THE OTHER SIDE OF HOPE – REVIEW

By Sarah Edgcumbe

To refer to The Other Side of Hope simply as ‘a literary magazine’ feels like an injustice. It is a beautiful, complex and painful collection of short stories, non-fiction and poems written and edited by refugees and immigrants. Having recently finished reading my copy, I find myself contemplating the journeys portrayed between the covers of the magazine days later. My mind wanders back to the melancholic ending of the fictional story ‘the Proposal’ by Qin Sun Stubis, or the heart-wrenching experiences of perpetual displacement, racism and otherness experienced by the protagonist of the poem ‘Engelestân’ by Kimia Etemadi. The Other Side of Hope is more than a magazine – it constitutes a tool for building empathy, for generating understanding, and an avenue through which to become immersed in the lives of refugees and immigrants for a brief, yet emotive period of time.

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POETRY AND SETTLED STATUS FOR ALL – PRE-LAUNCH EVENT REVIEW

by Richard Byrt

Last December, I attended a pre-launch of the anthology, Poetry and Settled Status for All, edited by Ambrose Musiyiwa, and published by CivicLeicester in January, 2022.  The event was held on Zoom as part of the 8th annual Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival. A recording of the event is available, through CivicLeicester on YouTube.

The poems and short prose pieces in the Poetry and Settled Status for All anthology, including those read at the pre-launch, concern the experiences of refugees, people seeking asylum and other immigrants. 

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ARTS MARKETS ARE NOT JUST FOR CHRISTMAS

By Carmina Masoliver

People tend to flock to arts markets during the festive season, looking for gifts for loved ones, or treating themselves. I write in celebration of these markets and to urge others who want to shop ethically to seek out their local arts markets all year round.

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LAST WORD FESTIVAL – LAUREATES: CECILIA KNAPP AND ALEXANDRA HUỲNH

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By Carmina Masoliver

This year’s Last Word Festival at The Roundhouse has been a mixture of online and in-person events. Although I had hoped to be able to attend more events, and accessing the festival hasn’t been easy, it was a pleasure to listen to poets Cecilia Knapp and Alexandra Huỳnh in conversation as I tucked into my dinner at home.

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LOVE AFTER BABEL AND OTHER POEMS – CHANDRAMOHAN S

By Ananya Wilson-Bhattacharya

The following was originally published as the afterword to the collection Love after Babel and Other Poems by Chandramohan S, published in January 2020 by Daraja Press. The collection won the Nicolás Cristóbal Guillén Batista Outstanding Book Award in January of this year. You can order a copy direct from Daraja Press here.


They ask me why do you write poems?
I write poems – the people have the right to…bear arms.

These lines, taken from his one-stanza masterpiece ‘Why Do I Write Poetry?’, encapsulate the very essence of Chandramohan S’ approach to his craft in his third collection, Love after Babel and Other Poems. These poems are unapologetically weapons, fighting against the pre-modern notion of caste in all its insidious 21st century glory.

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LIVING RECORD FESTIVAL REVIEW – PART 1

By Carmina Masoliver

January 2021 saw the start of the Living Record Festival, which featured over forty artists and theatre companies showcasing digital work, from spoken word audio pieces to mini-web series. It has garnered many four-star and five-star reviews. In this two-part series, Carmina Masoliver discusses her picks of the festival’s most interesting shows. You can read part two here.

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I AM MINE

by Samantha Rajasingham
a white skinned, black hair and clothed, Asian woman on a red background, looking at the viewer and wearing red lipstick; the style is a bit in the style of Alex Katz paintings, the eyes doing all the work at looking back at the viewer.

I am your nail technician, your straight A student,

your wildest dream, your exotic girlfriend, your

piano teacher, your lawyer, your doctor, your

nanny, your hairdresser, your Made in China,

your waitress, your receptionist, your

maths tutor, your babysitter, 

your Instagram hero,

your voice of wisdom, 

your liar, your thief, 

your nurse, your writer, 

your convenience store clerk,

your disease, your leader,

your toy, your master,

your victim of

foot binding,

your submissive,

your friend,

your enemy

your fantasy

your heresy

!

!

.

I am mine


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BLACK LIVES MATTER: POEMS FOR A NEW WORLD – REVIEW

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By Ananya Wilson-Bhattacharya

Content warning: references to police violence, racist violence.

The revival of the Black Lives Matter movement has inspired an array of haunting artistic responses. Black Lives Matter: Poems for a New World, edited by Ambrose Musiyiwa, is no exception. With over 100 contributions from writers of diverse ages and backgrounds, the collection is a poignant exploration of an era of renewed protest and newfound solidarities, against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic.

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CHICK COREA WAS ALIVE AND WELL

By Vyvyan René

On 13th February 2021, the poet Matthew Dickman posted on Instagram: ‘I wish the poem I wrote 14 years ago was still true.’ The poem in question is ‘Chick Corea is Alive and Well’ – an elegy for the jazz pianist, written fourteen years before his death.

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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.

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