Loll Perkin is supremely talented. An artist through and through, she expertly weaves her life experiences into tapestries of trauma and resilience, hammering home radical and serious messages through fluid rhyme and fluent rhythm.
Loll's work covers both the serious and the sublime; her pieces turn on a pinhead from online dating to political scandal in the blink of an eye, leaving you with a gut punch with her artistic manipulation of metaphor and meter.
Her first collection, the aptly named Fewmin', is making its way to the market in July 2022.
Loll's work in five words:
Loll runs MOUTH, a spoken word night at The Rose & Monkey in Manchester's Northern Quarter. Originally set up to give a platform to everyone at a time when pay-to-perform is becoming more prolific, it is an intimate and special evening. Read more about it on the MOUTH Instagram page.
We sat down with Loll for a chat about her upcoming work:
You're an incredible spoken word performer. What got you into the poetry scene?
I have been writing poetry for over a decade now but I was introduced to spoken word and performance poetry quite by accident. My first performance was at Sayin' in the Nia Centre in Hulme - I fell in love with it and haven't looked back.
You do a lot of performance poetry in addition to running MOUTH. Do you have any advice for budding spoken word artists who might not know how to get started?
Perform your poetry to yourself in a mirror. Get yourself confident; jump in and put your name down at a night. It's the best way. Aim to do one poem and see how the crowd reacts to it; if you feel comfortable you can always do another. Don't pressure yourself.
What or who are your biggest influences?
My first influence was Charles Bukowski. My early written stuff was definitely meant to look aesthetically pleasing on a page and was not necessarily written to be performed. These days I am more influenced by the poets I know personally - Tonkabell, Estie, Safs2e and Cookie Love. I'm also quite often inspired by different grime MCs like Nolay, Slowthai and Skepta. I think that's where some of my more rhythmic pieces come from.
What's your favourite piece of all the poetry you've written?
My favourite piece is a tie between Retrain which is a piece about when the Conservative government - the Tories - told creatives to retrain in tech, and my poem Body Positivity which aims to make women of all shapes and sizes accept themselves and enjoy the body they've been given because we only get one.
You are not afraid to be politically-charged in your writing. Why do you think there is such a crossover between poetry and politics?
Well, I've come into the spoken word scene from being involved with the punk scene in Liverpool and Manchester. From the age of 14, I'd go to punk shows with my older brother and us punks are always politically charged. I think it's become natural for me to be angry at what our government puts us through (and if you're not angry about it you need to ask yourself why really...) and because my poetry is predominantly an outlet for anger and upset - or at least it originally was - I find it very easy to write about the despicable people in charge.
You are part of a vibrant local scene. Who would you recommend checking out if they're performing in the area?
Tonkabell, Ushiku, Leon the Pig Farmer, Ant Briscoe, The Chubby Northerner, Romina Ramos, Rebecca Kenny, Safs2e, Estie, Cookie Love, Amy Harris, Paige Dease, Renee Stormz... And as for events - Sayin', MOUTH, Switchblade Society, Long Story Short, Punk in Drublic, Verbose and Speakeasy.
What can we expect from a Loll Perkin show?
You can expect to take a dive into how I view things - to leave feeling better about your body and maybe even feel happy in the fact you've found someone who gets it.
I'm very rhythmic; I like complex rhyming schemes and I'm an angry berd with something to say on pretty much everything from heart-break to online dating, body positivity to our government, how much I love my friends to getting over drug addiction.
Who is your poetry for?
My poetry is predominantly for myself. I absolutely buzz off the fact that other people enjoy it but it is first and foremost my therapist and I will never put my pen down for that reason alone.
Fewmin' lands this Summer