Every year for the past five years, Culture Matters has run a Bread and Roses Poetry Award, supported by Unite the Union. The competition is free to enter and is aimed at supporting and encouraging poetry with a broadly social and political content, written by and for working people.
They Want All Our Teeth To Be Theirs is an anthology of some of the poems submitted, including the five winners of the Award. The poems cover the whole gamut of contemporary political vicissitudes and social injustices: the desperate plight of refugees; the indignity of unemployment and the exploitation in employment; homelessness; poverty; deindustrialisation; the solidarity of working people; the climate emergency; racism; and the redemptive solidarity of working people.
Every poem in this anthology is of poetical and political significance, showing how the poet can express themselves as a cell of the body politic rather than as an atom of consumer culture.
At a time of deepening structural inequalities in British life, the world of contemporary poetry is increasingly remote and inaccessible. The enemy controls all the cultural institutions. All the Left has on our side is poetry. Where the enemy's ideas of culture are disfigured by snobbery, backwardness, ignorance, laziness, tastelessness, dullness and uncreativity, we have the poets with something to say. — Andy Croft, poet and publisher of Smokestack Books
They Want All Our Teeth To Be Theirs: The Bread and Roses Poetry Award Anthology 2021, 80pps., ISBN 978-1-912710-44-7, £9 inc. p. and p.