Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Inflammatory Speech: an Irish Museum of Modern Art commission

In July, Nathan O'Donnell, Suzanne Walsh and I operating as a collaborative unit received one of three project commissions from the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) to create new work in response to the ROSC 50 exhibition.

After a four-month research and composition period, our resulting collaborative text and performance 'Inflammatory Speech' will be presented on Saturday 11 November at 2pm in The Johnston Suite at IMMA as part of an event showcasing the ROSC 50 artist research commissions.

Admission is free, but booking is required as places are limited:

"Audiences are invited to attend a seminar comprising of artists’ performance, lecture presentations, screening and a panel discussion. This includes research projects in response to the Rosc exhibitions: 'Prologue' by artist Amanda Coogan, 'Poverty of Vision' by Emma Haugh and a collaborative project titled ‘Inflammatory Speech’ by Christodoulos Makris, Nathan O’Donnell and Suzanne Walsh. Each artist has taken as their starting point the material relating to the Rosc exhibitions in the NIVAL archive, and are responding to themes relating to the ambition, memory and legacy of Rosc and also the critical and public engagement with the exhibitions. Other contributions will be presented by Brenda Moore-McCann, art historian, writer and appointed researcher of the IMMA/NIVAL: ROSC 50 - 1967 / 2017 project, and Valerie Connor, curator and educator, D.I.T."

About ROSC 50 and the Rosc exhibitions:

ROSC 50 is a collaborative research project between IMMA and NIVAL (The National Irish Visual Arts Library) to mark the 50th anniversary of the first Rosc exhibition in 1967. The Rosc exhibitions took place between 1967 and 1988 and had a significant impact on the development of contemporary art in Ireland. These pivotal, and often controversial, exhibitions were the first major series of large scale international art exhibitions in Ireland, at a time when Ireland did not have a National Museum of Contemporary Art. Rosc took place approximately every four years between 1967 and 1988, with IMMA being founded in 1991. From the Press Release:

"An important part of ROSC 50 is to uncover new research and new perspectives from both artists and audiences today, and to record these for future generations.  Audiences are being invited to submit their testimonials of their experiences of Rosc, which will in turn be folded back into the NIVAL archive, while artists Amanda Coogan, Emma Haugh and a collaborative project comprising Christodoulos Makris, Nathan O’Donnell and Suzanne Walsh have been selected from an invited call to undertake research projects in response to Rosc. Each will take as a starting point the material relating to Rosc in the NIVAL archive, and take into account of themes relating to the ambition, memory and legacy of Rosc and also the critical and public engagement with the exhibitions."

About 'Inflammatory Speech':

"Christodoulos Makris, Nathan O’Donnell and Suzanne Walsh are proposing, Inflammatory Speech: a research programme and subsequent performative event in response to Rosc. It is devised as a collaboration between three practitioners working at the intersections of contemporary art, poetry, and writing. Inverting Rosc’s subtitle – ‘the poetry of vision’ – they propose an alternative ‘vision of poetry.’ They will create a repository of material from the Rosc archive from which they will shape several original poetic texts for performance. This may take the form of a multivocal or polyphonic performance; a sort of choral call-and-response with poetic texts and music overlaid to create a meshwork of sound. In their submission the collaborators stated: “Responses to Rosc were (and are) marked by hostility, bafflement, defensiveness; languages of resistance but also of territorialism and the fear of the unknown, the troubling, the provocative … It is to this context, rather than the content, of Rosc that we wish to respond, creating work that explores and amplifies the exhibitions’ reception, rather than the exhibitions themselves per se."

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Phonica: Seven


Phonica: Seven

Monday 27 November 2017
7.30pm 
Boys School, Smock Alley Theatre
Admission: €7.00 / €5.00

with
Anna Jordan
Doireann Ní Ghríofa
The Quiet Club
Mark Tokar
Nerys Williams
Jona Xhepa




Phonica: Seven features performances from a range of vibrant, award-winning poets, musicians and artists with international outlooks and reputations working in the fields of electronic music, contemporary multilingual poetry, jazz composition, sound art, improvisation and theatrics, classical vocals, broken narratives, and more.

Phonica is a series of linked events rooted in Word and Sound and with an emphasis on multiformity and the experimental. Conceived, programmed and hosted since early 2016 by Christodoulos Makris and Olesya Zdorovetska, Phonica aims to explore compositional and performative ideas and to encourage a melting pot of audiences and artists from across artforms.




Featured Artists:

Anna Jordan is no stranger to creating intriguing soundscapes and conjuring moods through music. Jordan belongs to a new generation of musicians to have emerged in recent years that beautifully blur the fault lines between different genres of music, creating new hybrids that defy easy categorisation. "The accessibility and beauty of She Dances is nothing if not a genuine musical success on every level." -Stephen Murphy (GoldenPlec). "Dust is a magical find, that listening to the four tracks in this album, does not only enliven the senses, but also the spirit. Anna Jordan's porcelain sound walks the fine line between delicacy and curiosity, leaving the audience floating in a cloud of musical bliss."-Frostwire. "Drawing from a broad sonic palette, SELK’s raw unshackled songs possess an inherent power which prove mesmerising in a live environment."- Hotpress. "The achingly plaintive ‘Sweet One’ sees Anna solo at the piano, her poignant vocal a thing of true beauty. Elsewhere the quirky and playful ‘Been So Long’ and the exquisite rippling aural layers of ‘My Only Friend’ showcase SELK’s versatility. Tonight’s fare defies categorisation, covering a plethora of genres and styles. The emotional potency and avant garde textures of final track ‘Beast’ bring to mind both PJ Harvey and David Byrne at moments." -Hotpress

Doireann Ní Ghríofa is a bilingual writer whose books explore birth, death, desire and domesticity.  Awards for her writing include the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the Michael Hartnett Prize, and the Ireland Chair of Poetry bursary. She frequently participates in cross-disciplinary collaborations, fusing poetry with film, dance, music, and visual art. Recent/forthcoming commissions include work for The Poetry Society (Britain), RTÉ Radio 1, University College Cork, and The Arts Council/Crash Ensemble. Her fourth book is Oighear (Coiscéim, 2017).

Formed in 2006, The Quiet Club (Danny McCarthy and Mick O’Shea) have met with considerable success and have become recognised as one of Ireland’s leading sound art improvisation groups. They have toured extensively in Ireland and have played at festivals in UK, Germany, Poland, Canada, China , USA and Japan. Recently they appeared at World Expo (Shanghai), Static (Liverpool) I & E Festival (Dublin), Mobius (Boston), Harvestworks (New York), Black Iris Gallery (Richmond, Virginia). They took part in an extensive tour to USA last year. They frequently play together with guests, which in the past have included Mark Wastell, Stephen Vitiello, Steve Roden, Jed Spear, John Godfrey, Harry Moore, Iarla O’Lionard , David Toop, and many others. The Quiet Club continue to push the boundaries of sound making and listening by employing a wide range of sound making devices ranging from stones, homemade instruments, electronics, amplified textures, Theremins, field recordings, etc. Their first CD Tesla was released on Farpoint Recordings and is now a collectors item. A track of their’s appeared on WIRETAPPER 23 the compilation that accompanies the WIRE magazine and their work was featured in a recent article in the magazine. They regularly appeared on Bernard Clarke’s radio programme NOVA on Lyric FM. A major exhibition 'Strange Attractor' featuring their work took place in the Crawford Gallery Cork in April 2011. A book and DVD of this work was launched last year and they made two London appearances to co-inside with the launch at the Pigeon Wing Galley and the renown Café Oto. An e-book of their American tour is also available from Farpoint. In 2016 they were awarded a major funded residency by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation to spend two months in the Rauschenberg Foundation Studio’s in Captiva, Florida. Whilst there they recorded their new CD No Meat No Bone which has just been released by Farpoint Recordings. The new CD comes  in a 7” gatefold cover which also contains especially written texts and photographs. It comes in a strictly limited edition of 147 signed and numbered copies. Early in 2017 the took part in an extensive Irish tour funded by Music Network where the appeared alongside the duo crOw (Ian Wilson and Cathal Roche) as a follow up to their release as the quiet crow flies also available from Farpoint. “The brilliance of the Quiet Club, the Cork-based entity of Danny McCarthy and Mick O'Shea, is best apprehended live. Their CD, Tesla, is fascinating and enjoyable, but all the more so after watching their performance at the Goethe Institute in Dublin” - Seán Ó Máille, Journal of Music Vol. 1 No. 2.

Mark Tokar is the first Ukrainian musician who played at the prestigious Chicago Jazz Festival and a key figure in the Ukrainian free jazz scene. He teaches at the Lviv School of Jazz and Contemporary Music. Supported by the Polish Ministry of Culture, Mark studied under Professor Jacek Niedzela at the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in 2006, took part in the Krakow Jazz Workshop under M.Parkinson in 2002-2004. During 2005-2006 he worked as an Art Director of the Ukrainian-Polish Jazz Bez festival. In particular, he organised a series of Metro Jazz Philharmonic musical performances in Lviv. Mark has performed with Ken Vandermark, Bobby Few, Perry Robinson, Steve Swell, Michael Zerang, Tim Daisy, Dave Rempis, Roberta Piket, Fred Frith (USA), Klaus Kugel, Arkadij Shylkloper (Germany), Petras Vishniauskas (Lithuania), Mirchea Tiberian (Romania), Mazzol, Mikolaj Trzaska, Waclaw Zimpel, Piotr Baron, Kazimierz Jonkisz (Poland), Jurij Jaremczuk (Ukraine), Magnus Broo, Per-Ake Holmlander (Sweden), and Mark Sanders (England). Mark plays in Ken Vandermark’s international project “Resonance”, groups Undivided, Five Spot, Four, Varpaj, and Yatoku. He is the leader of the international projects Leo’m’art, Mark Tokar’s Quintet and Avtokar.

Nerys Williams’ first volume of poetry Sound Archive (Seren, 2011) won the Irish Strong prize in 2012, and was nominated for the Forward first volume prize. Her second volume Cabaret has just been published by New Dublin Press. She was recently poet in residence at the International House of Literature Passa Porta, Brussels as part of the Welsh Government’s Poetry of Loss programme. She lectures in American Literature at University College Dublin.

Currently based in Dublin, Jona Xhepa was born in Albania and grew up in Canada. Her work encompasses short fiction, music and comedy, and  is currently working on a projected radio show. Interested in broken, comedic and skewed narratives, and the growing borders between humanity and nature, she has been published in gorse, The Incubator, The Moth, and The Galway Review, and has performed as part of Listen At sonic arts series as well as briefly curating The Lestrygonian Sessions, a salon bringing together literature, comedy and science.


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Phonica acknowledges generous funding support from The Arts Council of Ireland under its Festivals and Events Scheme.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

The Pickled Body issue 3.3

I have three new pieces in issue 3.3 (Winter 2017) of The Pickled Body - an issue subtitled 'A lot of what I like is trash'.

The Pickled Body is an online poetry and art magazine running since 2013 that focuses on the sensual. It is edited, designed and produced by Dimitra Xidous and Patrick Chapman.

The 3.3 'trash' issue ("all poetry is experience recycled") also features contributions from Margaret O'Brien, Nicola Jennings, Jeff Grubek, Órla Fay, Richard Biddle and Susanna Galbraith, while the featured artist is Martin de Porres Wright.

My three untitled poems are "created out of untreated text from anonymous sources on the internet," and are taken from a book-length piece I've been working on over the past while. My thanks to Dimitra and Patrick for publishing them.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Stone and Sea - Pafos2017 European Capital of Culture

On Monday 9 October I'll be reading at the opening of the poetry & photography exhibition Stone and Sea in Pafos Municipal Gallery.

Part of the Pafos2017 European Capital of Culture programme, Stone and Sea is "a poetic meeting and a photographic exhibition by Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot photographers, that have the stone and the sea as their points of reference; elements that are inextricably linked with the fate of Cypriot people and of crucial importance for the shaping of their temperament. The project combines a walk through rocks deeply rooted in the soil, statues and pebbles of the coastline, with the reflective gazing of the sea, which is anticipated as an uncorrupted cultural value, a place of eutopia open to diversity."

Readings by several invited poets with links to Cyprus will be accompanied by a trilingual presentation of the poems - in Greek, Turkish and English. I'm delighted that as part of this my poem 'Full Circle' from The Architecture of Chance has been translated into Greek by Despina Pyrketti and into Turkish by Aydin Mehmet Ali.

Start time is 7pm and admission is free. The exhibition runs until 23 October. My thanks to Nadia Stylianou and the Cultural Services of the Ministry of Education and Culture in Cyprus for their invitation and sponsorship.



Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Language and Migration symposium at NUI Galway & Fingal Libraries' Write Time festival

On Friday 29 September I will give a talk & performance at 'My Story: My Words' - a symposium on Language and Migration at NUI Galway.

Developed under the Irish Research Council's 'New Foundations' scheme in partnership with the Immigrant Council of Ireland, and organised by Anne O'Connor and Andrea Ciribuco of The School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at NUI Galway, the symposium brings together scholars and practitioners in the fields of translation, new media, visual art, film, theatre and poetry, and will run for the full day in the Hardiman Research Building.

The title of my talk is 'Travelling Light: Shedding Poetry's National Baggage', and will consist of fragments from an essay I've been re-working which considers poetry from the position of the trans- or post-national mind, interspersed with my own poetry.

In the run up to the symposium I was interviewed by Andrea Ciribuco on my writing and its relation to themes that will be examined during the symposium. This interview is not intended to be published in full, but it will be used together with responses from other artists and writers within a research report to institutions.

Full symposium programme:


*

A few days before that, on Saturday 23 September, I will give a workshop on Found Poetry in Malahide Library as part of Fingal Libraries' Write Time festival. Attendance is free, but spaces are limited and registration is essential. At the time of writing there are a couple of slots left. Contact Malahide Library (01-8704430 / malahidelibrary@fingal.ie) if interested.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Paris Lit Up no. 4

A new poem with title 'Lady Liberty with a deaths head visage...' is included in Paris Lit Up no. 4, nominally published in 2016 but out just last month.

This fourth edition of Paris Lit Up magazine - published by the Paris-based umbrella organisation of the same name that maintains an emphasis on transnational writers, artists and musicians - arrives, as the editors write in their foreword, at a crossroads: "as the world darkens with increasingly rigid identities, we ask ourselves how our creative endeavours can contest this narrowing vision". An answer appears in the notion of trans- ("transnational, transgressive, transitional, translational") which is the overall theme and title of the issue.

My piece is included in one of two specially curated sections: Malik Crumpler & Pansy Maurer-Alvarez (Poets Live) and Jennifer K Dick (Ivy Writers Paris) invited a small selection of participants in their respective series to contribute to the issue. I'm very happy to be part of the Poets Live section alongside Freke Räihä, Edmund Hardy, Fiona Sze-Lorrain, David Ishaya Osu, Kimberly Campanello, Nina Zivancevic, Christophe Lamiot Enos, and Elizabeth T. Gray, Jr.

My thanks to Pansy and Malik for asking, and for publishing my work.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Subcritical Tests, by Ailbhe Darcy & SJ Fowler (gorse editions)

It was a total pleasure and a privilege to work with Ailbhe & Steven as editor of this extraordinary book. My interventions were minimal, in truth, since the concept and execution of the work, despite or because of the presence of two individually strong poetic sensibilities, was of the highest order. Having witnessed this collaboration at its genesis while we toured together in September 2014 I was hardly surprised by this, and I'm very proud to be associated with this work.


Subcritical Tests, a book of poetry by Ailbhe Darcy & SJ Fowler, with cover design and interior illustrations by Niall McCormack, is now out. Subcritical Tests is the first title published by gorse editions.

"The nearness of nuclear holocaust, always just one clumsy accident away, forms an entry point into this record of a friendship. The poems in Subcritical Tests stubbornly make connections, ever conscious of the impending threat of annihilation. Oblique, modern, lyrical, humorous, these poems represent the range of Ailbhe Darcy and SJ Fowler‘s individual practices, modulated and melded through the collaborative process."



We will hold two launch events for Subcritical Tests. Please join us at either (or both!) if you can:
  • On Monday 10 July we'll be at Sun & 13 Cantons, 21 Great Putney Street, Soho, London, for an evening with gorse featuring readings from Niven Govinden, Susana Medina and Colm O'Shea, followed by the presentation of Subcritical Tests.
  • On Wednesday 12 July we'll be at Poetry Ireland, 11 Parnell Square East, for the book's Dublin launch.

About gorse editions:
gorse editions was set up in 2017. We are a boutique imprint devoted to finding and publishing the best innovative writing, from home and elsewhere. gorse editions is closely connected to our journal, and will act as a natural extension of themes and issues encompassing ideas and conversations already begun in our pages.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Phonica: Six


Phonica: Six

Monday 17 July 2017
7.30pm 
Boys School, Smock Alley Theatre
Admission: €7.00 / €5.00

with
Lina Andonovska
Jessica Foley
IRIDE PROJECT
Claire Potter
Billy Ramsell
Nazgul Shukaeva



 


Phonica: Six will feature performances from a host of trailblazing and award-winning Irish and international writers, musicians and artists working in the realms of new and electroacoustic music, contemporary poetry, installation and audio-visual composition, improvisational writing, telecommunications research, ethno-jazz, and more.

Phonica is a primarily poetry and music series with an emphasis on multiformity and the experimental. Conceived, programmed and hosted since early 2016 by Christodoulos Makris and Olesya Zdorovetska, Phonica aims to explore compositional and performative ideas and to encourage a melting pot of audiences and artists from across artforms.


Featured Artists:

Quickly gaining recognition internationally as a fearless and versatile artist, flautist Lina Andonovska has collaborated and performed with Crash Ensemble (Ireland), Australian Chamber Orchestra, Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond), s t a r g a z e, Southern Cross Soloists (Aus) and eighth blackbird (USA). Critically acclaimed for her interpretation of new music, Rolling Stone Magazine hailed her performance at Bang on a Can Summer Festival as “superbly played”. As an orchestral player, Lina has performed with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, was co-principal flute of the Southbank Sinfonia (UK) and has appeared with Australia’s major symphony orchestras. At the age of 21, Lina held a fellowship with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra where she recorded and performed all of Prokofiev’s orchestral works as guest Principal Piccolo under the baton of Vladimir Ashkenazy. As soloist she has performed concerti with the Southbank Sinfonia, Orchestra Victoria and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. She was awarded the prestigious Freedman Fellowship in 2013 and recently completed an Asialink residency where she used her skills as a classical musician to help initiate Timor-Leste’s first locally run classical music school. She has been three times artist-in- residence at the Banff Centre and Crash Ensemble’s musician-in- residence in 2015. Recent performance credits include the Tokyo Experimental Festival, Bang on a Can Festival, Edinburgh International Festival, Sacrum Profanum, Dublin Theatre Festival, BBC Proms, Metropolis New Music Festival, City of London Festival and GAIDA New Music Festival. Upcoming performances include the premiere of Donnacha Dennehy’s new opera The Second Violinist to be premiered at the Galway International Arts Festival.

Jessica Foley works as a writer, dramaturge and audio-visual artist. Her work is often generated collaboratively and performed through improvisation, choreography and audio-visual compositions and staging. Since 2010 she has worked in the academic context of telecommunications research at Trinity College Dublin. She is writer-in-residence with CONNECT, the Science Foundation Ireland centre for future networks and communications, where she co-devises approaches to research storytelling through improvisational writing, conversation and audio-casting. Jessica is currently working on an experimental non-fiction collection based upon field-notes generated during her Ph.D. research with the Centre for Telecommunications Value-Chain Research (CTVR).

The IRIDE PROJECT investigate nondeterministic electroacoustic music and soundemphasis poetry making use of conventional and unconventional instruments, piezoelectric transducers, field recordings, electronics, spoken word, and a Doepfer A100 modular analogue synthesizer. Massimo Daví is a pianist, composer, sound artist and holds a Master's Degree in Music. Monica Miuccio is a Poet and Performer. Her literary works were awarded and featured in prestigious publications. Their works were performed in Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Finland, Germany, Mexico, Macedonia, UK, Czech Republic and Spain and featured on RTÉ Lyric FM program Nova curated by Bernard Clarke. The Duo participated at international festivals and convocations such as Irish Sound, Science and Technology Convocations and “Prague Quadrennial Of Sound Design and Space” in Czech Republic.

Claire Potter, an artist writer from Merseyside, works with live, published and recorded text, installation and performance. Claire’s work addresses modes of speaking and reading to bring considerations of narratology, affect and methods of articulation to the attention of audiences. Claire organises Shady Dealings With Language, an interdisciplinary event series for art and performance writing in the UK. Recent works include CHAVSCUMBOSS, performance, Colour Out Of Space, UK, 2016; Touching, performance, Lydgalleriet, NOR, 2016; Lads of Aran, visual essay in Bodies that Remain (Punctum, 2017); Lads Rites, visual essay in Sites of Research (OAR Platform, 2017).

Billy Ramsell was born in Cork in 1977 and educated at the North Monastery and UCC. He has published two collections with Dedalus Press, Complicated Pleasures in 2007 and The Architect’s Dream of Winter in 2013, which was shortlisted for the Irish Times Poetry Now Award. He was awarded the Chair of Ireland Bursary for 2013 and the Poetry Ireland Residency Bursary for 2015. He has been invited to read his work at many festivals and literary events around the world. He lives in Cork where he co-runs an educational publishing company.

Nazgul Shukaeva was born in Kazakhstan, and is a vocalist and performer of contemporary classical, jazz and improvised music, combining the ancient technique of throat singing "kai" with modern elements, creating something previously inaudible and invisible. She studied piano and choral conducting in Alma-Ata music college and received a degree in vocal studies at Gnessin Music Academy in Moscow in the class of Professor Afanasiev. From 1985 to 1991 Nazgul participated in vocal competitions throughout the former USSR winning various awards. She has been studying the properties and characteristics of sound and voice for over 30 years and for the past 10 years the various quantum processes of sound healing. Since 2006 she has been based in Kyiv, Ukraine. Her own projects include ethno-jazz ensemble "Asia Tengri" focused on the new interpretation of traditional Kazakh music and “Lord’s Prayer” reimagining gospel sounds in the context of modern world. As a soloist of Kiev Chamber Orchestra she performed music by leading Ukrainian contemporary composers among which Svyatoslav Luniev and Victoria Poleva, giving the world premiere of mono-opera "Alice in Wonderland" in 2013. Other collaborative projects are Elena Leonova’s “That Crazed Girl” based on W.B.Yeats poetry, Andrew Arnautov’s «Triangular matrix» and Olesia Zdorovetska’s “ERA”.


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Phonica acknowledges generous funding support from The Arts Council of Ireland under its Festivals and Events Scheme.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

CORDA #1

I'm very happy to be contributing to the first issue of CORDA, a new biannual magazine published in London and exploring communal experience of connections in a time of new borders. Started in direct response to the Brexit vote, and edited by Livia Franchini with art direction by Sean P Haughton, CORDA publishes both writing and visual material.

My contribution has the title 'tanks rolled through our streets', and it is a borderless mashup of testimonies by young mother refugees to the US and 'below-the-line' commentary on the online article in which they were published.

Thanks to Livia Franchini for asking and for publishing this piece, and kudos to Liv and Sean for creating a space for writers & artists across Europe and elsewhere to "grieve/rage/celebrate friendship together in the wake of Brexit".

Full list of contributors to CORDA #1: Cecilia Zoe Grandi, Ginevra Shay, Craig Clark & Caterina Pinzauti, Laura Merizalde & Dizz Tate, Jade King, Flaminia Cavagnaro, Katy Cotterell, Aria Aber, Adriana Rodrigues, Serena Braida, Christodoulos Makris, Rebecca Tamás, Lauren Sedger, Alexander Townend & Emily Jane McCartan, Eley Williams, Sarah E. Pace, Maria Cecilia Tedemalm, Simon Barraclough, Joe Briggs, Cliodhna Walsh, Katrine Dybbroe Møller, SJ Fowler & Ariadne Radi Cor, Thomas Chadwick, Dan Negară, Eilidh Urquhart & Caterina Pinzauti, Sapphira Frankl-Slater, Efe Duyan, Livia Franchini & Efe Duyan, Thom Dinsdale, Alice Ash, Charlotte Heather, TM Leach.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

January - April 2017: a recap

The year has started pretty full on, and this is far from a complaint. Taking advantage of a couple of hours of lull, I've put together this recap with some thoughts on a selection of my recent activities on various fronts (news on publications will follow on separate posts):

I'm proud and excited to be working with Ailbhe Darcy and SJ Fowler to bring their collaborative book of poetry Subcritical Tests, the first title in our emerging gorse editions, to print. Quite apt since the book has its roots in the collaborative poetry tour Yes But Are We Enemies from 2014 - the extension of Steven's Enemies Project into Ireland which I produced and co-curated, and for which Ailbhe was one of the core poets. Cover and internal artwork is by the ever-brilliant Niall McCormack; there's also a short trailer film made by Conor Friel inspired by the material in the book. Preorders and launch details soon.

Issue 10 of gorse will be a special collectors', commission-only issue which I’m editing in full, with the interlinked and ongoing commissioning, editorial & curatorial process underway. All contributions to gorse no. 10, which will be published in a form that slightly deviates from that of the 'regular' issues, respond to a specific subject... More to be revealed over the coming months (the issue is due out in September) but I wanted to note how excited I am to be working with some amazing writers and artists from across Europe and the Americas towards it. gorse no. 9 will precede that, of course, to be published in July, and I’m currently in the process of editing the poetry section out of open submissions and invited contributions.

Phonica: Five took place on Monday 24 April, "a triumph" according to an email I received a couple of days later. From the vantage point of co-curating and hosting the event, all performances in their full range and impact were greatly enjoyable. Making use of the facilities afforded to us by our new partner venue, the stunning Boys School space at Smock Alley Theatre, enables us to showcase the work of our guests in more complexity that we could before. The professionalism of the technical staff at the venue in responding to our guests' vision ensured that the cross-pollinating, multidisciplinary aspect which is at the core of Phonica came through. I'm convinced the material on offer both delighted and challenged our audience, even if, inevitably, to varying degrees for different people. And that's a strength of Phonica, I believe. Thanks to my co-programmer Olesya Zdorovetska for wonderfully orchestrating the technical requirements and for documenting the event. Thanks also to Bernard Clarke at Nova on Lyric FM and Therese Kelly from RTÉ Arena for requesting and broadcasting work from some of our guest artists in advance of the show. I look forward to Phonica: Six (Monday 17 July) already!

My long weekend in St Andrews as StAnza Festival's Digital Poet in Residence for 2017 was an early year highlight. Aside from catching up, briefly or at length, with some old friends in poetry and otherwise, and meeting some great new poets & people, I enjoyed presenting my work to an attentive audience that made the effort to come along early on a Saturday morning to listen to me speak about my approach to poetry. What was billed and began as a talk by me morphed, as was in fact my intention and hope, into a multi-pronged discussion with most people in the audience contributing something valuable to the conversation. Thanks to Andy Jackson for his introduction and management of the event. In my capacity as 'in residence' I remained active for the entirety of the weekend, and therefore found it an intense experience - a challenge I quite enjoyed meeting, especially as I watched each piece I produced over the five days of the festival departing my laptop and being installed, both physically and digitally, in various positions and locations in The Byre Theatre. Special thanks must go to the indefatigable Annie Rutherford for all her work in making all of this come together.

A couple of weeks prior to St Andrews I was in Nicosia, and very happy to read at the Neoterismoi Toumazou space in the old town as a guest of the Neo Toum collective in partnership with Moufflon Bookshop - an established hub of literature and art not only in the island but also the Middle East and beyond. Reading from recent work to a mixed art & literature audience, as well as an Irish contingent that included the Irish Ambassador to Cyprus, I was pleased to receive some enthusiastic responses to the work. One of these led to an impromptu improvised collaboration with sound artist Pan Mina, to be released eventually in some form... Maria Toumazou, Orestis Lazouras and Marina Xenofontos, collectively Neoterismoi Toumazou, have made a mark on a vibrant art scene in the island in a short space of time with their blend of fashion, art, design, poetry, publishing and performance, and it was great to learn while I was there that they would be special guests at the Cyprus Pavilion during this year's Venice Biennale.

A pleasure also to be involved in Poetry Now 2017 as part of the Mountains to Sea festival in Dun Laoghaire. Poetry Now curator Alice Lyons’ intention when she sought to involve gorse in the festival was to present a multidisciplinary event with an innovative/experimental edge as exemplified by the material we publish – and I thought that through the performances of Aodán McCardle and Suzanne Walsh, as well as the presentation of my own work from if we keep drawing cartoons, we went some way towards achieving that. The event ended with a reception launching gorse no. 8, with Dimitra Xidous reading from her excellent essay ‘We Cannot Be Trusted With Chairs’ that opens the issue.

Two more readings in April bring us (more or less) up to date. On Saturday 15th I was the 'literary' representative at the long-running, primarily music series Listen At, which currently takes place upstairs at Arthurs Pub on Thomas Street. It was an eclectic affair, and I was particularly struck by the collaboration between experimental composer and pianist Martin O'Leary & uillean piper Mick O'Brien, which though on the surface appeared slightly counterintuitive I thought worked brilliantly. I felt my reading divided the audience: some wondering what the hell I was reading and whether this was poetry, and some responsive to and expressing keen interest in my approach.

And on Sunday 30 April I read upstairs in another Dublin pub, this time Devitts on Camden Street, as part of an event called Cross-Atlantic Readings which was organised by Julie Morrissy in conjunction with the Canada 150 Conference at UCD. Three Dublin writers (Julie, Sue Rainsford, and myself) 'opened' for four writers from Canada presenting varying approaches to writing. An excellent evening of readings through which I was particularly interested to encounter the work of Gregory Betts.