Young Mitcham DJ and poet meets the Queen
DJ and poet James Massiah has met and been congratulated by the Queen for his Young Poet Laureate nomination at Buckingham Palace.
Six nominees went to the Palace on Tuesday November 19 for champagne and canapes, before receiving a "nod of recognition" from the Queen and hearing readings from UK poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy and award-winning poet John Agard.
Mr Massiah, 23, who is Mitcham born-and-bred, said: "We didn't know the Queen was going to be there - it was a surprise.
“She nodded very gracefully to me on my way into the Assembly Hall. It was a memorable event I will treasure."
The Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Anne also attended the event and chuckled at Agard's poem about British kettles.
Mr Massiah said he enjoyed the poet’s observation that whenever there’s an incident, someone will say: "Shall I make a brew love?"
A son of Seventh Day Adventists, Mr Massiah was already preaching sermons as a child, with his father on hand to give him public-speaking tips.
His poetry deals with themes of sexuality, gender and religion, but he says his work is inspired by growing up in Mitcham.
He runs 'The A and The E', a Shoreditch-based arts collective, but remains loyal to Mitcham.
He said: “We want to put Mitcham on the map. It’s not all bad; good things come out of this area.”
“We want to learn things from other areas and get young people from Mitcham involved in arts and culture.”
The Young Poet Laureate project is part of Spoke, a visionary programme that offers people in London an opportunity to watch, perform and develop careers in spoken word and performance poetry in and around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
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