Domestication

Illustration © Claire Palmer, 2020 for International Times.

Thank you for calling our service. You are
fifth in the queue. An operator will be
with you shortly. In the meantime, watch
the beasts in our zoo through the keyhole.
Please observe safety precautions and
remain in your vehicle. A lion born in captivity
has recently been reported missing.

Thank you for calling our service. You are
fourth in the queue. Apologies for the delay.
All our operators are busy at present. 
We are experiencing unexpected disruption,
someone will be with you shortly. For information
in your own language, access online tutorials.

Thank you for calling our service. You are
third in the queue. The operators hear
shouting and screaming outside the call centre,
high alert. Please remain in your vehicle
and lock the doors. Our clients’ welfare is
very important except in emergency situations
when staff come first. To survive the jungle,
you have to become animal.

Thank you for calling our service. You are
second in the queue. All our operators
are dealing with a serious incident.
We are sorry for this inconvenience.
The background music contains sounds
which you may find distressing.
Press zero to return to the main menu,
press one to continue listening.

Thank you for calling our service. You are
next. Please have your bank details ready.
Bear with us and someone will be with you
as soon as possible. To listen to these
options again, press star. To keep on,
please hold. You are next. You arrr…

Good morning, sorry to keep you waiting,
you are through to the Samaritans. How
                              can we help you today?

© Maria Stadnicka, 2020. Published in International Times on 24 October 2020.

Invisible

Photography © John Stadnicki, 2014. Istanbul

I am seven and have committed a crime. And I am going to prison where my brothers won’t come to visit for fear of being locked up as well. I heard someone say if you stared at the classroom wall long enough, mister Williams wouldn’t be able to read your thoughts because God, hidden in the wall, had built a shield around your body which made you invisible. I trusted God to wake me up with a packed lunch I then carried to school but at breaktime all I hear is rumbling behind my belly button, followed by sharp stabs in my heart. Grandfather warned me that, when you get upset, your heart grows a claw which pokes at your ribcage until you pass out. To avoid passing out, I’ve stolen a girl’s lunchbox. I am a thief that will go to prison where I’ll die hungry. Amen.

To sign the petition, click https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/554276.

Thank you.

Maria Stadnicka, 23rd October 2020, UK

Wind Noose

 

Art work © Mark Mawer, Backwater (2019).

 

There is a break in hostilities.

Long enough to exchange prisoners,

embalm scattered shirt buttons.

 

A temporary ceasefire to inearth

our collateral losses then pause

for a live broadcast at midday.

 

Coloured bar charts hurry up to

catch the moment cyber runners

reach their finishing lines. Race over.

 

Winners grow up to have long legs,

fitted for mile-wide life hurdles.

Empty seats line up in combat gear.

 

© Maria Stadnicka, October 2020

Homología

© Maria Stadnicka: ‘In Vitro’, ink on card, 2018

 

 

(fragment)

 

Father they signed me up for research 

and as soon as the paperwork passed 

the Ethics Committee, they asked for

samples of tissue from my left eye. 

 

Sacrifice my vision in the name of science, 

check my womb for blackness but say black

only if you really mean it. Father, we all eat 

pasta with mud and no-one complains that

 

the earth lacks seasoning. Yes, please, I need

another portion of this, sleep-walk 

into the garden, repeat instructions

from qualified staff:  Take a deep breath!

                                    Take a deep breath!

 

                                                          Amen.

 

© Maria Stadnicka, October 2020

Full version published in International Times on 10 October 2020. Available at: http://internationaltimes.it/homologia/.

AT EYE LEVEL / 30 Sep – 5 Oct 2020

‘At Eye Level’ / 30 Sep 2020 / Art book and art exhibition

At Eye Level is a book, it is also an exhibition, it is also a meeting place for four friends. The book opens dialogue and collaboration between poet, painter, printer and photographer which gravitates towards interdependent yet autonomous responses to each other’s particular focus within the political space.

The title At Eye Level references both measuring and aligning (theodolite eye) but also our unique human viewpoint with it’s near and far focus – both minutiae and overview.

The exhibition takes place at The Lansdown Art Gallery / Lansdown Hall, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 1BB.

Opening times: Wed. 30 Sep: 9am – 8pm and Thu. 1st Oct – Mon. 5th Oct: 9am – 5pm. 

The art gallery is ‘COVID-safe’ and it has in place the current health and safety requirements to protect the public from spreading or contacting COVID-19. Hand sanitiser will be provided and please ensure that you wear a face mask or face covering if you visit the exhibition. Thank you.



 

Mark Mawer is a painter based in Goodwick, Pembrokeshire. Over the past forty years he has exhibited regularly in the UK and abroad, and has work in private collections. He worked as a lecturer at Stroud School of Art and on the BA Hons Visual Arts at Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education. He retired from teaching in 2013 but continues to work from his studio on the West Wales Coast.

 

Andrew Morrison is a book artist and letterpress printer who makes hand-made, limited edition books. His work is in many national collections including The British Library, the Tate, the Southbank and British Council special collections. He has lectured widely in the UK, most recently at the University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham. His workshop is currently based near Cirencester, Gloucestershire. Further information about his work can be accessed at www.andrewmorrisonbooks.uk.

John Stadnicki is a photographer and lecturer at SGS College (previously Stroud School of Art, Lansdown). He has been seriously involved in photography since 1981 and completed his MFA in Documentary Photography at the University of Wales in 2008. His photography reveals and reflects the human unease in the socio-political landscape. John still uses film in most of his work.

Maria Stadnicka is a writer, editor and freelance journalist based in Gloucestershire, United Kingdom. She is currently a PhD researcher at University of the West of England, Bristol. Her writing explores social identity, cultural theory and the ethics of memory. She is the author of Somnia (2020, KFS Press, UK), The Unmoving (2018, Broken Sleep Books, UK), Imperfect (2017, Yew Tree Press, UK) and the forthcoming poetry-documentary collection Buried Gods Metal Prophets (2021, Guillemot Press, UK). She recently performed her work at Edinburgh Festival, Cheltenham Literature Festival, Oxford University, Tears in the Fence Poetry Festival. Further information about her work can be accessed at http://www.mariastadnicka.com


Note: During opening times the gallery will follow the safety guidance on social distancing in public spaces.

 

Video

The Garden Reveals Itself / Night Mix

It has been an inspiring collaboration with the composer Andrew Heath. There are more surprises coming but for now a short clip as I was reading ‘The Garden Reveals Itself’, included in Andrew’s latest album The Alchemist’s Muse.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Andrew Heath / Photography © Alexander Caminada

The Alchemist’s Muse continues Andrew Heath’s exploration of minimalism, textures and sonic artefacts like radio static and mechanical noises. Andrew’s work is process-led – he places exquisite clusters of piano notes and guitar drones among warm layers of electronics and treated field recordings, manipulating the results with both analogue tape machines and digital software.

I leave you to decide who or what are the alchemist and their muse.”
There is also this text… that I will use to create a post at the same time… and is about the actual track.
The Garden Reveals Itself (night mix)
The Garden Reveals Itself (night mix), is a completely different version of the same title from Andrew’s album, ‘Evenfall’. Of course, again the title refers to the poem by Maria Stadnika however, here on ‘The Alchemist’s Muse’, the work is warmer, darker and far more intimate as Maria whispers her words directly into your ears.
“I have long admired the work of Romanian born poet, Maria Stadnika and we collaborated together on ‘The Garden Reveals Itself’ from my earlier album, ‘Evenfall’. When I recorded Maria, I also asked her to create a whispered version of her poem. I love the sound and thought of a very intimate voice so close to you. As I was working on the music for this track, it occurred to me that it had a very close, warm sound. As though you were wrapped in blankets in the deep, still dark of night. It was an obvious next step to merge the two and create a ‘night mix’ for her stunning piece.”

The Alchemist’s Muse is available as a CD as well as download here.


 

At Eye Level / Art Exhibition / 30 Sep – 5 Oct 2020

‘At Eye Level’ / 30 Sep 2020 / Art book and art exhibition

At Eye Level is a book, it is also an exhibition, it is also a meeting place for four friends. The book opens dialogue and collaboration between poet, painter, printer and photographer which gravitates towards interdependent yet autonomous responses to each other’s particular focus within the political space.

The title At Eye Level references both measuring and aligning (theodolite eye) but also our unique human viewpoint with it’s near and far focus – both minutiae and overview.

The exhibition takes place at The Lansdown Art Gallery / Lansdown Hall, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 1BB.

Opening times: Wed. 30 Sep: 9am – 8pm and Thu. 1st Oct – Mon. 5th Oct: 9am – 5pm. 

The art gallery is ‘COVID-safe’ and it has in place the current health and safety requirements to protect the public from spreading or contacting COVID-19. Hand sanitiser will be provided and please ensure that you wear a face mask or face covering if you visit the exhibition. Thank you.



 

Mark Mawer is a painter based in Goodwick, Pembrokeshire. Over the past forty years he has exhibited regularly in the UK and abroad, and has work in private collections. He worked as a lecturer at Stroud School of Art and on the BA Hons Visual Arts at Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education. He retired from teaching in 2013 but continues to work from his studio on the West Wales Coast.

 

Andrew Morrison is a book artist and letterpress printer who makes hand-made, limited edition books. His work is in many national collections including The British Library, the Tate, the Southbank and British Council special collections. He has lectured widely in the UK, most recently at the University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham. His workshop is currently based near Cirencester, Gloucestershire. Further information about his work can be accessed at www.andrewmorrisonbooks.uk.

John Stadnicki is a photographer and lecturer at SGS College (previously Stroud School of Art, Lansdown). He has been seriously involved in photography since 1981 and completed his MFA in Documentary Photography at the University of Wales in 2008. His photography reveals and reflects the human unease in the socio-political landscape. John still uses film in most of his work.

Maria Stadnicka is a writer, editor and freelance journalist based in Gloucestershire, United Kingdom. She is currently a PhD researcher at University of the West of England, Bristol. Her writing explores social identity, cultural theory and the ethics of memory. She is the author of Somnia (2020, KFS Press, UK), The Unmoving (2018, Broken Sleep Books, UK), Imperfect (2017, Yew Tree Press, UK) and the forthcoming poetry-documentary collection Buried Gods Metal Prophets (2021, Guillemot Press, UK). She recently performed her work at Edinburgh Festival, Cheltenham Literature Festival, Oxford University, Tears in the Fence Poetry Festival. Further information about her work can be accessed at http://www.mariastadnicka.com


Note: During opening times the gallery will follow the safety guidance on social distancing in public spaces.

 

Coming on Tuesday, 25th August 7.30 pm, British zoom time

You are cordially invited to join us on Tuesday 25th August at 7.30pm for a poetry reading like no other: Kelvin Corcoran with The Republic of Song (Parlor Press, 2020), Aidan Semmens with There Will Be Singing (Shearsman, 2020), Maria Stadnicka with Somnia (Knives, Forks and Spoons, 2020).


There Will Be Singing: Aidan Semmens’s fifth collection of poems moves from the range of the world to the deeply personal, always placing the detail in historical context. Employing a variety of poetic techniques, he moves from the moral ambiguities of empire to the run-in to Brexit; from a reworking, forty years on, of the poem for which he was awarded the Cambridge University Chancellor’s Medal, to the breakdown of language suffered by his mother after an ultimately fatal stroke.

“There’s an exuberance of the poet in full stride. Typically, the phrasing and imagery are seductive and of the physical world being lived. Learning is carried lightly, erudition not pushed at the reader but drawn into the lyricism.” —Kelvin Corcoran


Somnia: included among the best books to read during pandemic by The Telegraph Arts critics, Somnia is a series of dark, surreal fables, often set in war-torn state – (Tristam Fane Saunders, The Telegraph). ‘Stadnicka’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’ (Bryony Hughes, Stride)Somnia is accomplished and timely, built on acute observation and drawn without judgement. The poems focus on the darker sides of humanity, the intrusion on every day lives by the political forces and show solidarity with those simply trying to protect family and survive’ (Emma Lee, The Journal).


The reading will take place on the Zoom platform and it is free. Email mariastadnicka@yahoo.co.uk for the link and password.

Look forward to seeing you there!



Books available here:

Aidan Semmens, There Will be Singing is available at Shearsman BooksPoetry Book Society.

Kelvin Corcoran, The Republic of Song is available at Parlor Press.

Maria Stadnicka, Somnia is available at KFS PressAmazon, Poetry Book Society.


August 2020

 

Tears in the Fence Festival 10-13 September 2020

The Tears in the Fence Festival this year is on 10-13th September via Zoom video conferencing.

The Festival has a long history back to the 1990s and has always attempted to showcase a range of alternative voices associated with the magazine and workshop group. Each themed event stems from the issues of the day and attempts to continue conversations from the previous Festival. The Festival consists of readings, discussions, conversations, and is a gathering of friends and an opportunity to make new friends. Previous themes have included ‘Difference and the Other’, ‘Visionaries and Outsiders’, ‘Hidden Connections’ and ‘The Politics of Engagement’. This year’s theme in the shadow of Covid-19 and Black Lives Matter is ‘Lost Connections: Light and Darkness’.

There will be sessions around migration, environmental, multilingual, power and gender dynamics, colonial issues as well as the solitudes and vicissitudes of lockdown. There will be talks, videos, conversations with celebrated poets and the opportunity to question readers and panellists. Above all, there will be stimulating readings and conversations. We shall also be using breakout rooms for further late night social discussions.

Amongst our guests will be Sascha Akhtar, Sarah Cave, Simon Collings, Rachael Clyne, Jennifer K. Dick, Andrew Duncan, Allen Fisher, John Freeman, Mandy Haggith, L. Kiew, Hari Marini, Rethabile Masilo, Geraldine Monk, Jessica Mookherjee, Joanna Nissel, Rhea Seren Phillips, Jasmina Bolfek-Radovani, Gavin Selerie, Aidan Semmens, Maria Stadnicka, Cherry Smyth, Harriet Tarlo, Olivia Tuck, Molly Vogel plus some surprise guests.

Tears in the Fence encourages social inclusion and welcomes under-represented poets and writers to attend this year’s festival. 15 free bursaries are on offer to anyone who might not otherwise be able to attend.

Bursary applicants may identify as (but are not limited to) any of the following: BAME writers, writers on no/low income, working class writers, writers from areas of rural or coastal deprivation, writers who have experienced homelessness, refugee writers, writers in the LGBTQ+ communities, writers who have survived abuse, disabled writers, neurodivergent writers, and writers with chronic health conditions. To apply for a free pass to all festival events please email tearsinthefence@gmail.com with the subject line ‘2020 Festival Bursary’. These will be issued on a first come, first serve basis.

© David Caddy 18th August 2020


TITF 2020 programme is available here.