A round up of news from the last twelve months…
In 2014 I started editing Poetry Wales. You can take a look at the six issues I’ve edited so far here. Focuses have included the visual, violence, Patagonia and an issue on desire is forthcoming. You can read my editorials on the Poetry Wales website: http://poetrywales.co.uk.
In Spring 2015 I co-curated the Welsh Enemies project – Gelynion – with Steven J Fowler. Over 60 poets collaborated in pairs at events across Wales and London with a core of six touring poets, including myself and Steven, performing rolling collaborations along the way. All the filmed collaborations and further information can be found on the Enemies site.
In October 2015 it was a joy to take part in the fourth North Wales International Poetry Festival. At the festival Literature Across Frontiers launched the new project Literary Europe Live (LEuL). LEuL brings together festivals from around Europe to encourage and foster programming that reflects the richness and diversity of the European literary landscape. I am working on this project currently with Literature Across Frontiers.
I have a chapbook coming out imminently with Hafan/Boiled String – Çekoslovakyalılaştıramadıklarımızdanmısınız or Long Words. More news on this to come.
Happy New Year:
My new sequence of poems Çekoslovakyalılaştıramadıklarımızdanmısınız or Long Words features poems with titles taken from the English translations of long words in various languages. Extracts have been published so far in the following online magazines:
– for your [plural] continued behaviour as if you could not be desecrated (Hungarian)
– also for those who have turned like counterrevolutionaries (Georgian)
– for those who were repeatedly unable to pick enough of small wood-sorrels in the past (Lithuanian)
– to the least able to be making less understandable (Czech)
– a dusty place where chickens usually groom themselves (Tagalog)
– [two] people trying to scatter pretended lies with each other (Tagalog)
– when our resentments will have (Hebrew)
– are you one of those people whom we couldn’t make to be originating from Czechoslovakia? (Turkish)
– ‘the most emotionally disturbing (or upsetting) thing (Tagalog)’ will be appearing in Ploughshares in spring 2015.
“The humourous, the fantastical, the classical, the psychogeographical, all are touched upon in this attempt to collectivise the spirit of your erotics: that creative energy empowered, the knowledge and use of which we are now reclaiming in our language, our history, our dancing, our loving, our work, our lives.”
This anthology edited by Sophie Mayer and Sarah Crewe seeks to capture something of the exciting new wave of contemporary writing on the erotic.
Featuring poetry by Nia Davies, Pascal O’Laoghlin, Nat Raha, Sarah Crewe, Becky Cremin, Jo Langton, Andra Simons, Kit Fryatt, Sandeep Parmar, slmendoza, Jay Bernard, Ziba Karbassi, SJ Fowler, Agnes Marton, Sascha Aurora Akhtar, Melissa Lee-Houghton and Sophie Mayer,
Glitter is a Gender is “not so much an anthology as an anthol-orgy of voices, hands, hearts and genitals, all working to recognise and actualise the erotic.”
Buy a copy here: http://www.contrabandbooks.co.uk/#!__glitter-anthology
My hands, I mean my head,
Curlessness, the sandal of the lady,
I coat my shoulder
Sleeve is taken away!
I prefer physical exercise in the garden of loneliness
Doctor narrated as a story the mountains of criss cross.
Don’t ask me if this is my poetry.
Are you the rower who is going to rob my life from me?
You are more lethal than cane.
Who do this sprouting?
I climbed death,
I more than a wound you can wind me.
My loneliness glasses have been shattered!
I wanted to be made available.
I am not like other autumn scissors.
This poem is brought to you by the interpreters of the Niniti International Literature Festival. I took part in the festival and the Reel Iraq translation workshop in Shaqlawa and Erbil in Kurdistan, Iraq last month. My blog about how understanding, misunderstanding and communication figure in the art of poetry translation is up on the Reel Festivals website. I am incredibly grateful to Reel and to all the people who made this encounter happen. You can read the blog here.
Today I travel to Erbil in Kurdistan in Iraq to take part in a translation workshop and the Niniti Literature Festival. The trip is organised by the remarkable Reel Festivals in collaboration with Art Role and the British Council.
You can read more about the trip here including who’s taking part on the Reel website. Look out for blogs from the participants, including myself.
Some things I have been reading/watching in translation in order to learn something about the region:
– The Iraqi Christ – short stories (stories of stories) by Hassan Blasim, translated into English by Jonathan Wright
– Son of Babylon – a film by Mohamed Al Daradji
– Poems from the last Reel Iraq festival workshop by several Iraqi poets translated into English by a group Scottish poets and performed at the festival in London last year. Plus blogs from the participating poets.
– this film about the Iraqi poet Manan Al-Sheikh by Roxana Vilk from the Al-Jazeera Poets of Protest series.
– Fiction, poetry and interviews in the Words Without Borders Kurdish issue
– poems by Sinan Antoon
– the wonderfully informative Arabic Literature in English blog
THE &/ PROJECT PRESENTS ITS FIRST ONLINE EXHIBITION
MOLLY MORIN featuring NIA DAVIES
20.02.14 – 31.05.14
Command Plus is the inaugural show of the & / project. It brings together art, text, poetry and design by a web of collaborators, Molly Morin, Nia Davies, Nora O’ Murchú and Alice Poulalion, creating a cycle of interactive work and response that confounds the distinction between text and image. This mingling becomes especially potent in this online space, where images and text must first be transformed into code in order to populate a virtual, visual space. Visit the exhibition http://andorproject.com
The &/ Project
&/ (And Or) is a digital space reimagining the relationship between art, interpretation, exhibition, and theory. &/ are a collective of three: artist, art writer and art historian. Instead of being guests in each other’s domains, they have generated a collaborative space. &/ is both an online exhibition project and itself an investigatory work, inviting collaborators and commissioned contributors to critically experiment with the internet and reconsider the interaction between printed matter and the work of art. The &/ project launched its online exhibition space in February 2014. They present two to three shows per year in collaboration with artists, art writers and web designers. &/ is curated by Isabella Streffen, Sarah Archino and Siofra McSherry.
For additional information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tomorrow I will be in London at the launch of the Poetry School’s Spring term. Myself and Amy Key will be reading and discussing poetry made at our residency at Shingle Street in Suffolk. Thanks to the Poetry School we spent a week there in November 2013 in one of the tiny coastguard cottages which are right out on the shingle beach in a remote but extremely atmospheric spot. The week was very creatively invigorating with lots of time to edit existing poems, write new work and also to discuss and think through ideas, techniques and poetics. We started with cut-up text exercises and moved on to discussing feeling, the problem with poetry of place, teen noir, friendship, childhood memory and more.
You can read our blogs which present drafts of poems and discuss their process on the Poetry School blog Campus. Firstly there is a Q&A, then there is my blog about ‘Feelings’ (with a poem draft and brief discussion of Clarice Lispector’s novel Near to the Wild Heart) and the poem draft and reflection ‘people on the beach’ which considers the shifting sense of place, ‘nation’ and the militarised nature of the landscape. These poem drafts are very much works in process rather than finished articles, designed to open up the process for people to see inside it. Amy’s blogs include a reflection on writing poems in response to scent How I did it: Violet-among-the-harpsichord and a short interview about the residency which includes tips for poets who want to go on their own residencies.
And finally you can even listen to the music of our residency on this playlist! (Though unfortunately it lacks a vital contributor: Joanna Newsom, whose back catalogue we sang along to in the car on our various excursions around the Suffolk countryside).
Back in August of this year I visited Buenos Aires and Patagonia as part of my work with Wales Literature Exchange. Forgetting Chatwin was an epic journey from the Atlantic to the Pacific with four Welsh poets Richard Gwyn, Tiffany Atkinson, Karen Owen and Mererid Hopwood and a group of Chilean and Argentinian poets: Jorge Fondebrider, Jorge Aulicino, Verónica Zondek, Marina C Kohon, Ines Garland and Silvia Camerotto. I took hundreds of photographs with my brother’s wonderful camera and learnt so much about the region, its peoples, culture, literature. I wrote an account of the journey for Wales Literature Exchange and it is published alongside galleries of images of Buenos Aires and Welsh Patagonia, the Andes/Bariloche and Chile.