Poetry and Europe: a celebration
Tuesday 12 March 17.30 - 20.00
Museum of English RuralLife,
6 Redlands Road
RG1 5EX Reading
Readings by poets including Jane Draycott and Peter Robinson, reading their own poems and translations, as well as Philip Gross and Lesley Saunders reading from their collaborative A Part of the Main exploring British European history and issues of migration.
28th March 2019
The Swan Hotel, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire BA15 1LN
7:30pm - 10:00pm.
Come and join us at Bradford on Avon's popular reading series, Words & Ears. All performers and listeners welcome: open mic slots always available. £4 on the door.
At this event, we welcome Philip Gross and Lesley Saunders, with their collaborative work A Part of the Main. The book is the outcome of what began as an initial email conversation between them during the political upheavals that characterized 2016-2017. The subsequent dialogue was conducted over three or four months in seriously playful verses passed backwards and forwards between the two poets, more and more rapidly as they entrusted themselves to the improvisatory process. The sequence moves, in swerves and echoes, beyond the immediate occasion into themes of migration, exile, loss of love or home or language, even life itself.
In the words of a reviewer, 'this poetic voyage feels irresistible, urgent and unrelenting in the best sense.'
For the open mic, you are invited to bring a poem (of your own or by someone else) on the theme of belonging, exile, etc, to echo and explore Lesley and Philip's voyage...
Imagistic: Blurring the Lines
9 February 2019, 2:30-3:30
Cornerstone, Charles Street, Cardiff CF10 2SF
Writers responding to images by artists, with both artist and writer exploring the borders of prose and poetry, abstraction and the figurative:
Elizabeth Parker responded to work by Barbara Verhoeven,
Carole Burns to drawings and paintings by Paul Edwards
Philip Gross read from his responses to artwork by Tig Sutton, along with work produced by mutual collaboration, to and fro.
Readings, projected images, accompanying exhibition.
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
Tuesday 12th February
7.30 for 8 pm
Toppings Bookshop, The Paragon, Bath, BA1 5LS
In the summer of 2016, Philip Gross and Lesley Saunders were exchanging poems in response to the upheavals of that year’s events, with the British referendum and the migration crisis in Europe. With an awareness of the deep history of these islands and a longing to get beyond soundbites and easy opinions, these poems wove themselves into A Part of the Main, an exploration of belonging and migration in an interconnected world.
Published by Mulfran Press, in a book handsomely designed by Valerie Coffin Price, this is poetry that invites you both to feel and think, and to join in the conversation. Come and hear it in the book-lined intimacy of Toppings Bookshop, Bath.
Thursday 7th February
Chapter Arts Centre,
Here's a good record of a project with photographer Mike Perry and musician Pete Judge.
Mike’s images make an intriguing and unnerving formal beauty out of plastic detritus from the seashore. It "engages with significant and pressing environmental issues, in particular the tension between human activity and interventions in the natural environment, and the fragility of the planet’s ecosystems."
Sea-Fever took John Masefield's 1902 poem of that name – "I must go down to the seas again..." as its point of departure.
The exhibition took place in November-December 2016, De Queeste Art, Watou, Belgium, with contributions from Bruno Van Dijck, painter, Mike Perry, photographic artist, Philip Gross, poet, Pete Judge, musician and composer, and Jeroen Laureyns, art historian.
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]