CSULA Department of English | Events

Rommi Smith's recap of her experience at Cal State LA.

Rommi Smith will be the British Council
USA UK Writer-in-Residence at CSULA from February 20, 2006
through March 17, 2006.  A
spellbinding, dynamic and powerful performer, Rommi
works with her band to create a synthesis of lyrical
spoken and sung word. A complete schedule of events, including
readings and workshops is listed to the left.

For more
information on Rommi, please visit her website www.rommi-smith.co.uk
and her BBC website www.bbc.co.uk/myafrica.

Image of Rommi Smith

photo credit:
Kevin Reynolds

Rommi Smith is a poet and playwright, who works to
fuse spoken word and music together. She has been
performing her work since the age of 14. A spellbinding,
dynamic and powerful performer, Rommi works in collaboration with dancers,
music producers, musicians and with her own band, to
create a synthesis of lyrical spoken and sung word.

Performing her work regularly, both nationally and
internationally, at arts, music and literature festivals
(Glastonbury; Ilkley; Sight Sonic; Crossing Borders
(Amsterdam); Nuyorican Poet’s Café and Bar 13 (New York);
Multi Culture (Paris)), Rommi has achieved a reputation
for sharp, socially conscious poetic imagery, fused with
astute harmonies, and jazz, funk and soul rhythms.

Rommi’s work has been broadcast on various media: BBC
Radio 5 Live’s Late Night Currie and The
Richard Dallin Show
; BBC Radio 3’s The Verb;
Woman’s Hour, Fine Lines, Poetry Please and
Late Night Lines from the Lowry (as part of Radio
4’s Poetry Festival). Print and audio versions
of Rommi’s work are featured on the BBC website. In
1999, Rommi was chair of the first ever people’s jury for
the Booker Prize.

In 2001, Rommi was invited to take up the post of Poet
in Residence for BBC Music Live, the first post of its
kind in the history of the festival. In 2002, Rommi was
BBC Artist in Residence for the Commonwealth Games 2002,
writing for broadcast on BBC World Service,
Radio 4, Radio 5, BBC2002 Commonwealth Games Radio and BBC
Television. In 2002, Rommi and her band were
commissioned to create new work for the opening programme
of the new series of Radio 3’s The Verb.

As an actor, Rommi has performed in Eve Ensler’s, The
Vagina Monologues.

As a playwright Rommi has been commissioned by Paines
Plough Theatre Company and BBC Radio Drama. Her play,
Angie Baby toured nationally throughout 2000 and
was performed at venues including West Yorkshire Playhouse
and the Bristol Young Vic. In July 2001, Angie Baby was
developed for production at the Young Vic, London. In
2002, Rommi’s play, Take A Pinch Of was the
afternoon drama on BBC Radio 4, featuring soul diva Ruby
Turner. In 2005, Rommi was commissioned to write and
perform a new play as part of Flight 5065, an evening
of live performances on the London Eye to raise awareness
of Africa, Fairtrade and Debt Relief.

Rommi’s collection of poetry and CD, both entitled
Moveable Type
(Route) were published to much acclaim.
She was one of ten writers recently given a national
commission to write in response to Infallible: In
Search of the Real George Eliot
, a national touring
exhibition exploring fiction in art. Rommi’s piece can be
found in the book of the same name, which accompanies the

Rommi has received an Arts’ Council Writer’s Bursary to
develop her forthcoming collection, Mornings and
, which is inspired by the lives of divas. A
limited edition chapbook of a selection of these poems was
published in November 2005 and the full collection will be
published by Peepal Tree Press in June 2006.

Rommi was recently appointed Writer in residence for
the BBC Radio 3 Africa Season and is exploring her Nigerian and English heritage, as
well as the stories of people of African heritage based in
the UK, through the residency. Her work is
currently being broadcast on programmes such as Twenty
Minutes, The Verb
and Late Junction. She also
writes a regular weblog on the BBC site. Visit
www.bbc.co.uk/myafrica for more information.

Rommi is delighted and honoured to be British Council
Writer in residence at CSULA in 2006. 

For more information, call the Cal State L.A. English Department at (323) 343-4140.

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