British-born Barbadian-raised poet Birdspeed is known for her ability to weave an incredible display of poetry and movement. Her writing often includes a combination of social commentary and Caribbean culture and folklore. The winner of multiple and international slams, she is currently the National UK Slam Champion and the BBC Edinburgh Fringe Slam Champion. The current Manhattan Arts Festival Laureate, she has headlined across New York, Philadelphia, New Jersey and Los Angeles. Birdspeed is published in the anthologies Alter Egos (Bad Betty Press, 2019), Words on Windrush (Empoword, 2019) and Use Words First (Own It, 2019). Her work will also appear in The Caribbean Writer Journal (Spring/Summer, 2020). Birdspeed’s first self-published pamphlet, Bloom (2019), is endorsed by The Wailers.

Photo: Naomi Woodis


Poetry Café: Birdspeed »

Lunch and verses with the reigning UK and BBC slam champion

Sun 8 March | 13:00 - 13:50 | £7.00/£5.75 | Byre Theatre, Abbey Street, Studio Theatre


A Gimbal of Ganja

Buds ricocheted off the wall, a thick blunt
rolled into the gutter. He tried to scuttle but
the aroma of green, hot and holy
tracked his attempts to evade judgement.
Did the harvest not enkindle a culture? 

He suspects his damnation is frivolous, 

feasts for the brain to drift must be a good thing, 
to eradicate illness and numb muscles vexed 
from roleplay in a circus.  He hears,  
the ringmaster has struck oil: betrayed,

destroyed by botany that will save the world.

Now his heart beats irregular and slow,
drained of clouds he levitated on.
In a soundproof room he would dine on a high,
fly into the night with a red-eye,

through cleansing smoke that now choked his sky,

joy somewhere in the billowing clouds.
He sweats out his frustration and begs for the sun 
to crash down onto every crop, incinerate the cash, 
the medicine, he is too low born, too dark, to enjoy.  
He knocks on metal, his jail cell has no wood.


From Bloom (2019)