The first time I walked into The Poetry Place, I knew it was special. Although I was relatively new to the spoken word scene, I had performed at enough locations across Manchester to recognise a difference.
Unlike the predominantly white spaces I had grown accustomed to, The Poetry Place felt like home. Looking into the audience, I saw more faces that looked like mine and the stories I heard from soft, tough, vulnerable and funny black women echoed my own experiences.
When the time came to step up and speak my truth, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that there would be no need to censor my work to make it more palatable. The Poetry Place signalled a renaissance in the Manchester poetry scene and having gotten a taste, I had to meet the people championing this change.
Cherrelle Anne, co-founder of the iconic Poetry Place didn’t start off in the spoken word scene. While she had always enjoyed writing privately, she rarely shared her work. The 36-year-old mum of three and chef of 15 years ventured into performance poetry as an escape when life became overwhelming.
During the pandemic, her business was struggling, her marriage ended and her grandmother passed away. She turned to poetry as a means to process her feelings.