Spoken Word Poetry 

The creation of Smile like a baby came to me shortly after giving birth. It first came in the form of poetry, writing was combusting out of me. Spoken word is something I have loved listening to for sometime, it was never really something I wanted to do. I just enjoyed the honesty, the riddim, the truth. When I travelled back to my home country of Nigeria in 2017 for the first time, it set the heART on fire. The style/ fashion, dance and music in particular was what I live for! The long bus journeys and day to day hussle began to release such space inside of me I found I could not stop writing. The same abundance and flow of poetry came out of me just after giving birth and continues to evolve into various projects, books, workshops, commissions and albums.

In my practice as a poet and spoken word artist, I find joy in crafting pieces that resonate with both children and adults, touching upon themes of the heart and our innate human connection. Through my words, I aim to inspire listeners to stay true to themselves, embrace happiness, and follow their hearts. Infusing dance with poetry adds another dimension to my performances, allowing me to engage audiences in a dynamic and expressive way, enriching the experience and encouraging them to shine brightly on their journey.

I have collaborated with other artists, musicians, and dancers to create interdisciplinary performances that blend spoken word with other art forms, enhancing the overall impact and engagement of the audience. Overall, public performance has been an integral part of my journey as a poet and spoken word artist, allowing me to share my voice and connect with communities in meaningful ways. I have performed at various festivals and cultural events throughout London and beyond, sharing my poetry and spoken word with diverse audiences.

I was commissioned to create an audio Yoga movement story for early years children, which was featured prominently at a festival and is now available for listening on their website. This experience allowed me to combine my love for storytelling with movement and mindfulness, reaching young listeners in a unique and engaging way.

Repost @TinyIdeasOxford

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We’re thrilled to launch our first commission of 2023! India SHINE is a free audio movement yoga story created by multi-talented dancer and writer Celestina Banjo and inspired by her daughter. Listen to it on our website here: http://bitly.ws/Egzw Find Celestina on www.smilelikeababy.be and on YouTube as Fun DANCE with Celestina & INDIA #tinyideas2024

India SHINE audio Yoga Movement Story

The Riddim of Poetry 

Workshops by Celestinaā­

Rhythm is in everything. Riddim is in the WORD, the rhyme, music and of course movement! I show this connection when facilitating poetry workshops and bring participants back to heart. Where the beat flows effortlessly and you are encouraged to express freely, honouring your truth and letting go!

I often discuss the interconnectedness of hip-hop and spoken word. I emphasize how the rhythm, rhyme, and storytelling elements of hip-hop seamlessly intertwine with poetic expression. Additionally, I incorporate movement into my workshops to further explore rhythm. This approach allows participants of all ages to engage with the material on a deeper level and encourages creative expression through various mediums. My spoken word poetry workshops are for all ages, tailored to inspire creativity and self-expression. From interactive sessions for children to engaging workshops for the elderly, my programs cater to diverse audiences. One of my recent projects, in collaboration with Harlow Council in celebration of World Poetry Day, involved delivering spoken word poetry sessions for the elderly and their carers. The response was phenomenal from participants, carers, dementia nurses to the church Vicar. Please take a look at some of the testimonials below. Poetry has the power to unite us all, transcending age and ability. Whether you're 9 or 90, everyone can participate and discover the joy of writing. To book your workshop session please email. Settheheartfree@smilelikeababy.be

Testomonials

Thank you soooo much for inviting us to have a poetry workshop with Celestina. 
She was fabulous and everyone loved her and the workshop. 26 people attended, people with dementia and their carers, as well as a handful of helpers who also enjoyed the fun afternoon.
Celestina began by using music and dance to help people to open up and give free expression of themselves through movement, which then transferred to the poetry writing. 
Every person wrote something.
Their poetry made us both smile and weep as people expressed themselves freely.
Even those with dementia  who speak the least, managed to write something and move us all deeply.
Celestina was gentle, fun, colourful, encouraging and so open.

It really was a great afternoon Celestina and what you did was perfect. Your whole approach brilliant.

I can't thank you enough.

Obviously those of us who work with that group all the time know the people extremely well and were very moved by the responses made in dance and written word.

Thank you for all you do and are.
Every blessing in your life and work.

Revd Lynn Hurry (Leader of Dementia & Friends Memories Group and Vicar of St Mary- at-Latton Church)

 

It was so great to meet you and be invited into a very safe inspiring creative space. You have a tremendous gift  God bless you and all you do. 

Julia Sheffield (poetry workshop participant)

 

Thank you so much for the session on Friday. It was superb having you come along to the dementia group. All of us there really got something out of it  I loved it.

Revd Becs Challis (Assistant Curate St Mary-at- Latton Church)

 

Thoroughly enjoyed today, thank you so much. Also the exercise done me good. Made me stop and think about letting myself go and expressing myself in any way I choose. It doesn't matter how, don't be afraid or embarrassed, once again it just does not matter.

Margaret (Poetry workshop participant & Dementia carer)