poetry and updates from matt martin
On Sunday 14th July, I’m reading a new collaboration with the poet Ghazal Mosadeq as part of the Torriano Camarade, an evening of poetic collaborations that also features Russell Bennetts & Calliope Michail, Astra Papachristodoulou & Maria Sledmere, Han Smith & Kirsten Irving, SJ Fowler & Harry Man, Molly Bergin & Jennah Fletcher, Joe Turrent & Eshaan Akbar, Fabian Peake & Dominic Jaeckle, David Berridge & Ryan Ormonde, Mischa Foster Poole & Amy Cutler, and Lavinia Singer & Kate Wakeling. This event also sees the launch of Greatest Hits II: The Selected Collaborations of SJ Fowler and Harry Man (Kingston University Press). There will also be an open mic session to begin the evening. The venue is the Torriano Meeting House, 99 Torriano Avenue, Kentish Town, London NW5 2RX. Doors 7pm for a 7.30pm start. Recommended £5 contribution on the door, going towards the upkeep of the Meeting House.
On Monday 1st July I’m reading my poetry at The 87 Press Summer Special, the 1st anniversary celebration for avant-garde publisher The 87 Press. Also performing are Sascha Aurora Akhtar and Luke Roberts, two magnificent poets. It’s upstairs at Beara Beara Cafe, 330 Upper Street, Islington N1 3HQ (nearest tube stations are Angel and Highbury & Islington). Doors at 7pm, admission £5, or £3 for students. Please note that the venue takes card payments only, no cash.
On Friday 21 June, I’ll be at Troublesome Modernisms, the British Association for Modernist Studies International Conference 2019, to present my paper ‘it doan sounn like briggflatts’: Basil Bunting as a Caribbean Poet, which looks at Barbadian poet Kamau Brathwaite’s reception of Bunting’s long poem Briggflatts. The conference runs from 12pm on Thursday 20 June through to 6pm on Sat 22 June, with a fantastic diversity of panels and round-tables on modernist writing, art and culture, spread across two London venues: King’s College London, The Strand, Westminster WC2R 2LS; and the St Bride Foundation, 14 Bride Lane, City of London EC4Y 8EQ. The keynote speakers are Douglas Mao and Isabel Waidner. Saturday evening features the Modernist Revue, a cabaret of modernist performance works, which is also open to non-delegates. I’m on the 3pm-4.30pm panel Nationalisms/Transnationalisms in Room SO.12 at King’s College, alongside papers by Ahmed Honeini on William Faulkner, John Lowney on Langston Hughes, and Kiron Ward on GV Desani and Nirad Chaudhuri. Conference registration is £60/£45 per day, or £150/£105 for all three days (with extra discounts for BAMS members); tickets for the Modernist Revue are £10.
On Thursday 13th June, Birkbeck, University of London is hosting Work in Progress 2019, a conference where MPhil/PhD students from Birkbeck’s Department of English and Humanities share their recent research. I had a role in organising the event, and will be chairing the conference’s opening keynote, where poet, novelist, musician and Birkbeck lecturer Anthony Joseph will present Kitch: A Liminal Life, A Community of Voices, a reflection on Kitch (Peepal Tree Press, 2018), his fictional biography of the great calypsonian Lord Kitchener. The keynote is 1pm – 2pm, and will be followed by a packed programme of student papers continuing until around 8.30pm, covering an inspiring range of topics, from the influence on Chaucer of spices traded from the Mamluk Empire, through to Cthulu-worshippers in the Lake District, and the development of autism-friendly spaces in theatre. The venue is the Keynes Library, School of Arts, Birkbeck, University of London, 43 Gordon Square, Bloomsbury, London WC1H 0PD. It’s free to attend and all are welcome.
On Thursday 6th June, Lucinda Rogers, Stephen Watts, April Fredrick, Stephen Micalef and I performed a live, radio reading of John Gibbens’ long poem London Bride, accompanied by improvised music from Lalula (Armorel Weston, Kay Grant, Jim Dvorak and Otto Willberg). The hour-long broadcast was that night’s Clear Spot programme on Resonance FM, the capital’s online, avant-garde radio station. Resonance’s recording of the performance is now available through the station’s Replay feature.
On Friday 7th June, I’m giving a short talk about the role of materiality in my research into the poetry by Kamau Brathwaite and Bill Griffiths, at the closing event for this year’s Material Witness programme. Material Witness is an interdisciplinary training programme run by the CHASE consortium of universities, and has been organising workshops for research students to explore the role of physical objects in the digital age. The event takes place 4pm-8pm at the Art Workers’ Guild, 6 Queen Square, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 3AT. Jack Hartnell will give a keynote on ‘Folios, Fingers, and the Digital Material Witness’. Also speaking are research students Grace Thompson, Roisin Astell, Deborah Kent and Mukta Das, and there will be craft demonstrations by members of the Art Workers’ Guild.
Please note that attendance is reserved for students and staff at CHASE institutions (Universities of East Anglia, Essex, Kent and Sussex, the Open University, The Courtauld Institute of Art, Goldsmiths, Birkbeck and SOAS). It’s free, but advance registration is required.
On Thursday 6th June, I’m among the performers participating in a radio reading of the long poem London Bride by the much-missed John Gibbens, a terrific writer and wonderful human being who sadly passed on in 2015. London Bride was posthumously published by Contraband Books earlier this year, and sits proudly in the innovative tradition of visionary poems about London. The performance will be broadcast live from 8pm to 9pm as that night’s Clear Spot programme on Resonance FM, the capital’s online, avant-garde radio station. Also reading John’s words will be poets and artists Lucinda Rogers, Stephen Watts, April Fredrick and Stephen Micalef, accompanied by improvised music from Lalula (Armorel Weston, Kay Grant, Jim Dvorak and Otto Willberg). The programme will be repeated on Friday 7th June at 10am, on what would have been John’s 60th birthday. It should also become available on Resonance’s Replay feature soon after the initial broadcast.
On Tuesday 4th June I’m leading a reading group session on Afro-Cuban modernist poet Nicolás Guillén’s 1972 long poem El diario que a diario (The Daily Daily), hosted by the Avant-Garde Study Group at Birkbeck, University of London. This will run 7pm – 9pm. The event is free to attend and everyone is welcome; you don’t need to be a student or staff member at Birkbeck to take part. You don’t need to know Spanish either, as we will use the 1989 bilingual edition with English translations by Vera M Kutzinski. The venue is Room 221, School of Arts, 43 Gordon Square, Birkbeck, University of London, Bloomsbury, London WC1H 0PD. Please see the Avant-Garde Study Group’s website, where you can sign up to a mailing list to receive reading materials a week in advance.
On Friday 24th May I have the honour of speaking at Whose Heritage?: A (Multi)Cultural Perspective, a symposium celebrating the 20th anniversary of Stuart Hall’s landmark address Whose Heritage? Un‐settling ‘the Heritage’, Re‐imagining the Post‐nation. I’ll be introducing the concepts involved in Hall’s piece, as well as exploring its influence on academia and the heritage sector. This free event is sold out, but see the link below for details of how to join the waiting list for returns.
From the organisers at Northumbria University:
Whose Heritage? aims to raise awareness and expand society’s attitudes about heritage, and to incorporate ideas of ‘difference’ and ‘change’ into how we think about the past. In the current political climate, ‘going public’ with cultural difference will make a claim on how culture, the arts and heritage is envisioned and practiced in the North East.
The symposium features keynotes by historian and broadcaster David Olusoga, and by Dawn Walton, director of Eclipse Theatre. Other speakers include Clara Arokiasamy (ICOMOS-UK), Miranda Lowe (Natural History Museum, Museum Detox), Hannabiell Sanders (Harambee Pasadia), Martin Hylton (Gateway Studio), Padma Rao (ArtsConnect and Sangini), David Faulkner (Newcastles of the World / Waka Waka Africa North East), and scholars Meleisa Ono George, Anandi Ramamurthy and Susan Ashley. There will also be poetry performances by Degna Stone, Radikal Queen, Jo Clement and Rowan McCabe, plus live music with Ladies of Midnight Blue.
The event runs 9.30am-5pm at the Assembly Rooms, Fenkle Street, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 5XU.
On Saturday 4th May 2019 I’m performing at the poetry series Capital Letters – Poetries in Dialogue, alongside the excellent Sascha Aurora Akhtar. The event will also feature opportunities to quiz Sascha and me about our work. The venue is the National Maritime Museum, Park Row, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF. 3pm start, wrapping up for 5pm. Free entry.