Wednesday, 13 May 2020

A Leap in the Dark 13

On Friday 15 May I will present new poetry from current work-in-progress for the 13th edition of the online literary salon A Leap in the Dark - "a twice-weekly gathering best described as 'an online salon cold war bunker impro literary brains trust'."

In the words of organiser David Collard: "A lifetime ago, on 29th February, I organised a ‘A Leap in the Dark’, a Dada cabaret staged in a dilapidated former Conservative Club in Paddington. The venue was unheated but there was plenty of whisky and cocoa and the performers all blazed with a hard gemlike flame... Such gatherings are now a thing of the future, but the same loose-knit group of writers and poets and musicians and performers all want to share their work with an audience and with each other, to spread some light and possibly even joy in these dark and difficult times. Because that’s something we can do, and something we all need to do, now and in the future, until the current crisis passes, and after that. So I’m organising an open-ended series of online gatherings which will aim to reproduce the atmosphere of the original gigs, although you’ll have to bring your own booze."

Full programme for A Leap in the Dark 13: "A night of poetry with the latest canto of Spring Journal by Jonathan Gibbs, read by Michael Hughes, followed by new work from some exceptional contemporary talents: Amy McCauley (in York), Astrid Alben (London), Rhys Trimble (Bethesda), Christodoulos Makris (Dublin) and Matthew Welton (Nottingham). Novelist Simon Okotie makes a welcome return appearance, and we'll have another yoga lesson live from a small town in Hungary with David 'Guru Dave' Holzer."

The programme content for each gathering and occasional texts from contributors can be found on the blog Salvēte!

Thanks to David for inviting me.

How to join the audience: Contact the organiser in advance (Twitter: @davidcollard1). You’ll then be added to a group of invitees on a first-come, first-served basis. Your details will not be shared. To see and hear what’s going on you’ll need the Zoom app, and all invitees will be sent a password on the day. 8pm start. There's no charge, but if joining please make a donation, no matter how large, to The Trussell Trust.

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Two poems on Berfrois

Note: With several scheduled activities postponed or cancelled outright due to COVID-19, I just wanted to place a note of thanks here to those people and organisations who have honoured or have committed to honouring our existing arrangements in whatever ways they can, or who are providing concrete, continued and true support through the commissioning of work and in other forms.

It's a deeper pleasure than ever, and maybe even a privilege, to be making and releasing new work during this time: I'm happy to report that two poems from a cycle I've been developing over the past couple of years were published on Berfrois earlier this week.

Berfrois is a literary-intellectual online magazine updated daily, published by Pendant Publishing in London and edited by Russell Bennetts. Persistently and unashamedly internationalist and wide-ranging, it is, in the words of Don Share, senior editor at Poetry (Chicago) magazine, "lightning fast, yet deeply aware".

Though these poems, titled 'please leave' and 'escapade', began well before the current lockdown measures and were written across several weeks, they speak to aspects of digital life - intimacy in particular.

My thanks to Russell and to Shuwei Fang for seeking the poems out in the first place and for publishing them on their wonderfully multifarious platform.

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Audio from 'this is no longer entertainment' on Hotel magazine

While in Amsterdam at the beginning of the month I was asked by Hotel magazine co-editor Dominic Jaeckle to read some extracts from this is no longer entertainment for audio publication on the Hotel online archive.

Jaeckle has heard me read publicly from the book on a number of occasions, and his conception of a fundamental difference between the reading and hearing experiences, with regard to the material in this book in particular, prompted his invitation.

In a perceptive note accompanying the publication of the recording, he writes:

"The rolling composite voice on show in Makris’ this is no longer entertainment realizes a more complex relationship with polyphony than the page alone can allow. The experience of reading these texts can’t help but engineer a little bad detective work on the part of the reader; we’re accustomed to wading through a myriad of multi-authored opinions as we stroll a heavy thumb through the roll-call of comments that accompany any video, article or op-ed we encounter on screen, and the panoply of voices hidden behind Makris verse linger as spectral voices behind the text. Simultaneously elsewhere and imminent, on the page it is almost as though this is no longer entertainment is in conversation with its sources; toying with the degree of disassociation involved in shadow reading digital text fields, the mind can’t help but err towards an effort to identify where these ideas stem from. Hearing Makris read from the text is a different experience all together. Delivered in his staple flat and unshakeable timbre, the poem becomes a little joke on possession. A play with both the ghosts behind the poetry and with sense of a passing ownership of the perspectives on offer as they interlace behind a first-person vocality. An “I” built out of an acreage of text fields."

My thanks to Dominic and to Hotel for their continuing support of my work (in 2018 the magazine published two cuts from this is no longer entertainment ahead of the book's release).

And special thanks to Levina van Winden & Menno van Winden in whose apartment, and with the aid of ample amounts of good strong coffee, the recording of these five extracts took place in the morning of 2 March 2020.

Saturday, 14 March 2020

Chromatics: Irish Museum of Modern Art

Chromatics: An Evening of Hybrid Poetries and Cultures @ Club Chroma, Irish Museum of Modern Art

IMMA invites "one of Ireland’s leading explorers of experimental poetics" Christodoulos Makris to co-curate an evening of playful experimentation, sampling poetry, readings, performance and artists’ moving image as they collide with fragments of club culture, in which to delight you in the sensual, visual and conceptual possibilities of word, sound and image. Guests include Chiamaka Enyi-Amadi, Kit Fryatt, James King, Vicky Langan, Rouzbeh Rashidi, Padraig Regan.

Tues 24 March 2020 / 19:00 - 21:00
Project Spaces


Christodoulos Makris co-curates an evening of playful experimentation – sampling poetry, readings, performance and artists’ moving image as they collide with fragments of club culture. Guests include Chiamaka Enyi-Amadi, Kit Fryatt, James King, Vicky Langan, Rouzbeh Rashidi, Padraig Regan and others whose work is invested in posing interesting questions of multiplicity, equality, identity and exchange.

Exploring the limits of form and how we embody language special guests are invited to break open the lyrical space of word, sound and image – and consider how language/and or the poem confronts experiences of the everyday world. The event brings together a diverse range of poet-artists whose work is invested in alternative and non-binary approaches to histories, translation, hybridity of form, disciplines and/or identity – in which to embrace and encourage a resistance to monocultural thinking, practice and categorisation.

As its staring point Chromatics echoes the multi-discipline characteristic of Derek Jarman’s practice ranging from painting, writing, poetry, filmmaking to pop music videos to present a programme of poetic and chromatic gestures that intersect with the social, political, cultural and personal, pointing to the value of a plural and non-binary readings of hybridity within and beyond the club space.

Chromatics is part of the programme aligned with CHROMA which offers a playful and unexpected environment for reading, discourse, in restoring the “I” and the “we” of collective participation. Ideas of the body in relation to colour and space, identity politics, cultural blindness, forced anonymity and the theatrics of visibility and invisibility are just some of themes explored by invited guests.

Guest Participants:

Chiamaka Enyi-Amadi is a Lagos-born, Galway-raised and Dublin-based writer, spoken-word artist, editor and arts facilitator. She recently graduated from UCD with an Honours BA in English and Philosophy and is currently completing a Masters in Cultural Policy and Arts Management in UCD. Her work is published in both online and print journals – notably Poetry International, Poetry Ireland Review 129, RTÉ Poetry Programme, Smithereens Press, The Bohemyth, The Irish Times, and the forthcoming anthologies ‘The Art of the Glimpse: 100 Irish Short Stories’ (Head of Zeus 2020, edited by Sinéad Gleeson) and ‘Writing Home: The New Irish Poets’ (Dedalus Press 2019, co-edited by Pat Boran & Chiamaka Enyi-Amadi).

Kit Fryatt was born in 1978, grew up in Singapore, Turkey and England, and moved to Ireland in 1999. He is a lecturer in English at DCU, and his most recent book is Bodyservant (Shearsman, 2018).

“Fryatt is playful, with word-games, variations in line and length and dynamic outbreaks of rhyme giving the poems a kind of performance feel–but they also have a very strong page presence, their complexity in fact demanding movement through them at the pace and with the instant rewind of the eye. The reader is never allowed to get too settled, too comfortable–some fresh piece of invention, some unforeseen swerve, takes us into uneasy places.” –Stride.

“Experimenting with personas, translations, updates of medieval lyrics, visual accompaniments, dramatic interpretations, and other devices, Fryatt’s performances seldom provide a single frame of reference. His multifarious interests and activities as poet, performer, writer, critic, academic, editor, publisher, and much else allow his range that bestows his work a complex cultural meshwork. Entertainment comes shrouded in mystery and ambivalence, in uncertainties and depreciations, and an intellectual intensity that forms the backbone of his practice.” Jacket2.

James King has developed his career as performance artist and sound poet, while maintaining his interest in creative activities with vulnerable groups in the community. Since retiring from his post as Lecturer in Community Drama at the UU in 2004. His live art practice has been largely through involvement with the performance art collective, Bbeyond Belfast. (Which has led to solo performances and group exchanges in Norway, Germany, Belgium and Spain). In monthly open improvisation events – whether in street, beach, or gallery- Bbeyond’s emphasis is upon freedom to BE – in relation to the audience, the environment, and others in the group.

Two years ago James and colleagues established BBDB, Bbeyond Derry Branch! They meet weekly and put into practice Bbeyond’s methodology, usually in the same area of Society Street. James also continues his weekly street art improvisations with Eamonn O Donnell, his colleague of thirty years. In his performances James uses vocal and other improvised sounds in response to external stimuli and his own internal promptings. He creates visual images with body, found objects and other materials.

His most recent group performance project is the Monday Lab, an experimental performance group spawned by BBDB and AnCulturlann. Their public works include — April 2019 at CCA Derry, participating in Filip Markiewicz ‘ Celebration Factory. In March that year James and Peter O’Doherty as La Bratts performed in the Online Festival of Performance Art. In June they performed an eight hour duration as guests of Art Arcadia. The essence of these performances is focused spontaneity in the exploration vocal distillations. Currently James is participating in two series of Performance poetry organised by Frank Rafferty : 1) Silver Tongued Deviance at the Void gallery and 2) Speakeasy at the Gasworks Centre. Publications: ” Furrowed Lives,” poems illustrated by David Hegarty; “Moving Pitches“, Yes Publications, 2008.

Vicky Langan is a Cork-based artist whose practice operates across several often overlapping fields, chiefly sound, performance, and film. Langan both embraces and projects vulnerability, offering an intimate territory loaded with personal symbolism and unguarded emotion. With a focus on the sounds of the body and its functions, involving contact-­miked skin, amplified breath and live electronic manipulation, Langan’s work sits between sound and performance art. Using simple raw materials such as domestic objects, hair and magnetic tape, she layers physical gestures and scraps of sound to create intensely personal imaginary landscapes. Mundane domesticity is explored as a temporal space where the material body and sensual inner worlds mesh. In opening herself emotionally, she creates warm yet discomforting rituals that at once embrace the viewer and remain resolutely private, exploring the limits of what can be shared between people and what must remain mysterious.

Her decade-long filmmaking partnership with filmmaker and critic Maximilian Le Cain has resulted in sixteen moving image works to date, with screenings and retrospectives of their work having been shown throughout the world. She is a recipient of the Arts Council of Ireland’s Next Generation Artist Award 2019/20, as well as bursary awards from the Arts Council of Ireland, Cork City Council and Music Network.

Rouzbeh Rashidi (born in Tehran, 1980) is an Iranian-Irish filmmaker. He has been making films since 2000, at which time he founded the Experimental Film Society in Tehran. He has always worked entirely away from mainstream conceptions of filmmaking, striving to escape the stereotypes of conventional storytelling. Instead, he roots his cinematic style in a poetic interaction of image and sound. He generally eschews scriptwriting, seeing the process of making moving images as exploration rather than illustration. His work is deeply engaged with film history. Rashidi moved to Ireland in 2004 and currently lives and works in Dublin.

Padraig Regan lives in Belfast where he is currently studying for an MA at the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queens University. He is the author of two pamphlets, Who Seemed Alive & Altogether Real (Emma Press, 2017) and Delicious (Lifeboat, 2016).

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Proper Chocolate

a cross-disciplinary exploration of the process of making chocolate: improvised sound, poetry, and live chocolate-making

When: 8.30pm, Saturday 7 March 2020
Where: Unit 3, James Joyce Street, Dublin 1 (Kirkos Ensemble Dublin City Council Incubation Space)
Tickets: €10

Christodoulos Makris / Nick Roth / David Lacey / Sebastian Adams / The Proper Chocolate Company

The Proper Chocolate Company are Dublin’s only bean-to-bar chocolate makers - sourcing, hand-sorting, roasting, cracking and winnowing their cocoa beans, before designing, refining, conching, ageing, tempering and moulding some of the finest chocolate to be found on the island.

This unique event, curated by saxophonist and composer Nick Roth and presented by Kirkos Ensemble, is a cross-disciplinary exploration of the chocolate-making process, featuring experimental poet Christodoulos Makris, improvising musicians David Lacey and Sebastian Adams - and with Patrick & Kelli Marjolet bringing the audience on a multi-sensory journey through the seven principal stages in the transmutation of cacao.

A performance incorporating the scents, sounds, words - and perhaps, even the taste, of chocolate.

Duration: approx. 90 minutes – two hours; no intermission.

Thursday, 27 February 2020

Dostoyevsky Wannabe Cities: Amsterdam

I'm very pleased to be contributing to the Amsterdam edition of the Cities series of anthologies from Dostoyevsky Wannabe - publisher of this is no longer entertainment.

Dostoyevsky Wannabe Cities is an open source, collaborative project hosted by the press where each book offers a snapshot of a selection of writing from and around one city at one time as chosen by a guest editor. So far there have been books from Bristol, Norwich, Manchester, Dundee, Nottingham, Santiago, Paris and others, and more are set to come along (Brooklyn, Berlin, Boston, Manhattan, Coventry, Glasgow, Dublin, Los Angeles etc).

DW Cities Amsterdam is edited by Nadia de Vries, and also features work by Lucia Dove, SJ Fowler, Helena Grande, Dominic Jaeckle, and Divya Nadkarni.

My contribution takes the form of a long hybrid poem with title 'you used to want to be a rock star' which in interlinked prose and verse sections incorporates and juxtaposes sampled material, self-appropriations and 'original' writing around themes including pedagogy, mental health and the globalised economy.

My thanks to Nadia for the invitation to contribute.

The book will launch on Sunday 1 March 2020 in the amazing Splendor (Nieuwe Uilenburgerstraat 116, 1011 LX Amsterdam). I'm excited to be participating in the launch, tickets for which are now available. The event serves as an English language pre-event to the Dutch National Book Week (Boekenweek) which has been held in March annually since 1932.

The anthology is available for sale through Dostoyevsky Wannabe.

photo: Nadia de Vries

Sunday, 16 February 2020

'this is no longer entertainment' in London

Continuing my irregular series of readings in support of this is no longer entertainment, I'll be in London to participate in three events in four days in celebration of Dostoyevsky Wannabe, publisher of the book.

Dostoyevsky Wannabe is at the forefront of 21st century independent and avant-garde publishing, championing innovative authors from across the world with beautifully designed publications.

Devised and organised by SJ Fowler under the Enemies Project banner to function as a launch of his own book with Dostoyevsky Wannabe, and also featuring a number of other authors publishing with the press, this mini tour begins on Saturday 22 February at the Rich Mix Arts Centre in Shoreditch, East London: with SJ Fowler, Christodoulos Makris, Nadia de Vries, Dominic Jaeckle, Andrew Hodgson, James Davies, Jessica Sequeira, Paul Hawkins, Colin Herd, and Russell Bennetts.

The following evening (Sunday 23 February) we will be in North London at the long-established Torriano Meeting House in Kentish Town: featuring Nadia de Vries, Dominic Jaeckle, Andrew Hodgson, Jessica Sequeira, Christodoulos Makris, Paul Hawkins, Colin Herd, SJ Fowler and Russell Bennetts.

And on Tuesday 25 February we will decamp to The Museum of Futures in Surbiton, Kingston, for 'Delusions of Grandeur': "a celebration of the press Dostoyevsky Wannabe with an event themed around the self congratulatory, grandiose, deluded and overly devised." With readings, alongside experimental or theatrical performance, speeches, talks, recitals and everything in between, excluding academic lectures, from Christodoulos Makris, Nadia de Vries, Jessica Sequeira, SJ Fowler and Russell Bennetts - plus Eugene Kim, Hannah Ballou and Matthew Birchwood.

Full details, including all start times and links to books by all featured writers, on the Enemies Project website.

Documentation / Report

Rich Mix, 22/02/20:

Torriano Meeting House, 23/02/2020:

Museum of Futures, 25/02/2020:

Monday, 20 January 2020

Doolin Writers Weekend 2020

I look forward to taking part in the 9th annual Doolin Writers Weekend (24-26 January 2020).

Taking place at Hotel Doolin (Doolin, Co Clare) the festival is this year guest-curated by Susan Tomaselli who has charged it with a definite experimental vibe. The festival artist-in-residence is sound, film & performance artist Vicky Langan, and there will be readings, seminars, workshops, music/DJ sessions and open mics across the weekend featuring a host of excellent writers, poets, editors and publishers such as Darran Andreson, Patrick Chapman, Alice Lyons, Lucy Collins, Jessica Traynor, Gavin Corbett and many others.

My contribution to the festival is twofold:

First, on Saturday 25 January (2-5pm) I'll be giving a workshop with focus on sampling in poetry:

"In music composition, sampling is the act of taking a portion of sound and reusing it as an element of a new recording. Similarly, poets at the cutting edge of the practice increasingly employ their critical faculty in recognising, selecting, and reusing material that already exists. In conceiving linkages through which texts flow into each other, their work participates in a broad culture that operates through the sharing and recombining of data. Participants in this workshop will be guided to make new work through sampling, sharing and recombining already existing texts."

And on Sunday 26th at 12 noon I'll be reading as part of the festival's long-established 'Sunday Mass' session along with Jen Calleja and Ellen Dillon.

Full details and tickets are available on the festival website.

Saturday, 4 January 2020

'this is no longer entertainment' reviewed in The Irish Times

A review of this is no longer entertainment appeared in The Irish Times on Thursday 26 December 2019. The review is by Gregory Betts, professor of English language & literature at Brock University, Ontario, Canada - who has recently served as Craig Dobbin Professor for Canadian Studies at University College Dublin.

My book is reviewed in juxtaposition with Kimberly Campanello's MOTHERBABYHOME as a means of exploring how "as the world transforms, so too must its poetry, disregarding tradition." The two books are presented as examples of writing that "gives up the nationalist illusion of commonality to expose the fault lines of a society," which is "particularly necessary in an age of complex social turbulence on the precipice of even further changes."

Commenting specifically on this is no longer entertainment, Betts states that "[it] uses a conceptual writing approach to illuminate fissures in our social fabric," and that the collage work underpinning it is connected to "the avant-garde history of similar experiments from Pablo Picasso to Brion Gysin, John Cage to musical sampling in contemporary hip-hop." Further on, he writes that the book "uses language to store a complex network of ideas about the age in which we live. Like the best of Ireland’s literary tradition – the canonical tradition of Swift, Wilde and Joyce – it also highlights the hypocrisies of our age." Concluding, he argues that "how we experience and perform language in Capitalism, is at the heart of Makris’s documentary."

You can read the full review on The Irish Times website.

The review has been highlighted by The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry Magazine (Chicago), via their blog 'Harriet'.

Many thanks to Gregory Betts for his deeply considered reading of my book.

Monday, 16 December 2019

Writing Course: Something Borrowed, Something New

Beginning Thursday 5 March 2020 I will be teaching a weekly course (duration 8 weeks) with title 'Something Borrowed, Something New' at the Irish Writers Centre in Dublin:

"This is a course encouraging innovative approaches to writing: responding directly to our contemporary content-sharing culture, it will explore in practical terms ways in which this is altering all forms of literature.

As a direct consequence of the superabundance of readily accessible text and other documentation, the nature of literary composition is undergoing radical transformation, with the contemporary writer increasingly relying on their reading, selection and manipulation skills.

Participants on this course - which is nominally geared towards the advanced, but is suitable for inquisitive writers of all levels of experience - will explore approaches that make use of pre-existing material with an application to poetry, fiction and nonfiction.

Issues relating to copyright and attribution will be addressed. Focusing on techniques such as sampling, montage, remixing, reframing, rewriting, ekphrasis and transcription, the course will encourage both the making of new work and the enhancement of existing drafts."

You can book a place on the course through the Centre. At the time of writing a 10% Early Bird discount offer is in place.