Junction Box

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Unquiet Stirrings In a small Staffordshire village there is a pub with the disquieting name ‘The Quiet Woman’.  On the outer wall is a painting of a woman daintily carrying a tray of drinks and pub grub in a perfectly normal manner except for the disturbing fact that she is headless. Across this image  is emblazoned Proverb 15: ‘Soft Words Turneth Away Wrath’.  The whole effect is sinister and menacing especially on finding out it is based on an actual woman called ‘Chattering’ Charteris the lady of the inn who was decapitated by her landlord husband for talking too much. The landlord was apparently much applauded for his actions by the locals. It’s not clear exactly when this happened as the truth is hard to ascertain but it is a local legend too close to the bone of...

  To read the texts click here: Jean Portante, five poems   Jean Portante, who lives in Paris, was born in Differdange, Luxembourg, in 1950, and is of Italian origin. He has written more than forty books, including novels, stories, plays, essays, translations and poetry, and has been widely translated. In 2003 his poetry collection L’Étrange langue was given the prestigious Mallarmé poetry award in France, and the same year he also received the French Grand Prix d’Automne de la Société des Gens de Lettres, for his entire body of work. Many other literary prizes have been awarded to him, including the Prix international de la francophonie Benjamin Fondane, the European Petrarca prize, the Rutebeuf prize, and the Alain Bosquet prize. In Luxembourg he has twice...

Every art form has its own structural and expressive capacities, but there has long been a perceived link between film and poetry. Early filmmakers such as Vertov and Eisenstein thought of their work as in some sense parallel to the rhythms and image-leaps of verse. Germaine Dulac made a short film L’Invitation au Voyage (1927) inspired by Baudelaire’s poem, and in La Coquille et le clergyman (1928) used dissolving superimpositions to create a dream-state. Man Ray’s L’Etoile de Mer (1928) was loosely based on a poem by Robert Desnos and his Le Mystère du chateau des dés drew on motifs from Mallarmé’s ‘Un coup de dés’. Before that Charles Sheeler and Paul Strand had made Manhatta, a more literal fusion of text and image: shots of New York City were juxtaposed with...

Click here to read: To Fix the Object     Eléna Rivera was born in Mexico City and was raised in Paris. Her most recent book is Epic Series from Shearsman Books. Her third full-length collection of poetry Scaffolding is available from Princeton University Press. Her translation of Bernard Noël’s The Rest of the Voyage (Graywolf Press) received the Robert Fagles Translation award. She also translated Noël’s The Ink’s Path (Cadastre8zéro). Her translation of  Isabelle Garron’s book-length poem Body Was is forthcoming from Litmus Press and Isabelle Baladine Howald’s Phantomb is forthcoming from Black Square Editions. 

Winter Journey (Winterreise: Untriangulieren Leben) Daniel zur Höhe Translated by Anthony Mellors   ‘Outside, one has a hundred eyes; at home, hardly one’   INTRODUCTION   I wer thinking how some fents poals and a gate make all the differents. Russell Hoban, Riddley Walker   Like an iceberg, there is more of a trig point below the surface than above it. Daniel zur Höhe, Jedem das Sein: Conversations in the Beech Forest.   To say that Daniel zur Höhe’s version of the Winterreise plays fast and loose with Wilhelm Müller’s verse would be an understatement. More of an homage to Schubert’s re-ordered and partially rewritten settings of Müller’s twenty-four poems, at first glance it seems to offer little to the reader looking...

god tier I am a monster in the mouth in the head in the pockets I am a minnow in the head in the mouth and in the pockets Your feedback is greatly appreciated at this point when I am greatly disorientated by urban life's teachings I want to be more dynamic more efficient I am right now goosing for the water pageant but I refuse to accept that I am still redeemable at the fair I am no longer a customer of yours not since you treated me so badly I left your company I moved out of your storage factory unit that prohibits perishable items I want to love everyone and maybe I could too after I finish the hardest puzzle in the world the one that is technically impossible I am schlepping about our father’s body see like a carafe of red wine I am invisible save for at the Laser...

A sign just up off the path: Danger Quarry Keep Out. A little further on a trail cuts off the main path and takes me up the hillside through the trees. I try to work out where I am, orienting myself according to the streets below. Everything looks the same under this rusty carpet of beech and oak leaves. I notice places where the hill has been chiselled into, hollowed out. Little nooks, enclaves dug out of the slope. The area around the Danger sign is overgrown with ferns and brambles. The soil around this area is very dark, flecked with iridescent black specks. I stoop to pick out a chunk of black rock from the roots of a tree leaning out of the slope. This part of Pontypridd where I live is called Graigwen (Welsh for ‘white rock’), but this whole area, backing onto the hillsides...

Tim Allen says: The beginning of the first lockdown coincided with my looking for a new project to hook me in. The most common emotion around at the time was fear and at some previous point I had had the idea of a series using arbitrary phobias as titles even if the poems did not necessarily reflect the phobia. So I began but in the process of writing discovered that it was actually engaging with the titles, sometimes through oblique autobiography, as in Catagelophobia, and sometimes through subconscious invention, as in Catoptophobia. With this project I also wanted, for a change, to avoid any formal stricture or limit, so free prose became the dominant method. A number of pieces from the sequence, for which I am still waiting for a title that rings true, have already appeared in Blackbox...

Performing for a virtual audience.   Since the first UK lockdown, I have had more conversations than I can count with friends and collaborators about liveness, how it functions, what it does, what exactly we missed. Several of these discussions included Camilla Nelson, Xavier Velastin, Serena Braida, Luna Montenegro, and Adrian Fisher with whom I curated SLANT’s four online events; Writing Bodies, Forms In Flux, Voiceworks, and Spontaneous Combustion. The pandemic context has led us to consider notions of performativity through a new lens, beyond contexts of shared time and space. SLANT, a platform initially devised to explore poetic liveness, became a digital space for poets and performers to experiment with the constraints and possibilities of online performance. Delivering this...

Just as south Wales has several current, vibrant worksheds of poetic activity – Hafan Books (Swansea); Canalchemy (Pontypridd); Glasfryn Project (Llangattock) and Red Poets (Merthyr Tydfil) so too does northern Romania. Florin Dan Prodan, based in Suceava, forty kilometres from the border of Romania with Ukraine, organises readings and workshops wherever he goes.  He’s read and invited others to join him at the Poetry Café in London; Red Hook Art Space, New York; and for two years in a row he led the Romanian writers and Artists International Residency at a yurt village in Kyrgyzstan.  Having arranged things when we met in Romania, I joined Florin soon afterwards for a reading at Caucasus House, Tbilisi, Georgia. The Caucasus House event was typical of the way he does things.  Hello,...

Robert Hampson writes: Ever since I wrote some of the work that appeared in reworked disasters (kfs, 2013), I have been interested in exploring the sonnet form through found materials. ‘The sonnets ‘white upon white’ and ‘memories read as dreams’, part of a sequence called earthborn(e), sample and write through critical texts by Mae Losasso and Amy Evans Bauer with the compact space of the sonnet stretched to link North American cities with Italy and Greece, respectively. ‘Sonnet 61’, which is a rewriting of Shakespeare’s sonnet 61 in response to Sophie Seita’s take on it in her ‘Texts on Translation’ (Subsisters, 2017), is a straggler from an earlier sequence, blood moon, which engaged with the contemporary through the language of various texts on Shakespeare....

On July 20th 1841 the poet John Clare decided to ‘escape’ the asylum in The High Beech in Epping Forest, Essex, where he was interned, some 100 or so miles away from his beloved home in the village of Northborough, just outside of Peterborough and go home. He trudged the distance without food or money, sleeping rough - it took him four days. His journey is detailed in his diary Journey out of Essex. In 2000 Iain Sinclair also walked Clare’s route - with some minor changes - documenting it in his excellent book The Edge of the Orison - the phrase ‘The Edge of the Orison’ is taken from Clare’s writings. The diary below records a similar walk that I took with my friend Paul Tuffin between 19-23 October 2019.   Day one (Shenfield to Welwyn Garden City) 19/10/19 Saturday....

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