Rommi Smith will be Bicentenary poet-in-residence at Ilkley Literature Festival.

‘The poetry diva’s renditions of her works produce sparks’ – Metro News

‘There is a place where the musical, the political, the spiritual and the beautiful come together and it is here’ Benjamin Zephaniah

‘Spirit. Takin’ it to the edge. Sunrise . Sunset. Rommi Smith got thunderstorm in her hands. Painting pictures with her voice…waking the landscape .’ Lemn Sissay

‘The Moveable Type book and CD is a killer. Rommi’s talented all over the map. Carefully crafted streetwise observations that come straight at you. We put this in our albums of the year section’ Bob Holmes – New York Poetry Website – Washington Square ArtsJen Durrant

Hi Rommi, it’s Jen from Sheffield Young Writers. I just wanted to say thanks so much for all the workshops you did with us – I really enjoyed all of them and I think everyone else did too. Plus I took up your reading recommendation, which I thought was fantastic. I feel really inspired by the workshops you ran. Thank you! 🙂

Education Workshop Comments

Teacher Feedback: St Aidan’s School, Harrogate, North Yorkshire

Rommi Smith has worked with St. Aidan’s, Harrogate , on three occasions, with Year 12, 9 and 8. On each occasion, students have been impressed by Rommi’s great ability to read and perform her work.

Rommi is an ideal creative writing tutor to work with as she is happy to listen, modify and negotiate the approach and content of the day. When Rommi was working with Year 9, she carefully prepared a day related to the Shakespeare text the students were studying. The crime scene that she created in the classroom encouraged students to focus on small detail and hypothesize as to what a character’s motivations might be. Additionally, Rommi skilfully wove extracts from the text into the investigation that students had to solve: Macbeth had committed another murder!

More recently, Rommi prepared and delivered an inspirational day on jazz that involved both the English and Music Departments. Rommi informed the students about the origins of Blues and Jazz and illustrated it with poems and music, some of which included Rommi’s own work. Students then worked individually and in groups producing their own Jazz and Blues lyrics. These were then read and sung across blues tracks composed by the students. By the end of the day, the students had travelled a long way and were improvising as they read, responding to the nature of Blues and Jazz as the musicians responded to their readings. It was an impressive fusion of lyrics and music.

On all occasions, we have impressed by Rommi’s skill to deal with students; she has the tact, guile and politeness to get the best out of those she works with. Furthermore, as a qualified secondary school teacher, Rommi is a more than capable leader of a creative writing workshop. She is positive and encouraging, while also being exacting when the occasion requires it.

Stuart Pickford, English Department, St Aidan’s School

Hi Rommi,
This is the saxophonist from the B.B. and hurricanes production. Just wanted to say that it was a great honor to work with you and the rest of the artists. The production was an amazing experience for me and I hope that one day we can work together again. This is just my second year of college so I have a long way to go.
Thanks a bunch!
Daniel, California State University in Los Angeles

Hi Rommi,
I had a great time on Saturday. You really helped all of the performers pull together and transform the performance into a real work of art. Thanks for the opportunity to work with you and good luck!
Take Care,
David, California State University in Los Angeles

“Very inspirational. Thank you”
Student, Presentation College, Cork, Ireland

“Twas a great experience and a great laugh. Thanks for the brilliant time I had in your workshop.”
Jo, Presentation College, Cork, Ireland

“Thank you very much, before your workshop, I never had much of an interest in writing poetry and I gave up easily at writing lyrics. But this workshop has inspired me to keep writing and not to give up”
Shane, Presentation College, Cork, Ireland

“Inspiring. Brilliant. Fun. Interactive.”
Children from St Albans’ School, Birmingham

“Great communication between Rommi and our students; she uses inspirational and unusual learning methods to engage young people with creative writing and reading. The scene of crime game worked a treat and our children loved playing at being detectives, hunting for word clues, in order to build poems”.
Staff member from Grange Park Primary School, London

“A fabulous workshop led by Rommi Smith and Ken Higgins. Kenny, you rock on the bass!!!!”
Tim, 14, Leeds Schools’ Workshop

“Never a dull moment!! Your theory of getting the point of writing and performing was incredibly helpful and taught me a lot.”
Shazia, Leeds’ University Workshop

“Brilliant and fun. You changed my perspective on poetry and music. It was a great day”
“I learnt a lot about myself during the workshop with you. I feel that my imagination grew.”
Peter, Schools Workshop

“Lots of great ideas. The interactivity was superb.”
Tania Gilbert, Trainee Teacher, Liverpool

“Fun, exciting, inventive and ….fast!”

“Rommi’s style of leading workshops is down to earth, yet knowledgeable. She gave me confidence in writing”
Bea, Women’s Refuge, Leeds

“Well organised and inspirational. I learnt so much that I didn’t know”

Hi Rommi!
Well, it was a great success….Congrats!!! One of my friends who came from the drama dept. said it was the best show she’s seen on campus–getting everyone up and out into the lobby was so powerful. I think it’s so important to remind people of this basic sharing of song and celebration that is such a part of our human experience….thank you so much for
your bold inspiration.
Bye Rommi!

Hello Rommi!

I want to say it was amazing working with you and the show on Saturday was a complete success. Thanks for you patience and vision. Perhaps we can work together in the near future.
Take Care &
Best of wishes to you!

Hi Rommi,
I certainly enjoyed participating in the Hurricanes production. It is certainly apparent that you know exactly what you are doing. Thank you for all of the hard work. My friends enjoyed it almost as much as I did.
Don Durkee, Cal State University, Los Angeles

Thanks for your creativity! I was so pleased with what you did with the poem! I just wanted to thank you again. It has been wonderful having you on campus. I hope it has been a pleasure to you as well. Keep on with your great work!

Kirklees One Book Project

Rommi Smith worked with singer Zoe Palmer to encourage young people from schools in Dewsbury to write poems inspired by the book Lion Boy by Zizou Corder.

visit the following website for more information:


Julie Newton

It’s been along time since we were last in touch had to let you know I’ve just gained insight into your amazing achievements i feel overwhelmed and in awe of your successes…. absolutely well done to you…

lots of love Julie



Dear Rommi,

It was an absolute pleasure and delight to talk to you and watch you perform in our theatre today.

I have to tell you that after I got back from dropping you at the Ubahn, one of my theatre students came up to me and told me she had just re-thought her decision regarding her subject choices for IB and is definitely going to study theatre – all as a result of your visit. Anyway we will talk much more I am certain at some point in the future. Please know that you are welcome any time you come to Vienna-I definitely want to do a writer-in-residence experience and will work on that now and get back to you before the end of this school year with possible dates.

And know that you are always welcome. You left a genuine mark on all of us today-come back again!



Natalie Methu

I just wanted to say that i think Rommi is amazing i mean absolutely fabulous.She taught me so many things that i will never forget. If it wasn’t for her i wouldn’t have written my poem(Chained up in my mind)
So, Rommi if your reading this i would just like to say: THANK YOU i mean it from the bottom of my heart. Thank you soo much.YOU ARE AMAZING!~
luv the %*pR!nC£$$*%


Fiona Lesley

Dear Rommi and Lemn

Couldn’t let the week go without sending a huge huge huge thank you to you both for the incredible week you gave us all at Arvon. You created a very special space for us to live and work in and it was a real privilege to be part of such a collective experience and yet one in which each and every individual truely made their own path and in all cases as far as i could sense, one they really had needed to take but didn’t know till they got there. In particular I want to thank you for the totality of energy and spirit you each and both together brought to the week – that kind of giving is very rare and precious in the best way.

May all those gifts return to you tenfold and more

Fiona Lesley
The MAP Consortium



Hi Rommi having spent a week in your company at the arvon foundation’s poetry course: unchartered territory, last week in shropshire. I wanted to say thanks again for the massive boost of confidence




Hi Rommi,

You don’t know me. But I heard you at the event held at City Hall a few weeks ago. I was the keyboard player for LCGC at that event. I enjoyed your reading. I’d like to get you involved in some of the work that I’m doing in schools.




Rachel Mclaverty-Williamson

Hello Rommi,

I’m a Student at Burntwood School and you came and did an amazing performance which me and others found really interesting !You are an inspiration to others, I’ve heard that you will be coming again soon next week.SO i look forward to working with you.

Rachel Mclaverty-Williamson


Nkechi Ebite

Rommi, it was great to have you on Afternoon Delight!! We were all moved and touched by your readings.

Good luck in the post.



Hi Rommi having spent a week in your company at the arvon foundation’s poetry course: unchartered territory, last week in shropshire. I wanted to say thanks again for the massive boost of confidence




Hi Rommi

really looking forward to seeing your play on Wednesday. I read the preview in the book White Open Spaces, it reads brilliantly and is fab, just like you.

Love Nat xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Don Durkee

We are looking forward to meeting you and hearing your work at Cal State Los Angeles this year. Professor L. Ramey has been bragging about you. We are enjoying your Moveable Type CD and the book which is part of our course work.


John Holt

Rommi, your contributions to BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction were awesome!! I just sat at my desk at work listening to you when I should have been doing the accounts. You are a true artistic subversive, seducing me from the mediocraity of my daily life and taking me into your world; to places that I have never been before, into new territories and within new landscapes of experience. Thank you for the trip out Romi!!



A fantastic performance on the Verb, I was spellbound.




Just to let you know that I was really impressed by your chair(wo)manship yesterday of the African Vision group at the Ilkley Literature Festival. The questions you posed were almost as fascinating as the answers the authors gave and I’m sure the audience felt the same. It was a real education (literally) and a really enjoyable experience. Thanks.

Reading through your website has been a surprise too! I remember your play vividly, it was funny in parts, poignant in others. I look forward to hearing about the experiences of Africans in the north of England, being one myself, on R3 on the 15th and 22nd.

Best wishes,




i think ur website is brilliant keep up the fab work you do



Hey just wanted to say that I’m really enjoying your work on the BBC site, My Africa. Really fantastic and insightful stuff.

Look forward to reading more.




Just to say that I thought that the performance on the Verb was outstanding. Thank you and thank you again….



Rommi Smith sparkles every time. She challenges and subverts conventions in the most lyrical way. The London Eye performance was brilliant. Encore please from this fantastic artist.


Carol Azams

Hi Rommi,

I’ve just visited your site and I think it’s great, and thought it would be nice to sign your guest book.

Have fun.





My friend and I saw your performance on the London Eye
last night. We found the experience very thought
provoking, enlightening and well delivered. The
performance was engaging (even mesmerising) and the
intimacy of the venue added even further to the

Thankyou for what was a very enjoyable performance.



kane dennis dodgson

i was never into poetry until i had a brainheamorage aged 30 2year ago, then all of a sudden my head was filled with words that wayed like lead until they spilled out on paper, then i kept stumbling accidentally over poetry books and now ive happily accidentally come across you. fantastic CD really fantastic.




Just a quickie to say – love the website! Its cool and sophisticated… just like you! Nice one.



Howdy Rommi. Thanks for being such an inspiring teacher.Writing under your tutelage has given me renewed purpose. I’m currently taking Lenny on some new, dark journeys! So watch out for ‘Morrigan’s Drum’ – appearing in an editors waste paper basket near you soon. Cheers ‘n’ Beers, Ewan.



I’m throughly enjoying the creative writing class that i am taking at Swathmore. You’re a great teacher and i look forward to each wednesday. thank you =)



I really enjoyed your recent performance at Wicked Words, and I loved the new work – lush, witty, challenging, engaging, evocative – great stuff. Looking forward to your next performance. Best wishes, Fiona



Loved play on Radio 4 on Wednesday. The title was taken from one of my favourite songs – Blue Mink’s Melting Pot. Best, Helen



just to say thanks for your lovely, warm and inspiring performance on Tuesday. You were very much enjoyed. Good luck with all your projects and hope to see you again soon.

Siobhan Macmahon – Wicked Words



Hi can you tell me when the new collection of poems that you talked about on BBC radio this weekend, will be out in the shops. By the way I really enjoyed your performance yesterday at Wicked Words.



hi there saw the gig in Hudds at the Lawrence Batley Theatre. Thanks and thanks again. It made me laugh out loud at your observations about black women and hair. A refereshing political, funny and powerful piece of dance and theatre.