Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?
I’m Carmina Masoliver, poet and founder of She Grrrowls, a Feminist arts night with an emphasis on spoken word and poetry, featuring women and non-binary people.
What happens at your organisation?
Regular events run every first Friday at The Poetry Café in Covent Garden, with feature poets, a Q&A and open mic section. I also edited an anthology of ten poets who performed with us in the past, which was published by Burning Eye Books, and toured in 2018 thanks for ACE funding. It was also named as one of the top poetry books of 2017 by The Poetry School.
Tell us about your personal relationship with the Thames River.
I have always been drawn to water, and being a Londoner born and bred, the Thames has felt a central part of that identity. Growing up, I visited the Southbank a lot, and it’s an area that feels very much like home for me, whether I’m strolling along the riverside alone, or with friends or family. I’m most at peace by the sea, but the river allows busy Londoners a place for quiet contemplation, and I always find it a soothing place to be.
What’s your project for Totally Thames?
I held a special edition of She Grrrowls, where poets were asked to write unusual, hidden or untold stories of the river. I Tweeted some facts leading up to the event, and I wrote my own poem on Mary Wollstonecraft, who attempted suicide by jumping into the Thames.
What particularly inspired your project for this year’s festival?
I had previously seen Tongue Fu on a boat as part of Totally Thames, and although my show wasn’t as ambitious as that, I became interested in being part of the festival at that point.
Summarise your artistic work this year in 5 words.
A meandering river of possibilities.
What do you hope the impact of this project will be?
I hope that we have been able to reach some new audiences, so She Grrrowls can continue to thrive at the Poetry Café, where we have found a very lovely home for the show, which has been running since 2013, and that this will help with other projects (I’m currently trying to get funding for another tour, focusing on showcasing regional poets and producing an audiobook).
Do you have any advice for young people interested in getting involved in this art form?
Whatever your goals, do it because you love it and it is a part of you. I think even if I did something else and chose a different path career-wise, I would never stop writing poetry. When your goal is to make it as big a part of your career as I have made it – where any work I do alongside it has always been to enable me to dedicate a large amount of time to being involved in the world of poetry – it can be challenging, and you do need to be determined and persistent in pursuing your goals. However, there is also a joy in accepting that this will always be a part of you, and there are many different ways to ‘be a poet’.
Where can people find out more about your organisation and your event?
The website for She Grrrowls is www.shegrrrowls.com, with socials being @shegrrrowls. My website is www.carminamasoliver.com and I’m @CarminaPoetry on socials, except Instagram, which is @carminamasoliver.