Celebrate with a brew! Film of poem by Julian Jordon on theme of refugees and cuppas wins TV award

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A short film made last year for Refugee Week of a poem – a villanelle – by Write Out Loud’s Julian Jordon has won the animation category in the Royal Television Society’s Yorkshire awards. The award was won by Marsden-based Fettle Animation, which was commissioned to produce something on the theme of You, Me and Those Who Came Before.

Julian, the founder of Write Out Loud, said: “Fettle (Kath Shackleton) commissioned me to write a poem around which they could produce an animated film. So I decided it needed to be a villanelle so as to get those two repeating lines/themes, and, as the award announcement says, I wanted to use the notion of the British cup of tea being something both strange to most foreigners, yet something that binds diverse parts of the nation together.

“Kath had asked me to suggest a poet for them to commission for the job, and I suggested some names, but she suddenly said, ‘tell you what, you write us something’; so I did. I met Kath when she was an arts consultant evaluating the work Write Out Loud was doing with Wigan Words festival, years ago, and we kept in touch. When I came to Marsden I discovered that this was where she was based, and she has been very supportive of all our work here, from Marsden Write Out Loud to Marsden the Poetry Village.”

The judges said the animation was “beautiful and evocative”, about a “very misunderstood issue”. Centring it on making a cup of tea was “a quintessentially Yorkshire thing to do” and “gave it a lovely, local feel”.

Two other animations by Fettle made up the nominations in the category.

Here’s Julian’s poem:


     You, Me and Those Who Came Before embedded image from entry 109670

     by Julian Jordon


     It’s a challenge being a refugee,

     trying to live up to those who came before,

     And learning how to drink your British tea.


     The climate’s hostile, surely you agree?

     It never rains, you complain, but it pours.

     It’s a challenge being a refugee,


     though we now have a flat with our own key,

     no longer dread the knock upon the door

     and getting used to cups of British tea.


     You too, at times might feel the need to flee.

     No one knows what their life has in store.

     It’s a challenge being a refugee,


     keen to prove how useful we can be

     to a welcoming community like yours,

     inviting us to take a cup of tea.


     Thank you, that fewer nightmares there will be:

     no more nocturnal images of war.

     It’s a challenge, being a refugee,

     though easier when sharing your British cup of tea.


Background: A villanelle for the cup that cheers


◄ Joy Harjo appointed to third consecutive term as US poet laureate

Jeremy Reed, Aldeburgh, 2015 ►


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