Chérie Taylor Battiste
Chérie Taylor Battiste was born in London in 1976. After graduating from SOAS University of London, she worked as a TV researcher before moving on to acting, winning the Norman Beaton Fellowship, joining the BBC Radio Drama Company and gaining various parts on stage and screen. Alongside this, she facilitated workshops in prisons and schools, going on to project manage the embedding of creative learning in schools with CapeUK.
Finding herself a lone parent of two, as austerity hit, she returned to poetry, her first means of expression during her challenging childhood. She saw poetry as freedom, a rare opportunity to have an uncensored cultural voice, and a way of sharing her unique set of experiences. Her first collection, Lioness, was published by Valley Press in 2019.
“this is the woman
that raised Chérie
and I am
the woman that bore her”
What does ‘motherhood’ mean to someone who was taken from their mother? What does ‘blackness’ mean to someone deprived of their culture? And how does someone reassemble themselves after being torn apart by racist and relationship abuse?
Lioness brings together the broken pieces of a life lived always as ‘other’, celebrating the cracks and fissures in the same way that the Japanese art of kintsugi honours a damaged pot with gold lacquer, transforming its imperfections and fractures into strength, beauty and truth.
“The strength and lyricism of these poems is evident in the terse story-telling, dance-like patterns of rhyme and assonance, alliterative ‘djembe’ beat, and vivid sustained imagery drawn from the poet’s complex cultural heritage and beyond. Lioness is a powerful, lyrical and inspiring account of a resilient human spirit... These poems deserve to be heard and read!” Eleanor Hall
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