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15th August 2011

sam-edwards-photo2Writer, poet and film producer Sam Edwards, co-founded the independent film production company Ragged Crow in 2008 with director and writer husband Ed Edwards.

Their short films Solstice, Dogboy, Bad Obsession and Insomnia have all been well received and their debut feature film, Stealing Elvis, was chosen to open this year’s London Independent Film Festival. Their latest short Wardance was nominated for The Newcomer Award at Soho’s Rushes Festival in July, and screened at London’s ICA.

In between filing Sam found time to write Sodium, a collection of Rock ‘n’ Roll poetry about madness and bad behaviour, and is her first volume of poems.  She has also recently completed her first novel called Narcosis.

Sam’s favourite poets are Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, and she loves their ‘call and response’ poems Lady Lazarus and Lovesong. Charles Bukowski’s Invasion is another favourite. She is inspired by the way that these poets have changed the nature of language to write poetry in ways that it had never been written before.

“By using language in a new way, they described the world differently. When art and poetry really speaks to us, it provides a conduit directly to the soul: we see something that we identify with, and it comforts us because it lets us know that we are not alone,” Sam explained.

Hunter S. Thompson was also a big influence on Sam’s work. “When I first read his work when I was about 14, I couldn’t believe that someone could explode language like that.” she said. We simultaneously recall how his novels such as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and The Curse of Lono, wickedly illustrated by Ralph Steadman, almost normalised drugs-taking and bad behaviour, making what we saw going around us at the time seem rather mundane.

Thompson committed suicide by shooting himself when he became terminally ill. This is a reality that Sam rather admires. “It’s like he was saying ‘I’m going to take my destiny into my own hands – and that includes the time and manner of my own death.  It’s noble somehow, a kind of warrior spirit reminiscent of the patrician Romans who would never have left control of their demise to the Gods if they could help it”.

sodium nThere is a connection between a firearm and Sodium, which is symbolically represented by a young woman holding a pistol. That’s because when I write as Sodium I want to use language as weaponry. Language is so powerful. We use it to romance and reassure, or to manipulate and destroy. I want to deliver words in my poetry like a bullet,” Sam says. “I like that as women, we can have these weapons at our disposal.”

Sodium is Sam’s answer to her own important question: Do women ever really have a language of their own? She explains: “Language by nature is patriarchal, having been designed by the sexual politics of the culture we are born into. Everyone learns as soon as they assimilate speech what language women can use, and what language is used to describe them, effectively repressing them and putting them into pigeon-holes. But women can corrupt language by subverting its use and using words violently, for instance, and that can manipulate a different notion of what women are and what they can do.”

The imagery of women and guns recurs in Stealing Elvis, Sam’s debut independent feature film as writer and producer. It’s a neo-noir story about bad boys, bad girls, kidnap and robbery. The central character Kristina is played by talented newcomer Naomi Baxter 17, as the bad-to-the-bone femme fatale. She doesn’t hesitate to take what she wants when she sees her opportunity. She treats men as sex objects, she manipulates her friends, and when it comes to the crunch she isn’t afraid to turn a gun on a man and shoot him down like a dog in the street, giggles Sam. Stealing Elvis contradicts the traditional film noir where bad people aren't supposed to get away with their crimes. The audience is supposed to be reassured that in the end good prevails, the accepted code of morality is back in balance, and most importantly evil women are knocked down off their pedestal.

But Sam wants her thoroughly bad heroine to win, she wants crime in this instance to pay, and as Kristina roars off into the sunset with the spoils of victory the viewer can’t help but rejoice.

“I am fortunate to work with Ed, my husband as a director, who gets my vision of women.The strong, badly behaved women I write about don’t seem to phase him, and he relishes the opportunity to get them on film and to see what god-awful thing they do next in order to work their will."

Sam thinks that’s why the poety in Sodium is as popular with men as it is with women. “At last men are beginning to rejoice that woman can be so incendiary. They are fed up with the plastic sex-pots or Stepford mums and are rather keen to see an ululating Boudica of the modern age running riot, behaving badly and having fun yes, but above all controlling her own destiny.”


Eyes staring wired and lipstick bright,
They stagger out in the brazen night.
They drink and swear, they wear black leathers,
Mad crazy women and their pretty boy lovers.

They’re a bunch of hell-bent bitches.
They fill you up with insatiable itches,
As you fall on your knees to cry and splutter,
Mad crazy women and their pretty boy lovers.

Wound up tight in search of easy game,
Coke buzzed head and their tongues aflame,
They prowl about, they shriek and they hover,
Mad crazy women and their pretty boy lovers.

Their throats are slick with dirt-cheap liquor.
They’ll take you on with a steel-clad liver.
Lock up your husbands and warn your brothers.
Mad crazy women and their pretty boy lovers.

The glasses fly and the knives come out.
Flesh is torn, men scream and shout,
Broken hearts bleeding, bodies bound and tethered.
Mad crazy women and their pretty boy lovers.

Download Sam Edwards’s poetry here: