Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Norway's European Poetry Festival: Ålesund & Bergen

I look forward to travelling to the west coast of Norway for events in Ålesund and Bergen on 17 & 18 September, part of the Nordic & European Poetry Festival.

First at 7pm on Tuesday 17 September I'll be in Ålesund reading from this is no longer entertainment in a showcase of solo readings by poets from across Europe as well as a selection of poets from Norway.

Venue: Mottaket (Nedre Strandgate 2A, 6004 Ålesund). In association with Ålesund Literary Salon. Free Entry.

Line up: Hilde Myklebust / Kaisa Aglen / SJ Fowler / Jon Ståle Ritland / Harry Man / Maja Jantar / Endre Ruset / Dan Andersen / Eli Fossdal Waage / Christodoulos Makris / Maria Malinovskaya / David Spittle.

Then the following evening Wednesday 18th (7pm start) I'll be in Bergen for an evening of poetry in pairs, where I'll present a brand new collaboration with Endre Ruset.

This takes place in Bergen Public Library (Strømgaten 6, Bergen). Again, entry is free.

Full line up: SJ Fowler & Dan Andersen / Harry Man & Fredrik Stenhjem Hagen / Maja Jantar & Erlend Nødtvedt / Christodoulos Makris & Endre Ruset / Maria Malinovskaya & Eli Fossdal Waage / David Spittle & Jon Ståle Ritland.

With big thanks to project curators & organisers Jon Ståle Ritland, SJ Fowler & Erlend Nødtvedt.

Sponsored by Stiftelsen Kjell Holm, Norsk Forfattersentrum, Ålesund Kommune, Bergen Kommune, Møre og Romsdal Fylkeskommune.

Report (20/09/2019)
An intense and beautiful couple of days on the west coast of Norway. Around 100 people gathered at Mottaket in Ålesund to witness our short solo readings which alternated between Norwegian and English. The audience was particularly attentive, with an unusually high degree of our textual and performative nuances noted and responded to, especially given that some of the material tended towards the avant-garde. I read three sections from this is no longer entertainment (the line "I see Norway is top of the happiness chart" from Section 7 serendipitously sneaking in there...) which I felt hang in the air for a little while before settling into the audience's consciousness, and by the end of the second section the thrust of the material hitting home nicely. After the event we moved to a nearby bar restaurant for the launch of the latest book by the generous and brilliant organiser of our tour, Jon Ståle Ritland. The trip to Bergen began at 1am and consisted of a 13-hour ferry ride down the coast, a magnificent and richly picturesque interlude made even better by the (mostly) clear weather and (relatively) calm sea. Most remarkable, however, was the synergy between the ten of us travelling together, a rare case of collective and individual relationships rekindling or forming, and growing in real time. So many conversations and connections made on so many things: docupoetics with Maria Malinovskaya; the peril of erstwhile friends becoming estranged following our editorial decisions with Dan Andersen; south east Mediterranean politics and community trauma with Eli Fossdal Waage; family dynamics with Jon Ståle Ritland; and much more. Our collaborations in Bergen public library delivered a range of brand new material, from the straight literary to the documentary (mine with Endre Ruset was a verse-and-chorus structured piece drawing directly from the massive and publicly available document detailing the investigation on the death of Prince in 2016), the subversive of the literary analysis trope to the cross-linguistic and the improvisatory - and closing with a collective sound poetry piece scored and directed by Maja Jantar. There was not enough time really to properly explore either place: a few hours the morning after in Bergen gave me the chance to roam the narrow streets at the foot of the hills surrounding the city, and to take the cable car to the hilltop with Maria Malinovskaya and David Spittle for a spectacular view of the city and a brief venture into the forest. Thanks to Jon Ståle in particular for arranging and for taking care of everything, and to Steven Fowler for being the ongoing catalyst for these connections.

[Photos and videos to follow]

Saturday, 29 June 2019

Poetry and Cultures of Feedback

My short essay 'Poetry and Cultures of Feedback', which discusses some of the impulses, concepts, processes and influences behind my book this is no longer entertainment, was published in The Irish Times on 9 May 2019.

Read 'Poetry and Cultures of Feedback'.

Fragments from the essay while in progress were previously presented as elements in two performative, audience-participation papers I gave at two separate conferences: Gestures (Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, 15 February 2019), and Text / Sound / Performance (University College Dublin, 25 April 2019).

Thanks to Martin Doyle, Books Editor at The Irish Times, for publishing the essay.

Monday, 24 June 2019

Field Guide to Experimental Irish Literature at Irish Arts Centre, NYC

Earlier this year I contributed an excerpt from my new long poem 'Capital' (the full poem will be published in the forthcoming Dublin edition in the Dostoyevsky Wannabe Cities series of anthologies) to the Field Guide to Experimental Irish Literature, a project and exhibition by New York artist Dannielle Tegeder in the Irish Arts Center in New York City.

For this project, subtitled 'Drawing Room' and active 11 January - 7 April 2019, "Dannielle Tegeder reached out to select contemporary Irish poets, asking them to contribute a work of theirs, in some way evoking or thematically related to Ireland. Using sheets of archival paper printed with these pieces, Tegeder has begun - and will continue - responding to their words through abstract drawing and collage. The exhibition will have several different iterations, changing and evolving as new collaborations between artist and poet emerge.

"Tegeder found inspiration for this abstracted anthology of experimental Irish poetry through artists including Tristan Tzara (particularly his unrealized DadaGlobe); John Cage; poet Frank O'Hara and his collaborations with visual artists; and the 1967 MCA Chicago exhibition Pictures to be Read/Poetry to be Seen. Rather than a static exhibition, Tegeder has created a living cross-disciplinary conversation, between visual art and poetry. Tegeder's process of reaching out to writers, asking for work, and bringing viewers together in conversation about Ireland - and how it's represented through various poetic voices - are part of the exhibition itself. Drawing Room began with the display of eight works responding to Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon's "Ireland." Next, Tegeder will layer in works responding to poems by Sligo-based poet Alice Lyons and Cork-based poet Feargal Gaynor; before the exhibition's closing, it will encompass responses to the words of seven poets in total including Christodoulos Makris, Mike McCormack, Vona Groarke and Maighread Medbh."


Having discussed with Dannielle the nature and focus of her project, which promised to encompass much of what appeals to me when it comes to an experimental, cross-disciplinary collaboration, I agreed to contribute material so she can derange and reinterpret it at her pleasure. I am in anticipation to hear about and view the results of her treatment of this material. Any and all updates will be documented here and in subsequent posts as she makes them available to me.

Monday, 17 June 2019

Words Lightly Spoken (Ep. 23)

For episode 23 of Words Lightly Spoken, a weekly podcast of poetry from Ireland, I read section 5 from my book this is no longer entertainment.

This section of the book is a borderless prose piece composed of fragments from 'below-the-line' commentary on an online article from 2016 that featured testimonies by young mother refugees to the US and Europe.

Each episode of Words Lightly Spoken features one poem read by the poet, with a short introduction. Poets previously featured in the series include Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Ailbhe Darcy, Paul Perry, Paul Muldoon and Anamaría Crowe Serrano.

Words Lightly Spoken is produced by Claire Cunningham and funded by the Arts Council of Ireland. The podcast series is available on the Poetry Ireland website, on i-tunes, Spotify, and other platforms.

Monday, 10 June 2019

Poems for Patience at Galway University Hospitals

The poem 'Search Engine' from my 2015 book The Architecture of Chance was selected for exhibition as part of the 'Poems for Patience' project at Galway University Hospitals earlier this year.

Galway University Hospitals Arts Trust launched 'Poems for Patience' during the Cúirt International Festival of Literature in 2004, and it has since become an annual event. Twenty poems are published in poster format to be displayed across the waiting room network of the hospitals, and poets featured have included Seamus Heaney, Michael Longley, Galway Kinnell and Celia de Fréine among others.

A poet reading at each year's Cúirt Festival is invited to select the poems, and in 2019 Ailbhe Darcy made the selection. My poem is accompanied by others from an eclectic range of contemporary and historical, avant-garde and literary poets, including Miriam Gamble, Marianne Moore, Trevor Joyce, Jennifer L. Knox, Aifric Mac Aodha, Muriel Rukeyser, Zaffar Kunial, and Tara Bergin.

My thanks to Ailbhe Darcy and project co-ordinator Margaret Flannery for featuring my work.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Irish University Review (Vol 49, No. 1)

Two new poems of mine from an emerging cycle are featured in the latest issue of Irish University Review (Spring / Summer 2019) - a special issue focusing on Food, Energy, Climate, Irish Culture and World-Ecology.

The Irish University Review was founded in 1970 at University College Dublin as a journal of Irish literary criticism. Since then it has become the leading global journal of Irish literary studies. It is affiliated to the International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures and it is published by Edinburgh University Press.

The current editor of Irish University Review is Emilie Pine - though the issue in question is guest-edited by Lucy Collins and Sharae Deckard.

In addition to my two poems 'doctrine' and 'the risk', Lucy Collins in her article 'If that's not a shock to the system I don't know what' offers an introduction to my work and a discerning reading of the two published poems, describing them as "poems of contemporary crisis". She writes: "In work that is at times radically experimental, and always alert to the capacity of language to remake the world, Christodoulos Makris seeks ways to break open the lyric space of the poem to alter the ways in which language operates in the public realm;" and: "Resisting post-Romantic constructions of the poet, Makris challenges the idea of language emerging from singular subjectivity, responding instead to the energies of collaboration and performance, to the trade routes of digital and material culture."

Other articles in the issue include Malcolm Sen's 'Risk and Refuge: Contemporary Precarity in Irish Fiction' (focusing particularly on recent work by Sara Baume and Mike McCormack), Gerry Smith on 'Pastoralism in the Music of Van Morrison', Trish Morgan's reflection on her practice of ecological sound art, and Treasa De Loughry in conversation with Mike McCormack. An introduction by Sharae Deckard sets the tone, outlook and ecological-cultural connections explored in the issue.

Full issue contents (with some online accessibility) here.

My thanks to the editors for the invitation to contribute, and to Lucy Collins in particular for her incisive reading of my work.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

a heap of language #002: radical publishing

For the second installment of 'a heap of language', an ongoing event series organised between Paper Visual Art Journal and the School of Visual Culture at the National College of Art and Design (NCAD), I will lead a 'Transcription Writing' workshop where participants will engage with public language towards making and publishing new work.

4pm, Wednesday 29 May 2019, Goethe-Institut, 37 Merrion Square East, Dublin 2.

Places are limited, and registration is required (you can register here - update 23/5/19: booked out). The workshop will involve a short walk with the transcription activity taking place outdoors, in a covered space.


'a heap of language #002: radical publishing' also includes a number of contributors speaking about radical (artists', small press, activist, and samizdat) publishing, followed by the launch of a publication assembled by current students of the MA/MFA Art in the Contemporary World, collaboratively produced in response to the idea of cohabitation.

Full lineup of speakers / facilitators:
Christodoulos Makris, Sam Riviere, David Crowley, Simon Cutts and Erica Van Horn, students of the MA/MFA Art in the Contemporary World.

4pm: transcription writing workshop with Christodoulos Makris
6pm: talks at the Goethe-Institut, Merrion Square
8pm: publication launch at the Goethe-Institut, Merrion Square

All aspects of this event are free but ticketed.

Friday, 17 May 2019

EUROPOE (Kingston University Press) & European Poetry Festival 2019

I am very pleased to have two pieces in EUROPOE, an exciting and remarkable anthology of contemporary European poetry published by Kingston University Press.

Compiled and edited by SJ Fowler, and published to coincide with the 2nd European Poetry Festival, EUROPOE showcases 60 of Europe's most innovative poets, the vast majority writing from an avant-garde standpoint. A "modern and thoroughly European means of experiencing literature," EUROPOE is also an initiative and a document resisting Brexit and the forces bringing it about.

"Celebrating the grand resurgence in literary and avant-garde poetry that has marked the 21st century in Europe, poets from over forty nations present works developing the lyric, sonic, visual, abstract and conceptual traditions. A volume that seeks not to offer a taxonomy but a brief glimpse of the brilliance of so many poets working at the forefront of the language arts, this is a book unified by a fidelity to that which is truly contemporary, amorphously continental and generously innovative." - SJ Fowler.

My contribution consists of sections 3 and 9 from this is no longer entertainment, recently published on Dostoyevsky Wannabe originals.

Full contributors list: Pierre Alferi, Tomica Bajsić Aase Berg, Volodymyr Bilyk, Cecilie Bjørgås Jordheim, Ida Börjel, Serena Braida, Kristian Carlsson, Sophie Carolin-Wagner, Theodoros Chiotis, Iris Colomb, Efe Duyan, Federico Federici, Orsolya Fenyvesi, Mária Ferenčuhová, Frédéric Forte, Lies Van Gasse, Pavlo Grazhdanskij, Ana Gorria, João Luís Barreto Guimarães, Max Höfler, Niillas Holmberg, Zuzana Husarova, Maja Jantar, Ragnhildur Jóhanns, Aušra Kaziliūnaitė, Frank Keizer, Anatol Knotek, Amadej Kraljevič, Gabrielė Labanauskaitė, Morten Langeland, Luljeta Lleshanaku, Léonce W. Lupette, Christodoulos Makris, Maria Malinskovskaya, Ricardo Marques, Immanuel Mifsud, Simona Nastac, Bruno Neiva, Eugene Ostashevsky, Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl, Daniele Pantano, Astra Papachristodoulou, Cosmin Perţa, Jörg Piringer, Inga Pizane, Tomáš Přidal, Monika Rinck, Cia Rinne, Jon Ståle Ritland, Ekaterina Samigulina, Martin Glaz Serup, Ásta Fanney Sigurðardóttir, Muanis Sinanović, Morten Søndergaard, Esther Strauß, Kinga Toth, Nadia de Vries, Krišjānis Zeļģis

EUROPOE is available to purchase here.


For last month's 2nd European Poetry Festival, and with generous sponsorship from Culture Ireland, I travelled to London and Manchester on separate weekends to present brand new collaborations with Pierre Alferi (London) and Tania Hershman (Manchester). Then it was back to Newbridge, Co Kildare, for the closing event of the festival which I co-curated and hosted, and which featured solo readings from 11 poets.

Pierre Alferi and I engaged in what we called a 'stonewash' translation process: we began by exchanging a new poem of ours and translating each from/to French/English in a series of five steps in which mistranslations, miscommunication, deviations and mutual disrespect were encouraged in order to liberate the little monsters lurking within the poems:

My collaboration with Tania Hershman again involved exchanging our poems as a starting point, but these were poems we had already published. We each produced an intralingual translation of / rewrite / conceptual response / homage to each other's poems - and after sending this back we each wrote a 'review' of the other's effort using some of the clichés of book reviews among other devices:

Then for my solo reading in Newbridge I presented a fragment from a new long poem called 'Capital' which will be published in the forthcoming Dublin edition (guest edited by Susan Tomaselli) of Dostoyevsky Wannabe's Cities series of anthologies. For this performance I decided to play around with amplification and audience perception by moving gingerly around the stage, resisting the pull of the microphone.

Footage of all EPF Ireland performances is available here.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Transcription Factor (No Press, 2019)

Transcription Factor is a chapbook by Gregory BettsChiamaka Enyi-AmadiJulie Morrissy and myself.

Published in April 2019 on derek beaulieu's No Press (Banff, Alberta, Canada), Transcription Factor consists of four poems all written collaboratively by the four of us. Each poem was produced through a four-stage (re)writing process, and the overall project was in response to 'Hox', an original sound composition by Barry O'Halpin for the 'Text / Sound / Performance' conference at University College Dublin (25-27 April 2019).

Transcription Factor was published in 100 copies, all of which were disseminated to delegates and other conference attendees, and was performed by Gregory, Julie and myself at the wonderfully communal Riverrun reading (Poetry Ireland, 26 April 2019).

photo: Lucy Collins

From the chapbook blurb:

"The following four poems were written collaboratively by Gregory Betts, Chiamaka Enyi-Amadi, Christodoulos Makris, and Julie Morrissy in ekphrastic response to Barry O'Halpin's original composition "Hox" for the Text/Sound/Performance conference at University College Dublin. The body of a wasp has four main sections, the head, the mesosoma, the metasoma, and the petiole that joins them all together. Building from the idea of the Hox, the subset of genes that determine the arrangement of these body parts, each poem underwent a similar editorial process but in a different order. Our individual voices became both nature and nurture as we worked with what we were given and gave forth to be worked upon. There are, in fact, 16 poems in the entire collaboration, stemming from four poems by each of us edited four ways by all, but these poems here are the final (or, rather, current) evolution of the texts. We are grateful to Barry O'Halpin for facilitating this collaboration."

Monday, 6 May 2019

Visual Verse (May 2019)

A new short poem with title 'Gloss' is one of the lead contributions to Volume 6 Chapter 7 (May 2019) of Visual Verse.

Visual Verse is an online anthology of art, poetry, short fiction and non-fiction. Every month the editors publish an image by a contemporary artist and invite writers to submit pieces of 50-500 words written in the space of one hour in response to the image.

Three writers are commissioned to write 'lead' responses which appear on the first day of the month. This month's texts are in response to this image by by R Coad, and my piece is accompanied by further lead contributions from Rebecca Tamás and David Hayden.

Submissions to Visual Verse are accepted until the 15th of each month. Up to 100 additional responses are published from open submissions every month.

My thanks to editor Preti Taneja for the commission.