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  • Poems about migration
  • Sophie Herxheimer (bio) and Karen McCarthy Woolf (bio)

I’ve written twenty-eight poems as dramatic monologues in my late grandmother’s strong German accent, as a way of exploring many themes: home, London, war, death, relationships … Inklisch Rekortdinks allowed me to look through her particular refugee eyes at her (1938-1980) London, which of course continues to exist and change inside and parallel to my own, though we only shared it physically for my first seventeen years. The seekvenz is divided into three sections, London, Chermenny and Ze After Leif, which means I can use her voice to comment on contemporary issues that she sees from up her Klaut.

Karen McCarthy Woolf and I were both invited to make work on the theme of migration as part of a project in the National Maritime Museum running in their RE*THINK studio and education space during 2015. My work was as an artist, to listen to visitors and draw their stories of home. Karen’s was a longer writer’s residency, and she made many responses to the questions the theme raises, drawing from her own experience as well as the continuing unbearable news of the current crisis facing people globally, displaced by war. She looked at the squeezes put on London too, by class war, in her poems about gentrification, as well as the different waves of refugees and migrants historically, including her father, with a long, moving poem, Voyage, about the ship he arrived on from Jamaica in 1957. This year we collaborated on a pamphlet that contains some of our work from the RE*THINK space. Also called Voyage, it contains seven new poems and an essay by Karen, and eighteen stories collected and drawn live by me. This is available from the National Maritime Museum for a £10 donation, which will be split between the South London Refugee Association and the cost of printing. [End Page 143]

Sophie Herxheimer

Sophie Herxheimer is a poet and artist:

Karen McCarthy Woolf

Karen McCarthy Woolf’s collection An Aviary of Small Birds was nominated for both the Forward and Aldeburgh Best First Collection Prizes:



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