Skip to main content
A Magazine for

The Manchester edition of Now Then is no longer publishing content. Visit the Sheffield edition.

Lisa Luxx Speaking Out for the Girl Gang

Ahead of the release of her new single, we spoke to Lisa Luxx about self-love, feminism and the crossover between poetry and music.

Lisa Luxx is a writer and performer who writes for freedom, healing and mobilisation. Her poetry and essays have been published internationally, and her work has been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and ITV.

A seasoned performer, she has performed at a range of venues, from festivals to the Royal Albert Hall. In 2018, she won the Out-Spoken prize for performance poetry.

Luxx’s writing is powerful, beautiful and insightful. It is vulnerable yet tough, warm but spiky. Her craft is nothing short of mind-blowing.

This month sees Luxx venture into music with the release of her single, ‘Girl Gang’, on International Women’s Day (8 March).

In advance of its release, she took some time out to talk to Now Then.

When did you start writing?

From being a kid, like as soon as I could I started writing poems. As a teenager, it evolved into lyrics, though I still always maintained writing poems and short stories. Getting introduced to rap music by my big sister basically gave me a whole new lease of literature.

How did you get in to writing?

Through reading a lot; my parents always encouraged us to read. Also through listening to hip hop and studying the lyrics in the little lyrics insert you’d get in the CD case.

What do you love about poetry?

That it’s forever trying to express the inexpressible; to capture that which can’t be contained. My favourite poetry finds the abstract in the concrete – the goddess present in an empty tuna can – because that’s the closest to achieving poetry’s purpose.

Who or what inspires you?

My friends and favourite conversationalists: Taz, Maysan, Karina, Salma. My best work comes from expressions that I find in the friction between my mind and theirs.

Other poets, too, including Joelle Taylor, Sabrina Mahfouz and Salena Godden who mostly inspire me to move through my career with absolute integrity above all else.

Your poetry crosses over into music at times, including recently narrating an album – The Battle For Hearts And Minds by Savvy. How was that experience?

My favourite thing about that project was being given a character to bring to life. Savvy had asked me to narrate the album in the voice of this oracle, so I had this whole mystical being to step into the mindset of and channel through.

Listening back to that work now inspires me, because it feels as if it came from beyond me.

Lisa Luxx e1551551645561

You’re about to release your own track, ‘Girl Gang’, on International Women’s Day. What was the inspiration for this?

The song is about sisterhood and I wrote it when I hit a low point and my female friends from across the globe all seemed to – knowingly or unknowingly – catch me. Also, it is such a fervent time for feminism that I wanted to contribute to the feel good feminist playlists that are gonna make sure we find the will to dance through the revolutions.

What does feminism mean to you?

An end to small and large scale gender violence, and the violence of gender itself. Gender is such a destructive force. It imprisons women and men and is the source of so much of humankind’s most heinous acts. The most urgent change we need to make is on the way we perceive gender, because the more we can get that to shift, the sooner other forms of social oppression will disintegrate – patriarchy upholds the most fundamental evils we continuously do to ourselves. Feminism is about cultivating a world where half the population isn’t under threat due to the rest of the population’s rabid fear of their own fragility.

As a woman who has gotten married to herself and runs self-love poetry workshops, how do you define self-love?

As a political act. To learn to love oneself is to dedicate yourself to the messy work of unpicking insecurities that are making us respond to the world hatefully, out of fear. When we don’t love ourselves, we are more inclined to act from a place of pain, which only ends up creating more pain. To truly be able to love and hold oneself is the most profound contribution anyone can make to their community. It’s a dedication to becoming a kinder, stronger and more compassionate member of society. Self-love is a civil duty.

Which poets or lyricists do you rate?

Sa-Roc is really doing it for me at the moment. And Sampa the Great is a g. For poetry, Andrea Gibson is outstanding – I often call my friends just to read them her poems out loud. For something less current, I love Mahmoud Darweesh, the revolutionary Palestinian poet. Some images he wrote into existence just never ever leave my head.

Would you like to collaborate with anyone?

I would really like to find more queer womxn producers to make tracks with.

Where can people catch you perform?

Up north, I’m at Magic Rock Brewery, Huddersfield on 21 March and Northern Quarter, Huddersfield on 23 March. I’m performing in London and Birmingham in April.

Parting words of wisdom?

Some lyrics from ‘Girl Gang’: when I say ‘sister’ I do not mean ‘friend’, I mean a woman complete, whose cracks never need mend.

Filed under: 

Next article in issue 64

Lisa Maltby March's featured artist

What strikes me first about this month's featured artist, Lisa Maltby, is how pleasantly unpretentious her art is. From the work she does…

More Arts & Culture

Love Will Draw Us to Art

Art Battles have been raging since 2013 and the 20th event of the series is coming soon. Here's what to expect.

More Arts & Culture