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Pamenar Reading Series | 6 |
7 August, 2022
Reading: Alireza Abiz, Sascha Akhtar, Jose Buera, Ulli Freer, Sophie Seita
Pamenar Reading Series | 10 | 27 October 2022
Collective Autumn Book Launch & Reading with
James Davies, Susan Gevirtz , E. Tracy Grinnell, Amanda Monti, Eléna Rivera, Fran Lock
By Shena Mistry
Hosted by Ghazal Mosadeq at the Candid Café and Shena Mistry on YouTube Live, the atmosphere on the evening of October 27th was full of warmth and encouragement amongst the poetry community. It was a memorable occasion with 6 incredible poets joining us in person to read from their most recent works, including two exciting book launches from Susan Gevirtz and James Davies.
Susan began with readings from the second piece in her latest book, Burns (Pamenar Press 2022). She concluded with voice over recordings of her work that occur later in the book. James Davies followed with pieces from his book launch for it is like toys but also like video taped in a mall (Pamenar Press 2022). From a collection of 201 poems, he read select prose through one-off, physical book objects that he created. E. Tracy Grinnell read from Portrait of a Lesser Subject by way of introduction to a new series that she’s working on which continues some of her work in Hell Figures, a finalist for the Firecracker Award in Poetry. Fran Lock performed new material from her current project as a Judith E. Wilson Poetry Fellow at the Cambridge University Library. She described poems about the bestiary, mainly hyenas, the document of consciousness, her otherness and othering in the elite academic space. Her new book, Disgusting Lie, is forthcoming from Pamenar Press in 2023. Amanda Monti read short, new pieces for her radio play, alternating between text and vowel sounds. Eléna Rivera concluded the evening with a couple of poems from her most recent book with Peter Hughes, Arrangements, created over the span of 2 years. The excerpts Eléna performed were from their second year of collaboration.
Film and photo credit to Pablo Ruiz.
Pamenar Reading Series | 9 | 5 October 2022
In The Fall with Habib Tangour, Fran Lock, Peter Manson & Cole Swensen
By Shena Mistry
What a wonderful turnout for Pamenar Press’ poetry reading in London on October 5th and, nevertheless, on the day of a rail strike. Poets and poetry lovers from around the world connected in person and online to absorb and celebrate the new works of Habib Tangour, Fran Lock, Peter Manson and Cole Swensen. Since the event was also live streamed from London by Pablo Ruiz, audiences joining remotely from different cities, countries and continents united through the live chat that was moderated by Shena Mistry in Toronto.
Hosted by Andrea Brady, Peter Manson began the evening with a performance of his new sequence called Self-Avoiding, Space Filling Curve, his new writing during the covid lockdown. In French, Habib Tengour followed with a performance of his poem, du sourire de sorcier (wizard’s smile). Cole Swensen, who is also one of Habib Tengour’s translators to English, read her translation of that poem in English. Cole also shared excerpts from a series of her recent pieces focused on nature. To close the evening, Fran Lock joined us from Cambridge with a recording of her poem called The Human Suit Goes Walking from her upcoming collection with Pamenar Press to be published in 2023. This work is the continuation of her previous book of poetry Hyena! Jackal! Dog!, (Pamenar Press 2021), which has been highly commended by judges for this year’s Forward Prizes for Poetry 2022.
Pamenar Reading Series | 4 | 22 March 2022
Collective Book Launch with Jackqueline Frost, Fran Lock , Anne Waldman & Emma Gomis,
By Cris Cheek
There did use to be the occasion for reporting on and reviewing events in poetry considered to be of significance—by their author. What follow is one such instance, although the shape and field of networked events among poetry communities has come under substantive pressures during lockdown. Maybe that will have the effect of revitalising the genre of the “reading.” Too many readings had begun to settle into a dull format. Poets standing behind a podium, relatively flat tonal dynamics and soporific affect.
The fact that poetry events flourished on the flat screen during lockdown is to be celebrated. A person might say that a bad thing also happened to poetry events during lockdown. The good thing disguised it. Anybody with the link could associate, go to hear readings and because of the platform they could be archived (that is all good and really ought to be worked to be retained). But the bad thing was that poets all too often sat down, flaunting their libraries. Too many poets (that I heard and saw) chose to be the talking head sat at the desk (commanders on the holodeck or unquestioning engineers of workstation), and a further disembodiment of voices occurred.
Event organisers please note --- make local events available and accessible to those who cannot be there at that time in as many instances as possible. Distance is an obvious preventer, so too work schedules, other commitments and accessibility issues. “We” need to make more events hybrid—live and streamed—in which “performers” — and the reading of a poem is a performance after all — acknowledge that their presence is both in this space in the here and the now, and also mediated.
In their desire for intimacy and amazed at the emergent technocracy poets got fluffy in a search for the simulacrum of connection. In some cases they abandoned being fierce - became too salon sweet. I know that has not always been the case throughout the pandemic on zoom, but enough so. There was not insufficient thought and action going into a sense of mise en scene and of how sitting down impacts vocal delivery.
i fell into the trap too. There were probably numerous exceptions that I missed but I did attend a tremendous online multiple book launch from Pamenar Press put together by editor, publisher and poet the sparkling Ghazal Mosadeq during which some of those who were reading stood up, even moved about a bit and more. Odd to "review" a reading but i took some screen grabs of the occasion and am celebrating the press, their publications and this presentation here. The editorial focus of Pamenar is strong.
There was a delicious and at times vertiginous split screen bi-lingual reading in Catalan & English, with two poets reading at the same time frequently (Anne Waldman & Emma Gomis) not simply one after the other. That was a joy to hear! The roughness and raw improvisational energy in their exploration of such a sensation of thought of as sensation hung in the air with Anne and Emma looking at one another with pleasure in reflective pleasure across the split between their screens acknowledge their successful charge. They read their text and their text read them.
"A Punch in the Gut of a Star" speaks to everyone who has gone through the past few years. Those who have feared breathing the air and who have been cautious of the poisonous surfaces of all things. These poems layer our pandemic fears and juxtaposes them on the page while paying close attention to the binaries of translation and numerical marks between the two languages of the book. A Punch in the Gut of a Star is being adopted into a film-in-progress by Ed Bowes, titled “shoot.”
Jack Frost delivered from her new book "Young Americans" with barbed precision but also showed the view out of her window onto Paris by night that split between the more intimate and the more panoptical public critique in her diction. For emphasis Jack leaned in with a wicked air of bitter critique, cutting the furry away from the her computer’s mic with a dark wit that shivered cliché.
"Young Americans" traces ‘the tragedy of feeling’ inside the ‘fragile world of civil loves,’ reaching down from the ‘proletarian night’ of the Mississippi delta toward that ‘other America,’ as Édouard Glissant called it. Author Mira Mattar writes, ‘Sprawling, but taut, and open with mourning, searching for a word for “exit” — these poems are penned from within the furious ache of the present’s “sad hour” looking back at a future that didn’t happen.’
Sally-Shakti Willow opened her room (very much staged and mise en scene) as a writing and drawing and reading space — a scene of mark making — and i really appreciated the sense that Sally brought of a temporal patient "room" to be read and read in. She waited in a freighting room. She slowed everything down — not everybody’s bag — wove a waiting and excercising “on” and “off” together to the extent that the “on” and “off” states interfused to a productive degree.
"Leela in Lockdown" juxtaposes her constraint based mesostics with densely scribbled notebook pages, to present a comforting expression of our whirlwind covid reality.
And then Fran Lock crouched in a claustrophobic space to deliver a scorching set from my favorite poetry book of last year, "Hyena! Jackal! Dog!" Her writing reaches a place where poetry very rarely treads. Fran’s delivery scorches our expectations around rhetorical politeness and lays down the call to urgent hands and compelling instruments. The reading confirmed the arrival of a major Irish poet.
The Hyena! poems are concerned with therianthropy – the magical transformation of people into animals – as a metaphor for the embodied effects of sudden and traumatic loss. Through the figure of Hyena! Fran negotiates the multiple fraught intersections of dirty animality, femininity, grief, class and culture to produce a work of queer mourning, a furious feral lament. Hyenas in legend and lore are shape-shifters, and Fran's work has been said to shape-shift between lyric and innovative modes, fiercely concerned with the expansion of "innovative" to include the kinds of poetry and performance strategy typically accessible to and practiced by working-class and marginalised people.
I hit the "Leave" button feeling braced and refreshed and excited about poetry again.
Pamenar Transatlantic Reading | 3 | 28 September 2020
Rachel Levitsky, Sophie Seita, Dua Al Bostani and Carlos Soto Román
Pamenar Press in an online reading broadcasted by Zoom, launched 3 books. Against Travel/ Anti-Voyage, A multilingual English and French chapbook by Rachel Levitsky, translation to French by Pascal Poyett; My Little Enlightenment Plays by Sophie Seita and an online launch of Carlos Soto Román’s Nature of Objects – which was launched physically before in London. Dua Al Bostani Al Fattohi also read from her poems published on Pamenar Online magazine. I was her very first public reading in English. Pamenar is proud to bring forward new powerful voices as well as known voices in poetry.
Pamenar Reading Series | 2 | 22 October 2019
Book launch Nature of Objects
By Anna Climent
Chilean poet and translator Carlos Soto-Román launched his new collection Nature of
Objects, published by Pamenar Press, at IKLECTIK in London on the 23 rd of October. Carlos’
readings from his collection were complemented by performances by other Chilean and
British poets, musicians, and artists. The evening proved to be a powerful demonstration of
Pamenar Press’s mission to promote multilingual, multicultural, and boundary-blurring
The evening began with Carlos Soto-Román reading ‘Pierrot le Fou’, the first poem from
Nature of Objects, in both Spanish and English. He accompanied himself on a synthesiser,
the chilling atonality of the electronic sounds underlining the poem’s ominous imagery of
death and decay. Behind him, a video screen showed the letters in each word appearing
alphabetically, one by one – a transposition of the technique used in the physical collection,
in which the poem is constructed letter by letter as the reader turns the pages. Carlos then
read ‘Nature of Objects’, accompanied by the musician Edward Shipsey, who improvised a
sparse, unnerving soundtrack using household objects and various instruments.
Inevitably, the protests in Chile – which had begun only two weeks before the book launch –
were on everyone’s mind, and they were not neglected in the evening’s performances.
mmmmm (aka Montenegro Fisher), a duo of artists, prefaced their reading by reciting the
numbers of dead, wounded, and disappeared protesters in Chile, and the poem that followed
spoke of “violence in the streets”, gunshot wounds, and corruption. Chilean poet Andrés
Anwandter read a new poem written specifically to “respond to and think about what’s
happening in Chile”. London-based musician Xavier Velastin used two microphones to
communicate his mixed cultural heritage and conflicting feelings about the protests,
speaking into one in English and the other in Spanish. The event ended with a collaboration
between all the artists and writers in a partially improvised, exhilarating celebration of
music, protest, poetry, and the human voice. As Carlos Soto-Román said of the Chilean
protests, “The only thing we can do right now is to stand in solidarity and give them all our
support; try to shout really loud from a distance.”
Pamenar Reading Series | 1 | 28 September 2019
The 1st Pamenar Reading Series and official launch of Pamenar Press
The 1st Pamenar Reading Series and official launch of Pamenar Press took place on September 28th at Beara Beara café, London, UK. Simon Smith read first from his new chapbook 2 New Poems. This was followed by reading from a surprise guest, Sacsha Akhtar, who read (in Urdu and English) from a rare manuscript of cross-genre work by Hijab Imtiaz entitled Adab-e-Zareen. She has translated this work and it will be published by Oxford University Press, India in April 2020. Pamenar Press also launched the poster poem Landlines by Stephen Emmerson. Stephen performed an interactive reading of Landlines with the help of the audience, and both he and they participated in reading the poster together. William Rowe, introduced bilingually in Spanish and English in acknowledgement of his research and translation in Spanish literature, read from new poems. Virna Teixeira read poems concerning gender and identity. Finally, Mamta Sagar, on the final day of her stay in the UK before returning to India, performed poems written originally in her mother tongue of Kannada alongside music performed by Sabastian Sterkowicz.