poetry and updates from matt martin
On Friday 26th October I’ll be at the University of Cambridge, presenting my paper Inventing New Ancestors: Kamau Brathwaite at the Poetry of the Americas Conference as part of Legacies of Colonialism, a conference organised by Race and Poetry and Poetics in the UK (RAPAPUK), an international research group that aims to challenge racial divisions in British poetry. I’m on the 4pm panel Radical Black Traditions, alongside Maryama Dahir and Deirdre Osborne. The conference continues on Saturday 27th October. Across the two days, the host of other interesting presentations includes:
The conference runs 9.30am-5pm on both days, in the Bowett Room, Queen’s College, Cambridge CB3 9ET. There will then be poetry readings in the evening, 6.30pm-8pm – on Friday these will take place in the Judith E Wilson Drama Studio, Faculty of English, 9 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DP, while on Saturday they will be at a different Cambridge venue TBC. Attendance is free but advance registration is encouraged, as are donations – half of the money raised will go to help the attendance of people who aren’t affiliated to universities, while the rest will be given to Unis Resist Border Controls.
The London, Sugar & Slavery gallery at the Museum of London Docklands is a unique resource for exploring London’s involvement in the transatlantic slave trade, and for understanding the trade’s present-day legacies. As part of the museum’s Black History Month programme in October, and during the nationwide Being Human Festival in November, I’ll be leading Poetry against Slavery – a recurring, one-hour guided tour of the gallery, exploring how poetry has galvanised resistance against the oppression of African, Caribbean and Black British people. The tour results from an academic partnership between the museum and Birkbeck, University of London, where I have been researching these themes.
From Africa’s rich heritage, through preservation of cultural legacies during slavery, to recent political activism, participants will encounter and discuss poems that give voice to objects and images in the museum. Discover how African cultural origins have influenced language and poetry in the Caribbean, how poems inspired anti-slavery action in the Caribbean and the UK, and how later poets have drawn upon this history to oppose continuing racial injustices. The spoken and written word will emerge as powerful ways to build solidarity among and between communities. No advance reading required – all texts will be provided on the day.
This guided tour takes place at 12pm and 3pm on Thu 4 October (National Poetry Day), Sun 14 October, Sun 21 October, Thu 25 October, Sun 18 November, Thu 22 November and Sat 24 November. Venue: Museum of London Docklands, No. 1 Warehouse, West India Quay, London E14 4AL. The tour and museum entry are both free. All are welcome, no need to book.
On 2nd February 2018 I presented the paper ‘We always look as if we’re disappearing’: Missed Connections between the Caribbean Artists Movement and the British Poetry Revival at the Stuart Hall Foundation Fellows and Scholars Event, a conference held at Conway Hall in London. a PDF of the paper is now available on the website of the Stuart Hall Foundation.
On Sunday 2nd September 2018 I will present my paper ‘The way in which we learn to sing’: Stuart Hall’s ‘West Indians in Britain’ 50 Years Later as part of Memory and Performance in African-Atlantic Futures, a three-day conference at the University of Leeds. I’m on the 4pm panel Time, Sound, Vision, Performance, alongside Mark Harris and Dorottya K Mozes. The conference features an abundance of stimulating papers and performances, running from 8:30am on Friday 31st august to 6pm on Sunday 2nd september. it’s at Leeds University Business School, University of Leeds, Moorland Road, Leeds LS6 1AN. Registration fees vary.
4 poems from my sequence …to the end are in issue 8 of the online zine ctrl+alt+del.
Professor Robert Hampson (Royal Holloway) and I have penned a guest post for the English and Drama blog of the British Library. The post gives an overview of the achievements and legacy of the poet Bill Griffiths (1948-2007) and is accompanied by images of Griffiths’ pamphlets from the British Library’s collections. This review of Griffiths’ accomplishments is occasioned by the approach of what would have been his 70th birthday on Monday 20th August – an occasion that will be celebrated with an evening of readings at Birkbeck, University of London.
For Monday 20th August, Professor Robert Hampson (Royal Holloway, University of London), Dr Stephen Willey (Birkbeck, University of London) and I have co-organised an event to mark the 70th birthday of the late poet Bill Griffiths (1948-2007) – a poet, publisher, translator, archivist, anglo-saxonist, prisoners’ rights activist, biker, classical pianist and much more. Griffiths was born in Middlesex and was primarily based in the London area before moving to Seaham, County Durham, in 1990. Monday 20th August 2018 would have been his 70th birthday. The Contemporary Poetics Research Centre at Birkbeck and the Poetics Research Centre at Royal Holloway are pleased to host this evening of readings to mark the occasion and celebrate Griffiths’ achievements. Refreshments provided. The event will feature:
The event will begin at 6:30pm, with readings from 7pm. It will take place in the Keynes Library, School of Arts, Birkbeck University of London, 43 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD. Free admission, all welcome with no need to book.
Visual: ‘Collage #1: featureless unface’ by Mendoza, from ‘’SONNOT-COLLAGE triptych (in memory of Bill Griffiths)’. This work first appeared in the online journal Tentacular: https://www.tentacularmag.com/issue-1-pic/mendoza. The image is a collage assemblage of red card on black card, handwritten found text from Pitmatic: Talk of the North East Coal Field (compiled by Bill Griffiths, 2007), and found material/ photocopy of a Sun newspaper article dated 07 March 1983 in which the Sun attempts to dispel the myth that the [Conservative] Government have a “sinister plan to run down the coal industry”. One year later on 08 March 1984, union executives backed a nationwide strike, the longest such dispute in the 20th century. Used with permission.
On Thursday 5th July I will present my paper ‘More dialec dan we!’: Caribbean Perspectives on Medieval England as a Creole Society as part of the Society for Caribbean Studies 42nd Annual Conference. I’m on the 9am panel Writing History Differently, alongside Steve Cushion. The conference features a plethora of Caribbeanists during three days of panels and presentations, Running from 12:30pm on Wednesday 4th July to 4pm on Friday 6th July. It’s at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Charles Clore House, 17 Russell Square, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 5DR. Registration fees vary depending on days attended.
On Thursday 14th June I’m reading at Sounds from the Hill, an evening of poetry, song and spoken word from performers based in the Gipsy Hill area of south London. Also performing are Armorel Weston, TA Wright, Francesca La Nave, m, Brother G and The Trouble, Paul Terence Carney, Nick Aldridge and more. The event runs 7pm – 11pm at the Gipsy Hill Tavern, 79 Gipsy Hill, london SE19 1QH (next door to Gipsy Hill station). Free entry. This will form part of the Crystal Palace Festival, a celebration of creative arts from the wider area, which takes place from Monday 11th to Sunday 17th June.