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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Poverty and poetry

May 21 2009
Poetry evening highlights the talent and vitality of ‘outsiders‘ An evening of poetry, music and visual arts at St Pancras Parish Church on 31st January in aid of Housing Justice, was one of almost 200 events across the UK during Poverty and Homelessness Action Week 2008, whose overall aims are to raise awareness about poverty and homelessness in the UK and to stimulate action. Poet Laureate Andrew Motion, the guest of honour, read a poem he had written about a homeless man he'd met, and comic poet John Hegley had the audience singing along to 'Luton Bungalow', played on the mandolin. But the evening wasn't about the big names. Three poets from 10 Feet Away took the mic, including John Sheehy, whose work may be known to readers with an eye for the arts. Alastair Murray, coordinator of Unleash, contributed 'Poverty in the UK', a reworking of the Sex Pistols' hit. Ten Feet Away, who organise the big international arts festival each July, were amongst several organisations present, such as Creative Futures from Brighton, Street Voices from Cambridge, Thames Reach Vision Impossible and the Church Army Marylebone Project, which is one of only a few women-only hostels and day centres in London. Alastair Murray told The Pavement: "the evening aimed to highlight the talent and vitality of so many people who have known what it is to be an outsider, and one of the most moving performances for me was the song about coming off heroin in Bedford Jail by Danny Shevlin of Street Voices. Not for the faint hearted."