Dean Atta, The Conversation Starter

Incredibly moving spoken word about the trials and tribulations of living as a black, gay man in the UK. 

Dean Atta, The Conversation Starter

After watching Dean Atta’s emotional and enigmatic performance at The Hive in Shrewsbury, I felt pressure to write a report that gave his sensational performance justice.

LGBT is such a wide and positive social movement, but one that I didn’t know much about, not being a member of the community myself and being so buried in university work that I haven’t stepped outside of my bubble for the past three years enough to embrace this monumental time in history. But, when I saw the advertisement for Dean’s event I felt that this would be the event that would allow me to step into this world.

In all honesty, I did not expect his poetry to resonate with me as much as it did. I felt deeply impacted by his work and life as a black, gay man living in the UK. He spoke calmly but with obvious tangible passion about issues that helped shape his identity and which can affect many people facing similar struggles. These thoughts and emotions are beautifully channelled into artistic and meaningful poetry that can resonate with anybody. Despite the pre-conceived notion that this event had an exclusivity to it that I would not understand I could not have been more wrong! I have never felt so comfortable in an audience before. I felt perfectly at ease and when Dean began speaking I found myself hanging on every word.

I particularly enjoyed ‘Self Love’ and ‘How to Come Out as Gay’, as both explored the importance of embracing your individuality and loving your flaws, whilst having a seriousness that underlines the comedy and light-heartedness on the surface.

Throughout the set Dean didn’t hide his emotions or his vulnerability, stating that each poem he read transported him back to that time in his life, and it was this emotion that made the set all the more gratifying to watch because it made it real and truthful.

His poetry is modern and accessible, and significantly contributes towards the centralisation and awareness of LGBT topics and issues regarding racism, through intertwining enjoyable and comical words with reminders of the struggles that black and gay individuals have experienced, both in the past and in modern day society. I will definitely be an avid follower of Dean Atta’s work from now on.

As an individual who has dappled in various aspects of creative writing but never finding my forte, I came away feeling encouraged to embrace the emotions that I’ve been avoiding, to further expand my level of self-awareness, and to just put pen to paper and write whenever I can, with the reminder that ‘poetry isn’t therapy’.


Sophie Rogers

Sophie Rogers Local Reviewer

A third-year English Literature student at the University of Chester.

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  • Bee Snellen

    On 3 March 2019, 11:13 Bee Snellen Voice Team commented:

    This sounds like a great experience. Spoken word and poetry can be so moving, especially when the poet can make you relate to their thoughts and emotions!

  • Tom Inniss

    On 23 March 2019, 16:59 Tom Inniss Voice Team commented:

    Superb review! I'm generally not one for poetry or spoken word, but every so often there is a piece that just really resonates with me. I'm glad you've had that same experience - I think it's really valuable.

  • Judy McFall

    On 26 March 2019, 11:45 Judy McFall commented:

    This is a great review and has inspired me to see/hear more poetry as it really can move people in such a powerful and positive way. Thanks for inspiring me!

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