In conversation with David Caddy

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 the discussion with David Caddy, the festival director. A conversation which looked at the tridimensional concept of a poet as a:

  • curse – he assumes the duty to observe the reality of current socio-economic developments and creatively responds to its imperfections.
  • marathon runner– he is preoccupied with expressing his vision through  long-term exploration of linguistic possibilities. Further, he identifies tensions between his conscience and the world.
  • subversive weapon – he recognises the artist’s responsibility to challenge complacency, to question authority and to, finally, place himself at the heart of what one defines the transformative power of change.

With many thanks to David Caddy and Tears in the Fence group and magazine.

And so many thanks to so many new 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.

Look forward to a bright future.

 

Landscape

Photograph ©John Stadnicki

 

 

 

 

 

 

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,
listen.

 

©Maria Stadnicka, MMXVII

published in ‘Stride’ magazine, available here

The Chess Game / Jocul de Sah / LitArt

 

Pentru cititorii in limba romana, saptamana aceasta a sosit cu o surpriza minunata. O pagina de poezie publicata in LitArt publicatie lunara de cultura, tiparita la Tg. Mures, sub egida onorifica a filialei locale a Uniunii Scriitorilor.

Multumiri redactorului-sef Adrian Armand Giurgea si echipei redactionale pentru promovarea valorilor culturale romanesti.

Pentru mine are o semnificatie speciala. 14 ani de cand am publicat ultima oara in Romania. 14 ani lungi, foarte lungi, de absenta si de dor. Editia tiparita este distribuita in Romania si poate fi accesata electronic in format pdf aici:

http://www.litart.ro/fileadmin/template/pdf/litart_iunie_iulie_2017.pdf

 

 

For Romanian readers, this week arrives with a beautiful surprise. Nine poems published in LitArt, Tg. Mures, Romania, under the Romanian Writers Association patronage. Gracious thanks to the editor-in-chief Adrian Armand Giurgea as well as the whole editorial team for the great work you are doing in promoting the cultural values of our generation, in Romania and abroad.

This has a particular significance for me, as it marks 14 years since the publication of my last poem written in Romanian. 14 long years.

The magazine is available in print and online, downloadable here:

http://www.litart.ro/fileadmin/template/pdf/litart_iunie_iulie_2017.pdf

Photograph: @Georgiana Calinescu-Barber

A Thing for Poetry, with David Clarke

Last month, I was delighted to attend the launch of a new book of poems by Maria Stadnicka, a Romanian-born poet living and working in Stroud. Before coming to the UK in 2003, Maria worked as a radio and TV broadcaster, presenter and radio editor. She also won a series of national poetry prizes. In 2010 she became member of the Stroud Writers Group, Gloucestershire.

I first become aware of Maria’s poetry when Yew Tree Press published her beautifully illustrated short collection A Short Story about War (as Maria Butunoi) in 2014 and her new poems, collected in Imperfect (also Yew Tree Press), are a welcome addition to her English-language work. Maria’s poems are restrained and precisely crafted miniatures: enigmatic narratives shot through with dark humour and surreal detail, they are eminently political, but rarely tackle Politics (with a capital P) head on. In all of these respects, they put me in mind of the work of Greek poet Yannis Ritsos, yet there also seem to me to be echoes of Kafka: the poems record fragile surface realities, beneath which lurk the symptoms of violence and oppression. This is a poetry of unease, and all the more honest for that, but also ultimately a poetry of hope, recording the struggle of the subject to maintain its integrity in troubled times.

Maria has agreed to feature as my guest poet in this post, which presents here poem ‘City’. Of the poem, Maria writes:

‘What can I know?’….’What can I know?’…This is not my question. Immanuel Kant answered it already, a long time ago, and many other thinkers answered it in their own way too. As a society, we slowly learnt to get used to ‘knowing’ everything a priori. When there is no obvious difference between ‘freedom’ and ‘dogma’, what is the point in asking? Everything is ‘google-able’, right?

Happy to be given the answer, happy to steer clear of uncomfortable dirt and pain. Happy and safe. But isn’t that called oppression?

Recently I have been thinking about oppression and the subtle nuances revealed by urbanism. The layers and layers of conformity which are impossible to eradicate without consequences. But then… how else shall we build consensus?

And one afternoon, walking through my working class town, out of the blue an answer kept staring me in the face. There was the rain and the shops closing at 5 o’clock and people hurrying to get the dinner ready. There was an English February, defined by our sleepwalking hyperreality. Me and everybody else: surrendered, crushed.

 

City

This afternoon we passed the city prison walls
fighting the wintry wind with a broken umbrella.

It was precisely five o’clock and
a girl on a bicycle overtook an old man
holding a rope.
About the same time,
the ice cream van closed.

The armed police arrived
to disperse the queue with tear-gas.

In the near distance, people ran
between horizontal watermarks
back to their semi-detached
airing cupboards.

We had nothing to stop for and then, I think,
I paused and
I covered my arms with a piece of history.

Imperfect can be purchased by contacting Yew Tree Press (philipalrush[at]googlemail.com) or via Amazon.

David Clarke, poet, thinker and critic. http://athingforpoetry.blogspot.co.uk/p/david-clarke.html

‘Imperfect’ is now available ….

 

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This is it. The book is done, the summer arrived. ‘Imperfect’ is published by Yew Tree Press, Philip Rush, Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK and printed by Andrew Morrison, Stroud, UK. Price: £10 with free P&P.

http://www.artistsbooksonline.co.uk/andrew_morrison.shtml

Curator: Jay Ramsay

Photography: @Joss Beeley

Please order the book at mariastadnicka@yahoo.co.uk

 

 

Image

You are cordially invited…19th May, 8pm, ‘Imperfect’ – book launch – published by Yew Tree Press, Stroud, Gloucestershire

International Times and ‘Imperfect’…pre-election dossier, 19th May 2017

The box arrived. The first books now being sent to the British Library. And, in the middle of it, a new poem published this morning in ‘International Times’ – the newspaper of resistance.

‘A Day at the Office’ – pre-election dossier.

http://internationaltimes.it/a-day-at-the-office/

 

New Event – Imperfect Book Launch

Poster design @John Stadnicki

Flash News – ‘Imperfect’ Book Launch – 19th May @Black Books Cafe, Stroud, 7.30pm

Front cover design: @Andrew Morrison

We had to stop the car several times.

Weeks of anxious waiting finally ended.

A new, small, wrinkled, bloody, placental book

Arrived.

It had a natural birth and I called it ‘Imperfect’.

The book launch will be on Friday 19th May 2017, at Black Books Cafe, Stroud. 7.30pm for 8pm start. Free entry.

The book is available for pre-order at mariastadnicka@yahoo.co.uk.

The evening will be a vibrant performance with poetry and music, featuring Maria Stadnicka, Adam Horovitz, Jay Ramsay, Katie McCue and ‘Souled and Healed’.

Yew Tree Press – Philip Rush

Design and printer – Andrew Morrison

The evening host – Jay Ramsay

Books, drinks, sounds will be available! Come along!