JAMES MAS­SIAH

ELLE (UK) - - Elle Play -

MEET THE GRIME-IN­SPIRED POET TELLING IT LIKE IT IS

Grow­ing up in a Chris­tian fam­ily in south Lon­don, poet James Mas­siah’s ear­li­est in­spi­ra­tion was a mix of psalms and Dizzee Ras­cal. ‘UK grime was a mas­sive in­flu­ence,’ he ex­plains. ‘The mu­sic was so real, and I wanted to marry that with my read­ing of the King James Bi­ble.’ Af­ter at­tend­ing Brunel Univer­sity, his be­liefs started to shift; he’s now an athe­ist, but street cul­ture still feeds into his work. His project, 27, out this au­tumn, is a filmed col­lec­tion of poems ex­plor­ing what it’s like to live through a cy­cle of vi­o­lence. ‘In 2007, 26 young peo­ple were shot or stabbed in Lon­don. This story is about the twenty-sev­enth, the one who evaded it,’ he says. ‘I want peo­ple to broaden their no­tions of what po­etry is. I write in a way that’s in­ter­est­ing to read, whether I’m present or not. That’s po­etry.’ Visit james­mas­siah.com

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