Since I filmed the poem in Ghana in December 2022 for Lines of Dissent, the exhibition I curated at Orleans House Gallery, the text of the poem on the page has been tweaked slightly but not as much as it has evolved slowly but steadily over the 10 years since I wrote the first draft. I’m a big jazz fan and the poem started life as part of a jam session in which I was improvising with words and a jazz musician was doing the same on an electronic upright bass. You’ll notice there are references to music in most of the lines and in the title reflecting my attempt to make a poem that sounded like a piece of jazz music and to connect jazz music to its African origins. The final version of the poem here has a lot more of me – my history and experience – in it than it did 10 years ago. You could say that the poem has evolved to reflect how I have evolved as a person and writer over the years.
Dzifa Benson



Dzifa Benson is a Ghanaian-British multi-disciplinary artist whose work intersects science, art, technology, the body and ritual which she explores through poetry, prose, theatre-making, performance, installation, immersive technologies, essays, and journalism.  She abridged and adapted the National Youth Theatre REP Company’s 2021 production of Othello in collaboration with Olivier award-winning director Miranda Cromwell. Dzifa is also a Ledbury Poetry Critic whose byline, covering theatre, poetry, fiction and non-fiction appears in the Telegraph, the Financial Times and Times Literary Supplement. She was a finalist for the inaugural James Berry Poetry Prize in 2021, poet-in-residence curator for Whitstable Biennale 2022, a BBC Contains Strong Language 2022 poet and is a fellow of Hedgebrook. She was also curator in residence at Orleans House Gallery and poet in residence at Pallant House Gallery in 2022 and is a Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellow.