Tag Archives: poetry launches

George Ttoouli’s Static Exile

George Ttoouli

George Ttoouli

   
George Ttoouli was born in London in 1979 to Greek parents. An Honorary Teaching Fellow for the Warwick Writing Programme, he co-founded the Heaventree Press in 2002, has worked in the education team at the Poetry Society, and co-edits poetry blogzine, Gists & Piths. He is now mostly skint, in Coventry. George’s articles, reviews, poems, short stories and essays have been published widely. In 2004 he received a Jerwood-Arvon Young Writing Apprenticeship to work on a novel, which he still hasn’t abandoned. Static Exile (Penned in the Margins, 2009) is his debut collection of poetry.
    
    
Nearing Extinction
George Ttoouli
  
You know this feeling.
The air carries a sense of erasure
and for the first time you notice
the streets are scrubbed of anyone
who might offer the phantom you’ve become
a smile. The last bus pulls from the kerb
like a page ripping out of a diary and every pavement
is a shapeless mask, all the escalators full
in other directions. You are
the only person on the platform
to which no train will arrive.
Something in you expects this, made a choice
to fill the streets with negative spaces
and the tyres of every feeling you have in you
to the point of bursting on the first bend.
First though, a flood; some dark mist
congeals into a whisper and scours the streets,
tubes, shops and cafés, kitchen counters
full of plastic-wrapped packets and bottles,
cuts clean with its meniscus every trace
of people from the surface. This is more
real than you imagined, the skin
of the manmade dulled to a dark grey,
until the world is a unified obsidian
though soft like the flank of a panther
nearing extinction, growling yet.
   
   
Published in Static Exile (Penned in the Margins, 2009).
   
Order Static Exile.
      

Static Exile  
   
Join Penned in the Margins for the launch of George Ttoouli’s Static Exile and James Wilkes’ Weather A System at The Slaughtered Lamb, 34-35 Great Sutton Street, Clerkenwell, London, EC1V 0DX, on Sunday, 8 November, from 8pm till late. 
Nearest tube: Farringdon.
    
Simon Turner and Holly Pester will be supporting Ttoouli and Wilkes.
  
Entry is free.

Janet Sutherland’s Hangman’s Acre

    
   
Janet Sutherland was raised on a dairy farm in Wiltshire, lived twenty years in London and now lives in Lewes. Her second collection, Hangman’s Acre (Shearsman Books, 2009), is to be published on 15 October 2009. Of her first collection, Burning the Heartwood (Shearsman Books, 2006), reviewed in Poetry Review, Judith Kazantzis said the “poems are questioning, tender, guarded”. Her work has appeared in many magazines including Poetry Review and Poetry Wales and in anthologies including The Virago Book of Love Poetry and The New British Poetry 1968-88. She has read widely including at venues in Brighton, London and at the Ledbury Poetry Festival. Read more about Janet and Hangman’s Acre on her Shearsman author page  and website.
    
  
    
Assemblage des Beautés
  
Bone monkey has set up shop in the airing cupboard.
It’s warm in there. Silverfish take refuge in his skull
and slide around his ribs. Worn sheets have ruched between
his bones like the petals of old roses – Assemblage des Beautés
for instance – so cherry red and full it almost seems
there is blood again and a heart beating like crazy.
  
  
Previously published in Poetry Review (Volume 99:2 Summer 2009).
  
  
 
Nearer
  
rain is falling under sodium lights
the municipal toilet roof is bathed in gold
up station street the tarmac shines and little rivers
writhe and coil along the roadside gutters
 
it’s late     the traffic light in broken pieces
scatters across the deserted lane
in amber, red, red and amber, green
in all the houses darkness slowly deepens
  
in this town on a night like this     my heart
glitters     each footfall takes me nearer
to your bed   and to the dark where I will
lie with you this little time     I thought
  
it could not be like this   but I was wrong
walking on light and water     coming home
  
  
Published in Hangman’s Acre (Shearsman Books, 2009).
  
  
 
Bath launch of Carrie Etter’s pamphlet and Janet Sutherland’s second book
  
Monday 26 October, 6.30pm, Carrie Etter and Janet Sutherland launch new collections at Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights, 14 – 15 John Street, Bath, BA1 2JL. Phone: 01225331155. Email: books@mrbsemporium.com.
 
Shearsman Books December 2009 Reading
 
Tuesday 1 December 2009, 7.30pm, Alan Wearne and Janet Sutherland at Swedenborg Hall, Swedenborg House, 20/21 Bloomsbury Way (entry on Barter Street), London, WC1A 2TH. Email: editor@shearsman.com.

Sharks, Poets and other Endangered Species

 
 
On Thursday, 30 July 2009, the Two Oceans Aquarium, in collaboration with the UCT Writers Series, will present DEEP: A Night of Creative Currents featuring Sharks, Poets and other Endangered Species.  The event is in support of the Aquarium’s Adopt-a-School Programme.
   
Tickets cost R40.00 and include entrance to the Two Oceans Aquarium and a free glass of wine on arrival.  Fairview will present cheese and wine and a cash bar will be available. Art, and books from the Book Lounge, will be on sale.  Doors open at 18h30 with performances starting at 19h00.
   
*
   
Writers and poets have been inspired to speak and write in celebration and defence of the oceans.  In today’s rushed world there are fewer and fewer places available for contemplation and creativity, especially in cities.  Just as our creative spaces and practitioners are under threat, so too are our oceans and their creatures.  DEEP is an opportunity to celebrate the oceans and some of South Africa’s most creative artists.
  
Central to DEEP is the launch of Hyphen, a debut collection of poems by Tania van Schalkwyk, which is published by the UCT Writers Series.  Included in this collection are a number of poems inspired by the sea including ‘Siren Song’, ‘Abyss’, ‘Lionfish’ and ‘Water’.  Lindsey Collen, author of The Rape of Sita, Mutiny and Boy, and twice winner of the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize, Africa, said, “Tania van Schalkwyk’s poems are warm, sensuous memories that often shock and surprise at the same time … They are not just on inner space, but are poems of place, as they move from islands to the veld, from cities to the desert”.  No stranger to the Aquarium, having assisted with the launch of Shoreline Café, van Schalkwyk also curated DEEP in collaboration with Michelle Matthews of Electric Book Works.
  
The launch of Hyphen will be supported by a collection of three minute sea-inspired flash readings and performances by select poets and writers, including Gus Ferguson, Justin Fox, Sarah Lotz, Helen Moffett, Malika Lueen Ndlovu, Henrietta Rose-Innes and a collaborative piece by Toni Stuart, Michael Mwila Mambwe & James Jamala Safari.  The MC for the evening is the inimitable Suzy Bell; writer, columnist and pop culture aficionado.
  
Ferguson has had seven collections of poems and two books of cartoons published; Fox is deputy editor and senior photographer at Getaway magazine; Lotz is a scriptwriter-cum-krimi author with an insatiable greed for the macabre; Moffett has recently published her first collection of poems; Ndlovu is dedicated to creating indigenous multi-media works in line with her personal motto ” healing through creativity”; Rose-Innes won the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2008; Stuart works with young people, using poetry as a means of self-expression; DRC born Mambwe’s has performed on various stages from the Cape Town Book Fair to the Africa Centre’s Badilisha Poetry Exchange and Jamala Safari’s earliest artistic exposure came in the form of theatre at a young age in Bukavu, South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  
These well-known word-artists have a wealth of performance experience and publications behind their names and will give voice to the ocean’s deepest secrets.
  
Word art by Gabeba Baderoon, Gus Ferguson, Tania van Schalkwyk and others in The Vinyl Collection, will come to life against the backdrop of smaller exhibits in the Aquarium.  Baderoon is the author of three collections of poetry and was the recipient of the DaimlerChrysler Award for South African Poetry in 2005.
  
The evening will also feature seven short films including three from the City Breath ProjectWaitless, The Electrician and Omdat ek die stadsrumoer (Because I chose the city noise).  The writer of the latter film was blinded at age four, but at sixty-nine, still has vivid memories of visiting an aquarium.  A film, alpha, by Kai Lossgott, curator of the City Breath Project, will also be shown.  City Breath is an urban oral history video project which seeks to interrogate the official understandings of South African cities conveyed in television, film and other mass media.
  
Other film pieces include Umbilical Cord by poet/filmmaker Shelley Barry and Sea Orchestra and The Tale of How by the Blackheart Gang.  Barry’s films have been screened at major festivals and events around the world and The Tale of How has won numerous international awards, including “Best Independent Film” at the Bradford Animation Festival in London in 2006.
  
Artists Rebecca Townsend and Colwyn Thomas will show their work which will be available for purchase. Townsend works predominantly with glass and creates sculptural glass vessels that reveal the magic of the ordinary things we live with every day.  ‘Kelp’ by Thomas is a 12-part light-box installation which, according to Thomas, “is a rumination on some of the changes that take place when we grow up.”. Thomas is influenced by traditional and modern Japanese art and his works often show both humans and fish or animals in dreamscapes animated by trailing clouds, plants or jellyfish tendrils.
  
Local band Benguela will take to the stage against the spectacular backdrop of the I&J Predator Exhibit.  The trio, including Ross Campbell, Alex Bozas and Brydon Bolton, has played at many of the festivals around South Africa.  According to James Garner, “Benguela’s sound is an atmospheric, uncompromisingly adventurous fusion of constantly shifting elements…”  The name ‘Benguela’ is taken from the cold current running up the West Coast of southern Africa and reflects both the flowing nature of the music as well as being geographically representative of where the band came together and the climate in which they live.
  
Proceeds from DEEP will go towards the Aquarium’s Adopt-a-School Programme.  This programme provides the opportunity for children from previously disadvantaged schools to visit the Aquarium and to discover the wonders and beauty of the ocean and its inhabitants.  Such an opportunity can be a life-changing experience for these children and instill a deep and long-lasting appreciation for the oceans.
  
Tickets cost R40.00 and include entrance to the Two Oceans Aquarium and a free glass of wine on arrival.  Fairview will present cheese and wine and a cash bar will be available.  Art, and books from the Book Lounge, will be on sale.  Doors open at 18h30 with performances starting at 19h00.  For more information contact:
  
Helen Lockhart
Communications & Sustainability Manager
Two Oceans Aquarium
Tel: 021-418 3823
Email: helen.lockhart@aquarium.co.za
Website: www.aquarium.co.za

Tom Chivers’ How to Build a City

Your Name Has Been Randomly Selected
Tom Chivers
 
Pennie Rakestraw emailed details of my order;
she claimed it helped performance in the bedroom.
 
Freuden Ginnery agreed and lodged himself between
the hard drive and the fan. He squeaks his sales pitch
 
on reboot. Morace Shakoor was kind enough to send me
excerpts from Victorian novels (he knows my taste),
 
cut up and reassembled as techno-futuristic porno;
all tongue and motor, bonnets upturned in the mud.
 
I let the Trojan in. I’m nice like that. Besides,
I got the note from Hartshorne Settlemire,
 
installed the relevant import hooks and re-subscribed;
ham, bacon and eggs (my account is blocked)
 
converted to plain text by Waynick Quibodeaux,
who knows a thing or two about naming.
   
  
 
From How to Build a City (Salt Publishing, 2009).
  
Read more about Tom and How to Build a City here.
  
Visit Tom’s blog.
  
 
Launch
 
How to Build a City (Tom Chivers), Unexpected Weather (Abi Curtis) and The Migraine Hotel (Luke Kennard) will be launched on Saturday, 13 June (8pm), at The Slaughtered Lamb, 34-35 Great Sutton Street, London, EC1V 0DX. Entrance is free. Ross Sutherland will be your compere for the evening. The reading will begin at 8.30pm.

Joan Metelerkamp’s Burnt Offering

Body of work
Joan Metelerkamp

  
As coming upon
a puff-adder coiled on the carpet
under the desk
  
or a boomslang
slithered off out of its tracks
then its skin and later even
its bones …
  
perhaps they didn’t even know it
was done when it was done,
those alchemists,
  
perhaps it felt too easy –
like waking drugged out of sleep still
sloughing it off –
  
maybe they didn’t even feel better
for a while, if at all
after all
  
they didn’t know what they were doing
when they started
nor how terrible they’d feel
nor for how long –
  
they were dead scared
was it the fear itself or was it the fear
of mercury poisoning or the poisoning itself
  
god’s truth they must have got sick of it –
right arms aching down to the little finger
right side of the head aching
right down the back aching
  
sick of it sick of that vocation that exhaustion that compulsion
to make something of something as nothing
as love making matter what mattered
so little to anyone else if at all –
 
ridicule, poverty, social ostracism
they weren’t worried about those they worried
about their work
not working their fear not resolving
  
what they knew: what they were
working on
their material, their metal, to make
come like the mysterious body
  
they didn’t want to end up with
the same stuff they started with
the residue of the time before
  
all they knew they were
burning thickening melting
into air finding wanting
all they could ever hope for
  
  
From Burnt Offering (Modjaji Books, 2009).
  
Read my interview with Joan on Litnet.
  
To purchase Burnt Offering, contact Colleen Higgs at Modjaji Books: cdhiggs@gmail.com.
  
Launch
  

You are cordially invited to Burnt Offering’s launch – Joan will be reading – at the Cape Town Book Fair on 14 June 2009 from 17h30 to 18h30 at the DALRO Stage in the CTICC exhibition halls.

Sindiwe Magona’s Please, Take Photographs

It takes a village
Sindiwe Magona
  
It takes a village
To raise a child
Mother to tomorrow’s
Village.
  
It takes a village
To heal broken accord
Child to tomorrow’s
War.
  
It takes a village
To plough the widow’s field
So her children will not steal
To live.
  
It takes a village
To sow seeds of life
Cooperation, life-blood
To communal living.
  
It takes a village
To raise a standard,
Kill competition, father
Of greed and unending strife.
  
  
From Please, Take Photographs (Modjaji Books, 2009)
 
To purchase Please, Take Photographs, contact Colleen Higgs at Modjaji Books: cdhiggs@gmail.com
  
Launch
 
You are cordially invited to Please, Take Photograph’s launch – Sindiwe will be reading – at the Cape Town Book Fair on 14 June 2009 from 17h30 to 18h30 at the DALRO Stage in the CTICC exhibition halls.

Helen Moffett’s Strange Fruit

   
Another Country
Helen Moffett
 
In other countries, I become a different person.
In Uganda, I drink beer after Tuskers beer,
and in Barbados, home-made herb rum.
In Alaska, I drive a four-by-four.
In Ireland, I stick out my thumb.
In Greece, I share a room with strangers.
And everywhere, I get up before dawn,
climbing out of windows if I have to,
scrambling to catch first light.
 
On the sacred isle of Iona, adrift in the Hebrides,
I walk along a beach, confessing,
clutching the hand of an impossible man
I have known for all of three days.
And I skydive into love, freefalling,
wind whistling past my ears.
A day later, I kiss him
in the middle of the night,
in the middle of a storm,
spray wet on our faces,
caught in the boom of a kettledrum.
  
At home, I never do any of these things.
I’m a white-wine girl who doesn’t see sunrise.
My car is small and second-hand.
I seldom take risks.
And while I might fall in love,
I no longer jump out of planes,
hurtle into the heart of the wind.
  
But maybe I should. Live in another country.
  
for Sean McDonagh
  
 
   
From Strange Fruit (Modjaji Books, 2009)
 
Read my interview with Helen on Litnet.
  
Read four poems from Strange Fruit at Rustum Kozain’s blog,
Groundwork.
  
To purchase Strange Fruit, contact Colleen Higgs at Modjaji Books:
cdhiggs@gmail.com.
  
 
Launch
 
You are cordially invited to Strange Fruit’s launch – Helen will be reading – at the Cape Town Book Fair on 14 June 2009 from 17h30 to 18h30 at the DALRO Stage in the CTICC exhibition halls.

Fiona Zerbst’s Oleander

   
Legacy – after Frida Kahlo
Fiona Zerbst
  
‘We must sleep with open eyes, we must dream with our hands’
Octavio Paz

  
I.
 
This column of air.
These nights of broken stone.
This flesh that speaks.
 
If Mexico is Frida,
It is also
Fig and prickly pear,
 
Water gods, dry ears
Of corn, torn as petticoats.
 
 
II.
 
Vanilla jar of dead water
Circled by a peacock.
 
This is what is left to those
Who linger in the courtyard.
 
Her legacy of nails in flesh,
Tears of pomegranate:
 
A broken column
Painted as herself.
 
 
III.
 
Frida dreams in turquoise;
Now vertical, her bed
A crushed infinity.
 
Reflected in her mirror,
This heart that frills the sand’s
Dry life with blood.
 
 
IV.
 
This column of air,
These nights of broken stone,
This flesh that speaks.
 
If Mexico is Frida,
Then it is also
Paintbrush and suffering,
 
Icon of desire,
spine of jewelled bone.
 
 
V.
 
As she paints,
She dreams with her hands.
 
As we watch,
A butterfly sticks
 
To coils of her hair.
That flat plate of brow
 
Is a golden canvas
To feast from.
 
 
From Oleander (Modjaji Books, 2009).
  
Read four poems from Oleander at Rustum Kozain’s blog, Groundwork.
  
To purchase Oleander, contact Colleen Higgs at Modjaji Books:
cdhiggs@gmail.com
  
 
Launch
  
You are cordially invited to Oleander’s launch – Fiona will be reading – at the Cape Town Book Fair on 14 June 2009 from 17h30 to 18h30 at the DALRO Stage in the CTICC exhibition halls.
  
Visit Fiona’s blog.

Angela France’s Occupation

 
The Florist Explains Mimesis
Angela France
 

It begins with the cut. Not secateurs,
never scissors – only a blade can slice
a good angle through the stem.
See how my knife fits my hand:
its heel snugs into my palm, shows
me where to snip, where to cleave.
Its stubby sharpness has perfect balance,
guides my selection of leaf and bud,
knows which will be coaxed forward
or held back.
 
Picky brides and blind lovers
only care about shape and colour.
They don’t know what brings blooms
to such integrity nor do they see
how their choices measure depths
and futures. Mourners think
they can make flowers speak forcing
them into wire frames to spell names.
Deaf to the petals’ curve,
the eloquence of sweeping vine,
they never notice, nor ask why,
I leave a single thorn to nestle
under the calyx of the rose
they drop into the grave.
 
 
From Occupation (Ragged Raven Press, 2009).
  
Occupation is available for pre-publication order.
   
Angela’s collection will be launched at the Ledbury Poetry Festival on Friday, 10 July 2009, at 11h00. Take a look at the 2009 Festival Programme.

Andrea Porter’s A Season of Small Insanities

  
Yield
Andrea Porter
  
The drivers on New York arteries are blooded
by the necessity of cut and thrust, but holding
our ground is something we know how to do.
We rant in unison at those that fail to read
the signs. You shun your horn, unlike some,
who play the two-tone shuffle through the toll.
We get the lone finger, the mimed arse-hole
from New Jersey plates, he reads windscreens,
faces, he sees our future in a muscle twitch.
Don’t they understand what bloody yield means?
No answer is required but it settles on the car
with the puddle dirt, the billboard shadows.
I keep trying to master the art of the verb,
how to read it, the road behind us and ahead.
 
 
 
Andrea writes:
  
“I specifically chose ‘Yield’ to bridge the first 41 poems in A Season of Small Insanities and the final 17 poems which form the ‘Marrying Richard Harris’ sequence about the fatal accident caused by a drunk driver I was involved in that led to the death of my partner and the subsequent premature birth and death of my twin sons.
 
‘Yield’ grew out of a road trip I took on the East coast of America with a very old friend. It was triggered by an incident at a toll to get into New York over the river. This poem for me resonates with the final poem in the collection, ‘Crossing’, which is also a sonnet. I find the sonnet in all its forms a wonderful small casket in which to place heightened emotion of any kind as it drives you to exercise a tight discipline, just fourteen lines to say what you want to say. ‘Crossing’ refers to a bridge, a passing over and through something, grief and loss, and ‘Yield’ takes a side long look at what you need to give in to and what you feel cannot be yielded.”
  
 
 
‘Yield’ is published in A Season of Small Insanities (Salt Publishing, 2009).
 
Read about Andrea and A Season of Small Insanities here.
  
Read more poems from Andrea’s collection here.
  
Visit Andrea’s blog, We Liked It but not Quite Enough.
 

Launch details:
 
You are invited to the launch of A Season of Small Insanities on
4 June 2009 at The Maypole Pub, Portugal Place, Cambridge, from19h30 to 22h00. The Maypole Pub is next to the Park Street multi storey car park behind the Round Church in central Cambridge.
 
Help Andrea celebrate, listen to her and other great poets read and generally enjoy yourself.