Image taken from the cover of the book, featuring a photograph of the monthly Grenfell silent walk, taken by Emily Clack Moulden of White City

A Personal Appeal – for Poems for Grenfell Tower

This is me, Saffia. dipping into real life briefly here …

A good friend of mine – Rip Bulklely – in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire, has organised and edited a book called Poems for Grenfell Tower, the royalties from which will be going to support Grenfell residents (through a new charity, The Grenfell Foundation).

Rip has been organising events to launch the book up and down the UK. I am hoping to help to push this as much as I can on social media – and your help would be really appreciated.

The book includes well-known poets like George Szirtes, Michael Rosen, Medbh McGuckian, and Anne Stevenson. Others have links with the Grenfell community, such as the former head of the local nursery school, an Ethiopian exile who lost many of his neighbours in the disaster, a Big Issue seller who plays in the local steelband, and a firefighter who attended the inferno of 14 June 2017. Five of the 62 poets live elsewhere in Europe; four poems not in English have translations beside them.

The Foreword is by David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, and besides English the Dedication is shown in the 40 next most spoken languages of London. The cover features a photograph of the monthly Grenfell silent walk taken by Emily Clack Moulden of White City.

At the suggestion of Grenfell United all royalties will go to the new Grenfell Foundation. Depending on the sales outlet, that will amount to roughly half the cover price of £10. To maximize the money raised, the book will be sold mainly online, either from the publisher (with £3 added for p&p) or for just the cover price from Hive (see https://www.hive.co.uk/…/…/Poems-for-Grenfell-Tower/22245269). Please ignore the ‘Temporarily out of stock’ notice (ditto on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2JHJFik for amazon.co.uk or https://amzn.to/2sHdPZt for amazon.com) which results from print-on-demand. All online sales take a few days to process.

There’s a Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/grenfellpoems/. If you can, please like or follow the page.

If you can do anything to promote this, I would be really grateful.

Footnote:
People over here will know about Grenfell Tower. In case you haven’t heard, it was a social housing block in West London, located in one of the wealthiest and poorest boroughs of London – West Kensington and Chelsea. There are areas here with huge wealth – and areas of great deprivation. Grenfell Tower was in the latter – but it was the heart of a vivid, thriving community.

In the early hours of June 14th, 2017, there was an accidental kitchen fire on the 4th floor. As a result of that, the fire spread into the cladding on the outside of the building and it burned like a torch. 72 people lost their lives and over 80 families were made homeless. More than 40 families still need to be rehomed and are in temporary accommodation. Most of them lost everything.

There’s a huge public inquiry going on at the moment. If you want to find out more, there is plenty online. Just search Grenfell Tower on The Guardian newspaper or the BBC.

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