by Chris Jarvis
Culture and politics are inseparable. Culture is more than mere entertainment, more than escapism. Culture is central to how we understand the world, build our value sets and perceive our fellow people. It stirs human emotion in unique ways, pulling different levers in the brain. Sometimes overtly, sometimes with subtlety, the dominant cultural practices, institutions, icons and outputs are used to reinforce the dominant political system and defend the status quo. Establishment weaponise culture as a means of influence.
But this isn’t the sole preserve of the political right.
Looking through history, many of the most important moments of popular revolt have an accompanying soundtrack. The resistance to the Vietnam War had the protest folk singers. Rage Against the Machine were agitators of the US anti-globalisation movement. Riot Grrrl acts built feminist infrastructure, led pro-choice campaigns and brought ‘the personal is political’ sentiments to the fore of a cultural phenomenon. And so on, and so on.
This isn’t coincidental.Continue Reading
by Hannah Rose
Virginia Woolf stated in her 1929 seminal essay A Room of One’s Own that, because women remain unequal to men in society, they are less likely to succeed as writers. A writer has two basic requirements in order to write productively: an independent income which provides basic necessities—food and shelter— and uninterrupted writing time. In 1929, the majority of British women were either working to provide the basic necessities for others, and did not have a private space in which to pursue a creative life or an independent income. This, says Wolf, is why the literary canon is dominated by men. “Intellectual freedom,” she writes, “depends upon material things.”
Almost a century later, some women are still having to argue their right to a creative life.Continue Reading
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
by Katy Derbyshire
If you read fiction, think of a translated writer. Just the first one who pops into your mind. Let me guess: Stieg Larsson? Karl Ove Knausgård? Thomas Mann? Marcel Proust? Haruki Murakami? If you thought of a woman off the top of your head, I salute you.
by Alex Valente
Original Italian by Ginevra Lilli (1972-), ‘Magari martedì’
They come, small line of dromedaries
in the desert. Thirsty words
lined up, also tied up
one to the other. One line
seemingly obedient. Consenting.Continue Reading
by Alex Valente
Original Italian by Leyla Khalil (1991-), ‘Un attimo qualsiasi di sproloquio’
A whatever rambling moment
which, by the way, they decided to call free internal discourse or interior monologue or stream of consciousness.
There must be – I just wrote mustard instead of must be and noticed it right away – some sort of difference dammit, I mean I’m sure there is but the essence at the end of the day is the same: they’re all ramblings.Continue Reading
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