After a funeral, paperwork sits at the end of desk rows. Undertakers pause to change suits before shift handover, diesel engines flatten down places of rest. Glass, iron, gravel. Machines know: cities grow in negative spaces, oil traces gift buildings with signs of the cross. Gliding hawks operate traffic for clear passage. Night drops its guard. Machines argue. Power cuts add imagination to people's lives. So much for ending day's work seeking dawn. © Maria Stadnicka, 2021. Published in Shearsman 129 & 130, October 2021.
For Printed Poetry Symposium Andrew Morrison and Maria Stadnicka have documented the process of making a collaborative print – a dialogue between poet (who also draws) and letterpress artist (who also writes). The poem reaches towards appropriate visual form as letterpress variations are passed between the two. Maria and Andrew have worked together on a number of projects involving written/spoken word and visual arts; most recently Andrew’s letterpress collages made in response to Maria’s poems from Buried Gods Metal Prophets (Guillemot Press, 2021).
Printed Poetry Symposium is organised by Angie Butler for the Centre for Print Research, UWE, Bristol. and takes place on Thursday, 14th October 2021, 2pm at Arnolfini, Bristol.
The event includes talks by: Nancy Campbell, Johanna Darque (Small Press), Antony Dunn (the People Powered Press), Leonard McDermid, Andrew Morrison, Maria Stadnicka, Ndukwe Onuoha, Pat Randle, and Barrie Tullett. Tickets are available here.
© Maria Stadnicka, October 2021.
This is a fragment from ‘Domestication’ created by Andrew Morrison and Maria Stadnicka. The video follows the poem ‘Domestication’ (© Stadnicka, 2021) and it is a reflection on how the notions of work, writing and collaboration have changed during the lockdown in the UK, following the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
‘Domestication’ was produced for the Printed Poetry Project, organised by Angie Butler for the Centre for Print Research, UWE, Bristol.
The video and discussion will feature on Thursday, 14th October 2021, 2pm at the Printed Poetry Symposium, Arnolfini, Bristol.
The symposium will include talks by: Nancy Campbell, Johanna Darque (Small Press), Antony Dunn (the People Powered Press), Leonard McDermid, Andrew Morrison, Maria Stadnicka, Ndukwe Onuoha, Pat Randle, and Barrie Tullett. Tickets are available here.
© Maria Stadnicka, September 2021.
The exhibition TU : PLEI will be open 20-25 July 2021 at Stroud Brewery, 9am-5pm.
© Maria Stadnicka, 22nd July 2021
During a heatwave, visitors are forbidden beyond the reception desk. Breathing machines run on batteries after midnight nurses rush out on cigarette break. There is a sudden drop in humidity with the scream of a new-born dug out of the womb by hand. Outside the hospital, a man walks between candles like into a forest delivering flowers to the maternity. Alley cats rummage through garbage, wish him good luck. Staff change shifts back at depot for deep-cleaning. Summer rainwater washes away night traffic blood puddles.
© Maria Stadnicka, June 2021, published in International Times on 26 June 2021.
(after Rainer Maria Rilke) River bank meadows have all the time in the world. Their pulse slows to a teardrop before any changes in weather. It turns to cement, turns to salt mixed with root clumps, for winter seeps through layers of sunset under glass ceiling. Our tree chopping season grows heavy with chalk, a burial site for the things we once loved that have fallen and broken in to pieces. © Maria Stadnicka, June 2021, Stroud.
I am seven, I have committed a crime and I am going to prison where my brother won’t visit for fear of being locked up as well. My mates say if I stare at the classroom walls Mister Williams can’t read my thoughts; a plaster-god weaved a shield around my body that made me invisible.
Open your Bible at ‘Exodus’ chapter ten, paragraph four, he says.
[…and Moses answered: Oh, God, I am slow of speech…]
I spent so long in the company of my laptop that I am becoming a keyboard. I jump over squares in conversation when real things are the wrong way around. They are so loud it is impossible to miss them even if I can barely see at all. Each shortcut leads to a mistake I had made, to a crime I will commit.
Press “space bar” to be born.
Press “escape” to swear in emojis.
I bear the weight of a full stop God’s tongue drops on my back. I trusted God to wake me up for school with a packed lunch. At breaktime I hear rumbling and my heartbeat. Mister Williams warned me: when you get upset your heart grows a claw which pokes at the ribcage until you pass out.
To avoid passing out, I have stolen a girl’s lunchbox. I am a thief who will go to prison and die hungry.
How do you plead? Guilty or not guilty?
It gets lighter. I eat my past in small bites and praise the Lord.
© Maria Stadnicka, April 2021
When I get lonely, I visit my local tip. Apart from Wednesdays, I am guaranteed to find someone about, willing to help me get rid of a load of stuff which, up to that point, had prevented me from moving on in life. One time I discarded so much of my old junk that back home I noticed the front door sign was gone, and the post box which had my name on it. I got in and a woman I’d never met before was moving about hoovering. She was wearing my shoes.
© Maria Stadnicka January 2021