Tuesday, 16 January 2018

European Review of Poetry, Books and Culture

My essay 'Shedding Poetry's National Baggage' was published in the European Review of Poetry, Books and Culture (Versopolis) last week.

The European Review of Poetry, Books and Culture is an online literary journal funded by the European Union, aiming to create an anglophone publication platform with a focus on continental Europe and the world beyond.

Commissioned by SJ Fowler, new Executive Editor of the Review, my essay takes the form of eight fragments cumulatively examining relationships between poetry and nation(alism) on various levels, and with references to personal experiences and to writers, poets & artists, current and historical, with an internationalist outlook.

The essay was originally conceived in late 2014 in response to an invitation towards a Europe-wide anthology, now seemingly abandoned, of pieces on trans-local writing. I began re-editing it in early 2017, and presented a version of it at the Language & Migration symposium in NUI Galway last September.

My thanks to Steven Fowler for publishing this more definitive version in the European Review of Poetry, Books and Culture.

presenting at NUI Galway (photo: Sarah Clancy)

Sunday, 17 December 2017

SAH Journal Vol 3 No 2

I have two new poems made of fragments from unauthored commentary on media articles relating to 1/ terrorism and 2/ refugees in the latest issue of SAH Journal.

Studies in Arts and Humanities (SAH) is an open-access magazine published both in print and online, based in the library at Dublin Business School. It is an interdisciplinary academic collaboration whose concern is with social, political and cultural practices in the context of mapping transformations in contemporary society. SAH’s contributors oppose forging disciplinary limits in an attempt to establish experimental spaces for critical dialogue.

Vol 3 No 2 of SAH Journal focuses on the theme of 'Minorities'. It also includes poetry from Nithy Kasa, Jennifer Matthews and Nita Mishra, as well as articles on endangered languages, Māori rights in New Zealand, the Roma and Irish Travelling communities, and more.

My thanks to Patrick Chapman for the invitation to contribute to the issue.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

gorse No. 9

‘Colour is the keyboard, the eyes are the hammers…’

gorse No. 9 is now out. Themed around 'colour', it includes essays from Clare Archibald, Niamh Campbell, Zoe Comyns, Shoshana Kessler, Darragh McCausland, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Imogen Reid and Sydney Weinberg; fiction from Arnold Thomas Fanning, Uschi Gatward, David Hayden, Colm McDermott, Paula McGrath and Gavin Murphy; and work in Irish from Eilean Ni Chullieanain and Alan Titley.

In this issue I'm very pleased to be publishing poetry from Amanda Bell in the form of two haibun pieces comprising a mixture of 'new nature' writing, local history and memoir; four poems by Mike Saunders from a larger sequence considering the language of money; ‘Pass’, a new poem by Maurice Scully; Zoe Skoulding's ‘Prairial (from A Revolutionary Calendar)’ taken from her ongoing work on the French Republican Calendar; and two visual 'word terrain' poems by Nathan Walker.

Susan Tomaselli's editorial revolves around Yves Klein, with pivotal references to Nabokov's Speak, Memory and Anne Carson's Float among much else.

photo: @Maggie_Eire
The launch of issue 9 took place on Wednesday 29 November at Studio 6, Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, with readings from Claire Archibald, Niamh Campbell, Zoe Comyns and Paula McGrath. gorse No. 9 is available to buy directly from the website, or from selected stockists. Subscriptions are also available.

With publication of issue 9 the gorse (journal) project reaches its halfway point, as it is intended to last for 18 issues.


gorse No. 10 will be a special multimedia book-in-a-box edition comprising responses to 'the readymade' in literature from thirteen writers and artists based across Europe and North America. Devised, commissioned and edited by myself (I additionally contribute an 'editorial' piece) and encompassing a range of publishing media, the issue is currently in production with the aim of being completed before the end of the year that marks the centenary of Duchamp's 'Fountain'. More details, including contributors and how to order, soon.

Monday, 27 November 2017

At The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, for Book Week Scotland

On Thursday 30 November I'll be taking part in 'You were also there' at The Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh.

Part of the Book Week Scotland programme, and held in the context of Jacqueline Donachie's exhibition 'Right Here Among Them', this is an event with a pronounced social-political dimension, and also features Julie Morrissy as well as Scots author and NHS campaigner Rab Wilson and Edinburgh charity Upward Mobility’s band The UpMo Experience.

The event is free but ticketed (book via Eventbrite) and runs from 5.30pm till 8.00pm.

With thanks to Iain Morrison for the invitation.

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
Boys School, Smock Alley Theatre
Admission: €7.00 / €5.00

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.


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.