By UK/Indonesia 2016-18 team

13 December 2018 - 18:31

For non-believers of the power of words, Stephanie “Sonority” Turner might just change your mind. Her words are honest, raw, incisive but also move, uplift and enrich, and these very qualities were on full display during her performance at the opening night of The Other Festival at Hotel Monopoli Jakarta. Collaborating with the Jakarta poetry collective Paviliun Puisi, Turner incorporates a thrilling, atmospheric cache of sounds into her poetry, creating a highly visceral experience. 

“I like the depth of music and the way music can hold a poem and gives it a different kind of resonance. That’s why I bring music into my poetry, because it allows me to improvise,” she says following her performance. “I think music and poetry compliment each other. I’ve been inspired by a lot of sound poets for a long time. It’s a natural mix for me.”

Describing her poetry as experimental, explorative, soulful and rhythmical, Turner explains that she got into poetry in her teens, performing her poem for the first time in Liverpool for the Bicentenary of the Abolition of Slavery. 
“It began as a task for the end of 10-week course on black history I was taking, and I initially said no. But I was forced into it and got a nice response from the crowd, so I’ve been doing it ever since then,” she recounts. 
Performing in Jakarta also proves to be another first time for Turner, especially working together with other poems to concoct a live performance. She has found this experience to be a great learning curve. 

“I kind of just came on my own to meet with four other poets and worked out how to collaborate with them. I went down to the Paviliun Puisi open mic and felt a similar kind of vibe as I would experience it in London,” she comments, while claiming that she has learned a lot from the collective. “They’re a really dynamic group, with lots of different talents and ways that they are exploring the arts. So it was easy to expand on the page poetry, as it were, and break the boundaries with them.”

True to the spirit of this year’s UK/ID Festival, Turner claims to be intrigued by the idea of boundaries. “I like the idea of me and other poets saying, “What can we do to break poetry out of the page? How can we break our poems off the stage and bring in other elements? What would happen if we removed those boundaries, lines that say, ‘This is how you do it. This is how it’s done.’?” she muses. “I think when you do that you allow all kinds of magic, inspiring and imaginative things to come in. When you take away the boundary, there’s more space to play with.”

“I think poetry means talking from your heart and connecting with people."

-Stephanie 'Sonority' Turner-

Ultimately, Turner believes in the power of poetry to connect with people and bring them together. “I think poetry means talking from your heart and connecting with people. Often times, young people’s voices aren’t heard and poetry was a space to have my voice heard, share my ideas and connect with people who are like me or different than me. It’s always exciting discover things through that medium,” she concludes.