Kalli Damschen

Bridget Minamore: Changing the World with Poetry

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Bridget Minamore
It’s long been said that the pen is mightier than the sword. Swords aren’t very common today, so perhaps now the pen is mightier than bombs and prejudice and discrimination.

Bridget Minamore is a young poet who graduated from University College London last year with a degree in English literature. In 2013, she was shortlisted to be London’s first Young Poet Laureate. She has won several slam titles around London, including Farrago and Hammer & Tongue, and her poetry has been published in anthologies such as Rhyming Thunder, published by Burning Eye Books, and Tongue Fu’s Liminal Animals, both available online.

Bridget fell into poetry almost by accident. When she was 17, she worked with the National Theatre’s New Views New Writers programme, where one of the playwrights she worked with told her that she wasn’t writing scripts, but poems. After that, she entered the Roundhouse Poetry Slam. She came in third place, and her career as a poet began.

At times, Bridget still writes prose as well, including articles that have been published by the Observer and the Debrief, among others.

“I’ve always written articles, mostly because I have too many opinions,” Bridget said.

Bridget’s opinions also come across in her poetry, however. Her work explores a wide variety of topics, ranging from identity to economic class and from the nature of home to gender. Bridget herself has been involved in a lot of humanitarian efforts. She describes herself as passionate about women’s rights, climate change and international politics, and she has worked with Write Here Write Now, an organisation that offers creative educational support to young people and vulnerable adults, and Tipping Point, an arts-based charity focused on climate change.

Poetry has an immense power to bring about social and political change, Bridget said.

“Poetry has a way of helping people cut through all the crap and focus on the real issues.”

Bridget mentioned poems that have had an impact on the world recently, particularly surrounding world debates about immigration and border control, such as “Mathematics” by Hollie McNish or “Home” by Warsan Shire.

For some aspiring poets who are used to writing poems meant to be read, rather than recited, it may be difficult to fall into a groove, but Bridget never had that problem because initially, she wrote only for the stage. As time’s gone on, and she’s started to perform less, Bridget noted that she focuses only on writing for the page, and if a poem works on paper, it works when she reads it aloud.

“But it’s different for everyone!” Bridget said. “Find a way that works for you.”

See Bridget perform her 2012 poem “Hypocrites and Double D’s” in this video, posted to YouTube by the Huffington Post.

To keep up to date with Bridget or see some of her work, visit her website, and follow her on Twitter or Tumblr.

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