Urban Afterlife

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. 

‘Domestication’ for Printed Poetry Symposium, Centre for Print Research UWE Bristol, 14 Oct 2021

‘Domestication’ Maria Stadnicka and Andrew Morrison, 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.

Domestication. Fragment

Short clip from the video ‘Domestication’ © Andrew Morrison and Maria Stadnicka, 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.

Forthcoming: ‘Domestication’

Forthcoming ‘Domestication’: film collaboration with the book artist and printer Andrew Morrison for Arnolfini Bristol.

© Maria Stadnicka, September 2021.

The exhibition TU:PLEI for one more day / 25 July

TU:PLEI, 20-25 July

The exhibition TU : PLEI will be open 20-25 July 2021 at Stroud Brewery, 9am-5pm.

© Maria Stadnicka, 22nd July 2021

Night Life

Illustration © Atlanta Wiggs in International Times, June 2021

Ward 4B

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.

Tree Chopping

Photography: © MStadnicka, MMXIV ‘Late O’

(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.

Exodus. Chapter Ten. Paragraph Four.

© JStadnicki, Factory MMXXI, Gloucestershire

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

Hermit Age

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