When Alexander Paul lost his battle against brain cancer his mother was determined that his inspirational life would carry on through his poetry.
Alexander who grew up in Crystal Palace believed in using poetry to channel emotions speaking of his experiences of student life, stop and search, faith, family and mental health.
After being stopped and searched more than 20 times by the age of 18, despite having no criminal history, Alexander (pictured) attended the Tory Party Conference in 2014 and urged politicians to consider the stigma that was being created around young black males.
At last year’s Conservative Party conference Prime Minster Theresa May paid tribute to him saying he had “inspired” the party and that because of this she had “shaken up the system” and reformed discriminatory stop-and-search practices.
His mother Joanna wanted to share his inspirational life and legacy and has published a collection of his poems, Climbing Clouds Catching Comets which were showcased at Black History month at Thornton Heath library in October.
The collection provides some insight into Alexander’s teenage years, aged 14 to 15, which prompted him to write 300 poems, including his last poem in April 2016 before he passed away aged 21 in the same year. He was in his second year at Warwick University studying Politics and International Relations when he was diagnosed with a malignant tumour in his brain.
At the library poetry showcase young boys and girls who knew Alexander read out his poems including the dates when he put his thoughts into verse form, putting his short life into sharper perspective. One of the readers of Alexander’s poems was Ella Brooks (pictured), from Thornton Heath, who also sang. She attended the same church as Alexander who was a great encourager of young people showcasing their talent.
I Am Love is Joanna’s favourite poem
She said: “I believe this poem summed up my son’s literary talent and also demonstrated his passion for life. He was a brilliant performer and I loved watching him perform this poem with the classical orchestra in the background combined with African rhythms.“
Climbing Clouds Catching Comets can be purchased online at Amazon or Waterstones. To listen to Alexander reading I am Love on: https://youtu.be/GhWU9RdNP6o