This Thursday, 09.03.23 - poet, performer and activist, Liv Torc comes to WORD! to headline our International Women's Day Special. WORD!'s Abi Willock caught up with her in advance...
Abi: What is the greatest achievement in your career so far?
Liv: Blimey, there have been a few. Probably the Hot Poets project, which has been recognised by the UN for its work to communicate more positive messages around climate change action. They took us to Botswana for a 5 day brainstorming session, which was surreal and amazing… and then COP27 in Egypt, where we presented the project and wrote on the spot poetry about the talks and discussions…
But my lockdown crowdsourced photography and haiku film project, Haiflu, comes a close second, because of how many people it helped and the incredible record of that time we all created together.
Abi: When you started writing poetry did you think it would lead you down the path of world change?
Liv: I hoped I would do some good, help some people and make some great art. I have always been driven by big picture aims, world saving if you like – but the bits I felt I could impact, even if that is just helping one person have a better day. I have worked incredibly hard to do good things in the world and I believe in the power of poetry and the arts to make huge differences. As my career has grown, so have my ambitions and ideas - but I never anticipated the UN part. That was unexpected!
Abi: Why is poetry such a good platform to speak about pressing universal matters like climate change and equality?
Liv: It’s very human, direct, and intimate. It is also a good way of presenting complex ideas in a way we can emotionally process and mentally understand.
Abi: Can you remember the first poem you ever wrote?
Liv: Yes, it was about God and whether he really exists in the clouds or in our hearts. I was about 10 and I got an A+++ for it in school and I never really got great marks – so it was a game changer for me.
Abi: Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring poets?
Liv: You have to build the steps you climb. There isn’t a whole poetry career waiting for you… invest in the scene, run events and workshops, make projects, pour you heart and passion into making the poetry scene stronger and you will lift everyone up, including yourself.
Abi: Do you have any tips on performing spoken word?
Liv: A poem is like a magic spell. If you read a magic spell without intention, or power - then the spell doesn't work. A poem is the same. If you have the right ingredients and you read that spell like a pro wizard, like you mean it, then you will see the room shift and people change before your eyes.