The best emerging spoken word talent in the UK discuss their winning poems.

Commissioned By

chatterbox media bbc



A series of powerful performances from the winners of Words First 2020, produced and directed by Ellie Sabine-Singh. The poems respond to the word “protest” and what it means to the poets.

Dive into the electric world of spoken word with Words First: Poetry as Protest, an unparalleled showcase of the UK’s freshest poetic voices. Each passionate verse resonates deeply, echoing the potent theme of “protest.”

These masterfully crafted pieces, penned by the country’s top emerging talents, are testaments to personal journeys, ally-ship, and the unwavering stand against racism. Every poem unfurls a unique narrative, painting vivid pictures of resilience, defiance, and profound introspection. The sheer diversity in interpretation of a single word—protest—underscores the vast tapestry of experiences that shape these poets’ perspectives.

Born from the collaboration between BBC Arts, Radio 1Xtra, and the Contains Strong Language poetry festival, Words First is more than just a talent hunt. It’s a powerful platform that nurtures, uplifts, and celebrates the magic of spoken word. Through a series of workshops and performances, the 2020 theme of “Protest” is brought to life with compelling fervor.

Words First: Poetry as Protest is a beacon of contemporary poetic brilliance. It’s a poignant reminder of the transformative power of words and the enduring spirit of resistance. Prepare to be moved, provoked, and inspired.