Performance Poet & Teaching Artist
Lessons learned in poetry last a lifetime
'Poetry Slams are sweeping the nation'
Anita is a pioneering Performance poet. A collection of her poetry, 'Jane', has been published by Luath Press. She is a visionary Teaching Artist; Co-founder of Scottish Youth Poetry Slam and former Stirling Makar (2012-15). Anita has been credited with “Kick-starting an interest in poetry, not seen since Huge McDermott,” (Scotsman). She has appeared on TV and BBC Radio, has performed at Glastonbury and internationally at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, the Bowery (New York) and alongside Ron Whithead (beat poet), Bob Holman (Grand Slam Master) and Shane Koyczan (World Slam Champion). Anita creates stunning visual-poems in film with multi-discipline compositions combining natural sounds with poetry and music.
She trained first as a community drama worker, before undertaking an Open University degree in Humanities and Literature. She developed her creative practice utilising poetry and performance in a teaching environment at Edinburgh Acting School, and it was here that she discovered the transformative impact that poetry and performance could have. The ease with which the younger children took to poetry demonstrated the intrinsic value of poetry for educating and changing young minds.
This exploration of performance practice led Anita to train to with Keith Johnstone in Canada – her teaching muse & mentor –. Anita returned to Scotland and integrated this practice and teaching philosophy into her creative practice. As part of the founding of Big Word (Scotland), the groundbreaking Spoken Word & Poetry showcase, she became convinced that the teaching of poetry was enormously neglected in schools, as teachers had very little training, and lacked confidence in teaching poetry.
This led to the creation of Poetry Slams in schools, an idea which Anita took to Rachel Jury of CONFAB. Together they developed the concept and secured funding for Inter-City School Poetry Slams for 14 years. In 2015 they received Creative Scotland funding to organize the Scottish Youth Poetry Slam.
In addition to publishing ‘Jane’, Anita has subsequently written articles for Dyslexia Scotland, the Scotsman, and the Times Educational Supplement.
'Kick-starting an interest in poetry not seen since the days of Hugh MacDiarmid and Dylan Thomas.’ - Scotland on Sunday
Anita is available for performances, gigs, speaking engagements, & Burns suppers.
‘Poetry that verbally paints pictures in the mind, engaging all the senses.’ -
Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2008, 5 Stars