Kayo Chingonyi was born in Zambia in 1987 and came to the UK in 1993. He studied English Literature at The University of Sheffield where he completed an undergraduate dissertation on the work of Saul Williams and co-founded a poetry and music event series called Word Life. He has performed his work across the UK at such venues and events as London Literature Festival, The Big Chill, Shakespeare’s Globe, Tate Britain, Tate Modern, The University of Bradford and Buckingham Palace and internationally at Manarat Al Saadiyat (Abu Dhabi), State Theatre of South Africa (Pretoria), New Space Theatre (Cape Town) and Museum Africa (Johannesburg).
As a creative writing tutor he has devised and delivered workshops for The National Theatre, London School of Economics, Royal Shakespeare Company, YMCA, Poetry Society, English Pen and Apples and Snakes as well countless schools, youth centres and writer’s groups across the UK. As well as poetry, Kayo leads workshops in collaborative practice, life writing, fiction, song writing and performance skills.He is an emerging writer-in-residence at Kingston University and his first pamphlet of poems, Some Bright Elegance, is available from Salt Publishing.
Hello, please introduce yourself!
Hello, I'm Kayo Chingonyi. I've been writing poems for about twelve years and have recently had a first pamphlet, Some Bright Elegance, published with Salt Publishing. As well as writing and giving readings I also teach creative writing in schools, universities and writers' centres across the UK and internationally. At the moment I'm working on the manuscript for my next book of poems as well as writing a dissertation on 'Sonic Engagement' in Contemporary British and American Poetry towards an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway, University of London.
Tell us a bit about what you're planning to teach on the Tutor Academy course. How does it connect to your own current poetic concerns?
I'm planning to look at how a selection of recent UK and US poets have been influenced by music and how we can use musical forms to shake up our own writing. Across the two sessions I'll be setting a task based on listening to a particular song and using its structure to inspire new writing. This connects to my own work as I have always been strongly influenced by music (I wrote song lyrics before I wrote poems) and I'm always trying to push the musicality in my poems.
Which poets taught you most as you were developing as a writer?
I'm still developing as a writer (at least I hope so). That said, I learned a lot from Joelle Taylor, Dorothea Smartt, Jacob Sam-La Rose and Roger Robinson when I first started sharing my work publicly. Other than that I have learned from reading as many books of poems as I could get my hands on.
Kayo Chingonyi will be teaching on poetry and music. 'Participants will look at how recent British and American poets have responded to Walter Pater's suggestion that 'All art aspires towards the condition of music'. The focus will be on reading and writing poems which not only reflect on music but embody it in the treatment of a range of subjects. Reading material will be provided in the first session.' To book this course, go here, or phone 0207 582 1679.