HEAVEN IS A PHOTOGRAPH BY CHRISTINE SLOAN STODDARD – REVIEW

by Ananya WilsonBhattacharya

‘I do not take photos/I give them/as I always give/in love’, the protagonist of Christine Sloan Stoddard’s poetry/photography collection Heaven is a Photograph declares, a characteristically bold admission of vulnerability. These lines, taken from the poem ‘Unrequited Pixels’, evoke an overarching theme of the collection: the emotional intensity of the protagonist’s relationship with photography. Charting the protagonist’s journey, from a childhood as the daughter of a photographer to becoming a photographer herself, Stoddard’s brief and beautiful collection explores the power of both photography and photographer – through a deft and deeply meta combination of verse and photography itself.

Continue Reading

REVISITED: JACOB SAM-LA ROSE – BREAKING SILENCE

by Carmina Masoliver

Inspired by my experience of Being a Man Festival, I attended an evening in appreciation of poet and educator, Jacob Sam-La Rose. The night consisted of speeches and moving poetry in tribute to his teachings. The energy was reminiscent of the Burn After Reading nights, and despite this occasion being a one-off, it captured what I love about live literature events. Often, it can seem that poetry is such a niche medium, that outsiders can struggle to find their place. However, these spaces provide a place where people can share both pain and joy, and connect with others through words. Sam-La Rose is mostly known for the incredible work he does with young people. He has tremendous influence on poetry today, and on the opportunities that many young people have to be exposed to, and enveloped by, this art form. It comes as no surprise then to read on the back cover of Breaking Silence, that his work ‘is grounded in a belief that poetry can be a powerful force within a community’.

It felt right to return to the well-thumbed pages of my copy of Sam-La Rose’s debut book-length collection from Bloodaxe, one of the most reputable poetry publishers in the UK. Breaking Silence was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize, but many feel it has not had the recognition it deserves. Linking with themes from Being a Man Festival, the collection explores issues of manhood and masculinity, and how these intersect with race and dual heritage, as well as  broader issues of identity.

Continue Reading

FEMINIST TOP PICKS – EDINBURGH FRINGE 2017

1

by Carmina Masoliver Continue Reading

REVIEW: BETTER WATCH YOUR MOUTH, BY JENN HART

by Carmina Masoliver

The cover of Better Watch Your Mouth displays a set of lips and teeth pulling the kind of expression you would make after being told such a thing. It suggests an unapologetic rejection of censorship, which is later reflected in the poem ‘Ugh, Men’ with the statement ‘we will not censor ourselves (x3)’.

This is a collection that mixes everyday language with profound metaphor, and beautiful imagery with emotive stories. It begins with the telling of others’ stories and gradually becomes more personal, yet in a way that is also relatable, as time skips back and forth like the mind floating back to memories, some singed with pain and others with nostalgia.

Continue Reading

REVIEW: SPAIN’S GREAT UNTRANSLATED, EDITED BY J. APARICIO, A. MAJOR & M. MONMANY

by Carmina Masoliver

I was given this book shortly after its publication in 2013 by mi abuelito, Juan Antonio Masoliver Ródenas, whose work is featured in the anthology of short stories, memoirs and poems. Currently living in Spain, it felt like a good time to read the whole book. The collection showcases twelve contemporary writers, in both Spanish and English translation, and definitely has a modern, experimental feel to it. The use of first person throughout blends the line between truth and fiction, and despite often feeling personal, there is always a sense of the political throughout. Continue Reading

FLASHMOB DANCERS DEMAND AN END TO VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

by Norwich Rising

Content warning: mentions sexual assault and violence against women

The United Nations estimate that one in three women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime. That’s one billion women. On Sunday 30th April 2017 there will be a flashmob-style dance at 1pm in Chapelfield Gardens to demand an end to violence against women. This is the 5th Norwich Rising, part of the global One Billion Rising campaign. Dancers will be dancing to the “Break the Chain” dance, choreographed by Debbie Allen from Fame. There are a series of free rehearsals where people can learn the dance.Continue Reading

THE SUMMER OF STARS LESS STRIKING

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Biancamaria Frabotta (1946 – ), ‘L’estate delle stelle…’

The summer of stars less striking
encouraged locals and strangers
to hope in a return of ancient climates.
On the yellow grass unstable in the sparse
humours drinks remained half-full
another fuel to have sleepless nights.Continue Reading

A CREATIVE DISTANCE

by Candice Nembhard

For the past few weeks I have been mulling over the phrase ‘What’s in a name?’

Famously posed in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the question itself addresses a complex struggle between society’s influence and personal principles. For Juliet, Montague is a cursed history and a treasured ill fate. By virtue of being Capulet, her query is a forceful defiance to alter the course of her history, thus changing the alliance to her name, her lover’s name, and the relation between the two families.

Continue Reading

REVIEW: THE GIRL IN THE DOG-TOOTH COAT, BY ZELDA CHAPPEL

by Carmina Masoliver

A book filled with moths, whiskey and full moons; reading Zelda Chappel’s debut collection The Girl in the Dog-Tooth Coat, published with Bare Fiction (2015), forces you to be in the moment with each and every piece. With each turn of the page comes a fresh clarity and precision, yet still connected like water – at times a stream, and at others, a rushing waterfall. It explores grief, and through its dark and sombre tones, there is a glimmer of hope: that this is a tale of survival.

Continue Reading

REVIEW: THE BRICKS THAT BUILT THE HOUSES, BY KATE TEMPEST

by Carmina Masoliver

Kate Tempest is well known for her work within the world of poetry and music, yet her latest venture sees her trying her hand at prose, using her original modern mythologies weaved into a different form. Although the points of move from character to character, Becky stands out to be the central character.

The first chapter made me think of the question uttered by both Shakespeare and Brecht about the role of art, suggesting to possibility for it to be both a mirror and hammer, when it comes to most peoples’ realities. Yet, at times it felt like the outlook was too cynical, too similar to the thoughts in the heads in this generation where we so often feel powerless to make change. It was almost too real, holding a truth too close to the bone.Continue Reading

REVIEW: BURNT ROTIS, WITH LOVE, BY PRERNA BAKSHI

by Carmina Masoliver

Prerna Bakshi’s debut collection Burnt rotis, with love was published in 2016 by Le Zaporogue via Lulu.com. Poems featured in the collection have appeared in many literary journals, magazines and anthologies across the world. Hailing from India, Bakshi offers a refreshing perspective on feminism and the wider would, enlightening readers with its undeniable South Asian roots.Continue Reading

ARTS IN ASIA: A REFLECTION

by Carmina Masoliver

I spent four months in South East Asia; two and a half were spent working in Vietnam, but I also got to go to Thailand, Laos, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. Although it has been the longest time I’ve been away from the UK, it would be impossible and presumptuous for me to generalise the arts in the whole of South East Asia, or even just one country. Instead, this will be a reflection on the things I experienced whilst travelling.Continue Reading

THE SOURCE

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Evelina De Signoribus (1978 – ), ‘La fonte’

The day when you have only one thought
the sea shivers and the wheat moves the field
everything calls for the return
though the roads have never been this many
to choose but one, clearlyContinue Reading

GIRL DRESSED AS A FOX, LINCOLN HIGH STREET

by Jake Reynolds

Is that her mother whose arm she is touching? She holds a tablet
to the charity shop window and photographs nothing much. There
is nothing much to photograph when wearing a fox-head (which I
think of as brave on a day as hot as this). The tail perks up from
the waistband of her jeans, a wad of fur swaddling a pliable wire.Continue Reading

CRITERION

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Selenia Bellavia, ‘Criterio’

From the closed recesses of a star
you ask me the real portion
of the clothed hypothesis
you cannot imagine
you do not know the rustle
of the river undivided by an ethosContinue Reading

CROMER, 2013

by Carmina Masoliver

The rush of the lapping waves of the sea,
the sound of shells, smell of salt, is where,
the humdrum left behind, I can just be.
The horizon before me, I can stare,
watch where the sea meets sky and then it leaves –
nowhere I’d rather be than standing there.Continue Reading

ANTI-CONFESSIONAL 3

by Jake Reynolds

I don’t know where I go
but boy, do I go.
Meadows, mole-holes,
traps of dead thistle.
Manholes for ditches.

You’ve been ditched. Remember?
I watched you cough dust and wipe
sand from your eyes. You said
you’d seen me in a past life.
We were here, on this dirt road.Continue Reading

REVIEW – EMILY HARRISON’S ‘I CAN’T SLEEP ‘CAUSE MY BED’S ON FIRE’

by Carmina Masoliver

I have seen Emily Harrison share her work countless times at Burn After Reading events, and at my own night, She Grrrowls. She never fails to amaze me in the way she is able to articulate herself, speaking out about mental health issues – amongst other subjects – interwoven with links to gender and class. When I read lines about imaging someone loves you ‘when you simply asked/during a routine blood test, ‘Emily, how are you doing today?’ I sort of imagine she’s what I would be like if I were an extrovert.

The first couple of poems are familiar to me, and it’s hard not to picture Harrison on stage delivering these words, because as much as it’s incredible to be able to read the pieces, seeing them live is an important part of the way the text works, as it tends to be with Burning Eye Books – the go-to publisher for writers who refuse to remain on one side of the page/stage divide.Continue Reading

LONDON

by Jake Reynolds

In response.

I find London throwing tennis balls
against the walls of my bank account
when overdrawn and, in despair,
I find it again in the coin London plucks
from behind my ear. Once, I dropped London
in the sea. The dolphins own it now.Continue Reading

FROM ‘ON LIVING’

1

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Martina Campi (1978-), from Sull’abitare

From the following academic day Penelope
drags on her face a pale-sided sun
and, to one side, unravels, extraordinarily powerful
backwards, tightly wrapped up in
cellophane, for the nights to come, the great labourContinue Reading

BEYOND THE CLASSROOM: CAROL ANN DUFFY’S POETRY DESERVES CELEBRATION

by Jake Reynolds

Here’s something that will make poetry sound a little more dangerous (but not really), and doesn’t involve tattooing Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ from your neck to your toes: it is said that the poets chosen for the UK’s prestigious poet laureateship are plagued with a curse.

That is to say, the poems written during a poet’s tenure as poet laureate – an honorary position in which there is no strict demand but certainly an expectation for the poet to write original poems for important national occasions – are sub-standard when read in light of poet’s earlier, or later, work.Continue Reading

MAY

by Jake Reynolds

Can such delights be in the street, / And open fields, and we not see’t?
–Robert Herrick

I rock up against the banks
in the shore of my sleeping
when a cluster of pollen
tricks its way into my bedroom
like smelling salts.Continue Reading

BEAUTY

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Rosita Copioli (1948-), ‘Beltà’

Look, everything returns, even the markings on the wall
and behind the bushes the eyes of our heavens
without a reason to be tend towards a return,
they return not to forget, how much each
and every one finds their own pleasure – adspice:Continue Reading

NOW

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Elisabetta Destasio (1968 – ), ‘Ora’

Now:
we are the word, the movement
the undertow and the tree’s crown.
Room, street corner,
the night.
Words, whispered.Continue Reading

BAN KI-MOON PLANS A HOLIDAY

by Jake Reynolds

In response.

Ban Ki-moon wonders if he’ll look much better
wearing a bindi. He Googles to see if they sell
them at the airport. Everyone has been having
so much fun, and now it’s his turn. Darling!
he cries. I’ve booked a ticket to a ‘foam party’!
Ban Ki-moon poses his questions to a forum,
in a thread titled KOS BOYS.

Hello, I am the former Secretary-General of the United Nations…

The replies come flooding in. People are so kind!
Ban Ki-moon learns what minesweeping is.
Darling! he cries. These young men tell me
that you can buy hydration tablets! Imagine!
They have little pictures of chickens on them!
But Ban Ki-moon isn’t finished yet.
He wants to see the wonders of the world,
the odd ruin, a place to get that fetching
UV paint he’s seeing so much of.
He consults the KOS BOYS, who tell him that
nipple tassels and strawberry-flavoured lubricant
should see him through fine. So he opens up
Amazon — he knows it’s a bit corrupt,
but fuck it, he’s got Prime — and orders everything.
His wife pokes at the lubricant when it arrives.
Ban Ki-moon is going to have the best time.
Paulfitness92 tells him he’s going to get

absolutely fucking wankered mate absolutely trollied

which Ban Ki-moon thinks sounds very appealing!
Ban Ki-moon books his tickets. Ban Ki-moon finds
his shorts, crumpled at the back of the wardrobe.
Ban Ki-moon checks his emails and gets ready for work.
Ban Ki-moon kisses his wife goodbye for the day.
There’s been another catastrophic humanitarian crisis!

Featured image © Reuters

OF THE WORLD

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Maria Luisa Vezzali (1964 – ), ‘del mondo’

you lower your head to cross the doorway and beyond the threshold the world breathes
with vision, a restless wave that carries the smell of houses, damp,
rust, ashes, petrol, ages that vortex towards duskContinue Reading

THE HOURGLASS

by Carmina Masoliver

 

grains of sand pass like biology
my body ticking like a heart
my love straining like teaContinue Reading

THIS MAN

by Rebecca Tamás

This man is an angel
because
he is not a man

I reject the penis as my chosen ontology
even when his penis is in my hand
even when his mouth is open like a sodden
breastContinue Reading

YIK YAK AI

by Jake Reynolds

I recently downloaded ‘Yik Yak’, the anonymous social media app prevalent among student communities, out of curiosity. I’d heard terrible things about it — it was posited as an anonymous forum in which people hurled insults and putdowns at one another in an act of self-generating bitterness. But when I opened the app, and scrolled through the comments as they rolled in, what I read didn’t feel like anger to me. It instead filled me with a strange and distant sadness. Yik Yak AI is my best attempt at rolling everything into one.

I need you to know I am hungover I need you to know
I went out and got alcohol poisoning I am in bed eating
pizza I am the real deal I need you to know I am the god
of all your comedy give me what I need I need you to
know I am jealous of you but I cannot say it properlyContinue Reading

SERIOUSLY VIVACIOUS READING: A FEMINIST POETICS OF LITERARY INQUIRY

by Linda Russo

I wrote To Think of her Writing Awash in Light as a way to investigate aspects of literary women’s lives that tend to be overlooked. The questions that interested me – how do lived spaces (domestic, urban, or natural spaces or environments) effect women’s relationships to their materials and ideas and language? How do women navigate these spaces and their various prescriptions for what women should or can do? – suggested a geographic inquiry, one that required leaving my desk and books behind to wander about and write in various environments, literal and imaginary.Continue Reading

IDENTITY, POLITICS, AND THE MOTHER TONGUE

1

by Ananyaa Bhowmik

“Do you think mother‐tongue is a patriotic idea?”

“Of course it is”

“How?”

“Well, we happen to live in a state where the regions were divided according to language. Can you feel patriotic towards your region in a country like India? Patriotism is an inclusive concept, while mother‐tongue gives you identity when identity politics is played. It isolates. It is a constant struggle between feeling proud of your mother‐tongue while being included. By the way…”

“Yes?”

“‘Mother’ Tongue is a Patriotic concept. A conundrum, don’t you think?”

In light of recent events in JNU, and being part of a University (Jadavpur) that is one of the greatest supporters of those “anti‐nationalists”, it is perhaps amusing to note that I am attempting to discuss as patriotic – or nationalistic, even – an idea as mother‐tongue, in occasion of UNESCO’s International Mother Language Day. The University ground is a battlefield as each group tries to define what being a patriot actually means. Cries of “Vande Mataram” (All hail the Mother) ring out. In a country that has forever been portrayed as the Mother Goddess ‐ an object of devotion that is inaccessible, idolized, rigid and unchanging; a mere bearer of children, stripped of any other form of identity, in a burning country where youthful souls struggle to establish individual identities and right to choice, I sit writing on mother‐tongue. Mother‐tongue, which made me a Bengali, all because of a mere genetic accident. And where it all really began.Continue Reading

POETRY HITS THE HEADLINES, BUT IS IT FOR THE RIGHT REASONS?

by Carmina Masoliver

For those who are partial to a bit of poetry, you’ll probably have heard by now that Sarah Howe has been awarded this year’s T.S. Eliot prize by judges Pascale Petit (chair), Kei Miller, and Ahren Warner. You may also have seen this article, which questioned the negative tinge of the criticism of which Howe has received. Katy Evans-Bush argued that these criticisms were more to do with Howe’s age, gender and ethnicity (Howe is of dual Chinese-British heritage). Some seemed baffled both that it was possible to win on a first collection, yet also that it took her ten years to write. Surely the fact that she spent so long producing the poetry might suggest how it became possible to win? I mean, that, or witchcraft.Continue Reading

YEAR IN REVIEW

by Jake Reynolds

In response to 2015.

I saw terror through a lens
and the public shaming friendships.
We called it proper work.

Feeling so very comfortable eating churros with a bunch of pregnant women! Just what I needed, the perfect chill yummy food birthday!!!!Continue Reading

TALK

by Jake Reynolds

In response.

When he touches down he is walking, all talk,
cornered in Hallmark by British small talk.

He’s brought whiteness. It made his polls snowball.Continue Reading

LETTERS TO CATE BLANCHETT

1

by Jake Reynolds

In response.

Cate Blanchett, it’s come to this. You know they say the world will end when
BBC Radio Four stops broadcasting? Well, I’ve been playing with the dials on
my Roberts Revival RD60 DAB and I don’t know about you but down my end I
swear the voices are getting fainter and fainter.

Cate Blanchett, look, it’s like this: the world is a ruin, like I said. I’m not pulling
your leg. I wrote a poem called Strikes because I thought talking about
doctors and bombs was really clever, see, because… sure, you get it.

Continue Reading

HOW TO SPEND £130,000: A POEM IN SOLIDARITY WITH FOSSIL FREE UEA

by Jake Reynolds

On the flit of hazel dormice
tripping through boscage,

a chaffinch chirping in maddening circles
between the calligraphic twigs,

a wrens’ bingo hall with trinket wins
and a brief presentation on the history
of shoots and shrubbery,Continue Reading

PARIS WAS THE PLACE

by Jake Reynolds

Paris was the place where everyone was all stripes and garlands
and the women were just beautiful cats squashed into Rorschach tests
and chain smokers found afternoon joie de vivre in Sartre’s Huis Clos
Continue Reading

A KIND OF RIOT GRRRL POETICS

by Emily Critchley

My situation as both a writer and a feminist involves my trying to think carefully about how interior/private and exterior/public ‘realms’ constantly mutually inform one another.

Though I am sceptical about the explicit social/political power of poetry, I believe the thinking done by and through it, and other art forms, may have implicit and incremental social effects; as Leslie Scalapino put it: ‘poetry is society’s secret interior’.Continue Reading

BOOKS, OR, THE APOCALYPTIC INSTITUTION, OR, A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE END OF THE WORLD

by Jake Reynolds

The following poem includes 44 chopped-up book titles of novels that have won the Man Booker Prize. This poem comes after Marlon James won the prize last week with his brutal and cacophonous novel A Brief History of Seven Killings.

 

It is quite something. I remember the days of children
dreaming of spending their inheritance on books

now waiting patiently, in that English way, for nothing
to happen, staring blindly at the ghosts that besiege

the moon late at night, push it, give marching orders
and last warnings. Those small assassins send troubles

to elected people, young and old, gathering them as books
often do, from bodies, sacred fleshy remains, sea-wood

chewed offshore. The history dividing them: no matter.
for every hunger pang, famished child, books.

Continue Reading

TRIGGER

by Cadi Cliff

In response.

Troup County, January 26th 2015, 5

What is it about the rifle, the pistol, the Ruger 22?
Protection you can prop, old-school, by the front door
keep walking the perimeter of your picket fence
come on boy, let’s have some father son timeContinue Reading

LENSES

by Jake Reynolds

In response.

I can’t wait to get out of these clothes and braid
our legs together, hold collarbones like fridge handles
and wait for the glow, then poke your dimples
like they are soft depressions on a hot cake.

I like Evie, for a girl. Rory for a boy. And I like the way
that you are everything, that you hold the world up
as a photograph of a photograph, or how you sing
when you re-enact The Lion King with the cat.Continue Reading

I DID MY BEST TO LEARN THE RULES

by Robyn Banks

I did my best to learn the rules.
The world was a nice place,
children shared, we waited our turn,
we helped those in need and said thankyou and please.

The board was black and the chalk was white,
together we learned to read and write,
I tried to learn the rules.
There used to be racism,
there used to be war,
there used to be poverty and workhouses and suffering
but Martin Luther King had a dream and women won the vote
and everyone shared now, and waited their turn
and Tony Blair painted rainbow children on my primary school walls.Continue Reading

LEADERS

by Jake Reynolds

My teacher covers peanut brittle with a tea-towel
then takes a hammer and smashes it into pieces.
Like a magic trick, she whips the towel off and tells us
to each grab a shard. It is a lesson about fairness.Continue Reading

FACING FORWARD – COLLE DI MASSENZIO

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Silvia Bre (1952-), ‘Colle di Massenzio – Prospettiva frontale’.

The wind is always here in this place this time of year.
Maybe you depend on traditions like this one –
the points you connect collect the space
and you breathe. And you admire it,
you compare it to the sky triumphing
at the immeasurable height of its arches.Continue Reading

LET US SIT AND TELL SAD STORIES: CREATIVE WRITING STUDENTS AND THE NEED FOR OPTIMISM

3

by Jake Reynolds

Trigger warnings for mentions of rape, assault, substance abuse, violence.

When I tell people that I have recently moved into a house in which my bedroom window looks out onto a graveyard, I get one of two reactions. The first is a wince. ‘That sounds bleak.’ The second is a strange, slightly glazed and dreamy look. ‘Wow. Think of all the writing you’ll get done. That’ll be so inspirational.’

When I joined UEA as an English Literature with Creative Writing undergraduate in 2013, the prospect of my bedroom window allowing me to peek in over a graveyard was quite a dismal thought. As I prepare to enter my final year, nothing has changed. Yet being a creative writing student, there is an assumption that being so close to death in such a striking and obvious way can be nothing but a gift for what is, presumably, my twisted and morose mind.Continue Reading

OF THE INFERTILE VOICE

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Roberta Dapunt (1970-), from ‘Le beatitudini della malattia’.

So I want to be like the rowan among the larch and the firs
covered by infinite snow. Layered by white
embraces, irreparable sluice of cold reason.Continue Reading

AN AFFAIR IN THREE ACTS

by Jake Reynolds

In response.

‘Everyone knows. The world knows. It knows. But they’ll never know, they’ll never know, they’re in a different world.’ — Harold Pinter, Betrayal

Act I

Look at the way you’re looking at me.
I upped the contrast and bleached my teeth.

I wanted to go for lunch next week.
I have pictures of him, a right Clooney.

We took an old canoe out to sea.
He came in my mouth and called me sweet.

He wondered if you’d like to meet.
You can tell he was raised by a proper family.Continue Reading

THE SWARM

by Jake Reynolds

In response.

It was a murmuration demoted from dusk to night-time,
a climb of buzzing cloud, the open mouth of a life-line,
the sparkle of darkness at the end of a tunnel, the vertigo
of a hungry stomach pressed against lorry tarpaulin,Continue Reading

SPACE SPACE I CRAVE

1

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Alda Merini (1931-2009), from ‘Vuoto d’amore’

Space space I crave, all the space
to sweetly move, wounded;
I crave space to sing to grow
fall and leap across the ditchContinue Reading

THE SKY STILL HOLDS US

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Mariangela Gualtieri (1951-), from ‘Naturale sconosciuto’

The sky still holds us
does not expel from its rotation
this round home of ours
and we reach the final ledge
with light articulated by stars
no longer looked at if not to call
their name.Continue Reading

GO SET A WATCHMAN

by Jake Reynolds

In response.

Atticus, he was real nice. – Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird

the room is ripe with adolescent sweat
pressed periwinkle to our backs as flies swoon
in circuits around our teacher perched on a table
with her feet inches from the ground
and whoever is still awake quietly questions
her decision to imitate Calpurnia’s accent
Continue Reading

TRANSONNET XIV

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Loredana Magazzeni (1957-), from Transonetti ‘XIV’

I have no one but me, I am no other,
body of mine appealing to reason,
not to the plural echo of this hour,
nor to the promise of processing.

Gender queries the tongue
and level within level it translates it
follows mixed routes in performing
its transhumanation, across the borderContinue Reading

SOON EVERY HOUSE WILL HAVE ONE

1

by Carmina Masoliver

I first found out about Holly Hopkins by attending a ARTNAKED Poetry Session at Library Club in London, where she cut into the awkward silence of a tightly packed room with a mixture of chatting and poetry. For some, it would have offered an opportunity to gain an insight into her work, and for those like me, it inspired a purchase of her pamphlet Soon Every House Will Have One (smith | doorstop, 2014).Continue Reading

ROBIN SONG

1

by Jake Reynolds

In response.

I descend / Toward the brink… – Thomas Hardy

The robin pegs its washing on the line, following a feud
in which a red snuck its way into whites. Its dark eyes
probe the meadow, robed in dismembered scarecrows.

It seethes at a pinkish shirt, and curtly calls for the culprit
to come forward. I will find you, it chirps, I will take joy
in severing your spinal cord, in hanging you to dry.Continue Reading

FAKE IDENTITY

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Fernanda Romagnoli (1916-1986), ‘Falsa identità’.

Sooner or later someone finds out:
I am already dead
though alive. It is a stranger’s face
offered beneath the hair
suddenly pulled back,
the shadow behind the curtains
wandering at dusk,
the steps towards the door
that won’t open. Hers the song
tricking the neighbours, covering
my buried screams. Someone
sooner or later finds out. But for now…Continue Reading

GO-FUCKITIS

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Anna Lamberti Bocconi (1961-), ‘L’affanculite’, which features in the collection Bastarde senza Gloria, published by Sartoria Utopia.

The go-fuck-itselfness of a life
of relais-relax, really quite quiet
when it wants to squirrel away
calmly ticking like a Rolex.
The go-fuck-itselfness of an evening
rusting wreck on the beach
crumbling like cocaine
as it bores the cartilage of hulls.Continue Reading

THE PLACE FOR POETRY: PERFORMANCE

1

by Carmina Masoliver

The Place for Poetry’ conference at Goldsmiths took place from the 7-8th May, and I attended it with She Grrrowls, as well as within my poetry collective, Kid Glove.

Hannah Silva, known for her success as a poet both on page and on stage, delivered her research on ‘Repositioning Performance.’ It was filled with quotations, energy, and analysis of a Salena Godden performance. Immediately it linked to the ever-complex discussion about the page/stage divide, connecting to Malika Booker’s paper later, as well as the She Grrrowls Q&A, whereby BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) poetry is positioned as ‘performance’ or ‘spoken word.’Continue Reading

THE PLACE FOR POETRY: VISUAL CULTURE

1

by Carmina Masoliver

The Place for Poetry’ conference at Goldsmiths took place from the 7-8th May, and I attended it with She Grrrowls, as well as within my poetry collective, Kid Glove.

The end of the first panel I’d attended discussed the importance of white space and the ole of images as part of the process, and linked nicely to the next panel about the relationship between visual art and poetry, which I was interested in due to my own project Poetry&Paint. Sophie Collins spoke of Mary Richardson’s defacement of Venus to highlight the hypocrisy of such an outcry, and she also touched on the Guerrilla Girls, leading to new kinds of art by women largely disregarded within ekphrastic poetry, and highlighting a collection entitled ‘In the Frame: Women’s Ekphrastic Poetry’, published in 2009.

The focus was a discussion of Rachael Allen’s 4chan poems. I hadn’t heard of the website ‘4chan’ before, but it seemed a unique concept to create poems from the basis of an image-based bulletin board, which — being the internet — provided useful commentary on the role of gender, acting as a platform for feminist art work.Continue Reading

BITTERNESS

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Amalia Guglielminetti (1881-1941), ‘Un’amarezza’.

A bitterness without word:
but absinthe and bile and venom
every bitter thing, from my bosom
gurgling to my throat stirred.Continue Reading

THE PLACE FOR POETRY: FRAGMENT AND PROCESS

1

by Carmina Masoliver

‘The Place for Poetry’ conference at Goldsmiths took place from the 7-8th May, and I attended it with She Grrrowls, as well as within my poetry collective, Kid Glove.

I arrived in time for the first panel session, and I chose to attend ‘Fragment and Process’. This featured three women; the equal representation of gender throughout the conference was something refreshing. In fact, without realising it I solely saw women presenting their papers that day. Susan Watson spoke about translations of Sappho, with Anne Carson at the centre. This was the first talk that inspired me to take note of unfamiliar authors and texts. Watson provoked interest from the onset, when she explained that the original Greek contained feminine endings, indicating the poet was a woman, whilst in the English translation, the gender of the speaker was not prescribed in this way.Continue Reading

COUNTRY OF LOVE

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Grażyna Miller (1957-2009), ‘Paese d’amore’.

And I, here to take in the old land
beauty and love call to me.
Lost souls find refuge here
– spirits parched for truth,
violated by the lies of history.

Continue Reading

WOMAN VERSUS WORLD

1

by Carmina Masoliver

Hollie McNish: Versus tour —  Open Banking Hall, Norwich. Hollie McNish has been on this particular tour for a long time now, having had it extended from the first set of dates. In the format that one would expect a music gig to be in, this proves — if nothing else — that poetry can work in this setting.  As a poet, part of what I loved was McNish’s refusal to write something more theatrical with lots of movement, or to strive for a narrative arc. A poet who likes to keep things simple — this stripped down approach was refreshing and inspiring.

Continue Reading

SPRING

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Grazia Deledda (1871-1936), ‘La primavera’

Winter had even refreshed
the colour of rocks. Descending from mountains,
silver veins, a thousand silent rivulets,Continue Reading

THREE WOMEN POETS

1

by Carmina Masoliver

This article reviews three books by writers who occupy both the page and the stage. My first experience of all three of these women was as poets on the stage, yet reading them was entirely different and allows time to mull over the words in a way you can’t necessarily with live performance.

Continue Reading

THE MOUNTAINS

by Alex Valente

Original Italian ‘Le Montagne’, by Antonia Pozzi (1912-1938)

Like immense women taking over the evening:
stone hands folded on their chest
they stare at crossroads, silent
in the endless hope of returns.Continue Reading

CASUAL DECLENSION

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Eleonora Pinzuti (1973 – ), ‘declinazione casuale’

Had I read better,

between the folds of chances
the cuneiform tract of the Sybil…
But I was far-sighted,
or maybe deaf,
sorrowful Ulysseid
lacking faithful band or lovely Circe.Continue Reading

IF YOU NOW CAME TO KNOCK AT MY DOOR

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Patrizia Cavalli (1947 – ), ‘Se ora tu bussassi alla mia porta’

If you now came to knock at my door
and took off your glasses
and I took off mine which are the same
and then you entered my mouthContinue Reading

THIS POEM IS CALLED

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Francesca Genti (1975 – ), ‘Questa Poesia si Intitola’

the gutter punk blue.

it’s for you.
and it behaves badly.

it throws tantrums
causes trouble all over
asks unwanted questions.Continue Reading

WE’LL DIE APART

by Alex Valente

Original Italian ‘Moriremo lontani’, by Cristina Campo (1923-1977)

We’ll die apart. It’ll be much
if I rest my cheek in our palm
for New Year’s; if in my own
you will trace another migration

Continue Reading

SISTER FRIEND WHORE

by Alex Valente.

Original Italian by Paula Schöpf/Bloom (Sinti poet, 1953 – )

As a painter hungry for beauty
I walk every street
And at sunset
I stop at the corners of the world
And paint your life
Sister
Friend
Whore
Your gaze lost in space
In your eyes both daybreak and dusk
Swaying you reveal the exhaustion in your feet
Swaying you reveal a breast curved with sadness
Affected moves of a travelled womanContinue Reading