Category Archives: Poetry Events

Magma 71 – the Film Issue

Magma 71“Poetry and Film make wonderful bedfellows,” proclaims the editorial in the summer issue of Magma. The 62 poems within its pages are testimony to that.

Poets selected for the final wrap of Magma 71 include Patricia Ace, Claire Booker, Matthew Caley, Kristi Carter, Michael Conley, Frank Dullaghan, Pat Edwards, Carrie Etter,  Katie Evans-Bush, Jamie Field, Nick Garrard, Kevin Higgins, Mingpei Li, Roisin Kelly, Andrew McMillan, Kathy Pimlott, Kate Rutter, Rosie Shepperd and Greta Stoddart.

Magma 71 - Cinema MuseumCo-editors Cheryl Moskowitz and Stav Poleg have curated a celebration of the cinematic qualities so often found in good poetry – a rich coupling of word and image. But they were also keen to travel beyond the page and connect poets with filmmakers to allow new creations to emerge. 

Enter the University of Edinburgh, Emma Davie at the Edinburgh College of Art and Lucy Kendra and Jennifer Williams at the Festival of Creative Learning. The collaboration has resulted in a number of powerful film poems. So often poetry is a lone wolf, but Magma have increasingly extended the hand of creative friendship to make fascinating new links.

Magma 71 - launchOne such link is with The Cinema Museum in Kennington, which opened its doors for a stunning launch of Magma 71 last month. I urge you, if you can, to visit this amazing museum, set inside the old workhouse where Charlie Chaplin and family took refuge. Magma 71 (The Cinema Museum)

As a huge Chaplin fan, it was incredibly moving to read my poem in the very place where he must have known despair and hunger, never imagining that his genius would later be celebrated in the self same cavernous building. To learn more or lend your support (there’s talk of closure) visit: The Cinema Museum

Magma 71 - KenningtonAs well as contributor readings, we were treated to an exhilarating range of poetry films from the expressionist, right through to more traditional ‘illustrative’ approaches. You can view these films at the Magma website now.

Back to paper and pages. Inside Magma 71 you’ll find work by highlighted poet Liz Lefroy; winning poems from the Magma 2017/18 competition; reviews by Jade Cuttle, Lisa Kelly and Andrew Neilson; analysis by Professor Peter William Evans of films including The Red Shoes and Il Postino in the light of poetics; Lucy Ingrams’ article on why reading Elizabeth Bishop is like going to the cinema; and a commissioned poem by Caroline Bird inspired by Rebecca E Marshall’s film Fever of the Light.

To echo Cheryl Moskowitz’s own sign off: “Find yourself a seat, make yourself comfortable and enjoy the issue!”

To buy a copy of Magma 71, submit your own work or view the film poems, please visit: Magma

Advertisements

The Interpreter’s House – a Celebration

Interpreters House, Martin Malone, Karen Izod 2018Martin Malone tested the limits of heat endurance when he handed over the keys of The Interpreter’s House on a sweltering night at a packed-to-the-rafters event in Nell of Old Drury, Covent Garden.

Celebrating the end of his five year tenure as editor, contributors from issues 67 and 68 waxed lyrical (and sweaty) during an evening both warm in body and heart.

Poets sharing their work included Claire Booker, Rachel Clyne, Sophie Dumont, Janet Hatherley, Pamela Johnson, Gary Jude, Wendy Klein, Candyce Lang, Jeremy Page, Jessica Mookheree, Olivia Tuck, Julia Webb and Ros Woolner, as well as commended poets and the runner-up in this year’s TIH poetry competition – Claire Dyer, Fiona Larkin and Karen Izod (above: with Martin Malone). Interpreter's House issue 68

IH68Launch2The latest issue includes the winning poem ‘Operation Thunderstorm’ by Theophilus Kwek, as well as poems by people who couldn’t make it to the launch such as Josephine Balmer, Robert Crawford, Katie Donovan, Carrie Etter and Robin Houghton. Plus there’s a powerful story by S.P. Hannaway and reviews by Martin Malone, Aoife Lyall, Dawn Gorman and Declan Ryan.

“Poetry’s background music represents an incrementally important soundtrack to what a society is, and in one of the developed world’s most socially unequal, this is no small thing,” says Martin Malone in his final editorial. Out-going Assistant Editor, Charles Lauder Jnr adds: “The goal was and always has been to accept the best writing – strong, surprising, unique, well-crafted, thought-provoking poems and stories.” IH launch 68 - 3

IH68launchIt’s a tough act to follow for new editors Georgi Gill and Andrew Wells, but they’re already on the case. Something like 1,500 submissions will land in their in-tray over the coming weeks, so if you’d like to see one of your poems or short stories in issue 69, check out the website at: The Interpreter’s House

Magma 70 – The Europe Issue

Europe means Europe (as Teresa May sadly never said) and Europe in all its complexities is the theme for the Spring issue of Magma, which radiates a raft of continental perspectives. Magma 70

Editors Susannah Hart and Paul Stephenson have steered a careful passage around knee jerk Brexit poetry to produce a subtle, playful and thought-provoking issue, packing in a bumper array of  80 poets, who include: Claire Booker, Steve Boorman, Kit Buchan, Rishi Dastidar, Josh Ekroy, Mark Fiddes, Jan Heritage, Paul Jeffcutt, Jane Kirwan, Wendy Klein, Neetha Kunaratnam, Martin Malone, Richie McCaffery, Katrina Naomi, Ian Pindar, Julian Stannard, William Stephenson, Matthew Sweeney and Claudine Toutoungi.

Magma Europe House 2As selected poet, Anna Kisby (who is a Londoner, now residing in Devon) offers three powerful poems which look at what it means to belong to a place. Richard O’Brien writes a fascinating article on Christopher Fry’s 1973 poem ‘Fanfare for Europe’ written to celebrate Britain’s new alignment with the continent.  The Director of StAnza, Scotland’s international poetry festival, Eleanor Livingstone, shares her extensive experience of poetry festivals across Europe. And Rosalie Challis writes an emotional response to Marcel Proust – starting out as a short letter poem, but developing into something of a memoir on Franco-cultural life in 1960s London. Magma Europe House 4

Will Stone takes a thoughtful look at the visionary poet, Georg Trakl, an extraordinary talent who emerged from the turmoil (personal and national) of turn of the century Austria-Hungary. Rainer Maria Rilke said of Trakl’s poems: “I have discovered much in them: overwhelmed, amazed, wondering and mystified. I imagine that even one who stands close by must experience such spectacles and perceptions as though pressed, an exile, against a pane of glass.”

Magma Europe House 3

Claire Booker reads her poem ‘Galia Melons’ at Europe House

Through good planning and a piece of Magma magic, the editors were able to secure the perfect location to launch Magma 70 last month –  Europe House in Smith Square. More than half the poets in the issue were able to read their work, which made for a fun and very action packed evening, with some memorable renditions (Kit Buchan and Wendy Klein to name but two).  And of course, Magma wouldn’t be Magma without its poetry review pages, this time with reviews by Claire Crowther, Rishi Dastidar, Michael Loveday and Laurie Smith.                                              To  purchase a copy of Magma 70, or to submit your work to the magazine, please click on: Magma

 

Chroma Magazine – the Red Issue

Chroma 1 coverThe first issue of Chróma launched this winter and features an intoxicating fusion of contemporary poets, thinkers, artists and photographers with one uniting factor, the colour red.  Now, editor Emma Phillips is looking for work inspired by orange.

I was lucky enough to be invited to read at Chróma’s launch party in Brighton’s ONCA Gallery where a packed crowd enjoyed a stunning exhibition of photos and printed word material, then listened to poems and specially composed music.  Chroma 1c

Chroma 1dThe sheer quality of this inaugural magazine is a ravishment to eyes and brain alike. It’s a visual wow as well as being elegantly rammed full of intellectual and emotional surprises.  

My fellow contributors to the first issue include: poets Lydia Bowden, Chiyuma Elliott, Katie Munnik and Constantin Preda; stunning artwork by Karl-Joel Larsson, Darby Milbrath and Coco Davez; and mind-altering photography by Tekla Evelina Severin, Keegan Grandbois, Laurence Philomene, Mary Chen and Sophie Harris-Taylor. There are also in-depth feature articles on subjects as diverse (though thematically linked) as the meat industry, menstrual taboo, self-harm; plus interviews with artists such as Cleon Peterson and film-maker Greta Bellamacina. Chroma 1 There’s even room in Chróma’s 124 generous sized pages for short-stories by Gwen Myers and Colette Coen.

“2017 was a year of blood, shooting, wild-fire and extreme politics,” says Emma Phillips. “Despite this, the magazine also explores the beauty of red through its relationship to love, landscape, lipsticks and gender. In the West, red may mean anger, but in the East, it is a sign of vitality and fertility. It is the colour of happiness, worn by brides at their wedding and hung vibrantly across their streets and temples.” Chroma + poem

To order your copy of  the Red issue of Chróma, please visit the following link: Chroma To submit work inspired by the colour orange, email Emma at submission@chromamagazine.com 

14 Great Poetry Gigs to Celebrate

Postcards (Collage 3)Writing poetry is one thing. Marketing it, quite another. This is where poetry gigs can come into their own. Over the last year, I’ve taken my poetry pamphlet, Later There Will Be Postcards, on a whistle stop tour of some great venues.

Green Bottle Press launched the pamphlet last October at SLAM Kings Cross – a delightful venue with an ornate horseshoe balcony and music hall feel.  So far so great – a nice turn out of friends and poetry well-wishers, plus stablemates Tracey Rhys and Yvonne Piper launching their own books too.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGBP Postc (Joolz pic)My editor, Jennifer Gregg, had arranged a pre-launch at The Torriano Meeting House – a little piece of literary history tucked away in Kentish Town, which is also home to the imprint Hearing Eye.  I featured there with fellow Green Bottle Press poet Sarah Sibley, reading from her PBS acclaimed pamphlet The Withering Room.  I was there again two weeks later to feature with poets Alan Price and Louise Warren, and enjoy the usual high quality open-mic readers.

In February I was invited to read two of my poems at Palewell Press‘s launch of a powerful book about refugees – Three Days in Damascus, a memoir by Kim Schultz. The venue was The Hive in Dalston, a really wacky, welcoming space full of contemporary art, great coffee and a happening feel to it.  Handy for the Jeffrey Museum too.

Magma 67 launchMagma being one of my top three favourite literary mags (no, I’m not telling!) I was thrilled to be asked to read two of my poems at the launch of its 67th issue (Bones & Breath) at The London Review Bookshop – handy for the British museum. The distinctive L-shaped room is surprisingly good acoustically, and there’s a real buzz sitting in such close proximity to so many books. Perhaps most inspiring is the quality of listening you get at a Magma launch.

Best-of-British-cover[1] And now let’s hear it for Royal Tunbridge Wells, and in particularly that adventurous publisher Paper Swans Press, who launched their Best of British Anthology at The George, not so far from the pantiles where Jane Austin may have sipped a Bacardi Breezer or two (or the Regency equivalent). My fellow contributors gathered from all corners of the UK to share offerings on the topic of British Life.

PAE Centrala 2April saw me in Birmingham’s Centrala Gallery, a great space which specialises in Eastern European art, and overlooks the Grand Union Canal. It was all part of the Birmingham Literature Festival. With Arts Council funding, our UK/Romanian collective PoetryArtExchange could afford to pay for three British poets and two Romanian poets plus a Polish saxophonist to perform poetry to an avant-garde sound track of words and musical sounds. I really let my hair down on castanets, tambourine and ball point pen! PAE - John Riley

Written in Water Constable event 6 May posterBrighton Museum, inside the Prince Regent’s fantasy palace with its minarets and flamboyant painted dragons, is a unique venue. For this year’s Brighton Festival, The Frogmore Press invited a contingent of Brighton-based poets to read their work inspired by clouds and sea. What a delight to share words in front of a magnificent collection of John Constable paintings and sketches.  There was an excellent turn out from the public, some of whom didn’t expect this added extra but stopped to listen to such poets as Clare Best, Maria Jastrzebska, Mandy Pannett, Jeremy Page, Lyn Thomas and Marek Urbanowicz. Thank you to Alexandra Loske for inviting us.

Beyond WordsIf you live within reach of south London, count yourself lucky. Beyond Words at the Gipsy Hill Tavern, is one of the most consistently enjoyable spoken word events and punches well above its weight. Hosts Angela Brodie and Caroline Vero invited me to feature in the summer, alongside Jim Alderson. What could be more convenient than a 2 minute walk to the train station and then up to Victoria in an eye-wink? I got home to Brighton in time for a nightcap.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALoose Muse Covent Garden, run by the inimitable Agnes Meadows, welcomed me as feature poet in June, alongside novelist SV Berlin and blogger Naomi Woddis. Later in Ocober I had the pleasure of featuring at the Winchester’s Loose Muse, alongside Jessica Mookherjee. I had time to visit some Winchester’s wonderfully preserved heritage (including King Arthur’s round table) before heading for The Discovery Centre, which was buzzing with interested poets thanks to organiser Sue Wrinch’s warm and efficient hospitality. I even managed to sell ten copies of Later There Will Be Postcards which is (and will probably remain) a personal best. We were the closing act of the UK-India Festival of Words set up by Sue, which included a flash fiction workshop, a free Bollywood film, poetry workshops and performances by Mona Arshi, Rishi Dastidar and Martyn Crucefix. Aminur

The Indian subcontinent continued to exert its effects, this time through the Bangla poet, Aminur Rahman, who was over in the UK to promote his latest collection, Perpetual Diary. Agnes Meadows organised an evening at The Sun Covent Garden, where Aminur charmed us with his readings in English and Bengali, and Isabel White, Racheal Joseph and myself were the supporting acts.

Petersfield Write Angle 2017Petersfield in Hampshire is a delightful  town with a market-place, herb garden and lovely winding river that runs through its Tudor and Georgian houses. It’s also home to a wonderfully eclectic poetry night – Petersfield Write Angle – run by Leah and Jake Cohen. Petersfield - Claire Dyer They invited myself and novelist/poet Claire Dyer to fill the feature slot for August (always the third Tuesday of the month). The venue is intimate and quirky, and the open mic drew some extraordinary performances, including a wonderful harpist.

Ver poets poster 17I travelled up to St Albans, burial place of Harold (arrow-in-the eye) Godwinson to feature at a Ver Poets Reading, alongside John Mole and Caroline Vero. St Albans public library was a joy – warm, bright and inviting, with an attentive mix of Ver poets and members of the public making up the audience.  John was reading from his Shoestring Press collection Gestures & Counterpoints, and Caroline shared some of her most up-to-the-minute poems.   Chroma 1d

Chroma 1And the final event I featured in this year, was the launch of the brand new lit mag Chroma at Brighton’s bijou ONCA Gallery.  Chroma will focus on a different colour each issue. Issue one is red and heart-stoppingly gorgeous to look at. The launch was awash with talented young artists, musicians and writers, and there was a beautifully curated exhibition of some of photographs and poems  (including my own I’m proud to say).  So thank you to Emma Phillips for fashioning such a sumptuous read!

Copies of Later There Will Be Postcards are still available at £6.20 plus p&p from: GREEN BOTTLE PRESS

Paper Swans Press gets Best of British

Best-of-British-cover[1]Best of British is a daring title for an anthology in these post-Brexit days, but co-editors Sarah Miles and Jill Munro are a safe and experienced pair of hands.

“It’s a wonderful anthology of accessible, varied and memorable poems,” writes Costa poetry prize winner Jonathan Edwards. “These are poems for and about people as much as about place.”

Best of British launchThe anthology includes work by Rebecca Bird, Claire Booker, Michael Brown, Claire Collison, Karen Izod, Sarah James, Angela Readman, Maggie Sawkins, Derek Sellen, Elisabeth Sennitt Clough, Paul Stephenson, Alison Stone, Alex Toms and Jules Whiting among others.

Subjects are wide and various, ranging from Viking museums, London rivers and stolen pavements, to citizenship tests, motorways and Scottish fish gutters.

Best of British was given a rousing launch at The George, Tunbridge Wells, with readings from Carole Bromley, Claire Collinson, Karen Izod, Ed Broom, Lawrence Wilson, Susan Evans, Claire Booker, Sue Spiers and Maggie Sawkins. PaperSwan's Press British launch

To buy a copy, or find out more about the award-winning Paper Swans Press, please visit: Paper Swans Press

 

 

When Poems Meet a Composer

Out of Place - St PaulsPoetry began life as sung word, often in a religious context. So what a privilege to return to those poetic roots and have one of my poems set to music and performed as part of an evening of new compositions at the Actor’s Church (St Paul’s) in Covent Garden.

Out of Place is the brainchild of musician Nicola Burnett Smith, who sought out poems from contemporary poets and brought them together with a team of composers to create twelve very varied pieces.  The result was a gala evening of new musical work including fun improvisation, classical composition, solo instrumentalists, wonderful readings by Annette Badland, acapella singing and some pretty acrobatic percussion work!Out of Place - composers

The composers (Gemma Storr, Sarah Woolfenden, Marianne Johnson and Nicola Burnett Smith) each chose poems that inspired them, then spent six months creating a great variety of responses. The chosen poets include Claire Booker, Dharmavadana, Alexander James, Anna Kisby and Samantha Pearse.

Out of Place - Nicki Burnet Smith and Anne BadlandsIn front of a packed audience, the evening raised money for The Rory Peck Trust which supports freelance journalists working in hostile environments. For more information about the Trust or to buy an anthology of all the poems, including some not set to music, (all takings donated to the Trust) please email 2017outofplace@gmail.com or p hone 020 3219 7860.

The concert can be viewed by clicking: Out of Place concert (https://youtu.be/l90YRFlpOtU). If you need to fast forward to my poem (you’ll be missing some great music though) you can find it at 16.20 mins into the film.

To hear my poem read by Olivier-nominated actor Annette Badland (aka Hazel in the Archers!) please click:   Audio of ‘Dancing Green’ (https://soundcloud.com/nicolaburnettsmith/sets/out-of-place?utm_source=soundcloud&utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=email)

Out of Place - posterA huge thank you to Annette Badland, the musicians and Nicola Burnett Smith for all her hard work and skill in taking my poem ‘Refuge’ and creating from it her piece ‘Dancing Green’ (clarinet-Nicola Burnett Smith, percussion – Gemma Storr, flute – Marianne Johnson, trumpet – Sarah Woolfenden, piano – Sarah Lambie).