I highly respect her work and have collaborated with her on several occasions. The scene is bursting with talent and creativity right now and all of the poets in the scene are rising their standards a becoming more imaginative with their concepts and delivery.

Why is poetry so important to you?
It provides me with the ability to speak out on the issues that are on important me. More than that though, as I grow older and look back on the poetry that I wrote in times past, I get to see how my life has changed for both the better and in some cases the worse, which in terms of my personal development and growth is very important to me.

Do you have a memorable or favourite performance of your own?
My performance at “The Poet & the Beat II” which is a show that I produce myself, was a very important performance for me. It came at a very difficult time for me and being able to stand on stage and perform the pieces that highlight the issues I was having at the time allowed to find a new way of expressing emotion in my poetry.

What has been your biggest achievement thus far?
“The Poet & the Beat” It’s my own night and I love putting it on. Having a forum where I can put on artists and poets whose work I respect is certainly a privilege, but the most rewarding part has to be the response from audience after a night where all has been done by the performers to make sure they have left having learnt something and be entertained.

Where do you want take your poetry?
I want my poetry to be heard by as many people as possible, by the world. I want to grow as a performer and writer and so as long as my heart beats, there are no limits to how far my words can go.

Where can we see you next?
The Poet & the Beat III on the 26th August.

Words by Ra’ed Poetical