Then spree

poetry & diary by Nia Davies

Tag: events

Poetry from Shingle Street

Shingle Street coastguard cottages

Shingle Street coastguard cottages

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).

The event takes place at the Tea House Theatre in Vauxhall from 7pm.

Shingle Street residency

View from the coastguard’s cottage at Shingle Street

Broadcast reading in London 27th November 2012 and other events

Following on from the launch of my debut pamphlet Then Spree, I will be doing several readings in the UK. The first is with Broadcast – the poetry event series organised by Emily Hasler and Roddy Lumsden. The line-up also includes Matthew Caley, Oli Hazzard and Luke Kennard and takes place on Tuesday the 27th of November at the Betsey Trotwood pub in Farringdon, London. More details on the event are available on the Broadcast website. Also on the Broadcast website you will find a new poem by me – 4 rooms, which is inspired by the sound artist Jacob Kirkegaard’s 4 rooms – recorded at Chernobyl.

Other upcoming readings include: a new Penning Perfumes at Clerkenwell Tales Bookshop, London on the 28th of Novembera reading alongside the fantastic Aurelia Lassaque, Amy Key, SJ Fowler, Jessica Pujol and others at Housman’s radical bookshop in Kings Cross, London on Thursday the 13th of December and  a music/poetry night at the Full Stop in Brick Lane London on the 16th of December. Events in Sheffield, Bristol and Wales to be announced soon.

You can find out more about Then Spree, and place an order for the pamphlet  on the Salt website.

Walking Diary – Ethiopia

Turmi, Omo. September 24th 2009

While out in the dust-light, there is flesh in thorns. The prancing feet of gazelles. The dry riverbeds are walkways. Vulture feathers, hoopoe hornbills spring up through the acacia bushes.

Round dwellings of stacked wood, the skin of goat, eight cow-lives. Go-away birds with feathered horns. The skin of women and men making heat in the evening. Skin is splashed to wash off dust.

We burn river driftwood, cross flooded waterways and ant-trails like the Hamer people, red-daubed walkers, returning from the bull jumping ceremony.  Skull of Ox. Scars of devotion on the women’s backs. Lust is catered for here, unlike on the other side of the Omo river. Sandy-footed villages. Mile for mile, women walk different lives in their different clans. Digging for water in the river bed. Men wear feathers in their crowns if they have earned the honour to marry in a bull-jump.

The axe, the machete for splitting wood, a Kalashnikov for your ninth birthday. Beaded arms, necks, wrists, bell-feet. Dusty-eyed travellers are we. Dry wood makes good fires. Termite mounds rise like stelae poking through thorns.

Ants crawl over ankle, brown toe-nails. I am five days from Addis, five fathoms of land-locked lake living. Night is doused with the milky way and distant lightning flashing in a corner of the wide sky. Otherwise fire and headlights are the only light. Sweat and dust makes mud between my limbs.

© Nia Davies, 2009