Emily Harrison

Emily Harrison is a young poet who has read at many Stand Up and Spit gigs.
She wasn’t even born when us ranters were gigging but her work and reading style makes her a most welcome addition to the bill. Emily writes about class, and in particular about mental health. She does this with honesty and humour and has quickly become a favourite wth audiences.

emily ginger pride

Emily says that, “Spoken word owes so much to ranting poetry. If it wasn’t for these working class geniuses, poetry would still largely be inaccessible waffle that never changed a thing. I had the pleasure of reading at the Stand Up and Spit events with some of the greats: Linton Kwesi Johnson, Phill Jupitus, Joolz, Ginger John amongst others. I knew these poets individually but was unaware of the ranting scene of the 70s and 80s. Poets, it would seem, are not just born out of thin air, and Stand Up and Spit – the gigs, blog, and joie de vivre – has done a lot to document the poets and poetry as well as the context and climate of the times. It’s also managed to link all that and make clear comparisons to the poetry and political situation of my generation.
“I was surprised that those branded ‘angry poets’ could also be so welcoming and supportive but it was clear we had something in common – we want change. Each ranting poet in their own right recognises that there isn’t time to waste when you have someting to say and you’re given a stage. And when they do speak, it bites. The performances were unforgettable. Being part of the event gave me immense confidence and taught me a thing or two about how to engage your audience. It is important for us newbies to recognise the hereitage of spoken word, and ranting poetry’s part in it, and be wholeheartedly thankful for it.”

Quinoa Is Only Spelt Like That to Out the Working Class

The junior doctor
doesn’t need to prove anything to the dinner table

He says it all when boasting
“I now have the power to section people.”

I see the child
pretending
to drop the priceless vase
with over dramatic unstable hands.

The rich kid showing off his remote controlled
whatever it is.

The big red ‘press me but you really shouldn’t press me’ button.

He’s one of those
filling up my wine glass without my permission,
drowning my food in gravy
when I specifically said
just a little bit.

Someone actually laughs.

And I sit in my highchair
all oblivious smiles with food face
the only one who had to ask for a napkin

The fork in the right hand, the knife in the wrong hand,
stop hitting yourself.

At least if someone chokes on their food
or, God forbid, their words
we’re in safe hands

I force in another profiterole.
revenge is a dish served best to whoever prepped it.

Emily Harrison

Four-Match Ban

Vinnie Jones is acting badly on the telly
slamming someone’s head
in a car door
over and over
when you shoulder-barge in with
‘I know how to hit you and not leave a mark’

I dream of giving you
the fastest red card in history

Vinnie keeps slamming
and thoughts splinter
Vinnie keeps slamming
reducing memories to dust

The room clenches its teeth

Vinnie Jones is acting badly on the telly
and your intentions are
blunt hooligans’ fists
your intentions are
claret on a sovereign ring

I never thought I’d learn
that covering your face isn’t instinct
and that violence
is only ever slow motion
on screen

Emily Harrison

bang2
Ginger John, Emily Harrison, Tim Wells at Bang Said The Gun, 2015

029
Emily Harrison, John Cooper Clarke, and Rhoda Dakar at The Big One, 2015

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3 thoughts on “Emily Harrison

  1. Pingback: Emily Harrison – Winner! | standupandspit

  2. Pingback: Stoke Newington Literary Festival | standupandspit

  3. Pingback: [More] Dead Women | lily livered

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