Culture vulture

19th November 2004 at 00:00
Pioneering poetry is a real performance for Maggie Crosbie

Favourite reading

I like Bruce Chatwin's Songlines, because I spent a year in Alice Springs and many of the characters in the book are friends of mine. I love Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast. It's weird and eccentric and a brilliant piece of imaginative writing.

Poet spotting

I go to clubs to find exciting poets who can engage young people. I work a lot with a poet who calls himself Crisis. I first heard him at an open mic evening in the 291 Gallery in Hoxton, east London. He calls himself a spoken-word artist. He's very charismatic. He partly talks, partly sings, and the kids eat out of his hand. There's also a woman on the London poetry circuit called Surreal. She does this fantastic, evocative song, telling kids they are the future, and her body language is very interesting. She curls up and reaches out and points to the kids. They go wild.

Travel film

I've just seen The Motorcycle Diaries. The real reason I went was because I've done the same trip on water. When I was about 24 I had a boyfriend who was an expert canoeist. We flew to Colombia, stayed in a village where the mosquitoes were like Boeing 747s and then canoed down the Amazon. I even swam. Afterwards people said, "Didn't you worry about piranhas?", but when you're young you think nothing bad is going to happen.

Treat in store

I want to see the new Bridget Jones film. When you're working in a difficult part of east London you need a bit of light relief.

Best on the web

John Hegley has a funny website: I'm very fond of his poetry. He's mad as a hatter.

World music

I'm a Bob Marley fan. I like Manu Chao. He's French but sings in Spanish.

It's great dancing music. And Black Ivory Soul, the album by Angelique Kidjo (pictured). I went to a concert she did at the Royal Festival Hall, which can be a bit stuffy, but she had everybody dancing in the aisles.

Maggie Crosbie is a literature development worker with Eastside Arts (1 Winkley Street, London E2). Her work includes projects with schools in the London borough of Tower Hamlets. She was talking to Karen Gold

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today