Tag Archives: Claudine Toutoungi

The Poetry of Cinema

One of my favourite of all films, Cinema Paradiso, inspired my eponymous poem recently published in The Spectator. Film can be a prism for ideas and emotions in much the same way as poetry: an admix of the visual and the visceral. How to capture, in a few lines, the essence of a film which has affected you deeply? As so often in poetry, it’s what you leave out that matters.

Thank you to Hugo Williams for selecting my poem to appear in the 10th July issue of the magazine. You can read it on-line at: https://www.spectator.co.uk/poem/cinema-paradiso

Other poets recently published there include Fleur Adcock, John Levett, Richie McCaffery and Claudine Toutoungi.

If you’d like to submit your poems to Hugo for consideration, send them c/o Arts & Books editor Claire Asquith at The Spectator, 22 Old Queen Street, London SW1H 9HP. Hard copies + SAE required.

Another, more surreal, cinematic poem of mine, My Night as a 50-Foot Woman, is featured in the New York based anthology, Poetry Inspired by Film, edited by Jennifer Maloney and Bart White; a fantastic bunch of poets and cinema enthusiasts, gravitating around The Little Theatre of Moving Images. They organised six Trans-Atlantic video launches for the anthology (it’s a big book!) so all contributors had the opportunity to perform their work live.

“Years before I identified and pursued my love of poetry, I was in love with movies,” writes Bart White in his foreword. “The filmmaker explores qualities of storytelling and of time, slowing time down or speeding it up . . . and now we might be speaking of the poet who looks in wonder at the world, absorbs light and sound, then shapes a form to hold an experience. . . or are we speaking again of the filmmaker? Between them there is a deep resonance”

“A community of artists was the impetus behind this anthology,” writes Jennifer Maloney. “Watching movies, during this pandemic year, soothed me, distracted and uplifted me.”

The anthology includes images of specially commissioned paintings by David James Delaney, including ‘And Toto Too’.

You can purchase a copy of the anthology for $11 (warning: postal charges from the US are astronomical!) by emailing Kenneth Kelbaugh at movies2020holo@aol.com

If you’re interested in exploring the rich heritage of film, I can thoroughly recommend Alan Price’s regular blog (vastland) where he puts his erudition to work on all manner of creative questions. Here he writes about films which have influenced him: https://alanprice69.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/blessay-4-three-films-that-shaped-me/

Arriba, arriba Magma!

Magma 76Call it Latinx, Latin American, Hispanic – the ‘Resistencia’ issue of Magma is a red hot fiesta of South America’s many vibrant cultures and their diaspora.

Poets featured include Juana Adcock, Gioconda Belli, Claire Booker, Olivia Dawson, Caleb Femi, Russel Karrick, Sharon Larkin, Katherine Lockton, Maria Negroni, Stephen Payne, Bianca Perez, Amilcar Sanatan, Adrianna Smith, Yome Sode, Claudine Toutoungi and Hilary Watson.

The poems include ghazals, sonnets and sestinas, as well as prose poetry, translations and other forms. They range from powerful acts of witness to whimsical musing and sensual meditative explorations. At a time when the UK is becoming increasingly multilingual, the richness of living in the creative tensions between languages is a fertile and critical area to explore.

Last month’s launch should have been at Tate Modern’s Terrace bookshop with resplendent views of the River Thames. Instead it was at my house, your house, houses across the globe, curtesy of Zoom. No lovely photos of the launch, therefore, (your know what a Zoom line-up looks like by now!) but a good hundred people turned up, many of whom would not have been able to make it to London.

With its nose for the cross-cultural, the collaboration, the unpredictable, Magma has pulled off a tour de force. Ignore this one at your peril.

download“This is probably the first poetry journal in the world to include Latin American poets from that region, British Latinx poets and North American Latinx poets, illustrating the way in which Latin American culture exists in diaspora,” write Leo Boix and Nathalie Teitler in their Editorial.

Coming from a mix of cultures myself (French, English), I love the fluidity of this issue – how it moves between languages, translations, some poems coming from a place of dual heritage, others from outsiders looking in. And I’m especially thrilled that my poem ‘The Bone That Sang’ has been included (literally the last poem in the issue), because it’s the title poem of my next pamphlet, due out later this year from Indigo Dreams (here endeth the plug!)

photo-1518593929011-2b5ef6be57c7There’s an astounding piece of writing by Pascale Petit, entitled Rio Tambopata, about her experiences in the Amazon. We’re in full-on Petit territory here, with its unmistakable magical realism and emotional impact: “I have to pass through the gates of the jaguar’s sparkling fangs, to imagine my birth.  . . . I lie on my leaf-cradle next to a baby caiman, and see the cockroaches scuttle into my mother’s flowering face.” A Thomson Holidays tour this ain’t!

Also in this issue, Francisco Aragon responds to work by Carmen Gimenez Smith and creates the found poem ‘With Carmen’: “The piece couldn’t exist without Carmen’s exquisite language. My contribution is the deliberate curation of and, no less crucial, ordering of that language.”  This raises the interesting point of why poets borrow from each other’s work, and how collaboration can yield exciting adventures with exactly the same words, but not necessarily – to quote Eric Morecombe – in the same order!

Plus there’s a fascinating evaluation of the Manifesto for a Latino-British Poetry by Dr Nathalie Teitler, as well as the usual in-depth reviews of newly released poetry collections.

To buy a copy of Magma (issue 76), take out a subscription or check on the next submissions window, visit: Magma

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

 

erbacce goes for a hat-trick

erbacce (Issue 32) front pageThe popular journal erbacce has published three poems by Claire Booker, including ‘Barren’ – a poem about the terrifying monster infertility can create.

‘Barren’ started life in poetic form, then developed into a 5 minute play, before ruthlessly demanding still more of my attention. Finally – if one can ever use that word in relation to poetry – I re-worked it into the piece that appears in erbacce (issue 32).

erbacce stems from the Italian word for ‘weed’, but there’s nothing weedy about the poetry sprouting vigorously inside its pages. There’s an incisive interview with poet and playwright Claudine Toutoungi (followed by 11 of her poems) plus work from American poets Nathan Graziano and Linda Benninghoff, and UK-based Amber Goodwin-Figes, Fiona Curran, Keighley Perkins and Colin Sutherill.

To order a copy of erbacce (issue 32)or submit your own work, please click on the following link: http://www.erbacce.com

To watch a 5 minute film of ‘Harriet by the Swings’ – the pre-curser to ‘Barren’ – performed at the Lost Theatre, please click on the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBHZOSlv2b0&hd=1