Lines on the Wall – poetry and performance at Friends’ Meeting House, Mount Street, Manchester. Thursday 4th July ... the walls that divide us, and the walls that we want to remember. Philip Gross, Tania Hershman and several Open Mic readers shared poems on the theme of walls, division, or borders, to mark the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre. The wall that still stands on the Bootle Street side of Friends’ Meeting House is where peaceful pro-democracy protesters were wounded and killed.
Quaker Centre Bookshop, 173-177 Euston Road London NW1 2BJ
Fri, 21 June 2019 18:30 and livestreamed on the Quaker Centre Facebook page.
Philip Gross and Lesley Saunders read from their collaborative book A Part of the Main, the outcome of what began as an email conversation between them during the political upheavals of 2016-17, and developed into an improvised poetry sequence that moves, in swerves and echoes, beyond the immediate occasion into themes of migration, exile, loss of love or home or language, even life itself.
Jason Goodwin, festival organiser, writes: "The Tallinn HeadRead literary festival, like Tallinn itself, is small but perfectly formed. Run by Estonian writers, publishers and translators, the festival is a feast, a conversation and a joy..."
Philip Gross appeared in three events:
Spores and Sparks, with Doris Kareva - Tuesday, 21 May at 17:00, Estonian National Library, Tallinn - followed by discussion with other British writers, Jason Goodwin, Michel Faber, Louisa Young, Nikky Smedley
Solo reading - Saturday, 25 May, at Cafe Ait, Vene 14, Tallinn
Poetry Mass, with Kalju Kruusa, Berit Kaschan, Adam Cullen, Kai Aareleid, Rein Veidemann, Veronika Kivisilla and Maarja-Liis Mölder. Music: Katariin Raska - Sunday, 26 May, in Niguliste church/museum
Dark Sky Park: Poems from the Edge of Nature was on the shortlist for the prestigious CLiPPA award for children’s poetry. Go to the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education's POETRYLINE https://clpe.org.uk/poetryline/clippa for videos of poems by all five shortlisted poets - Kwame Alexander, Stephen Camden, Eloise Greenfield, Rachel Rooney and myself.
Congratulations to Stephen Camden, announced as winner of CLiPPA 2019 at a ceremony at the National Theatre in Wednesday 3rd July, in front of 900 children from across the UK who took part in the CLiPPA shadowing scheme in their schools in the run up to the award.
Each book was represented by a performance from one of the schools, as well as the writer in person or (in the case of the US poets) on video. My poem Aleppo Cat was performed – no, better than that, embodied – by Imogen and Poppy from Whitehill Junior School, Hitchin, who really got inside the words and became them. What more could any poet ask? My thanks to them, and all the staff and classmates who supported them.
A Part of the Main – Philip Gross and Lesley Saunders – poetry to give perspective in troublesome times
NEW: A Part of the Main is now available, a truly beautiful thing, published by Mulfran Press. It comes with a handsome and thoughtful design by Valerie Coffin Price to frame and support the text.
All the quandaries and challenges that sparked the exchange of poems between the two poets are still with us, even more so now, as it appears in print.
Poetry responding to a crisis…
Extracts from emails, during the political upheavals of 2016–17, with the referendum, the migration crisis in the Mediterranean and the polarisation of discussion all around the world:
..... ‘The events of recent months have left me stunned, shocked and bewildered; underneath the rage and disappointment I think I’m heartbroken. I feel the need to remake, reconceive, re-vision, the idea of who ‘we’ are. And to do that with a sense of some kind of community, needing imagination and a commitment to thinking-feeling more generously than presently seems possible, perhaps.’ (Lesley to Philip, 2016)
..... ‘I’ve watched my friends, and myself, going through all the classic stages of mourning – anger, denial, bargaining, depression, relative acceptance – in overlapping waves. The thing is to notice what we feel is being taken from us and set about rebuilding it. My instinct is for a conversation where the utterances are quick and open-ended, with quiet spaces for reflection in between. Nothing must aim to be the final word.’ (Philip to Lesley, 2016)
Poetry in conversation
A Part of the Main grew from that exchange. Over three or four months in vivid, exploratory verses shuttled back and forth. Trusting to the improvisatory flow, the sequence moves in swerves and echoes, far beyond the immediate occasion into themes of migration, exile, loss of love or home or language. In a time of soundbites and binary rhetoric, it gives the pressing questions about individual and national identity more breathing-space, more heart- and head-room. In the words of a reviewer, ‘this poetic voyage feels irresistible, urgent and unrelenting in the best sense.’
A three-way collaboration
The book is designed by artist Valerie Coffin Price, whose own work explores all kinds of connection between people, landscape and ideas. In addition to the standard book, a few copies remain of the pre-publication limited edition of 50 containing additional material by the artist and the poets in loose-leaf form.
For more details about the book, the special edition, or to request a review copy, please contact Leona Medlin of Mulfran Press email@example.com
For interviews and possible performances, contact
Lesley Saunders firstname.lastname@example.org and/or Philip Gross email@example.com
NEW: A brand new collection of poems for children and adults alike, with one foot in real science, one in wild imagination – my words doing a dance with Jesse Hodgson's deft and vivid illustrations
- published by Otter-Barry Books, 2018: https://www.otterbarrybooks.com/dark-sky-park
And here's Jill Bennett's wholehearted adventurous plunge into all its heights and depths https://redreadinghub.blog/2018/09/28/dark-sky-park/
... and Alison Kelly's generous thoughtful review from the Schoolzone section of readingzone.com: https://readingzone.com/index.php?zone=sz&page=book&isbn=9781910959886&utm_source=phplist11&utm_medium=email&utm_content=HTML&utm_campaign=Free+review+copies%2C+author+Q%26A%27s+and+Latest+Reviews
... and Kate Wakeling, in the Winter 2018 issue of Carousel. "The poems in this dazzling new collection from Philip Gross are rare, distinct and mesmerising as the the creatures and landscapes he explores here. By turns witty and elegiac, his poems gaze in fierce wonder at the worlds of snow leopards, tardigrades and glacial worms, while also starkly challenging humankind’s cruelty and greed. … This is an imaginative, urgent and beautifully crafted collection."
Introducing Shadowplay, a collaboration with Australian poet and artist Jenny Pollak, published in the handsome (and subtly varied) livery of Flarestack Poets.
Mark Tredinnick writes: 'Philip Gross is one of our poetic elders, and so he writes here - his stanzas taut and gentle, inventive and provocative koans, Jenny Pollak, a brilliant sculptor, is a lyric and plainspoken contemplative...'
And Jeremy Hooker: 'The exploratory work they create... makes a hospitable 'place' into which the reader enters, not as an eavesdropper, but almost as a third collaborator, sharing the surprise and delight of the conversation.'
£6 from Flarestack - contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For more about collaboration, go to https://www.philipgross.co.uk/collaborations.php and https://www.philipgross.co.uk/writing-about-writing.php
A year or more on, this still feels worth saying – written for mainly American readers, via the rather good Superstition [Review]
TRANSLATING SILENCE – BY PHILIP GROSS
In ‘silencesilencesilencesilencesilence' – a digital pamphlet on Estonian poetry, produced with support from @LitBritish. http://modernpoetryintranslation.com/silencesilencesilencesilencesilencesilence-a-digital-pamphlet-on-estonian-poetry/
Read online for free, including a short essay on the different languages of silence, with poems by great Estonian writers Juhan Viiding, Jaan Kaplinski and Doris Kareva and one of my own - http://modernpoetryintranslation.com/translating-silence-by-philip-gross/ ... with a very warm memory of conversations with Doris, Kätlin Kaldmaa and many others at EstLitFest, the Estonian Literature Festival, in London this Spring.