Making Poets out of Poverty

DYSPLA Founder, Lennie Varvarides speaks on why poetry is urgently needed in areas of high deprivation

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Before you begin reading this post, let me say that I am not an Education Specialist — but I am an expert on how society and schools fail people with Learning Differences through the work I do at DYSPLA. I identify as Working Class and my 7-year-old child attends a school in an area of high deprivation. My Cypriot parents’ childhood, was also one of ‘absolute poverty’, so these themes are extremely important to me.

Being poor is still met with prejudice and disdain…

…I hear you ask…, well, like; Agatha Christie, F. Scott Fitzgerald, W. B. Yeats, Jules Verne, John Irving, Richard Ford, George Bernard Shaw, Octavia Butler, Sally Gardner, Walter
Disney, Jeanne Betancourt, Patricia Polacco, Lynda La Plante, Victor Villasenor, Robert Benton, Steve Mcqueen, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Spike Lee to name just a few!

Photo by Brad Neathery on Unsplash

The WHY is an endless answer to an unresolved mystery. Are Dyslexics better writers? Are they more creative? Are they more determined?

This post won’t completely answer any of those questions, but what it will do hopefully, is spark an interest in the value of being an “Outsider.”

Our world is made up of words and rules and laws and straight lines…

Angles Talk

Photo by Natalie Rhea on Unsplash

“The view belongs to you like a new perspective.”

The river is still. The fog is thick. The riverbank is velvet red. The clay is moist. The pebbles are smooth. The touch, rolls off my grip and drops. The water is cool when it speckles my skin. The twilight is tender and patent. We sit a while. They are composed. I am lucid. I wont look at them. Not in the eye. Not once. Instead I notice their arm. It is a long arm. Part flesh. Part celestial. I notice their fingernails. They are clean. Their feet. They are bare…

It’s time to move into the Headset, DYSPLA tell’s us why!

Birmingham Arts and Science Festival 2019, screening of DYSPLA’s ‘Two Women’, photograph taken by Kazimir Bielecki.

My name is Lennie Varvarides, I am the Founder of DYSPLA, a London-based art studio making and producing the work of Neurodivergent (ND), Storymakers.

In 2018 I attended a talk at the Cannes Film Festival where Frank Patterson, President & CEO of Trilith Studios in Atlanta, (where much of the Marvel Cinematic Universe was formed), was running a talk on Virtual Reality (VR). I asked him if he thought there was a connection between VR and Neurodiversity.

I was particularly interested to know whether or not there was any…

Short Story Chronicles — The day the perfume oozed

A present she bought for herself while on a date. The one they both pretended not to be interested in.

Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash

If this was a film, I would speak in Voiceover, (V.O) to bring Melissa into your day, the way that she is embedded in mine. If this was a T.V. Series, I would remind you that in the last episode, we learned Melissa is a mix of leather and perfume. I would explain again how this throws you off and you would come to understand that this is what being single minded smells like. …

17 April 2021 Saturday Poetry Prompt: what about the pace?

Photo by marianne bos on Unsplash

The garden looks cared for
…the way a professional cares

they must
someone is watching
everyone ready to complain
the complaint hides something else
-a sense of guilt
-an agony that will not be put into the ground
-not yet

_________he lives against his will, (a full stop).
refusing to die
stiff with life so limited

_________________I screamed today (full stop).
I screamed when he opened his eyes.
— — — — The first time I had seen him look at me for years

M O M E N…

A poem

Photo by SCOTT FLEMING on Unsplash

Some things come later
when you’re a girl,
when you change, grow, age
harmony changes the shape of things
blame it on estrogen
blame your mother’s mothers
or inflammation
fatty tissues
… whatever you do,
sneeze dissatisfaction out that window
you’re going to get fat
get used to that
get used to losing it all,
gin can replace the bad feeling for a while
but you're better off without it.

your lost collagen won’t circulate but its never too late for a jog a hop of hope that a swim might work maybe it’s not the surgery or the cheese…

10 April 2021 Saturday Poetry Prompt: repeatable

Photo by Oscar Keys on Unsplash
"Toward education marriage nervous breakdown, operation, teaching school, and learning to be mad, in a dream—what is this life?"Kaddish, Part I.
Allen Ginsberg - 1926-1997

little girl gets bored of eating tomatoes uses her hand to smudge the seeds over her homework, hiding her broken writing among the stripes and scraps of a story lost in myth, a procedure to grow to form a shape that makes sense in this world unlearning, attempting to unlearn bad habits past down by schizophrenic notions of ordered disordered, like horses penned into a race forced to circle an endless property of hedonism…

Prompt, 07 April 2021 Wednesday Prose Poem: The colour says it all.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Winter air sneaks past the window, pushes the weight of your thigh, thick, shapely, set high. Crank my neck to reach your gaze. It drops, crushes mine.
Crimson flesh oozing certainty. There is a stale smell of comfort grounded into place, peppered with candy-floss texture

Hue sprinkle’s of dust, like our singed follicles, broken scales stitched into new flesh. Crushed again and again to paint the only life we have. Mending days, in sheets, ripped off the cacti to feed the comedown, sweat still on our crust
submerged, then brushed off

We wait our turn to dry out this heat…

Lennie Varvarides

London based dyslexic creative, working in development. Founder of DYSPLA

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