News from Inua Ellams. 05/10/08I love slightly palindromic sentences like, “At the start of the human problem, is the problem of the human heart.” or ones that need only slight changes. In summer I said something like: “What the hell happened, summer left in 2 weeks” and I can tweak it to: “What the hell happened? winter came in 2 days!” - I think I dwell on the weather too much as introductions to newsletters. For the next two months, I will think up spiffy comments on America's Presidential Election. Promise.

The formula: three news items and something good from YouTube: FREE GiG: NPG // THE LAST GENIE // BARBERSHOP CHRONICLES // ROAD RAGE.

FREE GiG: National Portrait Gallery// Sooo, the 1354 Collective's installation I curated in July and my Ltd. Edition book (view here -, buy here - were the first projects where I got to play with the visual and literal sides of me... this is the next one. On the 9th of October, on National Poetry Day, I will be exploring personal portraiture in a Painting Tour / Poetry Performance through the 16th - 19th Century Rooms at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Sounds nice doesn't it?

For an hour I will lead a group through the gallery, speak briefly about certain paintings, elaborate on themes, settings, history and read a poem that is linked. It is open to the public and it is FREE, but ticketed on a first come first serve basis, so after work or before dinner on Thursday, spend an hour with me for poetry and paintings.

Thurs 9th Oct. // 7pm // Free, 1st Come, 1st Serve. at: N.Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place  London WC2H OHE

BARBERSHOP CHRONICLES // The moment I first decided to get up and read a poem in public came after I saw late on Channel5 (2003) a poet called Mahogany Browne reading. Behind her, a woman danced nude, erotically, in a bathtub. I logged online faster than you can say something fast, found and frequented an event in St Martins Place (opposite the NPG) called Aromapoetry. 2 months later, I was given my first ever headline spot shared with... Mahogany Browne. 5 years have passed and we still be cool, she's doing many beautiful things in New York, hosts the biggest night at the legendary Nuyorican Poets café, and has just published a new anthology called 'The Barbershop Chronicles'.

I was published in this anthology with Jacob Sam La Rose and Nicholas Makoha, but I also designed the cover of the book, it is online and buyable, see - for details.

THE LAST GENIE // Thief of Baghdad Last month, I mentioned the Thief of Baghdad project - East London Dance in partnership with the Royal Opera House. (Damn, I feel ostentatious, I'll refere to them as ELD and ROH, cool?) Last night, deep in the bowels of the ROH, I sat with K.G. the director, J.B. the music guru, and N.K. Choreographer debating the title of the piece. In poetry, trying to find a word that is loose enough to mean everything or specific enough to mean one thing, is what the burning-of-the-midnight-candle is about.

The title was whittled down to: The Feather Guardian, Feathers and Dust, Children of Dust, The Last Genie, and The Genie's last Disciple. Some were instantly ruled out, including my suggestion of - 'How Zabby got her groove back.' (brilliant right!? - the genie's name in the piece is Zebarack). Feathers and Dust was ruled out; though we liked its musicality, it conjured too much the house keeping implement. The Feather Guardian was taken out as well. I spoke against Children of Dust, felt it gave an idea that was too allegorical of death, it was hotly contested, but K.G. sealed the deal saying 'The Last Genie' was definite, snappy, more 'Christmasy' than the others and it sounded well with the main feature: The Last Genie & The Thief of Baghdad.

I am on schedule to deliver the libretto, my deadline is on the 20th of October, after which the fun begins, seeing it come to life. Show is on 18th, 19 and 21st of December. Tickets on sale soon, watch this space.

YOUTUBE: ROAD RAGE // Lately I have be journeying in cars. My lady drives and has revealed some darkness that further textures her personality - I like it. but even she would be cowered by this. Tonight's youtube offering shows the mastery of age, the knowledge of one's humble weapons against an ever impatient world and what happens when grannies go bad. Sit back, click, watch and guffaw with me. - -

That's all folks. Stay cool, keep warm. Inua x