Then spree

Website of Nia Davies, poet, editor, writer, performer

Tag: poems

Dirty, tender, ludic: All fours

Earlier in the spring, my collection of poems All fours was shortlisted for the Roland Mathias Award for poetry, part of Wales Book of the Year. Kathryn Gray from the judging panel had this to say about the book

From its opening pages, All fours reveals itself as a strange, magnetically attractive book. The deployment of language is glorious. The sound effects present, but unexpected. Attempting my first draft of this, I wrote down the key descriptors that occurred to me when I reflected on this book and its authorial voice, thinking it might simplify a swift reasoning of our verdict. That caused me some problems. Dizzying, heady, gorgeous, dirty, funny, tender, intimate, estranging, political, disturbing, international, local, ludic, vulnerable, in your face, surreal… It is a book for which the high-concept, elevator pitch is impossible to formulate. It defies any simple figure, and that is very much the point. All fours is very much of our discombobulating era. It is indeed a wild ride, but behind this lie great discipline and skill. It insisted on its inclusion, because it simply wouldn’t let us go. The hallmark of an exceptional book, in any genre.

All fours is out from Bloodaxe Books. Buy it here! 

And congratulations to the Wales Book of the Year winner in English, Robert Minhinnick for his book Diary of the Last Man.

All fours cover by Nia Davies

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All fours shortlisted for Wales Book of the Year

All fours is on the shortlist for the Wales Book of the Year 2018 in the Poetry in English category!

The poems in All fours were recently described as ‘ludic, perplexing and roaming’ in a review in the TLS by Leaf Arbuthnot. ‘Profane, charismatic and at times infuriating, Nia Davies’s poetry glitters above all thanks to its energy’ she writes.

All fours is available from the Bloodaxe website. Wales Book of the Year will be announced on the 26th of June.

All fours cover by Nia Davies

 

Poems in Which #4 is now out

The new issue of Poems in Which is now live. It features poems by Mark Waldron, Éireann Lorsung, Lutz Seiler translated by Alexander Booth, Sarah Wedderburn, Karl Smith, Melissa Lee-Houghton, Giles Goodland, Anna Selby, John Canfield, Emma Hammond, Bobby Parker, Anat Zecharia translated by Irit Sela, Paul Stephenson, Dollie Stephan, Martha Sprackland, Samuel Prince, Abigail Parry, Fiona Moore, Nicola Gledhill, Francine Elena, Josephine Corcoran and Joey Connolly. Plus we once again have artwork from Sophie Gainsley:

Poems in Which #4 - illustration by Sophie Gainsley

Poems in Which #4 – illustration by Sophie Gainsley

You can take a look at the issue here: http://poemsinwhich.com/issue-4/

PS. Poems in Which is also now on Facebook.

Solidarity Park – poems for #resisturkey / #OccupyGezi / #direngeziparki

I fell in love with Istanbul in 2010. And then with Anatolia as a whole. It’s a deeply fascinating region for me and I have even been trying to learn Turkish over the past few years. I am  lucky enough to have visited a number of times in 2011 and 2012 and made friends with some  inspiring people –  poets and writers Gonca ÖzmenGökçenur Ç, Yaprak Öz, Efe DuyanMehmet Altun, Pelin Özer and several others as well as a number of courageous and creative publishers, activists and literary promoters. So the last two and a half weeks I have been shocked and upset by the way the police and government in Turkey have violently treated peaceful protesters speaking up for their right to public green space and against the increasingly oppressive policies of the AKP.

In response to this I got together with UK-based poets Sascha Akhtar and Sophie Mayer to found ‘Solidarity Park Poetry – poems for #ResisTurkey / #OccupyGezi’. Solidarity Park is a place where poets from around the world can show their solidarity with the verve, courage and “soul force” of the Turkish people as they struggle to own what is theirs. So far we’ve published nearly 20 poems from poets around the world and will be publishing more over the next few days and weeks. We are also fortunate to have two translators on board – Duygu Tekgul and Çağdaş Acar and the poet Gonca Özmen as our consulting editor.

If you’re a poet and you’d like to get involved please read our call-out to poets: (English) (Türkçe) and send us a poem to solidarityparkpoetry@gmail.com. And please help us spread the word if you can, we are on Facebook and Twitter: @SolidarityPark.

In solidarity and hope,
Nia
http://solidaritypark.wordpress.com

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Then Spree – reviewed

A review by Donald Gardner of my pamphlet Then Spree was posted on Sabotage review this week.  And expanding on the idea of ‘wearing experience lightly’, poet Daniel Barrow has written this remarkable piece here on his blog: A Scarlett Tracery .

Then spree - by Nia Davies - cover

Transom

The new issue of US-based online journal Transom is entitled Neither Now nor England.  It features poems from a selection of British poets as well as their views on ‘making it new’, the highs and lows of the UK poetry scene and some  interesting commentary on their own pieces. I’m happy to be included among them with three new poems: ‘History of our bookishness’, ‘Three places’ and ‘man you might like’. Visit the issue here: http://www.transomjournal.com/issue5/Issue5.html

Binders full of… ebooks

Binders Full of Women's Poems

Binders Full of Women (limited-edition handmade chapbook) is sold out… Long live Binders Full of Women FREE pdf ebook!

Yes, it’s free to read online, or download and print via Scribd. But please consider donating to Rape Crisis UK or the Michael Causer Foundation. We’ve raised an incredible £320 so far and we’d love to raise more… We suggest a donation of £2 if you’re able.

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Nothing

“Only the mechanical voice / that nothingness assumes in times like these.” Joaquín Giannuzzi (translation by Richard Gwyn).

So does nothingness have a voice? Does it sound like nonsense? It is dehuman, debodied, mechanic Giannuzzi suggests.

Only only. Just this.

“Because the voice belongs to no one when you are waiting for a doctor to answer your call,” says Giannuzzi. “Before long the doctor’s non-response / has required / the strangeness of utopia,”

What is utopia other than nothing? What is the voice of utopia? What is the noise of the voice? “Poetry makes nothing happen” says Auden.

“The human heart is told / Of nothing – / Nothing is the force that renovates the World,” says Emily Dickinson.

“I feel that ‘nothing’ is generative and opens up a dynamic space,” says Peter Gizzi.

Meanwhile, for Giannuzzi: “the constant homicide of creation”.

Poems in which – issue 2

is now live. Edited by Nia Davies and Amy Key. With poems from WN Herbert, Sampurna Chattarji, Fran Lock, Kirsten Irving and more. Go to http://poemsinwhich.wordpress.com/ to discover…

The Next Big Thing

I’ve been invited by the poet Amy Key to take part in this blog series where writers answer the same set of questions then pass them on to four other writers. You can read Amy’s interview here and find your way back along the trail of writers.


Where did the idea come from for the book?

Many of the poems in the new pamphlet Then Spree were written without a book in mind, but some of the origins of some of the ideas and impulses include:  things seen from night-bus windows, the glitches, fissures and blooms of language and the world as experienced by a diver. As well as… things my friends say, unusual auditory environments, off-record histories,  folk song and story, watery places and the up hill struggle to learn a foreign language (Turkish!).

What genre does your book fall under?

Poetry

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

There is perhaps one distinct character (other than myself) in Then Spree – the man (or creature) in ‘Periphylla Periphylla’ who is trapped in a submerged world which is part deep sea, part London street.

I had already written this drunk lonely character’s voyage on the number 38 bus and was half way through writing the second part of his walk through Canonbury when the man himself staggered up to me. On seeing me he stopped, looked me in the eyes, (I was sitting on a garden wall writing by street-light), then he stumbled on. I would like this man to play the Jelly man, but it’s most likely I will never see him again.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Song’s outer reaches

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I’ve been writing poetry seriously since I was a teenager and the poems in this pamphlet date back to around five years ago. The manuscript took around 4 months to bring together and edit.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I am incredibly lucky in that I have been able to travel and meet people who have opened up the world for me.

The poetry of Lutz Seiler, Sarah Gridley, DA Powell, Denise Riley and others have been vital to me – especially in the last few years of writing the poems in this pamphlet.

A book of Manley Hopkins poems given to me at secondary school by my teacher Mr Martin seems to have had long-range impact and so have nursery rhymes sung to me in Welsh and English, recordings of Michael Rosen’s poems for children and perhaps most importantly for all my writing – folktales from all over the world, told by my grandmother Liza Watts who is a professional storyteller.

From early on the poet and editor Roddy Lumsden encouraged me, challenged my writing approach and provided me with an ever-evolving and inspirational reading list.

And I recently read this which I love: “It’s necessary to maintain a state of disobedience against . . . everything. One must remain somehow, though how, open to any subject or form in principle, open to the possibility of liking, open to the possibility of using.” Alice Notely in the Poetics of Disobedience.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

In Then Spree there are secret staircases, vengeful saviours, a man with a jellyfish heart, nudism, white noise, stray ballerinas, singing bowls and obsolete instruments.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

The pamphlet is published by Salt in the Salt Modern Voices series.

You can order a copy of the pamphlet on the Salt website