About Steven Camden
Steven was born in Birmingham and grew up among fascinating characters. He’s said that as a boy he ‘swam in a soup of stories’ but that he never met a writer. He’s a well-known spoken word artist, performing sometimes as Polarbear, and has written plays and novels for young adults, alongside his poems.
He now lives in London and regularly visits schools, collaborates with writers and artists and tours his own work.
Steven’s poems bring us into the familiar world of school – but with his sharp eye for detail, as well as his talent for creating instantly believable characters, it is school as we’ve never encountered it before. ‘As I Watch’ shows off two of Steven’s strongest skills, the way he notices everything – from doodlers to nail-pickers – to make the everyday feel enchanted, and his use of musical rhythms and sounds – listen for the hard k’s and the soft u’s he uses.
Steven’s poems are thoughtful, interested in who we are when we’re alone, and who we are when we’re being watched. ‘Fraud’ is about pretending not to be clever to fit in with “those kids/who sit smug at the front”, making us think about times we’ve “let answers grow moss”.
Steven’s poems are often about love, such as the heart-racing story in ‘Vending Machine’ and ‘It Happened This Morning’, where we get both sides of one love story and learn what happens “when your heart is there to see”. Steven’s delivery is full of music, using alliteration and rhymes to make the sounds crash and bash like a one-man orchestra, and varying his speed to make the words dance.
Steven often uses end rhyme but even when he writes in free verse his lines are full of alliteration to make sure the words jump off the page. Listen out for the clever way Steven sprinkles in words which nearly rhyme, too, keeping his poems’ music going throughout.
Steven’s recording was made on Tuesday 10th December 2019 at The Soundhouse, Acton, West London.
Photograph by Andrew Roberts Photography
2019 CLiPPA Poetry Prize - Everything All At Once