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Commiserate — February 2017 — Kathrine Sowerby

February 3, 2017

Your Pocket in Paris

Kathrine Sowerby & Ryan Van Winkle

 

Your Pocket in Paris

Berlin, you say, I remember
Rome, I say, you remember
the crossroads and the smell
of song, the ancient footprints
of cooking meat. The last cigarette
and the rubble at the bottom
of vodka drunk from a great height
at the Spanish Stair. Everyone there
turning round and round and round…
I promise, they will greet us like we are
the sofa, the mask, the television – singing
is coca-cola. And your masterpiece is blue
electric blue, the colour of my dreams.
Is it waiting, like the ghost of lions
in the coliseum? Milan is goodbye
to the moon. The moon, you say,
with no money left in train stations.
What next? I remember trying
to run to the top of the escalator
to get us that far. It swung low
looked up at wheels and bells
last night. And it was like a city –
I wanted to follow you south. I wanted
what we once had the map to, to boil
pasta in the street every morning.
I wanted the keys. I swung high
licked honey from plastic, shouted
Relax! And missed. My eye was off.
I wanted to spill oil and watch it
seep into the feather white cloth.
Tranquillity comes at a price. I steal wine
and I wanted to collect faces and pin them
to your hand in the fountain
pulling up wet copper and shove
them into your damp pocket in Paris
where you looked like the sun
looked like an angel that shone on stone
and bones below. Stay still while I draw
the corners of the room, the thing
that made us itch until our skin bled
and stained the sheets. Where is the key?
The money? The colour that doesn’t last
and I am hungry.

Kathrine says: “Writing collaboratively gives you a kind of freedom, a sense of ‘it’s not all down to me’ and ‘let’s go here now’ and ‘I can write whatever I want and it will sound different up against, threaded through, or wrapped around someone else’s words’. Which is a pleasure.”

Bio: Kathrine Sowerby’s chapbooks include Tired Blue Mountain (Red Ceilings Press) and Margaret and Sunflower (dancing girl press). Out very soon is her first collection That Bird Loved (Hesterglock Press) and her book of stories The Spit, the Sound and the Nest (Vagabond Voices). kathrinesowerby.com

Commiserate — January 2017 — Alicia Sometimes

January 9, 2017

My Self / My Soul

Alicia Sometimes & Ryan Van Winkle

aliciasometimessl
Alicia says: I love paisley ties and words that cross oceans. Collaborating with Ryan was a beautiful mind meld. He is the very essence of fervent creativity.

 

My Self / My Soul

 

My self – limps into the afternoon sometimes

we are perched on the fringes

of the universe, in cramped caverns

of marginalia unable to rush ahead, or move

at opportunity. We lean in closer, mesmerized

by embers from the insatiable flame of doubt.

My soul – always a stranger

who comes to visit at inconvenient times

knocking at the door, saying surprise

surprise, do you have anything hot to eat?

Every time we want to collapse, we let our legs fold

holding heavy unyielding minds, hardbound confusions.

*

My self – an adult. Knows

how to read a book for information.

My soul – a child still looking

a new, secret, pleasure.

It is a short amount of time.

It is glacial.

It is a concrete, so solid now.

It is a shadow of my shadow.

Maybe we don’t need millions.

Maybe we need just a few

white paper flowers.

*

My self speaks –

Every time we feel tawny, like some purple word hoodlum,

some upshot with too many full stops. Those days we

believe we’ve defrauded all around us with our bankable bluster

and blunt phrases – our unfathomed blue lagoon of talk.

I believe our dusty roars can fill an egomaniacal sawpit.

I believe the stars are narcissist too. And that the trees

will know hubris. I spend hours tranquilized or annoyed,

can’t get past the beginning of a particular philosophy.

‘I think therefore I am’

and that’s about it.

My soul speaks –

Every time we put our breath into something

every time we blow a bubble or feel our hairs

billowing like a thousand balloons about to raise

up with all the lusty air. Those days when

we go up a few miles and can see

our place in the city, those days we get high

enough to see our place in it all.

*

Dear Self, gravity gives us mass

and keeps us grounded

it is weak. Lift your hand, you’ve won.

Dear Soul, speak up. It’s like you landed

on the moon and we’re down here waiting

for one good word, one small step.

***

Alicia Sometimes is an Australian writer, poet and broadcaster. She is a regular guest on ABC 774 and Radio National. She has appeared in ABC TV’s Sunday Arts and ABC News Breakfast. She was a 2014 Fellow at the State Library of Victoria and was writer and director of the science-poetry show, Elemental that has toured extensively. Alicia has co-edited From the Outer (Black Inc, 2016) with Nicole Hayes, a book about diversity amongst Aussie Rules football fans. She is also one-sixth of The Outer Sanctum podcast.

Commiserate June 2016 – Peter Mackay and JL Williams

June 29, 2016

In the run up to a visit to Canada to read in various events at Le 17e Festival de la poésie de Montréal, Peter Mackay, Ryan Van Winkle and JL Williams decided to write a collaborative poem that they could share at the festival. As it turned out, they didn’t have time to read the poem in Montreal so thought it would be nice to share it online… especially in light of recent political events. They hope it conveys some sense of the way language and poetry attempts to cross personal and linguistic barriers, challenge conventional meanings and encourage us to think about the world in new ways.

 

***

O Scotland My Canada

A cold wind blows from the north, snow this sunshine day
and a wolf howling in the air above the castle.

And a wolf cloud can break your heart. So, why not
just go back to sleep? The castle closed her eyes

years ago & no longer worries about the bubonic plague,
the hairless breasts of Putin. All this waxing

and waning. Throw-away newspapers scuffle
along old-town, new-town streets, leaving their print.

Throw away fire & kindling, throw rock
so it skims & leaps past the drowsy swans

swooning in the odd heat. Me, I like to keep my feet
moving below the surface, cold as can be, blue

as the wolf’s eyes and her tender paws
padding the spine of a frozen river

so cold the skin of the eye freezes, the heart’s
beat slows, the ears open to chimes and iron

I miss confident church bells, the persistent rise of 8 AM
And Wolf misses the proud trees which have been felled

sent down river, to the bay and shaped into boats
old trunks in new forms at aimed a new world

somewhere nova, somewhere neuve, somewhere ùr

where I first sang O Canada my Canada,
O Scotland my Scotland, O world without borders

whose places are beginnings for everyone,
whose forests are homes for all wolves,

whose stones speak all languages quietly, quietly
beneath the running of water.

***

 

bar_1JL Williams‘ books include Condition of Fire (Shearsman, 2011), Locust and Marlin (Shearsman, 2014), the triptych collection Our Real Red Selves (Vagabond Poets, 2015) and House of the Tragic Poet (If A Leaf Falls Press, 2016).  She was selected for the 2015 Jerwood Opera Writing Programme, plays in the band Opul and is Programme Manager at the Scottish Poetry Library. http://www.jlwilliamspoetry.co.uk

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Pàdraig MacAoidh (Peter Mackay) is originally from the Isle of Lewis, but now lives in Edinburgh. He writes in Scottish Gaelic and English and has written one full collection of poems,  Gu Leòr / Galore, published by Acair in 2105, and a pamphlet, From Another Island, published by Clutag Press in 2010. He is also a broadcaster and lecturer; he teaches at the University of St Andrews and is BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker 2015.

Commiserate — April 2016 — Tessa Berring

April 3, 2016

Take Out Now – April 2016

Tessa Berring & Ryan Van Winkle

FullSizeRender (1)Tessa says: This making of a poem was fun – the way my words came back from Ryan surrounded by or broken up by his words, how we began to develop themes and imagery, how kittens, clocks, and a body suddenly appeared when I least expected them…
Above all I enjoyed the intention to simply ‘write a poem’ together – no other motive or agenda beyond letting language emerge then pushing it to and fro to see what might happen.

Take Out Now

She thinks prayer is an empty bucket,
an empty bucket for God to fill.
But all her buckets have hairline cracks
and God leaks away with her pistol,
all gunslinger & no horse. Or maybe
prayer is more like a pistol.
Don’t load it, float it –
watch it sink, evidence
of a very simple crime.
Guns and God-slingers – oh It is easy
to close one eye, take aim. Easy,
to take two hands & make a frame.
Easy, to press my palms flat in prayer.
Harder to ask, to fill the borders, to shoot.
He thinks prayer is like solitaire –
a game decided as the shuffle ends.
He calls god a deck of cards, pushes
the chips forward – all in.
As if we could hold the unicorn,
as if we were saints,
or angels wearing holsters! –
as if we were virgins lapping
up the gods as if the gods
were poison, as if we dare to risk
the lot with a miniature lead balloon
bringing us down – sinking.
Be quiet! Prayer is a slab of ice,
a cold cabinet, a sliding door,
the mysterious outline
of a body – something sweet,
a kitten mewing at your breast,
a chocolate puppy wagging
for the stick, a six-shooter,
chamber spinning,
the click-click-bang
of Russian Roulette,
an emptiness, a clock.
A clock? Take out the clock.
Take out the clock then take
out time, take out now
and take out never, take out
before and after this happened –
then look at all the horses
still lunging through sawdust
look at the dung beetles
looking for owls.
Look at the warm grease
lathering the windows,
ice melting, the sound
of a prayer’s faint hum —
no gunshots, no burst balloons
nothing
to tell a tale.
Bio: Tessa Berring is an Edinburgh based artist and writer. She studied cultural history at Aberdeen University followed by Sculpture and Drawing at Edinburgh College of Art. Her work emerges from both an exploration of the phenomenology of objects, and a playful love of text. Her poems are published in a selection of print and on line journals, and she exhibits her curious objects/installations regularly within Scotland, and further afield.

Commiserate — January 2016 — Ghazal Mosadeq

January 6, 2016

Qué perra es – January 2016

Ghazal Mosadeq & Ryan Van Winkle

1449867030Ghazal says: When Steven Fowler asked Ryan and I to collaborate on a poem for the Enemies Project, I was in Linares, Mexico. So this piece is shaped by back and forth emails. We decided on the theme of distance, travel and time and used some Spanish and Persian words and sentences  I wrote one passage and emailed it to him and waited for his passage to come. The final piece is one long poem with a more or less unified voice rather than two pieces corresponding with each other. This poem was performed on October 25 in the Rich Mix Centre, London as a part of the Camaradfest II in which 100 poets collaborated in pairs on 50 poems.

qué perra es

They say we age slower
if we’re traveling fast
as if time is a stupid dog
chasing after a train, as if

As if is slayable
when it comes to time
so there is el tiempo del sur
and we have immovable time
so I ask ¿qué perra es?

But they say it’s Mexican time
Ten thousand taxies ahead
Making us age like a. should I say?
I just need to know: ¿qué perra es?
It was a hot night and it made me
want know the time
in Lisbon, in Tokyo

They say, ‘he wouldn’t give me the time
of day.’ They say, ‘I wouldn’t piss on him
if he was on fire.’ They say you must know
‘when to hold them, when to fold them’

But what I want to know
is how will your eyes flutter
when the dealer calls
and you must show what you’ve made
of a lousy hand.

You say it was just a burglary
Attempt, but I think you may have gone too far
By shooting a midlevel engineer
and a top baker and not finding
the 23 pound of black tar heroin
under the armchair and not even knowing
how to get home from there

*

To master Time is to master living.
To master Time is to master dying.
To master time is to disappear
in Monterrey on an independence day party
nine and a half years ago
To master dying by timing living
she masters living

*

Often I ask a question in a language
I don’t fully understand
the response always returns
at the speed of a back-handed ball
dizzy, unsure where on the street to turn
left or turn right but it is clear one must
make a turn somewhere

pas man be samt-i paayeen peecheedam
and that’s exactly what I did
va chand soal porseedam
as one should
¿qué perra es?
¿qué perra es?
And tiptoed around centro historico
so I just turned from
Isabel la Catótica  into Regina
All  in less than 5 seconds

*

Zanini Rallebol
wanna ne ne
wanna na na
Tu veux ou tu veux pas
don’t you na na me with your tongue
don’t you ne ne me with your eyes

*

I have a big old
fashioned bathtub
I hardly use, once
it was my birthday
and I hoped
I could mark it
so I lay there
and counted the lines
on my skin as they appeared

once I walked into a
grand boudoir
and that’s all I did that
day, pacing the floor
barefeet tickled on carpet
naked on starched scratching sheets
licking a pewter candle stick
all the possible comforts, all
the possible violence, all the tourists
clicking pictures, keep shuffling.

VIDEO:

Ghazal Mosadeq is a writer and poet (winner of the Bayhaqi Short Fiction Prize, shortlisted for the Khorshid Poetry Prize). Her debut collection of poetry, Dar Jame Ma, was published in Iran in 2010, and her second book of poems, Biographies,  is published in London, UK by Susak Press, 2015. Her fiction and poetry has been published and translated in magazines and anthologies in Iran, Canada, United Kingdom, Poland, Greece and Portugal. She is a PhD research student at University of London, Birkbeck College.

Lighthouse, with Ragland

September 20, 2015

Even more good Ragland related news: we have collaborated on a track entitled ‘Lighthouse’, and you can listen to it below.

pen: New collaboration poem with Ragland as part of Queensland Poetry Festival

September 17, 2015

Delighted to announce a new collaborative poem, ‘Too Many Raindrops‘ with Ragland, as part of the Queensland Poetry Festival.

The theme for the 2015 Queensland Poetry Festival is ‘Language is a virus from outer space’. I have been curating a project for the festival that responds to this theme and the future of poetry. PEN will be available in a limited edition of 100 usbs at the festival bookshop. With language as virus, the nature and format of <O>PEN means that the files are susceptible to sharing and editing. All works are licensed under Creative Commons Sharealike 4.0, so responses and remixes are very welcome.

Ryan is one in 100 at Camaradefest

October 6, 2014

Really excited to be one of the hundred poets producing and reading work at the second edition of Camaradefest, the mass-collaboration project organised by our friend SJ Fowler. It’s happening on Saturday 25 October at the Rich Mix Centre down London Town, kicking off at 12noon and running into the wee hours. Tickets are free, hope to see you there.

There is nothing quite like Camaradefest. 100 poets come together in 50 pairs to premiere brand new collaborative pieces of innovative poetry.

Beginning at 12 noon and ending late into the night, Camaradefest evidences the endlessly exciting potential of collaboration in poetry and the true depth, width and brilliance of 21st century poetics. Expect no two works the same, and following on from the great success of the first fest last year, an unforgettable way to experience contemporary poetry.

Get a taste, view the videos from the first fest here:http://blutkitt.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/camaradefest-videos.html

What: Camaradefest II

When: Saturday 25 October, 12noon-late

Where: Rich Mix Arts Centre, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London.

How Much: FREE

 

Ross Sutherland’s documentary: Auld Enemies

August 1, 2014

Auld Enemies was a very special project. Our friend Ross Sutherland has documented the entire experience, and you can watch the 35 minute documentary right here, or head to SJ Fowler’s YouTube channel for all the individual collaborations. Many thanks to everyone involved, please enjoy.

The Enemies project: Auld Enemies was a transnational poetry collaboration where six poets worked in rolling paired to produce original works for readings across the breadth of Scotland and where in each event also featured numerous pairs of writers from the region, who also presented brand new poetry collaborations. Beginning on July 9th and finishing on July 27th, the project visited Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Lerwick and Kirkwall, before a wrapping up in London. Auld Enemies was a groundbreaking exploration of contemporary Scottish poetics through the potential of collaboration. Supported by Creative Scotland

During the tour, Ross Sutherland documented the project in this extraordinary documentary.

Ryan is part of the Auld Enemies Tour

June 24, 2014

Very excited to be working with SJ Fowler once again as part of the Auld Enemies Scottish tour! We’ll be heading all over the country, from Dundee to Kirkwall, it’s going to be an amazing adventure.

July 9th – Dundee – 6pm
​Duncan of Jordanstone (studio & foyer space ) University Of Dundee, Perth Rd, Dundee DD1 4HT (with thanks to Peggy Hughes)

Billy Letford & nick-e melville / Ryan Van Winkle & SJ Fowler / Colin Herd & Ross Sutherland
plus AZ Jackson & Lindsay MacGregor / James Stewart & Dawn Wood / Richard Watt & more



July 10th – Glasgow – 8pm
McChulls, 40 High Street (with thanks to Henry Bell)

Ross Sutherland & Ryan Van Winkle / Billy Letford & Colin Herd / nick-e melville & SJ Fowler
plus ​Thomas Betteridge & Neil Davidson / Katy Hastie, Antony Autumn, Iyad Hayatleh & more


July 11th – Edinburgh – 7pm
Summerhall — Demonstration Room. 1 Summerhall EH9 1PL (with thanks to Jen White)

Colin Herd & Iain Morrison / Billy Letford & Ryan Van Winkle / SJ Fowler & Ross Sutherland
​nick-e melville & Jane Goldman / Dave Coates & Rachel McCrum / JL Williams & Elspeth Murray / Luke Allan & Graeme Smith / Karen Veitch & Mike Saunders / Ed Smith & Thomas MacColl / Rob McKenzie & more


July 12th – Aberdeen 7pm
Cellar 35, 35 Rosemount Viaduct (with thanks to Gerard Rochford & Richie Brown)​

Billy Letford & SJ Fowler / Ryan Van Winkle & Colin Herd / Ross Sutherland & nicke melville
Gerard Rochford & Richie Brown / Maureen Ross & Catriona Macleod / & more


July 14th – Lerwick, The Shetland Islands- 7pm
Mareel Arts Centre. ZE1 0WQ (with thanks to Donald Anderson)

Ross Sutherland & nick-e melville / Colin Herd & SJ Fowler / Ryan Van Winkle
Nat Hall & James Sinclair / Donald Murray /  Laurajayne Friedlander & more

July 17th – Kirkwall, The Orkney Islands – 7pm
​Kirkwall Library, 44 Junction Rd, Highlands and Islands, Kirkwall KW15 1AG (with thanks to Pam Beasant)

Ross Sutherland & SJ Fowler / Colin Herd & nick-e melville
Rosemary Merriman, Sylvia Hays, Rosie Alexander, Lydia Harris, Pam Beasant & more

July 26th – London – 7pm
The Rich Mix Arts Centre
​​

Ross Sutherland / nick-e melville / Colin Herd / Ryan Van Winkle / SJ Fowler
Emily Berry & John Clegg / Tom Chivers & Roddy Lumsden
Nick Murray & Eley Williams / Vahni Capildeo & Jeremy Noel-Tod
​Kirsty Irving & Harry Man / Daisy Lafarge & more​​​​

Auld Enemies is a transnational poetry collaboration where six poets will work in rolling pairs to produce original work for readings across the length and breadth of Scotland. Auld Enemies is a groundbreaking exploration of contemporary Scottish poetics through the potential of collaboration.

Auld Enemies will commence with a six date tour of Scotland, taking in Dundee, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Lerwick in the Shetlands and finishing with Kirkwall in the Orkneys. It will conclude with an event in London, at the Rich Mix Arts Centre, on July 26th, which will feature many of the new works from the tour, new collaborations and a documentary screening about Auld Enemies. 

Auld Enemies is fundamentally about the creation of new collaborative works and the integration of differing poetic communities​, and has only been possible through the generosity of a series of organisational partners, first and foremost Creative Scotland, but also the Scottish Poetry Library, Literary Dundee, Summerhall, Shetland Arts, the Orkney Islands Council and Northlink Ferries.

Please find below the schedule and the poet’s involved, and if possible, do spread the word, and attend all and any of the events you can. ALL EVENTS ARE FREE

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