Inua Ellams

Born in Nigeria, Inua Ellams is a poet, playwright and performer, as well as a graphic artist and designer. He is the founder of The Midnight Run, an arts-filled, nighttime, urban walking experience; The Rhythm and Poetry Party (The R.A.P Party), which celebrates poetry and hip hop; and Poetry + Film / Hack (P+F/H), which celebrates poetry and film. Identity, displacement and destiny are recurring themes in his work, where he tries to mix the old with the new: traditional African oral storytelling with contemporary poetics, paint with pixel, texture with vector. His books are published by flipped eye, Akashic, Nine Arches, Penned in the Margins and Oberon & Methuen.

Inua Ellams

Photo: Henry Nicholls


Poetry Centre Stage »

Reading: Ilya Kaminsky, Inua Ellams


Sat 13 March | 19:30 - 20:30 | FREE | StAnza Online

Festival Launch Extravaganza »

Enjoy a sneak peek of some of the highlights of StAnza 2021

Sat 6 March | 19:00 - 20:00 | FREE | StAnza Online


Fuck / Symphonies
#after Beethoven
For Zahzee


Months from now it will happen again / in gin-and-juice loose-tongued-stupor / I’ll be like fuck classical music / fuck those elitist dudes in darks suits / There’s nothing I haven’t seen J Dilla do / that dude with a Midi and a Mac / composed the whole world right on wax / and I will forget 

this analogue afternoon / the radio's dial snagging a whole sunrise / or what one must certainly sound like / Earth glowing up awake / coming into its own bloom of airwaves / of warmth and amber / of booming horizons / horn / bassoon and oboes / tugging the dawn’s ochre aura over leafy-headed forests / down noble brows of bush / brave bark / soft moss and root / to subterranean bedrock of bones and blues / and threading through this / a piano line / like a girl reborn as bird / her bright persistent spirit / flitting with the flute's lilting limber / I reached to spin that radio's dial but she had got to me / had me hooked in / to the orchestra / the symphony / the pit / with its wise wood and windy ways / the oak and gold / the whole world of her held me in its holy mouth / in its halting time / had me lifted / from the tight urban gloom / into a light filled with room / into a room filled with light

Inua Ellams

From The Actual (Penned in the Margins, 2020)