Maria Stadnicka is a writer, editor and freelance journalist based in Gloucestershire, United Kingdom. She is currently an associate lecturer in Sociology and PhD researcher at University of the West of England, Bristol, exploring psycho-social aspects of socio-cultural trauma and migration in Britain. She completed her MA in Creative and Critical Writing at University of Gloucestershire. Her research and writing focus on social identity and socio-cultural trauma, poetry, semiotics, cultural theory, the ethics of memory, as well as the Cold War, investigative journalism, bilingualism and art history. She recently performed at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Pembroke College, Oxford University, Tears in the Fence Poetry Festival, Plymouth Language Club, Cheltenham Poetry Festival, Stroud Book Festival. She is a contributor to International Times (UK) and Dissident Voice (US). Her poetry was highly commended for the Forward Poetry Prize 2021.
Her latest collection Buried Gods Metal Prophets (Guillemot Press, 2021) was included among the best poetry books of 2021 by The Telegraph. “Though the poems often have a tone of bruising directness, like Emily Dickinson, Stadnicka tells is slant. She juxtaposes poems in phonetic dialogue (“I cannot uze knives-and-forgz”) with reproductions of maps, censored documents and doctored reports (illustrated by Antonia Glücksman). These techniques recall the Peter Reading’s unsentimental, socially conscious cut-ups in Perduta Gente, but to them Stadnicka adds a tough surrealism that is all her own “ (The Telegraph, 2021).
The writer Ian Seed considers Buried Gods Metal Prophets “a must-read from start to finish. A story of lives under dictatorship in Romania. It has universal lessons for us all. Documents and illustrations are juxtaposed with the individual voices of protagonists. The language is astonishingly powerful throughout.”
The journalist Paula Erizanu describes the book as “an astonishing collection of poems, and a testament to the tens of thousands of children who grew up in Romanian orphanages under Nicolae Ceaușescu” (The Calvert Journal, 2021).
“Stadnicka’s poetry has such a startling ability to move into the expanse beyond this – where it needs to be exploring in and around the actual – that these other reminders are anchors to what should be an extraordinary context, but is in human history a bleak norm” (Mike Ferguson, 2021).
“Stadnicka’s writing has a disquieting quality, which may be due in part to its difficult subject matter as well as the author’s own lived experience. The language is precise and austere, often relating shocking detail in a deadpan tone. The book explores the tragic voices of both staff and abandoned children at the orphanages, in a keenly observed and compelling collection” (Jennifer Lee Tsai, Mslexia, 2021).
In 2020, her collection Somnia was included among the “best books to read during lockdown” by The Telegraph Arts. Described as “one of the best books of poetry I’ve read this year” by Ian Seed (author of New York Hotel, a TSL Book of the Year), Somnia’s “poetics is one of craftmanship, wherein she carefully walks the tightrope of surreal poetic metaphor and the gritty realism of investigative journalism and broadcasting” (Briony Hughes, Stride Magazine). Somnia is “accomplished and timely, built on acute observation and drawn without judgement. It is focused on the darker sides of humanity, the intrusion on every day lives by the political forces and shows solidarity with those simply trying to protect family and survive” (Emma Lee, The Journal, August 2020).
Maria’s work was showcased at the Manchester Writing Conference: English, Shared Futures (June 2020), organised by National Association of Writers in Education, Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Salford.
Between 1996 and 2003 Maria lived in Iasi and Botosani, Romania, and won twelve national prizes for poetry, including First Prize for poetry collection Convorbiri Literare Publishing House, T. Arghezi Poetry Prize and V. Alecsandri First Poetry Prize.
She worked as a radio and TV broadcaster, news presenter and editor-in-chief at Radio Hit, Radio North-East and TV Europa Nova, and she was a member of the literary group Club 8, Romania, alongside Dan Lungu, Lucian Dan Teodorovici, Lucian Lazarescu, Dan Sociu, Ovidiu Nimigean, Michael Astner. She is a conflict mediator, approved by EU PHARE Programmes, and worked in ethnic and work conflicts. She is currently an associate lecturer at University of the West of England, Bristol, United Kingdom.
She read poetry in Bucharest, Timisoara, Iasi, Botosani, Suceava, Tg. Jiu, Sighisoara (Romania) and Abergavenny, Bristol, Cardiff, Cheltenham, Edinburgh, London, Oxford, Plymouth, Stroud, Stourpaine, Winchester (United Kingdom).
Maria Stadnicka’s published work is available in print and online at:
– Axon, Meniscus Literary Journal, Social Alternatives, TEXT (Australia);
– Wienzeile (Austria);
– Dispatches Poetry Wars (Canada);
– Noon: journal of the short poem (Japan);
– The Ofi Press Magazine (Mexico);
– Contrafort and Discobolul (Republic of Moldova);
– Convorbiri Literare, Cronica, Dacia Literara, Hyperion, LiterNet, LitArt, Poesis, Porni Luceafarul (Romania);
– Amaryllis, Amethyst Review, Celebrating Change, Eye Flash Poetry Journal, Ink, Sweat & Tears, International Times, I am not a silent poet, Mary Evans Picture Library, Molly Bloom, Riggwelter Press, Shearsman Magazine, Stride, Tenebrae – the journal of contemporary poetics, The Journal, The Moth, The Poets’ Republic, Tears in the Fence, Your One Phone Call (UK);
– Angry Old Man Magazine, Dissident Voice, Osiris, RINF Alternative News and Media (US).
Published books, anthologies and other collaborations:
– The Forward Book of Poetry 2022, anthology of the best poetry in the 2021 Forward Prizes. Published by Forward Arts Foundation in association with Faber & Faber, Bloomsbury House, London, UK.
– Printed Poetry Project (2021): art exhibition (7th September – 31st October 2021) at the Bower Ashton Library, Bristol and symposium (14th October 2021, 2pm) at the Arnolfini, Bristol (Centre for International Contemporary Arts). Events organised by Angie Butler, senior research fellow at the Centre for Print Research, UWE. Tickets are available here.
– TU-PLEI (2021) curator, multidisciplinary art exhibition inspired by childhood memories and Buried Gods Metal Prophets, attempting to define the concept of ‘play’ in the contemporary context. TU-PLEI at the Art Loft Gallery, 26th July – 1st August 2021 at Stroud Brewery, Gloucestershire. Free entry.
– Buried Gods Metal Prophets (2021) published by Guillemot Press, Bodmin, Cornwall, UK. Editors: Luke Thompson and Sarah Cave. Design and illustration: Antonia Glücksman. Buried Gods Metal Prophets is available here.
– The Geometric Kingdom (2020) published by Knives, Forks and Spoons Press, Manchester, UK. Collection written in collaboration with Rupert Loydell, senior lecturer at Falmouth University. Editor: Alec Newman. The book is available from KFS Press, Amazon and from various local bookshops.
– At Eye Level (2020), artist book produced by Andrew Morrisons Books, Gloucestershire, in collaboration with painter Mark Mawer.
– Prototype (2020) anthology of experimental writing (editor: Jess Chandler) published by Prototype Publishing, London. Anthology available here.
– S O M N I A (2020) poetry collection published by Knives, Forks and Spoons Press, UK (editor: Alec Newman).
– Bearings II – If You Find My Mother, Buy Her Flowers (2019), written with JoAnne McKay, published by The Poets’ Republic Press, Edinburgh, UK (editor and preface: Hugh McMillan).
– Evenfall (2018) voice and text, collaboration with composer Andrew Heath and saxophonist Lydia Kenny, Gecko Recordings London, UK. The album is available on iTunes, Spotify, Bandcamp, Apple Music, Tidal, Amazon.
– The Unmoving (2018) poetry collection published by Broken Sleep Books, UK. Available here (editor: Aaron Kent).
– Who We Are (2018) poetry, prose, photography anthology, Vol. 1, University of Gloucestershire, Pitville Press, Cheltenham, UK.
– Exitus (2017) limited edition minipoetry collection, Smallminded Books, edited and printed by Rupert M. Loydell.
– Stroud Poets (2016) Pamphlet I, poetry anthology, Yew Tree Press, UK, ISBN – 978-0-9956603-0-4. Available here .
– Pamphlet 15 – Trust and Betrayal (2014) Stroud Valley Arts, England, 2014.
– Short Story about War (2014) poetry collection (Yew Tree Press, England, 2014 ISBN 978-0-9562038-4-7, available here).
– Pamphlet 15 – Change and Permanence (2012) Stroud Valley Arts, UK, (editor: Rick Vick).
– O-Zone Friendly (2002) poetry anthology (Iasi, Romania ISBN – 973-99824-7-6).
Events and other collaborations (you can also see the ‘Events’ page):
– 2021 –
– TU-PLEI art exhibition 20-25 July 2021. Collective exhibition including painting, sculpture, collage, photography, prints, installations reflecting on the concept of play. Artists: Antonia Glücksman, Zoe Heath, Hannah Mathison, Mark Mawer, Andrew Morrison, CF Sherratt, Maria Stadnicka, John Stadnicki. The exhibition will be open open daily, 9am-5pm at Stroud Brewery, Gloucestershire. Free entry.
– Raised Voices, poetry reading celebrating women in poetry, 8 March 2021, 6pm. Event organised by Gloucestershire Poetry Society. Online event, free entry.
– Buried Gods Metal Prophets, book launch, Guillemot Press ZOOM event, 11th February 2021, 7pm: online event. Free entry.
– AT EYE LEVEL, 30 September – 4th October 2020, art book and art exhibition with Mark Mawer, Andrew Morrison and John Stadnicki, at Lansdown Gallery Stroud, Gloucestershire. Further information is available here.
– Tears in the Fence Festival, 10 – 13 Sep 2020. This year’s edition will take place on Zoom. Further details and programme available here.
– Poetry Reading / Book launch: There Will Be Singing by Aidan Semmens, Shearsman Books, with Kelvin Corcoran and Aidan Semmens. Tuesday, 25th August 2020, 7.30pm, British Zoom Time.
–Spectre of Tyranny: Docile Bodies and Rebellious Bodies, conference paper, 2-3 July 2020, at Psychosocial Bodies conference, Essex University, Association for Psychosocial Research. It is run by the major organisations of the discipline: The English Association and University English, and supported by the National Association of Writers in Education with Institute of English Studies and National Association for the Teaching of English.
– English: Shared Future Conference, Manchester, 26-28 June 2020. Conference organised by The English Association and University English, and supported by the National Association of Writers in Education, Institute of English Studies and National Association for the Teaching of English. Event hosted by: Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Manchester, and the University of Salford. Further information here.
– Poetry Reading: Somnia, for Gloucester Poetry Festival, 16th June 2020, 7pm: event online, and free.
– The Ethics of Poetry: Writing after Jo Cox’s Murder, London Centre for Inter-Disciplinary Research, 28th March 2020, Comparative Literature International Conference, London, UK.
– CRASH 2 – Poetry Reading, 15 February 2020, Cardiff, UK.
– The Tragic Generation – Families Haunted by the Ghosts of Dictatorship, University of the West of England, 15th January 2020, International Conference for Psycho-Social Research, Bristol, UK.
– 2019 –
– SOMNIA, book launch, The Museum in the Park, The Pavilion, Stroud, Thu. 5 Dec. 2019, 7.30pm for 8pm. Free entry.
– Poetry on the Move: Small Leaps, Giant Steps Symposium, University of Canberra, Australia, 21st Oct 2019. Paper: Distortions and Truths: The Ethics of Poetry.
– Gloucester Poetry Festival 2019, reading, 16 Oct., 2pm, Gloucester Library. Further information here.
– The SHIFT Project: Art Transforms, Sun 13th Oct. 2019, 5.30pm, poetry performance at St Laurence Church, Stroud. Project promoting art and well-being. Further information here.
– Berliner Zeitgeist, Falling with Uta, poetry performance marking the fall of the Berlin Wall, Sat 12 Oct, 2019, 7.30pm at Atelier. Further information and tickets available here.
– Launch Water pamphlet published by Yew Tree Press, 23 Sep 2019, 8pm, Museum in the Park, Stroud, Gloucestershire.
– Tears in the Fence Poetry Festival 2019, 20-22 Sep 2019, Stourpaine, Dorset.
– Hidden Narratives Challenge Authority, 3rd edition conference, University of Gloucestershire, UK, 26 Jun 2019. Further information available here. Talk: The Burden of an Exit Strategy.
– Cheltenham Poetry Festival 2019, 28th Apr, 7.30pm at Cheltenham Playhouse.
– 2018 –
– Migration Stories – Cultural Exchange project in partnership with University of Gloucestershire and Falmouth University, 18th November 2018, Museum in the Park, Stroud, Gloucestershire. Free Entry.
– Stroud Book Festival 2018, 9 Nov 2018, 7.30, Poetry Night at Stroud Subrooms. Tickets available here.
– Plymouth Language Club, 18 Oct 2018, 7.15pm, venue Plymouth Arts Centre, 38 Looe Street, The Barbican, Plymouth. Free entry.
– Museum in the Park, Stroud, 4th October 2018, 8pm, reading with Michael Laskey, Jeff Cloves and John Nicol. Free entry.
– Evenfall, Andrew Heath, album launch, 21st September 2018, The Old Church, London. Tickets available here.
– Tears in the Fence Poetry Festival, 14th-16th September 2018, Stourpaine, Dorset. Tickets available here.
– Edinburgh Fringe Festival, 25th August 2018, 2pm, The Poets’ Republic, Scottish Poetry Library, Edinburgh.
– Cheltenham Poetry Festival, poetry reading, 29th April 2018, 2pm, The Strand, 40-42 High St, Cheltenham GL50 1EE. Tickets available here.
– New Bohemians Cheltenham, poetry reading, 23rd March 2018, 7.30pm, Deepspaceworks Art Centre, 11 Hamilton St, Charlton Kings, Cheltenham GL53 8HN. Tickets available at the venue.
– Literature Wales, Abergavenny poetry reading, 6th March 2018, 7pm, The Hen & Chicks, Flannel Street, Abergavenny NP7 5EG.
– In the Pink, poetry reading Pembroke College Oxford University, 19th February 2018, 6pm, Mary Hyde Eccles Room. Free entry.
– 2017 –
– Migration Stories – Cultural Exchange project in partnership with University of Gloucestershire, University of Winchester and SGS Stroud College, November 2017, Museum in the Park, Stroud, Gloucestershire. Free entry.
– Tears in the Fence Poetry Festival, September 2017, Stourpaine, Dorset.
– Inside / Outside Poetry Conference, May 2017, University of Winchester.
– Political Valentines – The Politics Kitchen featuring SPIRO, Hattie Briggs and Jennifer Maidman Music, The Subscription Rooms Stroud, 2017.
– Stroud Book Festival 2016.
– Surgery – Jay Ramsay, Stroud 2015.
– Al Mutanabbi Street Starts Here, collaboration with Andrew Morrison, poet, University of Gloucestershire and Cheltenham Improvisors Orchestra at The Chapel, Francis Close Hall, Cheltenham, 2015.
– Stroud Arts Festival, Open Studios, The Doll’s House, poetry and installations, collaboration with Rita Fenning, artist, 2014.
– Poetography, Stroud 2014.
– Cheltenham Poetry Festival 2012, 2013, 2014.
– Blablablah Tabacco Factory Theatres Bristol, 2013.
– Covent Garden Market, London, The Cards, poetry and drawings, collaboration with Lorraine Robbins, contemporary artist, 2013.
– Waterstones Cheltenham, poetry reading, April 2012.
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