Radio — Radical poetry: An interview with Halifax’s El Jones



On this week’s episode of Talking Radical Radio, spoken word activist El Jones speaks about poetry and social change.


Jones is a poet. She is, in fact, the current poet laureate of the Halifax Regional Municipality. However, unlike some who claim the label “poet,” for her word, world, and action are bound up together in ways that she refuses to split apart. For her, writing poetry meant speaking about life, speaking about life meant speaking about struggles to survive and thrive and to change the world, and speaking about those struggles meant, quote, “for my own integrity I felt that I really had to be active.” She is a fixture at activist and community events of many different sorts in Halifax, as both a performer and an organizer. As a spoken word activist, she speaks up and speaks out; she challenges listeners, entertains them, inspires them. She works with youth, with prisoners. The majority of her poetry these days is in fact comissions from people who want her to perform a poem for their action, their event, their issue. She speaks to me about her poetry, about her political work, and about the ways it doesn’t really make a lot of sense to talk about them as two different things.


For more information about Jones, click here.


Talking Radical Radio brings you grassroots voices from across Canada through in-depth interviews that concentrate not on current events or the crisis of the moment, but on giving people involved in a broad range of social change work a chance to take a longer view as they talk about what they do, how they do it, and why they do it. To learn more about the show in general, click here.


You can also learn more about ways to listen or go to the show’s page on To learn more about suggesting grassroots groups and organizations for future shows, click here. For details on the show’s theme music, click here.


Talking Radical Radio is brought to you by Scott Neigh, a writer, media producer, and activist based in Sudbury, Ontario, and the author of two books examining Canadian history through the stories of activists.

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