Stephen Lightbown: Only Air
Join Stephen Lightbown as he returns to his home town of Darwen to launch his debut poetry collection, Only Air, about life as a wheelchair user. Come along and celebrate poetry in a relaxed and fully accessible atmosphere. In a BSL-interpreted event two poets will present poems and then take part in a lively discussion about accessibility in poetry. Stephen Lightbown is a Bristol based, Blackburn born poet.
In 1996, aged 16, Stephen became paralysed following an accident when he hit a tree whilst sledging in the snow in his hometown of Darwen. Twenty years after the accident he began writing poetry and writes extensively but not exclusively about life as a wheelchair user. In 2019 his ﬁrst poetry collection, Only Air, will be published by Burning Eye Books. Stephen will be returning to Darwen to not only read poems from his new collection but to also say thank you to the town who supported and rallied round him after his accident.
Also reading will be Owen Lowry, a former British Judo champion who suffered a spinal injury while competing and is now a tetraplegic. He has a First Class Honours BA, two Master’s Degrees, and a PhD in the poetry of Keith Douglas. Owen’s poetry has appeared in Stand, PN Review, The Independent, The Times, and The Guardian, and he has published two major collections, Otherwise Unchanged, (2012), and Rego Retold (2015). Owen has performed all over the UK, and has worked with organisations, film-makers, musicians and artists, including Paula Rego, LA Productions, Arts Council England, Unlimited, and the BBC.
Naomi Ortiz is a writer, poet, facilitator and visual artist whose work focuses on self-care for activists, disability justice and living in multiple worlds (intersectionality). Her book, Sustaining Spirit: Self-Care for Social Justice invites readers to balance activism with self-care by guiding readers to sink into metaphor and examine their relationship to self, community and place.
The event will be hosted by Jackie Hagan, a multi award-winning poet, playwright, performer and activist. Jackie is passionate about making theatre and creativity accessible for everyone, and this doesn’t just mean putting ramps on a building. She is a working class, queer, dyslexic amputee with systemic sclerosis. She’s down to earth, disarming, furious and energised by her anger at the barriers put in front of good people. She is bedsit avant garde and good with folk.
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Age Guidance: PG
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