Dorothea Smartt
Brixton Market

Dorothea Smartt is recognised as one of a new generation of Black performance artists. Her work has been published in many anthologies.


Dorothea Smartt was appointed by Spread the Word to be the resident poet in Brixton Market from August - October 1998. During the residency, she was "commissioned to write poems about the market, its history and its place at the heart of Brixton." This culminated in a poetry reading with Roger Robinson on National Poetry Day (1998) to "a lively and receptive local audience, some attending their first poetry reading" in Brixton Library.

January 1999

"Over several days, I visited the Lambeth Archive whose newspaper cuttings and photographs were particularly inspiring. I introduced myself to market traders and arranged to talk with them. I also did informal interviews with shoppers - recording their memories of the market and how it has evolved over the years. It was fun going round the market and talking with people. It reminded me what a vibrant and necessary part of Brixton's international life the market is - and it's a good place to shop too. Most days I came home with something!

Brixton was one of the first English markets to serve the needs of the African-Caribbean community. It was a place to buy back-home food, meet up with old friends and find out news too. I hope my poems can reflect the changes that have taken place in its long and varied history, and go some way to expressing how special Brixton Market can be - a place to experience community. Community begins and ends with communication and Brixton Market is great for meeting people."

Young Poets Network