Upcycled poems

Crowd listening to Shoddy opening speechWith the different meanings and themes of shoddy, it’s a word that lends itself to poetry! Leeds Survivors Poetry wrote and performed two wonderful poems at the exhibition launch event (pictured).

The poem below, Upcycled by Liz Helliwell, fit in perfectly with my short speech (and was performed with more brio and a few props!).

I talked about how, with the exhibition, we are both rejecting and embracing the word “Shoddy”.

Because of course we’re saying that disabled people and disabled artists are NOT shoddy, second rate or inferior.

At the same time, by harking back to the original meaning of Shoddy,  the exhibition says:

  • That nothing – or nobody – should be consigned to the scrap heap
  • That there’s great value to be found in what – or who – is often overlooked
  • And that you shouldn’t underestimate the strength of shoddy! Or indeed of disabled people!


Leeds Survivors Poetry in ActionUPCYCLED
by Liz Helliwell

Grandpop was textiles,
discovered polymer something fancy.
He was shoddy,
he was deaf.
That’s why we all speak

Mum paints textiles,
founder of society of floral painters.
She is shoddy,
she is blind.
That’s why her paintings are

Brother wears textiles,
accountant in a smart suit.
He is shoddy,
blind and epileptic.
That’s why he is my

And me?
I am a textile
of all of them.
I was abused,
now upcycled to

Proud to be
part of a very
shoddy very
loving very




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s