eocene press

poetry and updates from matt martin

Speaking at Performed Poetics, 12 March 2022

On Saturday 12 March, I’m speaking as part of a roundtable discussion on the first day of Performed Poetics, a two-day extravaganza of poetry, prose and music celebrating the friendship between two fabulous poet-scholars, Jerome Rothenberg and the late Eric Mottram. It takes place in the Great Hall, Strand Campus, King’s College London, The Strand, London WC2R 2LS. Free, but advance booking is essential.

Here is the full line-up for the weekend:

DAY ONE Saturday, 12th March, 10am to 9pm

  • Poetry & Sound Poetry with Jerome Rothenberg and Charlie Morrow.
  • Allen Fisher reading works by Eric Mottram and others.
  • Jeff Hilson and Steve McGarty present Eric Mottram’s seminars on Radical Poetics.
  • Janette Cheong introduces and shows her 1972 film collaboration with Eric Mottram, ‘The Question in the Village’.
  • A round table and discussion, chaired by Robert Hampson including Gavin Selerie, Jerome Rothenberg and Charles Bernstein, Hélène Aji, Ken Edwards, Amy Evans, Michael Hrebeniak, Matt Martin, Peter Middleton.
  • A paper from Clive Bush, ‘Dark Times and Utopias in the work of Eric Mottram’.
  • Drinks reception following the close of the daytime talks.
  • In the evening: ‘More Poetry & Sound Poetry’ with Jerome Rothenberg and Charlie Morrow.

DAY TWO Sunday 13th March, 10.15am to 9pm

  • Charles Bernstein and Maggie O’Sullivan in celebration of the work of Jerome Rothenberg.
  • Hélène Aji discusses the work of Jerome Rothenberg.
  • Colin Still video-presentation: ‘Collaborations between Jerome Rothenberg and Ian Tyson’.
  • AND: Vot Em I Doink Here? a film regarding the life and work of Jerome Rothenberg.
  • Jeffrey Robinson with Jerome Rothenberg in conversation about the Poems for the Millennium series.
  • In the evening: John Kenny and musicians performing ‘Songs from A Book of Herne’ by John Kenny, poetry by Eric Mottram. Performed by The Scot Free Ensemble.
  • Followed by Jerome Rothenberg and Charlie Morrow, ‘Translations and Transformations’.

A simple sandwich lunch will be provided on both days.

Photo of Eric Mottram.

Broadside published by Kater Murr’s Press

My poem frequently asked questions has been published as a limited edition broadside by Kater Murr’s Press (run by David Miller and George Touloupas) – a three-page poem with cover art by David Miller.

frequently asked questions, cover art © David Miller, 2021.

Essay on David Miller in Creative Critical

The online journal Creative Critical has published my ‘the linking-up of things’: An Introduction to David Miller’s The Dark Path and There and Here. This is an introductory essay to the republication of two creative-critical works by the poet David Miller, also in the journal: The Dark Path, on negative theology in the work of poet Fanny Howe, and There and Here, on 19th-century author Gérard de Nerval.

‘(Untitled) ink painting’, copyright © David Miller, 2021

Presenting the Contemporary Innovative Poetry Research Seminar, 27 January 2022

On Thursday 27 January, I am presenting and discussing some of my research into Barbadian poet Kamau Brathwaite, as part of Royal Holloway University of London’s Contemporary Innovative Poetry Research Seminar series. The seminar takes place online via Zoom, beginning at 6pm, and will last for around an hour. It’s free, and all are welcome. Here is an abstract:

Kamau Brathwaite on Lindisfarne: An Intercultural Poetics of Northumbria and the Caribbean 

In 1992, Barbadian poet Kamau Brathwaite visited the UK for an Arts Council residency in North-East England, participating in workshops and readings throughout the region. While there, he visited the island of Lindisfarne, a major locus for faith and culture in the early medieval kingdom of Northumbria. He subsequently wrote the long poem Scapeghosts about Lindisfarne; this was published as part of a series of appearances by Brathwaite in the arts section of the County Durham newspaper The Northern Echo. 

The dream-vision of Scapeghosts overlays descriptions of Lindisfarne with an account of a ritual at River Bay in northern Barbados. The conflation of ceremonial landscapes suggests parallels between aspects of early medieval Northumbria and the modern Caribbean; in particular, Brathwaite builds on his 1987 book X/Self in presenting both settings as places of cultural flux in the aftermath of empire.  

Drawing on archival research, this seminar explores how Brathwaite’s writings and residency in the North-East reflect his philosophy of ‘tidalectics’, a model of cultural exchange inspired by the Caribbean’s archipelagic geography, allowing ideas to be shared between communities without hegemony being imposed. Elements of tidalectics can also be traced in intercultural approaches to Northumbrian history by North-East-based poets like Basil Bunting and Bill Griffiths. Such commonalities suggest that new directions for UK cultures might emerge through learning from Brathwaite’s Caribbean thought. In particular, there is potential for reimagining geographic, racial and stylistic identities within the UK’s poetry communities.

Reading at the Beyond Text Innovative Poetry Festival, 14 January 2022

On Friday 14 January, I’m reading on the first day of the Beyond Text Innovative Poetry Festival in Folkestone, Kent. The evening also features readings by Fran Lock, Stephen Emmerson and SJ Fowler, followed by a discussion on writing for performance, featuring the four of us, and hosted by festival organiser Michał Kamil Piotrowski. The event runs from 6pm until around 8.45pm, at Creative Folkestone Quarterhouse, Mill Bay, Folkestone CT20 1BN.

The festival continues with readings and discussion featuring Tim Atkins, Juha Virtanen, Konstantinos Papacharalampos and Nisha Ramayya on the evening of Saturday 15 January. It concludes on Sunday 16 January with a participatory sound poetry performance by Sophie Stone and Jason Hodgson in the afternoon, followed by readings and discussion featuring Iris Colomb, Nell Perry, Janani Ambikapathy, Karenjit Sandhu, Stephen Mooney and Michał Kamil Piotrowski. On Friday and Saturday, the performances are preceded by poetry workshops with Michał Kamil Piotrowski.

Ticket for the readings are £6 for an individual day, or £12 for all three days. Workshops are £5 each.

Reading at the Austrian Poetry Celebration, 30th November 2021

On Tuesday 30th November, I’m reading as part of the Austrian Poetry Celebration, part of this year’s European Poetry Festival (which runs 20-30 November). The event features three Austrian poets premiering collaborations with UK-based counterparts: Verena Dürr and Magdalena McLean, Stefan Ellmer and SJ Fowler, and Cornelia Hülmbauer and Ollie Evans. There will also be solo readings from the Austrians, plus Christian Patracchini, Stephen Watts, Lote Vilma Vītiņa, Chris McCabe and me. It’s at the Austrian Cultural Forum, 28 Rutland Gate, Knightsbridge, London SW7 1PQ. 6.30pm doors, for a 7pm start. Free admission, but advance booking is required.

The venue’s Covid-19 precautions are:

Visitors must either show proof of a negative Covid-19 lateral flow test (not older than 48 hours), be fully vaccinated or have recently recovered from Covid-19. We ask you also to follow social distancing, wear a mask and sanitise your hands. Please do not visit the ACF if you have Covid symptoms.


Speaking at What Can Poetry Do for Community?, 5th July 2021

On Monday 5th July, I’m speaking about my poetry research as part of What Can Poetry Do for Community?, an online roundtable discussion hosted by Birkbeck Research in the Ethics of Kinship and Community and the Contemporary Poetics Research Centre at Birkbeck, University of London. Also speaking about their research and poetry are Sarona Abuaker, Kayombo Chingonyi, Jérôme Game and Fran Lock, while the event will be chaired by Steve Willey and Nathalie Wourm. The event will take place at 6pm via the Teams app, and is free to attend – no booking required.

Here is more from the official description of the event:

How does contemporary poetic practice engage with ideas of community? Does it provide any innovative perspectives on a type of relationality that can be conceived of as community? As a starting point, we can consider some of the notions put forward by Édouard Glissant in his Poetics of Relation (1990). If we accept his suggestion that relation can only be imagined, not defined, then it is clear that literature, poetry, and other creative arts represent a remarkable source of materials with which to consider concepts of community. Glissant, for instance, notes that paradoxically “the great founding books of communities, the Old Testament, the Iliad, the Odyssey, the Chansons de Geste, the Icelandic Sagas, the Aeneid, or the African epics, were aIl books about exile and often about errantry.” Referring back to Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus (1980), he opposes the fixity of the rooted community based on the negation of the Other, to the nomadic, rhizomatic community of métissage, multiplicity, diversity, which he considers to be at its most accomplished today. So, if the conditions of relationality are made (a poiesis), how are they made in poetry right now? Is Glissant right in suggesting that selfhood and otherness have become porous, and that communities are now rhizomatic? What discourse does current poetic practice generate on community? And is it politically radical?

Each guest speaker will give a five-minute talk. This will be followed by a discussion and then by questions and comments from the audience.

Performing at the artBLAB Reading Series, 24th April 2021

On Saturday 24th April I’m performing online as part of the artBLAB Reading Series. Also reading are the excellent poets Iris Colomb, Doug Jones and Carlos Soto-Román. The event takes place via Zoom at 8pm. £5 recommended donation to help support the series.

Essay in Hilson Hilson: The Poetry of Jeff Hilson

My essay “trying to cross the border. & drowned.”: Appropriation and Representation in Jeff Hilson’s “A Final Poem with Full Stops” has been published in Hilson Hilson: The Poetry of Jeff Hilson, now on sale from Crater Press. Edited by Richard Parker, the book is a collection of essays, poems and other material celebrating the work of the poet Jeff Hilson oeuvre; my contribution focuses on Hilson’s poetry in solidarity with refugees. The collection also features work by Tim Atkins, Montenegro Fisher, Gareth Farmer, Ulli Freer, Peter Jaeger, Philip Terry, Anthony Mellors, Ghazal Mosadeq, Simon Smith, Marcus Slease, Doug Jones, Jonathan Skinner, William Rowe, Jo Lindsay Walton, Adrian Clarke, Ken Edwards, Scott Thurston, Tommy Peeps, Carlos Soto Roman, Daniel Kane, Chris Gutkind, Richard Owens, Mark Johnson, Peter Philpott, Colin Lee Marshall, Stephen Mooney, Amy Evans Bauer, Tom Jenks, cris cheek, Allen Fisher, Robert Kiely, Frances Presley, Virna Teixeira, Colin Herd, Jessica Pujol Duran, Andrew Spragg, Ágnes Lehóczky, Robert Hampson, Zoe Skoulding, Iris Colomb, Aodán McCardle, Rob Holloway, Khaled Hakim, Gavin Selerie and Fabian Macpherson.

Crater Press has also released Hilson’s new poetry collection, Organ Music. In Crater’s words:

Organ Music is an extended riff on the previous decade of Tory rule by way some of its more horribly memorable national occasions – the 2011 London riots, the Thatcher funeral, Brexit, and the beginning of the end of Jeremy Corbyn. It also improvises other historically resonant events like Agincourt, the Falklands War, and the death of David Bowie. Witness (keyboard) history as you’ve never before encountered it (forget Keith Emerson) and discover some of the key figures of the early English organ repertoire like Orlando Gibbons, Christopher Tye and Klaus Wunderlich. Formally rich (it moves between free verse, poets theatre, prose and visual poetry), this is ultimately a book of melancholic exuberance. F* you Tory Britain, the organist will see you now!

The books are £10 each with additional postage, or £20 for the pair with free postage.

May be an image of food and text that says "JEFEHILSON JEFF HILSON HILSON ORGAN MUSIC Twonew publications from crateress http://www.craterpress.co.uk Organ Music Poems by Jeff Hilson (Crater 61) Hilson Hilson Essays on the poetry of Jeff Hilson (Crater 62)"
Poster advertising the Crater Press books Organ Music and Hilson Hilson.

Sound Literature, 3rd November 2020 POSTPONED

Unfortunately, the Sound Literature event, where I was due to perform on Tuesday 3rd November, at the church of St John on Bethnal Green, is now unable to go ahead as planned. This is due to the Bishop of London shutting the doors of Anglican churches in the city in preparation for the UK’s impending, month-long lockdown – an understandable decision. It is hoped that the event can be rescheduled in future.