It has been a privilege to be part of it. Tears in the Fence Poetry Festival gathered this year a multitude of diverse and poignant poetic voices and discourses. With a challenging theme – The Politics of Engagement. This created an opportunity for new paths of poetic inquiry as well as an opportunity to explore the concept of art / poetry as a dynamic and potent channel engaged within, not removed from, the current socio-political issues.
This is a snapshot from a conversation I had with the festival organiser, David Caddy. A conversation which looked, briefly, at the tridimensional concept of a poet as a:
- ‘curse’ (placed in an uncomfortable position, with the duty to observe the reality and to reflect its imperfections),
- ‘marathon runner’ in search for a ‘language – house’; the complex relationship, and, to some extent, conflict, between a language and the poetic identity revealed by bilingualism,
- ‘subversive weapon’ (the inevitable duty and responsibility of an artist to challenge complacency, to question authority and to, finally, place himself/herself at the heart of what one defines the transformative power of change).
With many thanks to David Caddy and ‘Tears on the Fence’ group and magazine.
And so many other thanks to so many discovered friends: Valerie Bridge, Morag Kiziewicz, Gerald Killingworth, Peter J. King, Charlie Wilkinson, Steve Spence, Melisande Fitzsimons, Clive Gresswell, Aidan Semmens, Norman Jope, Mike Duggan, John Philips, Jo Waterworth, Camilla Nelson, Ric Hool, Sarah Alice, Nancy Gaffield, Anna Powney, Mandy Pannett and so many others.
Look forward to a bright future.
Another midnight storm washes away the cold poetry
born at the top floor.
I balance my whole weight
on long words;
frozen stones on my tongue.
I count the mistakes god has done with me,
just to pass the time.
The violent rain hid a blind dog
inside my very bone.
Here, upstairs, both of us in the same body,
awake and hungry,
©Maria Stadnicka, MMXVII
published in ‘Stride’ magazine, available here
Thank you Your One Phone Call for publishing this poem.
Source: Awaiting by Maria Stadnicka
In Calais. Two years have passed since my visit to the ‘Jungle’ camp. Now demolished. Without migrants. And I get to measure time in a different way. Not as a linear construct or development or progress. In such matters, ‘time’ is not an objective concept. Time is measured in memories, stories which have been told and then forgotten, wasted. In Western political terminology, time is the dissociation from tragedy combined with the hopeless expectation of a historic healing. It is anonymous, evanescent. And so are thousands, millions across Europe and beyond.
Just under four weeks left. Politics of Engagement promises to enchant and to challenge you. This year’s Festival weekend will be from Friday, 15th September 2017 to Sunday, 17th September at The White Horse and Village Hall, Stourpaine.
The Festival’s theme is the politics of engagement. We shall be recalling and discussing the impact of Barry MacSweeney and Irina Ratushinskaya, both of whom read twice at our Festivals in the 1990s. At this time of extreme global political upheaval, our Festival aims to explore the lived experience of repression, austerity measures, migration, censorship and radical poetry.
Amongst the confirmed participants, so far, are Melisande Fitzsimons, Clive Gresswell, Sophie Herxheimer, Ric Hool, Norman Jope, Zibahoo Karbassi, Camilla Nelson, Kate Noakes, Luke Roberts, Steve Spence, Maria Stadnicka.
Open Readings featuring Valerie Bridge, Lesley Burt, Stephen Daniels, Richard Foreman, Gerald Killingworth, Peter King, Aidan Semmens, Charles Wilkinson.
For further information and tickets please access the link https://tearsinthefence.com/festival/.
I hope to see you there.