An Absolute Silence

There is so much poetry in the house
that nothing ever gets done anymore.
I simply watch this room with scribbles all over it:
the shiny floors reflect the open sky
the music has stopped
the dust has settled on all our books.

It is like snow to me but you
stand up soldier when talking and
ask that I go to bed early and
switch the lights off.

The war does not scare me any longer
just the fact that I am
of no consequence to you.
The only way I can speak now
is by keeping an absolute silence.

Poem published today in ‘Stride’ magazine.

http://stridemagazine.blogspot.co.uk/2017/07/so-much-poetry.html?view=flipcard

Photograph: @John Stadnicki

The Return of the ‘Smallminded Books’

Smallminded Books is a beautiful project created by Rupert Loydell in collaboration with poets across the country and explores the concept of poetry as a gift token. It is about publishing small, very small books, in limited edition. As small as my palm, as big as my heart. Little books which are free and can be kept in your wallet, in your pocket, in …your other books. But mostly, they need to be read.

This new collection contains seven small books: Unspoken by Clark Allison, really there by John Martone, Fresh Roses by Sheila E. Murphy, ‘my name means the shape I am’ by Patricia Farrell, An enjoyable night was had by all by Mischa Foster Poole, Prayerbook for Trees by Anna Cathenka and EXITUS by Maria Stadnicka.

The books have been edited and designed by the poet and artist Rupert M. Loydell and published by Smallminded Books.

I salute this brilliant initiative with great joy and excitement and I am offering ten free copies of EXITUS, as a gift, to celebrate our beautiful language. To celebrate this project, the imagination, the playfulness and the creative energy which comes with poetry.

If you would like your free copy, please email me at mariastadnicka@yahoo.co.uk.

 

‘Da Pacem Domine’, this morning in ‘Stride’ magazine

Photograph: @Maria Stadnicka MMXV

http://stridemagazine.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/in-same-town.html?view=flipcard

The poet says he would
sleep anywhere just to be
in the same town with you.

He does not have
his own place in the world yet.

© Maria Stadnicka

Questionings, rememberings and imaginings by Rupert Loydell

Imperfect, Maria Stadnicka (52pp, Yew Tree Press)

http://www.yewtreepress.co.uk/Yew_Tree_Press/books.html

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Imperfect-Maria-Stadnicka/dp/095620385X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497303213&sr=8-1&keywords=maria+stadnicka

The simple grey and black cover of this book –texture perhaps taken from a tree or wall, with a white crack or line separating author’s name and book title – is in many ways apt for what the reader find inside: a collection of beguiling, uneasy poems that probe ideas of love, politics and human experience.

The work reminds me of Charles Simic’s and Yannis Ritsos’ poetry (I don’t mean it is derivative), and also the gentler end of Vaska Popa’s work. There is the same clarity of images and voice with little metaphor or allusion. Instead a kind of surrealism is at work in the direction the narratives take, in the thought processes being evidenced with their jumps and asides, their sometimes awkward and surprising conclusions. In ‘Settlement’ the narrator has ‘no further questions’ for God, so instead offers him a ham sandwich; in ‘Bad Luck’ the poem moves from a fall through Googled medical self-assessment to burns and then self-immolation, but even as the house burns a neighbour pops in to talk about the weather and running out of tea bags. In ‘Good Bye Then’ Clara’s ‘giggle melted in a slice of bread’.

As Jay Ramsay points out in his back cover blurb, in many ways this poetry is ‘other’. This may be because of Stadnicka’s experiences growing up in Romania, the effect on her of the Cold War, a slight awkwardness in the details of English (e.g. ‘Good Bye Then’ or ‘it stopped me / understand the real life’) or simply her poetics. Whatever, Stadnicka has now found a home in Stroud, in language, and clings on to a hope that underpins the poems, even if this is belied by poems like ‘The Calais Sea’, where

After weeks and weeks of travels,

for the last time, I put my bags down.

I am done with hope.

The lingering tragedy

of what I could be if

we had the right words for tomorrow.

Elsewhere, in a world of inevitable death, madness, broken families, soldiers, barbaric politics and dehumanization, even when there are ‘no other survivors’, ‘even without a language’, Stadnicka defiantly demands that she ‘go on / being allowed to hope’. And does.

This an exciting and urgent first book of poems, that gives me hope for contemporary poetry. I look forward to the next instalment of Maria Stadnicka’s questionings, rememberings and imaginings.

Copyright: Rupert Loydell 2017

http://stridemagazine.blogspot.co.uk/#!/2017/06/questionings-rememberings-and-imaginings.html