Joelle Taylor

Joelle Taylor is an award-winning poet, playwright, author and editor who recently toured through Europe, Australia, Brazil and South East Asia with her latest collection, Songs My Enemy Taught Me. She is widely anthologised, the author of three full poetry collections and three plays, and is currently completing her debut short story collection The Night Alphabet. Joelle has featured on radio and television, and in 2001 founded SLAMbassadors—the UK’s national youth slam championships—through the Poetry Society, remaining its Artistic Director until 2018. Her work is taught as part of the OCR English GCSE syllabus, and she has received a Change Maker Award and a Fellowship of the RSA, and was longlisted for the Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowships.

Photo: Karim Kamar


Songs My Enemy Taught Me »

Visceral poetry from Joelle Taylor

Sat 7 March | 15:30 - 16:30 | £5.50/£4.50 | Byre Theatre, Abbey Street, Auditorium


From Everything You Have Ever Lost


How you made an origami figure of a small boy staring
How some boys cry with their fists
How some boys hang themselves from the thin edge of their smiles
how they told you that white was the colour that contained all others
how your skin became a colour that contained you
how skin becomes insignia

Everything you have ever lost is in here.

how they spat at you and the saliva became a sea
and you sailed easily across it to the other side of your heart
how your heart was a tectonic plate
how your heart rubbed
how it drifted apart
how other people set up home on the opposite side of your heart to you
how they sent smoke signals
how you answered
how your words turned to ash and blew away
how your voice was thin ice you were scared to walk across
how silence was a song your enemy taught you

Joelle Taylor

From Songs My Enemy Taught Me (Out-Spoken Press, 2017)