On The Barbican Young Poets 2017

“What was one thing you’ve taken away from being a part of the Barbican Young Poets this year?”

To answer that question would be for me to catch you up on the past six to seven months of my life, starting from that sunny Sunday afternoon sandwiched between four other friends in a car parked somewhere in Chelmsford and I had just refreshed my mail app to Lorna McGinty’s message with the title Barbican Young Poets.

Many has come to call Frobisher Rooms 4 and 5 a home, a place where people can be themselves. And the weird thing is, when we come into such a space like that we flourish. I’ve never felt growth the way I felt it when I was in the middle of a writing prompt, getting multiple epiphanies at the same time while trying to dissect a poem or finding new ways to write something in the middle of writing something else.

I’ve asked some of my “classmates” from this year’s group the same question and here are their responses:

To Lauren, Lorna, Rachel and Jacob. 

Bobby Sun – The biggest thing I’ve taken away from BYP is that I’m not alone. I know it sounds cliché, but the sense of community and collaboration, and the easy bonds between the poets, gave me a sense of confidence in my work that I never had before. I hope to collaborate with BYP members in the future, and I look forward to seeing y’all do big things too.

Omar Bynon – Process. I finally worked out my recipe for writing and it feels amazing. Gonna cook up some tasty meals now.

Remi Graves – Beyond the joy I found in realising that you can form community through the word – I think BYP taught me the importance of crafting not just creating – that once it is on the page you must sit with it, love it, hate it and reshape it until it tells the story you want it to. This discovery has been daunting in parts, but mainly inspiring.

Anna Kahn – @BYPoets was the first competitive poetry thing I ever applied for. The act of saying “I think my poetry is good enough for this”.

Check out the rest of her answer on her Twitter thread which she tweeted after the showcase itself.


Jolade Olusanya – Through BYP I’ve seen there are many layers to one’s story and to reach its core, you have to truly question what you are trying to say and why. Only then will the written form lend itself to you and not betray what you are capable of creating.

Malakaï Sargeant – Barbican Young Poets is so much more than a workshop session. It breeds a community, one that grows year by year and I am privileged to be a part of it. My writing has grown immeasurably and I’m finally confident enough to actually call myself a poet, constantly growing and learning.

Celestina Rowaiye – What I took away from BYP this year is the power/importance of editing and the usefulness of (the BYP) community and peer support.

Megha Harish – I remember thinking a lot about mudita the year leading up to uni, using it as the grounds on which to ground my applications and personal statement, but I think back then it meant something different to me. It was this strange superior saviour complex thing. It was happiness that is as a result of my actions, it was helping for some selfish pleasure of mine.

Today there’s this real joy that the day has ended on. Jolade just won the Outspoken London Performance Poetry + overall prize. I don’t know him as well as I’d like to. I had nothing to do with it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t even there to see it. I didn’t truly realise how much I loved his work until rehearsal on Friday to be honest, it just wasn’t the same watching a video online months ago, but I am so, so, so happy, really brimming, at the end of quite an up and down but mostly down day as well, this has given me a massive up. I think maybe this is what truly being happy because of someone else’s happiness is. This might just be the biggest thing I’ve learnt from BYP.

Jeremiah “SugarJ Poet” Brown

  1. I have learnt and been reminded of the potential of poetry, what a vast world of capabilities that it is. Thank you Jacob, thank you Rachel.
  1. I will take away the love and awe that comes with consistently being in the presence of friends who are also supremely talented. Thank you BYP community.

Ruth Sutoyé – Working collaboratively with other poets changed my poetry Jacob Sam-La Rose is gold. BYP pushed and constantly challenged me, crushed my comfort zone as a poet and I learnt not just about the theory and mechanics of poetry but also how to build my career on a logical level as a poet/facilitator.

Applications for this year’s Barbican Young Poets will re-open in the summer over at the link below. Best of luck!


– Troy

Image courtesy of @ShayDRap


Barbican Young Poets 2017 Showcase

After six months worth of Wednesdays, chocolate Digestives, tube rides from Earls Court to Moorgate and taking up residency in Nuclino and Box for poetry submissions, last Friday was officially 2017’s Barbican Young Poets showcase, the culmination of all of our hard work and fun times.

Roll call:

This year’s showcase consists of the collective efforts of

  • Amber Sidney-Woollett
  • Anita Barton-Williams
  • Anna Kahn
  • Anne Byrne
  • Celestina Rowaiye
  • Eleanor Penny
  • Gabriel Jones
  • Henry Ofori-Kuragu
  • Jeremiah Brown
  • Jessica Sweeney
  • Jessica-Louise (Jazzle) Dunne
  • Jolade Olusanya
  • Joshua Judson
  • Laurie Ogden
  • Lucy Howell
  • Malakai Sargeant
  • Megha Harish
  • Mina Azong
  • Omar Bynon
  • Phoebe Stuckes
  • Remi Graves
  • Ruth Sutoyé
  • Troy Cabida
  • Wei Yuan (Bobby) Liow
  • Zahrah Sheikh

This year’s BYP is spearheaded once again by Jacob Sam La-Rose and co-tutored by Rachel Long, while being safeguarded by the strong and gentle hands of Lauren Monaghan-Pisano and Lorna McGinty, a woman who literally saved my life but that’s for another blog entry altogether.

Final touch ups:

Previous Barbican Young Poets showcases were performed at other places around the Barbican Centre such as Frobisher Auditorium 1 where I was lucky enough to witness the legends that are Gabriel Akamo, Amina Jama (!!!), Theresa Lola and Travis Alabanza in 2016.

2017 marks the first year the showcase is shown at Milton Court Theatre, which is an extremely beautiful venue. It’s spacious without losing its sense of cosiness. They also have some of the kindest lighting assistants, who always cracked a joke to lighten the mood.

What I liked about having to perform onstage like that is the way the spotlight hits you in the face. Not only is it actually warm in a comforting way, but it also really blinds your eyesight and forces you to not see anything past the light, which really helped my initial stage frights.

Photo 24-03-2017, 6 00 28 pm

That’s what we saw when we looked up. Still a beautiful sight, to be honest.

A few words of light and encouragement from Jacob before we headed off to the dressing rooms. I was a bit of a sceptic at first, I’ll be honest, but now I’m a firm believer of using the positive approach when it comes to managing a group of people, albeit still firm and authoritative. No one will ever feel alone or helpless after having to hear Jacob’s advice.

Photo 24-03-2017, 5 08 19 pm

Photo 24-03-2017, 6 55 19 pm

Note the chaos in dressing room one and the calm in dressing room two. Hi @WordofJess!

A night of stars:

I learnt a lot about performing poetry that night. One of those lessons being learning how to perform honest and soul-searching poetry that exposes your humanity out not only to a lot of audience members but to your parents, who sat in row B and who you can see smiling and watching your every move should you look down.

We had three groups clustered altogether after a session of deliberating which themes resonated well with each one of us. Thankfully the poem Jacob and Rachel agreed to have on the anthology matched the group I was already in. The final groups were as follows:

Group 1 = nature and death.

Photo courtesy of @ShayDRap

Group 2 = gender, relationships, sexuality and violence.

Group 3 = disapora and race in modern society.

“My black soul is Dora.” Chills, man.

@AnnaCarlaKahn and @megha_harish
Mina Azong

Here’s a shot of most of the group after the show! Throwing out a huge thank you to everyone who came, cheered, helped out and performed with us. You are all responsible for the magic that took place in that theatre.

Photo courtesy of @ShayDRap

An Orchestra of Feathers and Bone:

Check out our anthology available for your eyes down on the link below!

Photo 26-03-2017, 3 52 49 pm

Also featuring the luminescent smile of @MalakaiSargeant.

– T





never fear the sun that sneaks into your morning window,

he is an old friend from the ash of your yesterdays,


with his slender arms and ghost-like touches helping

bring back the golden years of your iridescent spotlight


that can rid the snarkiest of frostbite,

of your beauty and leonine might


that your former beaus used to write

about after declaring love to you every night


you are poetry refined, spirituality solidified,

a kaleidoscopic lionness dignified by love of her pride


spotless glitter

all over elegant clutter




and be everyone’s best kept secret

once again

“Free Pass”

drifting off

zipping brown

dancing green

driving away

just being


forgetting deadlines

singing choruses

listening to

beating hearts

passing days

sleeping around

releasing tension

among others

cursing off

letting go

of responsibilities

of inhibitions

you thought

once locked

you down


what nice

temporary fantasies

to keep us asleep

from the harshness

of the realities

calling us

like an alarm clock

breaking out of snooze

Happy new year!

Happy new year to you all!

Got lots to be thankful for, got lots of poetry I’m so happy to have written, and so much people I’m grateful to have in my life, carving me into a man like the ocean tumbling a small pebble. Shout outs to everyone at @BYPoets, my family all over London and Manila, and all my kapatids all over the world, especially my London ones who I spent the first day of the year with. Thank you for letting me reunite with my brotha Kuya Jack Daniel’s haha.

Got lots of awesome things to look forward to in 2017 but for now, here’s a group shot of the #SalabuangGang when we were featured on Chaboba’s Facebook page last week!


Let’s win this 2017, guys.

– T

Bamboo in Concert

After rushing from Moorgate station to Hammersmith station, after literally flying from the station, after trying to survive the busy streets all the way to the Apollo theatre all while manoeuvring through an open bag, tangled earphones, the sounds of my boots clacking on the cement as I frantically fish for my ticket, the sound of Bamboo’s opening of Noypi brought me back to life, washing me with much needed euphoria and that “Eff yeah!!!” feel.

If you think Bamboo sounds energetic and pure rakista on YouTube or on your playlist, then you are NOWHERE near ready for the kind of energy he’ll bring to you face to face, especially when he’s just three rows away from you. I’m a huge fan of his 2011 album No Water, No Moon and I grew up hearing his earlier work around the house but I never really geeked out about his music until that night.

I missed about the first hour and a half of the concert but managed to squeeze in about six more songs, some covers and some original. I’m just glad he got to sing I Want It All from his latest album, the same song I was listening through the entire day.

This may be the romantic poet in me fresh from workshop, but I know there was a reason why I caught up to Noypi after what I’ve been through that day. To remember where I came from, the values and strengths I was born to have under my sleeve and to use them responsibly and at my disposal to carve out a future that will bring forth pride to both mine and my motherland’s veins. Missing the first hour of the concert because of something that’s only going to propel me closer to my dreams, fighting through circumstance and living exactly what that song was all about was all worth it.

Here’s a group shot taken, by the way! Find us! We’re there!!! Thanks Spicy Lemon!

Hi to my #salabuang fam!!! Roll call from left to right Junatan, Ashleh, Minard, Idwen aka Tekla and Kimberleh. Woo!!! I’ve finally cured my pet peeve for big concerts and small spaces, which are all too often wet with beer and rude people. To Bamboo, we were waiting for you at your hotel!

Pic courtesy of Ate Precious!

Web Map: Bamboo Mañalac

Facebook: Bamboo Music Live

Twitter: @bamboomuzaklive

Instagram: @bamboomuzaklive