Issue 7

‘Day O, day O Daylight come and me wan’ go home’   — Harry Belafonte, ‘Day O (The Banana Boat Song)’   In Ava DuVernay’s film Selma (2014), the time’s changing is not marked when President Lyndon B. Johnson stands in front of Congress and the television cameras and proclaims ‘At times, history and right meet in a single time and a single place… Rarely in any time does an issue lay bare the secret heart of America itself. Equal rights for Negroes is that issue.’ DuVernay’s changes to the portrayal of LBJ in Paul Webb’s original screenplay have caused controversy in the US, with claims that she undermines the president’s contribution to the civil rights struggle on one side, and claims that she reiterates a familiar white saviour narrative...

Six Encounters: London & Ramsgate, October & November 2015 A five-year dialogic portraits project, Begin Again, produced many discussions between the 76 sitters and me concerning portraiture. Time and again I became aware of the labour of sitting. Some sitters saw their watercolour portraits as documents of time spent between us: the qualities of translucency, wash and layering paint on paper, associated with the sketch, typically characterises this form of painting with the single event of its production. Six Encounters emerged from this background when chance led my husband Simon Smith to substitute for a sitting planned for Joan Blackburn, the widow of American poet Paul Blackburn whose Journal poems Smith had been discussing with me over the previous few months. As I lay down...

I started thinking about translation, and translating Sappho, nearly two and a half years ago. I translated fragment 31 for an MA translation class that Simon Smith kindly allowed me to sit in on. We translated other poets for the class too, but this was the poem that seemed to ask me to encounter and think through what I was doing in the act of translation. The scenario of the poem seemed mine – the desire in the poem mirrored by my own experience of reading her and writing to, or from, or about her.   looking at him                        listening to you he a God feeling he can come close to you    I     seeing               you only in reflecting [refracting?] mirror     fragments[1]   I left her alone for a few years...

swag from the dig treasure trove of a bustling life Neolithic pottery/Wick barrow/flint dagger/buried flint tools/for hunting fishing skinning & cutting/pottery shards/burned grain/jewellery/hobnails/ cheese press/mortaria/fragment of an amphora/black burnished ware/spindle whorl/boundary ditches/pits & postholes/bone pin/quern grinding stone/brooches/coins/at least a hundred skeletons TO READ WRITING THE BOUNDARY, CLICK HERE: Writing the Boundary   Poetry Pin Project. Although I found the title inauspicious, this project attracted me because it encapsulated ephemeral, invisible, contrast, landscape, archaeology, time, walking, boundary etc.; all themes lurking in my practice. It was also collaborative and originated by someone who had succeeded in drawing down funding; a...

On March 28th 2015 a seminar was held at Glasfryn in Llangattock, Powys, on the subject of modernism. There were two presenters: Allen Fisher and Anthony Mellors. Fisher discussed developments in art dating from around 1850 with reference to the evolution of a recognisably modernist aesthetic, whilst Mellors concentrated in particular on questions of the nature of the image in modernist poetry, both in terms of theory and practice, referencing Marjorie Perloff's critique, and looking particularly at poems by William Carlos Williams, Lorine Niedecker and George Oppen. The documents gathered here include, on Fisher's part a prose extract and a kind of diagrammatical schedule from which he developed his presentation on the day. Mellors' essay represents a step beyond the material he based...

These images come from a forthcoming collection called City of Opal Altars (Dark Windows). Each graphic image is accompanied by a very short story of around 150 words.  The City of Opal Altars has come under the cosh of a team of prophet-bandits. Citizens are obliged to carry the eggs of these bandits in much the same way water carries the eggs of frogs and toads. Over many years not only the human spirit but human physicality and behaviour has become distorted. Objects too have become freakish victims of the conditions these brutes impose. Piety haunts all keyboards, but down in the sewers some obstinate heresy keeps stirring things up. To View images from City of Opal Altars, Group 1: CLICK HERE To view images from City of Opal Altars, Group 2: CLICK HERE   David Greenslade...

Penny Hallas says: 'Intro' is a brief extract from a currently developing work centred on the Eglwys Faen cave on Llangattock mountain, Powys. Over the last few years, a certain proportion of my art practice has concerned itself with exploring ideas evolving from my fascination with this cave, sometimes in collaboration with other artists, musicians and poets. This continuing engagement has given rise to artworks in various genres, including drawing, painting and film, many of which I have included under the umbrella title of The Orpheus Project. Current explorations of film and projection in Eglwys Faen have developed from an event at The Tales We Tell exhibition in Wrexham. This involved film, poetry, music and voice improvisation, supplied by Scott Thurston, Rhys Trimble, Steve Boyland,...

This essay, part of a thesis is provisionally titled Stack: Minimalism, Literalism, Slowness, examines cross referencing in stack, a poem written as part of a practice based PhD at The University of Roehampton.  Cross referencing, used creatively, is a style that can create slowness by disruption and therefore has been a tool that I have been keen to adapt in stack through the use of repetition and footnotes. In his book No Medium (2013) poet and critic Craig Dworkin points out that using footnotes in creative texts creates defamiliarisation and “slows the reader’s habitual consumption of the communicative content” (66). The standard way to read a poem is from left to right, from start to finish until the poem makes sense, until an image, argument or narrative is followed through....

“Just imagine the world without… [insert brand]!” Today, our capacity to imagine is frequently co-opted, with advertising endlessly fuelling our sense of ourselves as consumers, rather than citizens of this Earth community. Industrial growth society systematically reinforces ‘monocultures of the mind’, marginalising dissenting voices, burying histories of resistance, and dividing us. With the capitalist system now deeply entrenched as the only viable economic system, apocalypse is widely projected as our collective future – Hollywood’s disaster scenarios no doubt influencing this. Aside from these dystopian narratives, the major alternative fuelling the popular imagination is the mental universe inhabited by Stephen Hawking and a host of sci-fi writers, who contrive scenarios...

19/9/13   “Look in the tight, hard knot at the top the bed + you’ll see concrete faces of women in it – struggling, ragged – like the pictures of gunmen you get in a yellow walled bus station concourse, who eyeball, sans insight, tired queues of the 50% of people about to leave town. Fat, dug faces looking out to raven a blunted yellow room – a loneliness, an abandon – back in bed, they curled away, manifest, set”   26/9/13   “Hundred broken windows in the maternity hospital, but the nagging thought if I’ve not made a new hundred yet -? is that still relevant.. What about your plans. Have you the weight of still being rose in the yard.. But these are a fire’s thoughts – what’s it like to understand, grace, of what...

It’s rare these days to find a recently-published book with footnotes. They’ve been banished to the final pages of the volume or sometimes to the ends of its chapters. Who or what quorum of publishers or führer of format dictated this policy? Is it no more than a digital convenience (in either sense, for perhaps the back pages are merely a place to piss the notes away)? But this cannot be so: typesetting programmes make footnotes simple enough to insert. Do these style fundamentalists ever read the books they tyrannise? You may as well ask whether the authors of the Royal Mail schedule have once in their lives tried to post a parcel. There’s little to be said in praise of endnotes. You either need to use a bookmark which the later pages fail to grip and so drop to the floor at the...

After the massacre at the Charlie Hebdo' offices earlier this year, I found myself thinking of my last trip to Paris, just another pilgrim dreaming of his literary and artistic heroes (and anti-heroes). I remembered that I had written a sort of travel-piece, part ill-mannered lament and part cheerfully overwrought fan-letter to the city, and it occurred to me how much I had left out of the picture and at the same time how much I had left in without suspecting it. Contemporary events read back into us. Which might, in certain circumstances prompt us to re-examine some worn but still interesting and uncomfortable questions, such as - could the particular kind of psychic constellation which gives birth, say, to a frame-shattering poem or work of art, be in any way comparable to the one...

Glasfryn Project

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