Monday, 25 January 2016

Centrifugal on Mexico City Lit

The excellent online journal Mexico City Lit has published two extracts from our bilingual poetry exchange anthology Centrifugal: Contemporary Poetry of Guadalajara and Dublin.

Part one appeared last summer, and consists of Luis Eduardo García’s Spanish translation of two of my pieces followed by my versions in English of some poems by Luis Eduardo. Part two was published earlier this month, and comprises Xitlalitl Rodríguez Mendoza's translation of a poem by Alan Jude Moore, and Catherine Walsh's versions of several shorts by Laura Solórzano.

Thanks to John Z. Komurki and Tim MacGabhann of Mexico City Lit for their interest in our project & book. There are some copies of Centrifugal still available from Books Upstairs and The Winding Stair bookshops in Dublin.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Phonica: One

Phonica is a new Dublin-based poetry and music venture with an emphasis on multiformity and the experimental. Conceived, curated and hosted by Christodoulos Makris and Olesya Zdorovetska, it aims to provide an outlet for the exploration and presentation of new ideas, a space where practitioners from different artforms can converse, and an environment conducive to collaborative enterprise and improvisation.

Phonica: One takes place on Wednesday 20 January 2016 in Jack Nealons (165 Capel Street, Dublin 1) where the curators will be joined by Linda Buckley, Nick Roth, Sue Rainsford and Maurice Scully. Admission is free and start time is 8pm. All welcome.



Linda Buckley is a composer from the Old Head of Kinsale currently based in Dublin. Her music has been described as “exquisite” (Gramophone) “strange and beautiful” (Boston Globe), “glacially majestic” (RTÉ Ten) with “an exciting body of work that marks her out as a leading figure in the younger generation of Irish composers working in the medium” (Journal of Music). Her work has been performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Dresden Sinfoniker Orchestra, Fidelio Trio, Irish Chamber Orchestra and at international festivals including Bang on a Can at MassMoCA, Gaudeamus Music Week Amsterdam and Seoul International Computer Music Festival. She studied Music at University College Cork and Music and Media Technologies at Trinity College Dublin. She holds a Ph.D in Composition from Trinity College, where she also lectures, and was RTÉ lyric fm Composer in Residence 2011/13.

Christodoulos Makris is "one of Ireland's leading contemporary explorers of experimental poetics" (Rick O'Shea, The RTÉ Poetry Programme). His most recent book is The Architecture of Chance (Wurm Press, 2015). He is the poetry editor of gorse journal, and in 2014 he produced and co-curated the transnational poetry collaborations project and tour Yes But Are We Enemies.

Sue Rainsford is a writer based in Dublin and Vermont. Recently, she read at Foaming at the Mouth No.5 and presented at the Art | Memory | Place research seminar at IMMA. She is currently partaking in the Writing Seminars at Bennington College, and is editor of the limited edition publication some mark made.

Nick Roth is a saxophonist, composer, producer and educator. A fascination with emergence, cycle and structure has led to ongoing conversations with scientists and research institutions across the interweaving disciplines of mathematical biology, forest canopy ecology, marine geology and hydrology in search of a conception of music as translative epistemology. Simultaneously subsumed by an insatiable appetite for literature, his compositions often explore the philosophical implications of poetry and the symbiotic resonance of words as sound and image.

Maurice Scully was born in Dublin in 1952. Writing & publishing since the early 70s, his latest (twelfth) book, Several Dances, was published by Shearsman Books in 2014.

Olesya Zdorovetska is a Dublin-based performer and composer originally from Kiev, Ukraine. Her solo projects include ‘Subconscious Songs from Ukraine’, exploring traditional music, ‘Before Speech’ songs without words in search of a musical proto-language, ‘Undefined Pleasure’, discovering the physicality of the instrument through the body of the performer, ‘Poesias Espanolas’, an investigation of Spanish poetry, ‘The Docks’ a sonic response to social and political life and ‘Sounds of Telling’, based on Ukrainian contemporary poetry. Throughout a wide range of other collaborations she frequently performs contemporary classical, jazz, salsa and improvised music. Her current artistic practice also includes scores and sound design for film, theatre and contemporary dance.Her visual art focuses on the exploration of the relationship between photographic image, painting and reality.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Billy Mills reviews The Architecture of Chance

Billy Mills is a poet, editor and publisher currently based in Limerick. A contributor to The Guardian, he also frequently reviews books on various publications as well as on his blog Elliptical Movements - where in a post titled 'Poets Abroad' he recently considered The Architecture of Chance alongside books by Robert Peake and Lucy Furlong.

Mills notes the shift in compositional emphasis between Spitting Out the Mother Tongue ("on the basis of his previous book ... he is [also] one of the most interesting of the younger Irish poets of the moment") and The Architecture of Chance, but is ambivalent about the more conceptual or process-based elements in the book, while conceding that "it is gratifying to see younger poets in Ireland who are willing to take the risk of experimentation in this area". Concluding, with the resulting texts as the focus of his consideration, that some of the "procedural" poems work better than others, he moves on to observe that "the real strength of this collection lies in Makris’ apparently non-procedural handling of fractured lyric, a mode that he inhabits more fully".

My thanks to Billy Mills for his positive disposition towards my work, and for his attention to the book.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

The Architecture of Chance on 'Books of the Year' lists

It's fortifying as well as really pleasing to see that The Architecture of Chance has found its way onto a couple of separate and quite different 'Books of the Year' lists:

In his post 'Top Reads of 2015' on 3:AM Magazine - something of an annual tradition among the magazine's editors - SJ Fowler includes the book in wonderful company, describing it as "the future of a poetry which reflects our world of language without dispensing with the expressionistic skill of interpreting that language".

And on the 14 December edition of RTÉ Radio's flagship arts programme Arena, Dave Lordan named it as one of five 'Favourite Poetry Books of the Year' from Ireland, commenting: "a very refreshing use of material found on the internet, of signage found around the city ... to shape into poems which make us wonder: is it us that speak words, or is it words that speak us?" The relevant section is available to listen back on the Arena website.

Incidentally, here's my own favourite reads of the past year:

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

RTÉ Poetry Programme

I recently discussed my book The Architecture of Chance and themes & ideas connected to it with presenter Rick O'Shea for the RTÉ Poetry Programme - a half hour show dedicated to contemporary poetry broadcast weekly on Ireland's national radio channel - reading some pieces from it in the process. Of particular interest to Rick was 'Chances Are' as an ever-moving, mass-collaboration poem that anyone can contribute to, wittingly or not, and its appearance in the book as HTML code.


The interview was broadcast on last Saturday's (12 December) edition, which can be played back via the programme's page on the RTÉ website (my section starts around the 9:30 mark). Also featured on the same show were Eleanor Hooker and Moya Cannon; there was also a report on the annual Poetry Aloud competition.

My thanks to Rick O'Shea, producer Claire Cunningham, and everyone working on the programme for their attention to the book.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Futures: Poetry of the Greek Crisis

Futures: Poetry of the Greek Crisis is a timely and powerful new anthology in English offering "a poetic reply to the social and economic disaster which still threatens to overturn the whole European project." Edited by Theodoros Chiotis and published by Penned In The Margins, it features some of the most daring new voices in Greek poetry as well as international poets with Greek connections, with work that "explores the gradual, often violent, modification of personal and collective identity in a time of crisis."

I'm very happy to be contributing to Futures with 'Civilisation's Golden Dawn: A Slide Show', taken from my book The Architecture of Chance.

The anthology features poems written directly in English or in translation from the Greek, with the contributors' list including many exceptional poets such as Tom Chivers, Emily Critchley, Katerina Iliopoulou, Sophie Mayer, Eftychia Panagiotou, Eleni Sikelianos, A.E. Stallings, George Ttoouli and Chiotis himself.

Futures: Poetry of the Greek Crisis

Thursday, 26 November 2015

The Architecture of Chance reviewed in The Stinging Fly

Issue 32 Vol 2 (Winter 2015-16) of The Stinging Fly magazine is particularly strong on poetry, having enlisted the services of Billy Ramsell as guest poetry editor. A selection of poets with work in the issue were commissioned to write short additional pieces (souterrains) functioning as "archaeological features" existing "somehow under" the poems. Also included are poetry-related essays and an interview, as well as the usual 'featured poet' slot which in this issue goes to Elaine Cosgrove.

In the reviews section, Alan Jude Moore casts an eye on The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry - while Stephen Connolly reviews Miriam Gamble's Pirate Music alongside my latest book The Architecture of Chance. Among much else, Connolly writes of The Architecture of Chance that its "focus on composition moves towards explaining the book's title, its paradoxical concerns with orchestrating multiple possibilities," and that "life in a late-capitalist society is interrogated throughout." He quotes from my recent essay in Poetry Ireland's literary pamphlet Trumpet as an aid towards interpreting the work in what is an appreciative discussion of the book and its intentions.

My thanks to Billy Ramsell and to The Stinging Fly for their attention, and to Stephen Connolly for his dedicated reading. Though unfortunately my name is misspelled throughout the issue...

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Osmosis at Filmbase for Temple Bar Arts and Politics Weekend

Osmosis is a visual art exhibition at Filmbase in Dublin's Temple Bar in which selected artists explore perceptions of memory and identity through small concept-driven objects. Curated by Debbie Paul of the Debbie Paul Gallery, the exhibition is part of 'View - Temple Bar Arts and Politics Weekend', a festival run by the Temple Bar Company to mark the 25th anniversary of the redevelopment of the area.

I'm contributing to Osmosis with 'A Social Osmosis Intimated (Life Goes On)', a new commissioned piece written as a creative response to ideas, concepts and processes in the work shown in the exhibition. It will be available during the exhibition - and will also serve as an introduction to a subsequent publication from Chrome Yellow Books. Also printed will be short essays by the four participating artists: 'Beauty in Mindfulness' by Sam Tho Duong; 'Meaning and Memories' by Mirei Takeuchi; 'Identity' by Eunmi Chun; and 'Capturing Memories' by Mitzuki Takahashai.

In addition, on Saturday 21 November at 12 noon I will be taking part in a public discussion exploring themes raised in the artists' essays. The event will take place at Filmbase, and will feature participants from diverse backgrounds adding to the idea of identity in the wider community. Free, but booking is required.

The exhibition runs between 19 and 22 November 2015 and will also include café conversations and floor talks with the exhibition artists.

Monday, 9 November 2015

The European Camarade

On Friday 20 November I'll be taking part in The European Camarade at the Free Word Centre in London, with a new collaboration with poet and literary scientist Michal Habaj.

Curated by Steven Fowler and supported by many cultural organisations (including Literárne informačné centrum Slovakia, European Union National Institutes for Culture - London, The European Literature Network, and the Embassy of the Slovak Republic among others) The European Camarade is a mini-festival of European poetry in collaboration, featuring eighteen poets from across the continent presenting brand new collaborative work rooted in 21st century poetic practice.

The event will be introduced by Rosie Goldsmith of the European Literature Network.

Full lineup:

Michal Habaj (Slovakia) & Christodoulos Makris (Ireland / Cyprus)
Katarina Kucbelova (Slovakia) & Karen McCarthy Woolf (UK)
Gabriele Labanauskaite (Lithuania) & Camilla Nelson (UK)
Luke Allan (UK) & Christoph Szalay (Austria)
Valgerður Þóroddsdóttir (Iceland) & Richard Scott (UK)
Endre Ruset (Norway) & SJ Fowler (UK)
Ville Hytonen (Finland) & Colin Herd (Scotland)
Kinga Toth (Hungary) & Kim Campanello (US)
Erlend O. Nødtved (Norway) & Christopher Stephenson (UK)

Venue: Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Rd, London EC1R 3GA
Doors: 7pm
Entrance: Free (please book through the Free Word Centre website)

Friday, 16 October 2015

Review of The Architecture of Chance on The Bogman's Cannon

A generous review of my book The Architecture of Chance appeared last week on The Bogman's Cannon - an independent hub of literature and opinion pioneered by Dave Lordan and facilitated by a network of editors including the reviewer, Joe Horgan.

Horgan's reading of the book begins with an architectural/city planning definition of the term 'desire paths' and leads to the view that "[Christodoulos Makris] has gone in to the city and carved out a series of desire paths that make this idiosyncratic collection a hugely refreshing work." He deems the work in it to be "wonderfully breaking free of the Irish tradition" and states among other things that "Makris ... treats the reader with the intelligence they deserve ... as he pins together the flotsam and jetsam of modern, urban life" and that the book "is one of the most interesting Irish collections I have come across in a long time."

Horgan reviews The Architecture of Chance alongside a pamphlet by Erin Fornoff, noting the incidence of "voices ... originating elsewhere but distilled here" and finding them "most cheering." My thanks to him for the attention to the book, and to The Bogman's Cannon for the interest in and support of my work.