eocene press

poetry and updates from matt martin

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.

Performing at Sound Literature, 3rd November 2020

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.

On Tuesday 3rd November, I’m performing at Sound Literature, an evening of sound poetry organised by Writers’ Kingston (the literary cultural institute at Kingston University) and the London Sound Poetry Club. The event also features Lauren Kinsella, cris cheek, Benedict Taylor & SJ Fowler, Martin Wakefield, Mischa Foster Poole, Xelis de Toro, and Christian Patracchini. The venue is the church of St John on Bethnal Green, 200 Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green, London E2 9PA. Starting time 7pm, free admission.

The church interior is large, so social distancing inside should be eminently feasible. Face masks are required, hand sanitiser is available on site, and seats are widely spaced throughout the nave.

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

From Friday 31st July to Monday 31st 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 31st 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.

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.