eocene press

poetry and updates from matt martin

white crag moss in the artBLAB:text online exhibition, 31 July – 31 August 2020

From Friday 31 July to Monday 31 August, my Yorkshire dialect poetry sequence white crag moss, presented as a video with accompanying photographs of sites on Ilkley Moor that inspired the writing, will feature in artBLAB:text, an online exhibition of poetry themed around connections and organised by the artBLAB event series. The exhibition also features work by Astra Papachristodoulou, J Whitehead, Paul Ingram, Fran Lock, Stephen Emmerson, Stephen Mooney, Iris Colomb, Tim Atkins and Michal Kamil Piotrowski; it is curated by Marta Grabowska.

The exhibition launch event takes place via Zoom at 7pm on Friday 31 July. This will feature exhibition participants discussing their creative lives during the COVID-19 lockdown, plus live music by Flo Perlin, and DJing by Nana & Grandad’s Tribadism Connect.

artBLAB exhibition

artBLAB exhibition opening

Contributing to the Crested Tit Collective’s Earth Day reading of Juliana Spahr’s Unnamed Dragonfly Species, 22nd April 2020

To celebrate Earth Day on Wednesday 22nd April, I’m among many poets contributing to an online group reading of Juliana Spahr’s magnificent poem Unnamed Dragonfly Species, organised by the feminist ecopoetry co-operative Crested Tit Collective. My section of the poem is accompanied by Armorel Weston on shakuhachi. The reading also features Cat Chong, Laura Hellon, Briony Hughes, EP Jenkins, Tese Uhomoibhi, Martina Krajňáková, Tanicia Pratt, Tiffany Charrington, Chloë Proctor, JD Howse, Yvonne Litschel, Caroline Harris, Robert Hampson, Eley Williams, Caitlin Bahrey, Rowan Evans, Amy Evans Bauer, Broc Rossell, CAConrad, Allen Fisher, Will Montgomery, Ben Pelhan, Sarah Cave, and Juliana Spahr herself.

‘Wi’ nowt but dialeck for democracy’: Bill Griffiths’ Cultural Activism in Seaham on the Stuart Hall Foundation website

My short paper ‘Wi’ nowt but dialeck for democracy’: Bill Griffiths’ Cultural Activism in Seaham has been published on the website of the Stuart Hall Foundation.

Here is the abstract for the paper:

In 1990, the poet Bill Griffiths (1948-2007) moved from the London area to Seaham in County Durham, where he embarked on extensive work alongside long-term residents to preserve the North East’s dialect, history and physical heritage in the face of hegemonic, centralised English identity. This paper discusses how Griffiths’ community activities, and the poetry emerging from them, celebrate folk traditions while never essentialising them as (in Stuart Hall’s words) ‘moving, apparently without change, from past to future’; rather, ‘folk’ for Griffiths emerges through histories of dislocation and hybridisation, offering not a conservative force but the possibility of radical resistance.

Temporary Spaces reviewed at The State of the Arts

Sam Phasey has written a review of the recent Poetry Society exhibition and Pamenar Press anthology Temporary Spaces for the online journal The State of the Arts, giving generous and insightful attention to my contribution, the visual poem destroying angel.

Presenting at the Centre for Modern Poetry Research Seminar, University of Kent, 27th February 2020

On Thursday 27th February, I’m presenting the Centre for Modern Poetry Research Seminar at the University of Kent. I will be sharing my research paper Ananse’s Dictionary: Creole Etymologies in the Poetry of Kamau Brathwaite. The event was organised before Brathwaite sadly passed away on 4th February 2020; it is hoped that the seminar will provide an opportunity to reflect on his inspiring legacy. The event runs 4pm-5pm at Keynes College, University of Kent, University Road, Canterbury CT2 7NP.  It is free to attend, with no booking required.

Here is the abstract for the seminar:

People of the Anglophone Caribbean have long used etymology as a means of resistance against the colonialism associated with standard English, asserting alternative histories to re-root words in the lived experience of the region. This talk considers how the practice manifests in the writings of Louise Bennett, Frank Collymore and Kei Miller, before exploring Barbadian poet Kamau Brathwaite’s development of the tactic to create his ‘calibanisms’, puns that employ Caribbean pronunciation to subvert standard English. Brathwaite’s avant-garde poetics operate in the trickster tradition of the god-hero Ananse, channelling folk practices towards reinventing language and culture for the Caribbean future.

destroying angel in the Temporary Spaces anthology

An excerpt from my visual poem destroying angel is in the anthology Temporary Spaces from Pamenar Press, edited by Astra Papachristodoulou and Nic Stringer. The anthology collects work from the eponymous exhibition of visual poetry exploring object and time (showing at the Poetry Cafe in London until Saturday 22 February 2020). The anthology is available from the Pamenar website for £10 plus postage.

temporary spaces cover

Reading at Temporary Spaces, 29th January 2020

On Wednesday 29th January I’m performing at the opening event for Temporary Spaces. This visual poetry exhibition explores the themes of object and time, and features my poem destroying angel alongside an abundance of work by other poets and artists. Also performing at the event are exhibition contributors Astra Papachristodouou, Sarah Dawson, Michelle Penn, Simon Tyrrell and Claire Collison, with more TBC. There will also be the launch of an exhibition catalogue from Pamenar Press, anthologising poetry from the exhibition. The exhibition (which runs until Saturday 22 February) and the event are at the Poetry Cafe, 22 Betterton Street, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9BX. Performances start from 7.30pm; free entry, with £3 suggested donation.

Reading at Yaldebaoth, 25th January 2020

On Saturday 25th January I’m reading at Yaldebaoth, an event featuring readings and performances by Stewart Home, Bridget Penney, Paul Holman, Chloe Aridjis, Johnny Pulp, Jacqueline Ennis-Cole, Simon Pomery and Martin Wakefield, plus visual art by Richard Marshall. It’s at The Kenton Pub, 38 Kenton Road, Homerton, London E9 7AB. 8pm start.

destroying angel in the Temporary Spaces exhibition, 20th January – 22nd February 2020

From Monday 20th January to Saturday 22nd February, my mushroom-based work destroying angel will be on display in Temporary Spaces, an exhibition of visual poetry exploring the themes of object and time. The exhibition is a collaboration between Astra Papachristodoulou’s Poem Atlas project and Nic Stringer’s Corrupted Poetry series. The exhibition also features visual poems by Nic, Astra, Sarah Dawson, Stephen Emmerson, Simon Tyrell, Silje Ree, Claire Collison, James Knight, Paul Hawkins, Michelle Penn and Stephen Mooney. It’s at the Poetry Cafe, 22 Betterton Street, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9BX. The venue is open 11am-10pm on Monday and Wednesday-Saturday, and 11am-11pm on Tuesdays (parts of the exhibition may be in use for events at times during the run).
Temporary Spaces poster

Presenting at the Launch of Greg Thomas’s Border Blurs, 5th December 2019

On Thursday 5th December, I’m presenting a short paper entitled Ports in a Storm: Bill Griffiths’ Forming Four Dock Poems as part of the launch event for Greg Thomas’s Border Blurs: Concrete Poetry in England and Scotland (Liverpool University Press), an important book about interactions between Scottish and English concrete poets in the 1950s and 1960s. Also presenting are Steve Willey, Bronac Ferran, Nicola Simpson, Rebecca Kosic and Greg Thomas himself. The venue is Room B13, School of Arts, Birkbeck University of London, 43 Gordon Square, Bloomsbury, London WC1H 0PD. 6pm start, wrapping up for 9pm. The event is free but bookable.