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

 

Somnia | Four Movements in F Minor

Billed as ‘Four Movements in F Minor’, Somnia is split into parts, ‘Allegro’, ‘Largo’, ‘Scherzo’ and ‘Finale’. The poems explore living through terrorism and fear, although these themes could be metaphorical or literal since the poems’ concerns focus on the effects on people living through these times. From ‘Allegro’, ‘Witness’ takes place a supermarket where ropes are on sale and shoppers talk about the pending hurricane,

Across the isle, a women looks out.

Trains deliver milk and morning newspapers;

at the end of his shift, a night watchman

lights a cigarette watching umbrellas running

to shelter. He has nowhere else. His children

sent him a blank telegram. Monochrome winds,

he thinks. Time to repair, to build.

The house he was born in no longer exists.

The punch of the last line carries a heft in contrast to the seemingly mundane routine of everyday lives. As others are hurrying home to shelter from adverse weather, the watchman has no one else to be concerned about him. In ‘Defence Mechanism’ from ‘Largo’, a questions throws a person,

I move

rubble pieces

across the chess table

unsure of what bishops,

rooks, pawns are for

in this game.

 

Would you kill a bird?

the angel asks.

A stone grows

in my mouth.

Between my flesh

and my heart,

                    rust.’

The poet is Romanian and lived through a political regime of a dictator, secret police and general paranoia where neighbour reported neighbour to save themselves form arrest. The question isn’t necessarily about a bird, but could you kill to save yourself? Can you do what it takes to survive?

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 for The Journal, 29 June 2020


Somnia (published on 6th April 2020 by Knives, Forks and Spoons Press) was included among ‘the best books to read during lockdown’ by The Telegraph Arts (May 2020). The book is available at Knives, Forks and SpoonsThe Poetry Book Society, WaterstonesAmazon and the following independent shops:

Banner Books (Ennistymon)
http://bannerbooks.ie

Book Corner (Saltburn-by-the-Sea)
bookcornershop.co.uk

The Bookshop (East Grinstead)
eastgrinsteadbookshop.co.uk

Brendon Books (Taunton)
brendonbooks.co.uk

Bridge Bookshop (Isle of Man)
bridge-bookshop.com

Browsers Bookshop (Porthmadog)
browsersbookshop.com

Gullivers Bookshop (Wimborne)
booksandvinyl.co.uk/gullivers

Gnash Comics
gnashcomics.co.uk

Gwisgo Bookworm (Aberearon)
gwisgobookworm.co.uk

Haslemere Bookshop (Haslemere)
haslemerebookshop.co.uk

Hungerford Bookshop (West Berkshire)
hungerfordbookshop.co.uk

Lindum Books (Lincoln)
facebook.com/lindumbooks

Mostly Books (Abingdon)
mostly-books.co.uk

Niche Comics and Bookshop (Cambridgeshire)
nichecomics.co.uk

Red Lion Books (Colchester)
redlionbooks.co.uk

Sam Read Bookseller (Grasmere)
samreadbooks.co.uk

Wivenhoe Bookshop (Essex)
wivenhoebooks.com

The Woodstock Bookshop
woodstockbookshop.co.uk