poetry and updates from matt martin
On Wednesday 6th March, there is a triple launch reading for three new collections from Contraband Books: Flat Earth by Paul Ingram, Austerity Measures by Adrian Clarke, and London Bride by the late and much-missed John Gibbens. Adrian and Paul will give blistering readings from their own work. John’s poetry will be performed by Lucinda Rogers, Stephen Micalef, Stephen Watts, David Ashford and me, accompanied by live music from the avant-garde ensemble Lalula (Armorel Weston and Kay Grant on vocals, Jim Dvorak on trumpet and Otto Willberg on double bass). Free entry, 7pm start. It’s upstairs at The Crown Tavern, 43 Clerkenwell Green, London EC1R 0EG. The nearest station is Farringdon.
On Tuesday 5th March, I’m performing as part of Poem Brut. Hosted by Writers’ Centre Kingston, this event celebrates intersections of poetry and visual art, exploring the possibilities of writing made live before an audience. Other performers include Patrick Cosgrove, Lisa Kiew, Bob Tsukada Bright, SJ Fowler, Mandy Ure & John Hughes, and Sara Upstone & Jo Addison, with more to be announced. The event takes place at the Museum of Futures, 117 Brighton Road, Surbiton KT6 5NJ, against the backdrop of the venue’s exhibition Phoetry / Poetography / Photographic Literature, which showcases experimental intersections between poetry and photography. 7pm start, free entry.
On Saturday 2nd March, I’ll be reading my poetry as part of A Few Words – An Afternoon of Poetry and Painting. I’m among a busload of poets visiting Asylum Studios in Suffolk to perform poems inspired by the venue’s exhibition of remarkable paintings and prints by Gyan Sharma. The line-up also includes Azad Ashim Sharma, Kashif Sharma Patel, Pratyusha, Katy Lewis Hood, Kat Sinclair, Nehaal Bajwa, Verity Spott, Ash Sharma and Armorel Weston. It’s in Building 02, Asylum Studios, Bentwaters Park, Rendlesham, Suffolk IP12 2TW. 2pm start, finishing for 5.30pm. Free.
On Friday 15th February I’ll be at the University of the West Indies in Mona, Jamaica, presenting my paper ‘dancehall business in the dark’: Reggae Soundscape as Threat and Redemption in Kamau Brathwaite’s Trench Town Rock, as part of the 6th Global Reggae Conference – Reggae Innovation and Sound System Culture II. The conference’s array of panels and performances runs from Thursday 14th to Saturday 16th February, starting from 8.30am and continuing into the evening each day. I’m on the Friday 12pm panel Reading Reggae and Women. The rest of the conference features an amazing range of papers by scholars from around the world, plus analysis and predictions from owners and operators of sound systems, live music and art. Celebrated academics participating include Les Johnson, Dennis Howard, Ken Bilby, Tim Wall and Sonjah Stanley Niaah. Registration is US$180 in advance, US$200 on the door, US$50 for postgraduate students and free for undergraduates.
On Sunday 16th December, I’m reading my poetry at WordFilmWord #2, an innovative poetry and multimedia event that’s running as part of the North by Northeast series. The evening also features poetry, film and performance by Ghazal Mosadeq, Iris Colomb, mmmmmfilms (Luna Montenegro, Adrian Fisher and Gines Olivares), Eta Dahlia, mjb, Jonathan Catherall, Hassan Vawda, Genevieve Tester and Anthony John. The event starts at 5pm and will wrap up around 7pm. The venue is One Hoe Street Gallery, 1 Hoe Street, Walthamstow, London E17 4SD. £5/£3.
On Tuesday 4th December I’ll lead a reading group session on Amos Tutuola’s novel The Palm-Wine Drinkard and His Dead Palm-Wine Tapster in the Deads’ Town (1952), 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. The venue is Room 252, Malet Street Building, Birkbeck, University of London, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7HX. Please see the Avant-Garde Study Group’s website, where you can sign up to a mailing list to receive texts and further details a week in advance.
My forthcoming Poetry against Slavery tours for the Being Human Festival have been written about in the Times Higher Education Supplement’s article Engagement: not just nice to have, but the next step in research? by Matthew Reisz. I’m quoted regarding the inspiration behind the tours, and about how this public engagement activity will feed back into my research. The article’s online incarnation is behind a paywall, but if you make an account with the THES you can get three free articles a month. The tours are free and will take place at 12pm and 3pm on Sunday 18, Thursday 22 and Saturday 24 November 2018 at the Museum of London Docklands, No. 1 Warehouse, West India Quay, London E14 4AL.
On Friday 23rd November I’m performing as part of Babelsprech Eurovision Poetry. Babelsprech is a literary platform for live events across Europe. This event is the London manifestation of a project which sees readings occur simultaneously in multiple cities across the continent. New works are being made by European and London-based poets. Each will respond to the concept of multilingual poetry, or will deconstruct the fundamental material of a European language. Other performers in a brilliant line-up are Livia Franchini, Kostya Tsolákis, Tatiana Faia, Olga Kolesnikova, Silje Ree, SJ Fowler, Calliope Michail, Stephen Watts, Juana Adcock, Kirsten Irving, Clover Peake, Peter Jaeger and Russell Bennetts. The venue is the Torriano Meeting House, 99 Torriano Avenue, Kentish Town, London NW5 2RX. 7pm start. Free entry.
If you’re not in London but do find yourself in Vaduz, Chernivtsi, Frankfurt, Cologne, Ljubljana, Lucerne, Rotterdam, Salzburg, Vienna or Zurich on the evening of the 23rd, please do treat yourself by visiting the parallel Babelsprech event in one of those cities.
On Saturday 3rd November, I’m giving a talk entitled ‘Me atell him in Hinglish voice’, which will look at code-switching, the practice of changing how we speak to suit the situation, in work by London-based poets from the Caribbean. This is part of the Languages of London family festival, a two-day celebration of the many languages that have been spoken in east London. The venue is the Museum of London Docklands, No. 1 Warehouse, West India Quay, London E14 4AL. All activities, including my talk, are free; a few workshops are free but ticketed (ask for tickets on arrival at the museum). My talk is at 2.30pm. The rest of the festival features an abundance of fun and educational activities for all the family, starting at 12pm and finishing at 4pm on both Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th November.
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.