Spoken word artist Hazel Hogan tackles wide-ranging societal issues in her work – from the housing crisis through to mental health. 

To celebrate International Women's Day, we're delighted to publish her poem Stories and strikes.

Stories and strikes

I can still hear the echoes

Of belly laughter erupting

From my mother and aunties

Their mouths cracking wide

Into lightning bolt smiles

The sparks of electricity

Live from the stories they

Shared as we sat around

That old table on late nights

These women have taught me

All that I know to be true

And as I grew with them they

Shared stories of the strikes

That we women have fought

Through to bring about rights

When we were denied access

To leading our own lives and

All that we have been through

To get to this time when my

Life is not led by design of

You are a child and then a bride

These women have taught me

All that I know to be true

Through those late nights

Their sparks of electricity

Stirred something within me

I can still feel the hearth

Of a blaze burning and erupting

From my sisters and friends

Our mouths cracking wide

As we scream for something new

The shared sparks of electricity

The catalysing lightning bolt of this

Strike echoing through the streets until

Everyone will listen to us women

Listen and let our stories teach you

All that we know to be true