Poet Zena Edwards to perform at Wakefield spoken word night

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Spoken word artist Zena Edwards will perform at a poetry night at the city’s Unity Works venue on Wednesday.

The internationally-acclaimed writer from North London will appear at Unity Words, which draws audiences to the Westgate venue’s cafe-bar each month.

She will be joined by Pakistani-born poet Sitara Khan at the event from 7pm on February 22.

Unity Words is presented by spoken word group A Firm of Poets and literature organisation Wordlife.

It is in its second year at Unity Works and has been listed by publisher Picador as among the best poetry and spoken word events in the country.

Wordlife’s Joe Kriss said: “The idea of doing it in a bar was trying to make it an accessible night of poetry and spoken word.

“We welcome everybody. A lot of people have negative experiences of poetry at school being forced to study poetry.

“But we can have poems from a factory worker, a 16-year-old talking about body image, a 60-year-old woman.

“It’s people standing on stage and talking about their own lives, their hopes and fears and what’s important to them.”

The venue was packed for last month’s Unity Words, which featured JB Barrington, Kieren King and Hannah Batley, who had taken part in the event’s Pandemonium Poets scheme. Workshops are held for up-and-coming artists who are then given a slot at Unity Words, usually held on the last Wednesday of the month.

Matt Abbott, of A Firm of Poets, said: “It’s appealing to emerging poets who want to hone their skills.”

Fellow founding member of the group Ralph Dartford said: “From the workshop we’ve identified poets who we think can go further.

“We’ve reached probably the top five of these kinds of nights in the country.

“It’s a party atmosphere and we’ve got some of the best poets in the country performing with us.”

For more information about the event and future Unity Words dates, log on to www.unityworks.co.uk