Friday, 28 June 2013

Penduline Issue #9

Issue 9 of Penduline, an online literary and art magazine based in Portland, Oregon, was published earlier this month. Penduline #9 (Éire) was curated by Dave Lordan and co-edited with regular Penduline editor Bonnie Ditlevsen.

As the title suggests it presents contemporary writing from Ireland - but with a twist: the aim, as stated in Lordan's invitation to contribute, was to create an issue that "showcases the range of work happening in the grassroots scene(s) and at the experimental end of literature from Ireland." The result places emphasis on the spoken word/performance poetry scene - unsurprisingly, since this is where a shift from a monolithic understanding of what poetry, and literature in general, can do and how it can be received has been most evident here - and includes an audio selection of some of the regular performers on the scene produced by Kalle Ryan of The Brownbread Mixtape, one of Dublin's most popular variety show nights. There's also fiction, interviews, visual art and poetry - with some outstanding stuff from Kit Fryatt, John Kearns, Anamaría Crowe Serrano and Sarah Clancy.

The issue is well worth a read/view/listen in its entirety. An interview with Lordan offers an insight into his drive to showcase the work he has chosen to showcase. This is a curatorial/editorial achievement from Dave: despite persisting evidence of a reluctance to experiment with process and form, the issue manages to argue that there exists a living breathing kicking contemporary literature emerging from Ireland that's forward- (if not always outward-) looking, various, multiform, collaborative and cross-pollinating - and one that, in the main, avoids falling into crippling co-dependence. Whether this is a record of a moment that will ossify and pass, or whether it forms the beginning of a wider, more radical and long-term shift in attitudes and approaches, remains to be seen.

The piece I contributed, 'Public Announcement', is a series of poems based on various treatments of public announcements of all kinds: transcriptions or manipulations of overheard conversations, news items or opinion pieces, cut-ups of public notices, short found texts delivered as public or private conversations - ie via SMS or Twitter - across national borders etc. It includes my side of a 6-month collaboration with James Wilkes, commissioned by Steven Fowler for his Camarade series and first performed at the Rich Mix arts centre (London) in February.

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