A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Anneka Chambers

with Anneka Chambers:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Anneka: I am an 80’s baby raised in the 90’s, so I grew up in an era where books heavily fed my knowledge and the internet was completely inaccessible. I had a beloved thick brown book of Victorian nursery rhymes with traditional, mosaic illustrations. I immersed in this book time and time again, because I loved the musicality and use of ‘old English’ Language. My mum gifted me a set of Child Craft Encyclopedias around the age of 6 and of my most cherished was Volume 1: Stories and Poems. Again, I connected to the rhythm, form and flair of the poems. These two books were my very first influences and as a young child, I’d often make cards with little poetic messages written inside.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Anneka: My two favourite social poets right now are Blake Auden and John Mark Green. Their ability to craft micro poems that questions, solves and/or validates in such a ‘gutsy’ manner, is really appealing to me. Blake in particular, has a unique way in delivering his poetry and engaging with his followers; he uses his platform very creatively. I am still moved by past poets such as William Wordsworth and of course the beautiful delight that was Louise Bennett-Coverley.

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing/art?

Anneka: I was born and raised in London England by my mother, who is of Jamaican heritage. Her cultural values were instilled in me from a young age, and even though we lived in a predominantly White British area, I always had a strong sense of my cultural identity. However in terms of books, the media and the arts, there was very little Afro-Caribbean representation at the time. English poets such as William Shakespeare, Geoffrey Chaucer and Ursula Fanthorpe formed much of the English Literature curriculum in Secondary education. Therefore, these poets would have had an impact on my writing at the time.

Q4: Have any travels away from home influence your work?

Anneka: As a child I often travelled to Jamaica with my mum, to spend time with my great grandfather. He lived in the countryside of Jamaica which was so different to my life in East London. My fondest memories of my childhood are largely the times we spent in Jamaica and most recently, I have started to write poetry about these precious moments.

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer/poet?

Anneka: 2020 was a very challenging year for many in regards to the Covid 19 Pandemic and social and political responses to racism, following the killing of George Floyd. It was at this point in May 2020 that I was riddled with emotions, having watched the scenes of George Floyd’s public murder. The only way to express and release my feelings was to write poetry. ‘N I N E’ was therefore one of the first poems I wrote, after years of poetry laying asleep within me.

Aside from Covid 19, 2020 also brought about an unexpected personal challenge that really changed the direction of my life. In order to help manage the changes, writing poetry has really been my solace and it feels as though I have returned home to the comfort of my true source.

Q6: Favourite activities to relax?

Anneka: I’m an Aquarian and true to my nature and spirit, I love to learn and experience different things. When time allows, I will happily sit and make beaded jewellery or get my sewing machine out. I really have a keen interest in beauty and learnt the art of Ayurvedic Anti-Aging Facial Massage a few years ago. Give me a day or weekend at the Spa and i’m a happy girl!

Simple things like taking pictures of nature or architecture whilst in the city, or green spaces really gives me joy. I try to take walks as a means of keeping my mind in the present moment. More recently I’ve been doing meditation which has helped me to relax and take a moment out for myself.

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?

Anneka: I started to submit my work to poetry magazines back in December 2020. Since then, I have been blessed to be in a number of publications including: Southbank Poetry, Isa Magazine, Brave Voices, Superfroots Magazine, Vine Leaves Press, Dwelling Literary, Poetry and Covid, The Skinny Poetry Journal and the lovely Fevers of the Mind.

Moving forward, I would love to reach the highs of winning renowned poetry competitions and writing books with my poetry collections.

I publish some of my poetry on my Instagram page @22poetrystreet. Readers can also find me on Twitter @annekachambers. I love to engage with many people so please stop by!

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?

Anneka: I wrote a short poem entitled ‘Couture’ that speaks of us removing negative weight we carry and showing the world our authentic selves. A line that I love is:
“Close Pockets of Doubt, Extend the Hem of Freedom”.

Unbutton Fear                                                                                                                                      Unzip Worry                                                                                                                                         Close Pockets of Doubt                                                                                                                                   Extend the Hem of Freedom

Remove the Label                                                                                                                                Replace it with your Name                                                                                                          Step Out                                                                                                                                                 Show the World

The New You.


Q9: Who has helped you most with writing? 

Anneka: I have to say, since joining Twitter I have had a really warm embrace from the poetry community who I largely follow. It has been a pleasure to read and learn from the vast array of poetry magazines, their editors and view the works of established and emerging poets, all of whom have helped me to navigate the poetry scene and improve my writing.

I have also engaged in online poetry classes and workshops which have been invaluable to me. From my first course on ‘How to Submit to Poetry Magazines’ run by poet Katherine Lockton through CityLit, to my most recent workshop by poet Malika Booker (July 21), entitled ‘Apart Together’ which was so informative and run through The Poetry Business. 

To be in a space with other poets, to read and take heed of the knowledge shared by others, has really helped me with my writing journey as a whole.  



Bio: Anneka Chambers (she/her) is a Black British Born Londoner. She is a Poet & Social Justice advocate, currently campaigning for the rights of the Windrush Generation in the UK. Anneka’s poetry can be found in South Bank Poetry Magazine, Isa Magazine, Brave Voices and Dwelling Literary amongst forthcoming publications. Insta: @22poetrystreet   Twitter: @annekachambers 

#stopthehate challenge by Anneka Chambers : NINE Poem by Anneka Chambers : Play On

https://bravevoicesmagazine.org/2021/04/02/a-poem-by-anneka-chambers/

https://theskinnypoetryjournal.wordpress.com/2021/07/08/principles-drowned-by-anneka-chambers/

https://ne-np.facebook.com/isamagazinee/posts/253635463050361



#stopthehate challenge by Anneka Chambers : NINE

blue yellow and black graffiti on wall
NINE  

Nine Minutes I Fight For Life
In an instant my body is slammed to the ground
Nine Minutes I Fight For Life
Exclaims from the public echo all around

Nine Minutes I Fight For Life
I am unarmed, handcuffed and I pose no threat
Nine Minutes I Fight For Life
Enforcement of this kind is unlawful, do you have no mercy, nor any regret?

Nine Minutes I Fight For Life
I am pleading with you, please stop!
Nine Minutes I Fight For Life
Emotionless is the expression of every standing cop

Nine Minutes I Fight For Life
I lay here helplessly, one against four
Nine Minutes I Fight For Life
Excessively this Officer pins me to the floor

Nine Minutes I Fight For Life
I am in excruciating pain
Nine Minutes I Fight for Life
Explain why you have chosen my soul to claim?

Nine Minutes I Fight For Life
I hurt until I bleed
Nine Minutes I Fight For Life
Executing your act of violence, as I cry and plead

Nine Minutes I Fight For Life
I cannot breathe, I cannot move, I only feel
Nine Minutes I Fight For Life
Encourage this Officer to remove his knee, from where he kneels

Nine Minutes I Fight For Life
I am doing all I can to hold on
Nine Minutes I Fight For Life
Every cell in my being is fighting this wrong

Nine Minutes And I Will Not Survive
I love you family, colleagues and friends
Nine Minutes And I Will Not Survive
Eventually My Life Ends.

REST IN POWER GEORGE FLOYD
25.05.2020  


Bio: Anneka Chambers (she/her) is a Black British Born Londoner. She is a Poet & Social Justice advocate, currently campaigning for the rights of the Windrush Generation in the UK. Anneka’s poetry can be found in South Bank Poetry Magazine, Isa Magazine, Brave Voices and Dwelling Literary amongst forthcoming publications. Insta: @22poetrystreet   Twitter: @annekachambers


 
#StopTheHate Poetry Challenge for Social Justice, Injustice Poetry, Essays, Rants & Unity

Poem by Anneka Chambers : Play On

Play On

shattering splinters spites
the symphony.

dense footsteps melds
into the crackling of the heart

tight strings that
safely sealed scars
unravels.

hear the scratches of discord


crimson
slides veins
crimson
swallows tendons
crimson
sinks skin

detect the flow of silent melody


composed and entitled:
Love Drowned



Bio: Anneka Chambers (she/her) is a Black British Born Londoner. She is a Poet & Social Justice advocate, currently campaigning for the rights of the Windrush Generation in the UK. Anneka’s poetry can be found in South Bank Poetry Magazine, Isa Magazine, Brave Voices and Dwelling Literary amongst forthcoming publications. Insta: @22poetrystreet   Twitter: @annekachambers



#StopTheHate Poetry Challenge for Social Justice, Injustice Poetry, Essays, Rants & Unity

#StopTheHate Poetry Challenge for Social Justice, Injustice Poetry, Essays, Rants & Unity

George Floyd, Mural, Houston Texas

This poetry shouldn’t be a challenge. This will be a celebration of unity & a place to unleash any sadness, tensions, exhaustion regarding the ongoing unjust killings due to racist ideologies & terrorist who like to re-invent their own history to match an idea in their head that was never theirs. Give us your feelings, give us your words. Tell us what you can do to encourage others, Tell us how you can help stop political & blue corruption, systemic racism, and most importantly give us words that you feel will stop these deaths.

It has been a year since George Floyd, longer for Breonna Taylor, longer for the shit that was Jim Crow Laws, Slavery, don’t forget Rodney King, don’t forget Amadou Diallo, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Rekia Boyd, thousands upon thousands others. Martin Luther King Jr gunned down for change. The leaders that preached for change always met with resistance. Stop this hate America!

Poem #1 by Catrice Greer

Fevers of the Mind Interview Catrice Greer w/poetry “Yearning Through the Fog” & “Cortical Cartography”

Check below link for what Catrice and other poets are doing for the Cheltenham Poetry Festival Events.

https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/cheltenhampoetryfestival/black-lives-matter-poems-for-a-new-world/e-krddqb

Come Home  a poem for George Floyd (June 7, 2020 Catrice Greer) 

These wombs, sacred,
we build placenta worlds of blood and bone 
cord by cord, cells churning with life
a zygotic landscape 

s  ..  a  ..  f ..   e

safe from gunshots, lethal force, blue bias, blows
safe from bent-tongued accusations, chokeholds, grief
tears and pain light-years away
the amniotic sac aglow 
you hear only my voice 

Mommy … 
 
I walked with you, my love, my sun
floating close to my own heartbeat 
tethered in the mitochondrial house 
we are one
my peace, your peace

my child, to lose you to this world 
that does not know you 
never carried you
is not the deep-rooted tree of life I birthed 
a premature exit is not the afterbirth of my labor

Call my name
when the end is near
I will come again for you
I will come again for you, my angel 
my sweetness 
you will reside here with me, rest in peace. 
Come home.  

breathe
breathe
breathe

Poem #2 Links to my social justice poems on this blog & other links

2 Social Justice poems by David L O’Nan (Archaic Motorcycle Breath and Like Bullets From the Cowboys)

Poem: Injustice: Can You Say Her Name? (Pouvez-vous) by David L O’Nan

Above is a link from my wife HilLesha's blog Tothemotherhood.com 
HilLesha is a mixed-race writer, blogger, co-editor, mother, wife & so much more.   *this was from her blog, any content about contests is no longer available*

 
(c) HilLesha O’Nan

Poem #3 link to R.D. Johnson’s poems about civil rights & social justice 4 Poems by R.D. Johnson : Malcolm & Martin, Angels, Dr. King’s Dream & February 1st (re-post)

Poem #4 link to Troy Jackson’s Essay “We the People” from the Anthology An Essay “We the People” by Troy Jackson (from Fevers of the Mind Press Presents the Poets of 2020)

Poem #5 link to Samantha Terrell’s social justice poetry 3 social justice poems by Samantha Terrell : “Advocacy” “Who We Are” & “Hurry Up Justice”

Poem #6 Stop the Hate Poem by Sarika Jaswani

Below the lambent candor of periwinkle sky
Beneath redolent shades of sovereign sun
In a garden of remembrance lays a Martyr

Farther from littered complexities
Yonder of stinking grudges

Away from leaking old bottles of comparisons
Mildew and rotting timber of America's foundation

Off the beaten track
Floyd breathes beyond color of skin

Where grief ceases to be transient
And shuns mute palette of emotions

At the end of rainbow
where they each call out and
Say their names 
There rests a harbinger of hope and change.

Poem #7 Able & Sable Hearts in Color & Deed by Pasithea Chan

The world is a stable filled with creatures both able & unstable.
Those who are able have hearts capable of empathy towards their community.
But those who are unstable have hearts so sable they cripple humanity.
Their differences define a life of dignity for the rest of humanity.

Able hearts play their parts sorting people by acts
not words in the name of equality & justice
But sable hearts take part in breaking people's hearts
sorting them by color to spread terror in the name of service.

Able hearts have peaceful minds that analyze words
to sort what they fear from what they see or hear.
But sable hearts have broken minds that pander to their fear
blinding their eyes with what their hearts steer.

Able hearts are driven by compassion to foster good even if late
because for them right and wrong are black and white.
But sable hearts are driven by obsession to spread blind hate
because for them freedom is a bait to catch black enjoying whats white.

Able hearts will do what's fair because they care
But sable hearts will just be there to hunt those unaware.
Like day and night, one is light bringing wealth
the other is dark with crime bringing death.

Show me a man who ran & I'll show you fear from those near.
But show me a man who stood his ground & I'll show  you justice.
There are many George Floyds and Breonna Taylors out there
but sadly there are few who truly care or dare
to say times have changed yet sable hearts haven't
Because right and wrong  are not the only black & white
In a world where grey is for those who chose to bray
blind lies to hide behind a colorful rind.

In the end, hearts and minds dictate the kind
of life we lead not our colors because we all bleed Red
So how can color decide who is good or bad?
We are all one; color is just one kind of human kind
I'm sure we can agree that deeds can sort the human kind.

Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Pasithea Chan

Poetry: Nine by Anneka Chambers

Nine Minutes I Fight For Life
In an instant my body is slammed to the ground
Nine Minutes I Fight For Life
Exclaims from the public echo all around

Nine Minutes I Fight For Life
I am unarmed, handcuffed and I pose no threat
Nine Minutes I Fight For Life
Enforcement of this kind is unlawful, do you have no mercy, nor any regret?

Nine Minutes I Fight For Life
I am pleading with you, please stop!
Nine Minutes I Fight For Life
Emotionless is the expression of every standing cop

Nine Minutes I Fight For Life
I lay here helplessly, one against four
Nine Minutes I Fight For Life
Excessively this Officer pins me to the floor

Nine Minutes I Fight For Life
I am in excruciating pain
Nine Minutes I Fight for Life
Explain why you have chosen my soul to claim?

Nine Minutes I Fight For Life
I hurt until I bleed
Nine Minutes I Fight For Life
Executing your act of violence, as I cry and plead

Nine Minutes I Fight For Life
I cannot breathe, I cannot move, I only feel
Nine Minutes I Fight For Life
Encourage this Officer to remove his knee, from where he kneels

Nine Minutes I Fight For Life
I am doing all I can to hold on
Nine Minutes I Fight For Life
Every cell in my being is fighting this wrong

Nine Minutes And I Will Not Survive
I love you family, colleagues and friends
Nine Minutes And I Will Not Survive
Eventually My Life Ends.

REST IN POWER GEORGE FLOYD
25.05.2020 
 

More Links: https://subterraneanbluepoetry.com/SubterraneanBluePoetry.IX.II.html including a poem by Wolfpack Contributor Megha Sood WolfPack Contributor Bio: Megha Sood

https://meghasworldsite.wordpress.com/2020/11/08/poetry-published-in-the-anthology-as-the-world-burns-by-indie-blue-publishing/

https://www.amazon.com/As-World-Burns-Writers-Artists/dp/1951724046/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=as+the+world+burns&qid=1622661221&sr=8-2

Poems by Laura Grevel:

Texas Freeze Over—February 16, 2021
On that freezing eve in a winter storm, where nothing was the norm,
eighteen-year-old Rodney Reese was walking home down a Plano street.
He’d finished his shift at Walmart, groceries in hand,
still had a good ways to go, slipping and stumbling in ice and snow,
still had a good ways to go, when they showed up and slowed.

He heard the shout, saw the colors of the car,
felt a shiver run over his memory wars:
remembered what happened to
George Floyd in Minnesota,
Eric Garner in New York,
Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia,
Daniel Prude in New York.

Did the cops remember the truth as they told him to stop?
That they’d been sent to make a wellness check?
Not to be a pain in the friggin’ neck?
That the state was now a disaster zone
of ice and snow, bodies freezing in homes?
Did they remember that he was a man?
That warnings were given by the weathermen?
That warnings were shouted by the BLM?

They asked him to stop; he sweated and labored on.
If only he could get home or where someone could see what was going on.
He peered resolute through the snow, through the dark, and he prayed.

“Where you going, son?” 
“I’m going home.”
“Why you walkin’ in the road?”
“Sidewalk’s icy, man.”
“Where you goin’?  You need a ride.”
“I’m goin’ home.  Don’t touch me!”
The cops get out, come close.
“Why don’t you stop?  We want to talk.”
“Don’t touch me, man!”
They grab his arms, cuff him.  “This is an investigation!”

So though it makes no sense to anyone with a few cells of gray,
they charged him for walking home—charged him with being a pedestrian in a roadway.
He spent the night in jail, managed to keep his heart from fail, managed to keep from other travail.
Next day the police chief let him go, said they should ‘a’ taken him home,
didn’t know what was in those cops minds, was it race?  The chief couldn’t say.

Rodney, when asked later why he didn’t want to stop for the cops, said,
“I seen all this stuff with George Floyd.
It hurts, man.”

People Are Looking

They just keep killing black men—
these self-appointed vigilantes and cops—killing
men jogging down the street like Ahmaud Arbery
or men coming out of a shop like George Floyd
and the BLM started marching
and the Trump response
sent an Armageddon of armored cops and henchmen
to attack people who were not armored
who were protesting the murders of black men.
A Star Wars attack on regular people,
and the protesters march wearing Covid masks,
march those streets, through smoke and tear gas,
and the robotic cops bear down bear down brutalize
and my mind races to find the puzzle pieces
because I seem to have missed something.

1968
I am seven.  I walk into a church in East Austin
with my mother, brother, sister.
Moselle who cleans our house and takes care of us kids
invited us to her daughter’s wedding.  And when we walk in
and walk down the aisle and sit down, my heart
begins to thud because people are looking, then not looking, at us.
We are the only white people there.

1988
I am 27.  I walk into a church for the wedding of
Sara.   She is a friend, a co-worker,
a fellow accountant at the State Auditor’s Office.
And when I walk in and walk down the aisle
and sit down, my heart begins to thud
because something is similar, something is wrong,
people are looking, then people are not looking, at us.
We are the only white people there.

2020
And my mind races to find the puzzle pieces
as a despot’s robot army marches on people
who are protesting the murders of men—
murders because of the color of their skin.
An obscene scene of spleen sent by
a President who is more mean than man,
sending a smokescreen to make a show
that is the only way he knows.
And my heart thuds and my mind races to find the puzzle pieces:
1968, 1988, 2020,
and I look back and ask

Sara, where were the other people from the office?
Why did none of them come to your wedding?
During workdays, we all worked together.
During lunches, we ate out together.
During out-of-town audits, we travelled together.

My God, Sara, I remember back then
I heard one or two excuses
busy, kids . . . but most had no kids—
most of our co-workers were single, and white.

Oh, Sara, how blind have I been?