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PEMBROKE COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE POETRY READING

PEMBROKE COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE POETRY READING

PEMBROKE COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE POETRY READING

featuring 7 Eyewear poets and editors:

Cal Freeman, Michigan poet

Rosanna Hildyard, UK poet

Alex Houen, UK poet

Mandy Kahn, Los Angeles poet

Alexandra Payne, UK poet

Eric Sigler, Miami poet

and Todd Swift, director of Eyewear

reading from their work. 7pm on Friday 13th October 2017

in the Thomas Gray Room

of Pembroke College. Cambridge, UK.

Open to all, free of charge. Free wine.

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One Of Our Hume Shortlisted Poets On The Catalonia Independence Referendum

One Of Our Hume Shortlisted Poets On The Catalonia Independence Referendum

REBECCA CLOSE IN SPAIN WRITES...

A list of things that (1) have changed during the Catalonia Independence referendum weeks, followed by a list of things that (2) have not changed

 

(1) Things that have changed

 

(i) The use of objects associated with domesticity and private property + (ii) what 10 pm sounds like

 

Cacerola means stew pot. At 10pm every night leading up to the referendum on October 1 people took their stew pots and banged them with metal spoons. First you would hear a few clangs then the clatter spread. It lasted for around half an hour. It was louder than the cazeloras on Aurora street weeks after the police murdered prominent member of the gay community Juan Andrés Benítez in 2013. It was louder than the cacerola that members of the sex workers union would organize on Robadors street every Wednesday between 2013 – 2014 to protest police harassment and gentrification of the Raval area in the centre of the city.

On the day of the referendum, people gathered across the city and region to celebrate the vote. If you didn’t have a stew pot with you in the street you could use your keys. We were in plaza Cataluña when thousands of people took their keys out and jangled them in the air. We jangled our keys too.

 

(iii) Who was at the frontline

 

During the referendum, Spanish police forces – the Guardia Civil – rampaged, broke fingers, sexually assaulted, smashed glass and beat women and the elderly. The brutality of the police was matched by the cunning of the Catalan people performing minor acts of civil disobedience. In Sant Mori the 176 inhabitants sat around eating paella while dozens of Spanish Guardia Civil police surrounded the school where they believed the villagers were going to vote. Sant Mori had already voted at 6am. They offered plates of paella to the police. In Campins near Montseny people cut down trees to stop the passage of riot vans and the Guardia Civil were forced to climb a steep forested hill, where they got lost and were rescued by the people of Campins. In another town, the police broke into a school where they found huge crowds of people playing dominos. “What vote?”, the people asked the police.

It was shocking for many to see bodies exposed to police brutality that might otherwise experience exemption due to the privileges afforded by whiteness and class. And for those who have been attacked by both the Catalan police force – the Mossos d'Esquadra – and the Spanish Guardia Civil there was hope that in the visibility of police violence that this referendum has afforded, new alliances may de forged.

 

(2) Things that have not changed

 

(i) The volume of nationalisms

 

The hope that this referendum may produce new alliances dipped during a Catalonia wide strike on Tuesday 3 October, when critique of police brutality was drowned out by the noise of the Catalan flags draping the shoulders of the property owning classes. Teenagers sang hymns to the local police forces. According to the emerging narrative, the Mossos d'Esquadra are peaceful, heroic, nice etc. in comparison to the brutal Spanish Guardia Civil.

On Sunday 8 October 400,000 people arrived to march in Barcelona against the referendum. Spanish flags filled the streets where Catalan flags had. A day later a Madrid politician Pablo Casado threatened to assassinate a Catalan politician in a chilling speech that made reference to the assassination of the Leader of the Republican Left Lluís Campanys in 1940, a case which was foundational in the establishment of the Franco Dictatorship (1939-1975).  

Independence was declared officially in the Catalan parliament on Tuesday 10 October by Puigdemont and then suspended in the next breath. With politicians seeking to make plans concrete, comparisons are now being drawn with Slovenia, whose independence from Yugoslavia was announced in 1989 then suspended and proceeded to unfold over a year that included a 10 day armed conflict that resulted in increased international support for Slovenia. While the suspension of Catalan Independence by leader Puigdemont disappointed many, it is possible that the comparisons with Slovenia mean the suspension may itself be tactical, and will allow Puigdemont to use the time to gain more international support. It is also possible that the right wing politician was always using the promise of independence as a tool in party politics. The fact that conservative right wing Slovenian politician Dimitrij Rupel currently advises the process as the head of the group of international observers in Catalonia is another clue to voters that the state they are willing into being is far from the anti-fascist, socialist utopia it is being sold as.

On Monday 9 October activist and academic Angela Davis visited Barcelona and spoke on the value of considering “resistance” over “revolution”. In a shocking example of historical amnesia, the Catalan cultural critic introducing Davis to a packed auditorium compared the Catalan Independence struggle to Black and African American resistance movements in the United States. Davis responded at the end of her speech, it depends what kind of independence you want, I think you still have a lot of difficult questions to ask.

For many, the strike on Tuesday 3 October was a day to remember and celebrate the lives of people wrongly accused, beaten up and murdered by police in Cataluña. Mohamed Abagui who was 22 in 2010, Jonathan Syzalima who was 20 in 2009 and Idrissa Diallo who was 21 in 2012, who all died in police custody. The poet Patricia Heras, whose wrongful arrest and conviction for harming a police officer led to a 5 year sentence and her suicide in 2011.

Bandera means flag. I slip between bandera and band. Flags and bands. Banda means gang or brass band. Bandera means flag. I mean music band. Or pop group. Nationalisms and noise and gangs.

Rebecca Close was born in London and is an artist, researcher, poet and translator based between London and Barcelona. She studied Philosophy at Manchester University and has a Master’s Degree in Spanish Philology. Her forthcoming new media publication Reinscriptions, co-produced with Anyely Marín, won the Miquel Casablancas Prize for Visual Arts (2017). Her poems have appeared recently in datableedzine, Ambit, Magma and Lemony Lemons.

 

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ANNOUNCING OUR GREAT 12-STRONG HUME PRIZE SHORTLIST

ANNOUNCING OUR GREAT 12-STRONG HUME PRIZE SHORTLIST

THE MELITA HUME POETRY PRIZE 2017 SHORTLIST

This year’s shortlist of 12 eligible poets is likely more diverse than ever in the prize’s six-year history. Past winners have been chosen by leading UK poets, such as Tim Dooley, Emily Berry, and Mark Ford – and last year’s co-winner, Maria Apichella, was a Forward-nominee this year for Psalmody. The £1,500 prize is open to any young poet with a debut collection, 35 years or under at time of entry, who either is resident in the UK or Ireland, or a citizen of either place. This allows for a very open field.

This year’s judge Vahni Capildeo, a prize-winning leading poet, will have her work cut out for her. There are poets from across the UK, Ireland and Northern Ireland, as well as two poets hailing from South Africa. Showcasing the internationalism of poetry in these isles, some of the shortlisted poets live at least part-time in Mumbai, Barcelona and Hong Kong. And all styles and forms of poetry are represented, from avant-garde, to mainstream, to spoken word and performance. 

The 12 debut poets are:

Alex Howard is 29 and lives in Scotland. Alex attended the University of Edinburgh where he graduated with a first in English Literature. Since then, he has gone on to publish poetry and prose widely earning several prizes and awards. His debut novel Library Cat won the Beryl Bainbridge Best First Time Author Award (2017) and has been translated into Italian and Korean, while his poetry has earned him a place as a quarterfinalist in the Scottish Slam Championships, a reading slot at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, and the Red Cross International Writing Prize. He is currently completing an AHRC funded PhD at the University of Edinburgh where he teaches.

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Caitlin Stobie was born in 1993 in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. She is currently reading for her PhD at the University of Leeds and is co-editor of EPIZOOTICS!  - and her poems and short stories have been published internationally in journals including Poetry & Audience, Zoomorphic, Flash, The Stockholm Review of Literature, The Kalahari Review, and New Contrast. In 2016 an earlier version of her unpublished debut collection was shortlisted for the RædLeaf International Poetry Award.

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Carina Hart was born in Norfolk in 1987. She studied English Literature at Cambridge, York and UEA, where she completed her PhD in 2012. She has published poetry in InPrint, The Cadaverine and The Apple Anthology, and was also shortlisted for the Melita Hume Poetry Prize in 2013. In 2017 she has been highly commended in the Aurora Competition for short fiction, and is shortlisted for the Overton Poetry Prize. Carina works as a lecturer in English Literature at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, and lives in Nottingham and Malaysia.

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Christian Wethered was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and the University of Bristol. He has been published both in Ireland and the UK. His work has featured in the anthologies In the Cinnamon Corners 2017 and the Aesthetica Creative Works Anthology. He was third-placed in the 2016 Café Writers Competition (judged by Andrew McMillan), and recently selected for the 2017 Poetry Ireland Introductions Series. He lives in Dublin.

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Eloise Stevens was born in London, in 1988, and is currently based between Mumbai and London. She holds a degree in French and Portuguese literature from Oxford University. She has performed at The Cuckoo Club, Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, in Mumbai, the Edinburgh Fringe, the Poetry Café, London, and is a Farrago slam champion.  She is currently working on a performance of her collection, The Beat of Beast, which was shortlisted for The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective prize. 

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Geraldine O’Kane poet, creative writing facilitator, arts administrator and mental health advocate, was born September 19th, 1981 and was brought up in the village of Ardboe on the shores of Lough Neagh, Northern Ireland. She attended St. Joseph's Grammar School Donaghmore, and went on to study English and History at the University of Ulster. She currently lives and works in Belfast. Geraldine is one half of Poetry NI. In October 2015 she gave a TED Talk for TEDx Belfast on poetry and mental health and read at the Poems Upstairs Series in association with Poetry Ireland Feb’ 2016. She is a recipient of the Artist Career Enhancement Scheme (ACES) 2015/16 grant from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. 

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Jacqueline Thompson is from Arbroath on the East Coast of Scotland. She has an MLitt in Creative Writing from The University of Dundee and a PhD from The University of Edinburgh. Her poems have appeared in New Writing Scotland, Gutter, Poetry Ireland Review and The Scotsman. She has been shortlisted for the Grierson Verse Prize, the Westport Arts Festival Poetry Prize and the Jane Martin Poetry Prize, and she won the Neil Gunn Writing Competition in 2017. She currently works as a writer in Edinburgh. 

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Jason Eng Hun Lee is a poet of mixed British and Chinese ancestry. He has been published in EnvoiAcumen, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and his first collection Beds in the East was a finalist for the Hong Kong University Prize (2010). He is an occasional guest editor/judge/reviewer for Cha: An Asian Literary Journal and regular contributor to the Hong Kong literary scene. He has a PhD in English Literature and currently lectures at Hong Kong Baptist University. 

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Mariah Whelan was born in Oxford in 1986. She studied English at Queen’s University, Belfast before completing an MSt in Creative Writing at Oxford University. She has lived in Japan and Spain and is currently based in the Centre for New Writing at The University of Manchester where she was awarded a scholarship to write poems and research trauma in contemporary Irish fiction. She was awarded a distinction for her master’s thesis, a novel-in-sonnets titled City of Rivers, which won the AM Heath Prize and individual poems were shortlisted for The Bridport Prize. 

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Rebecca Close was born in London and is an artist, researcher, poet and translator based between London and Barcelona. She studied Philosophy at Manchester University and has a Master’s Degree in Spanish Philology. Her forthcoming new media publication Reinscriptions, co-produced with Anyely Marín, won the Miquel Casablancas Prize for Visual Arts (2017). Her poems have appeared recently in datableedzine, Ambit, Magma and Lemony Lemons.

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Rhiannon Williams was born in Islington in 1992. She grew up in London and subsequently in Cyprus, where she lived for eight years before returning to the UK and studying for a BA in English Literature at the University of Exeter. She has had poetry featured on The Island Review, and is currently studying for an MA in Narrative Environments at Central Saint Martins in London. 

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Thembe Mvula is a twenty-three-year-old poet and spoken word performer born in Grahamstown, South Africa. She has lived in the UK, in Gloucester, for almost fourteen years and is currently based in London, where she works part time in community engagement whilst being a freelance poet. Thembe graduated with a BA in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies at the University of Kent in 2016. Writing from the age 12, Thembe had her first poem published in a Young Writers Anthology at age 15. Since then, she has mainly shared her poetry on the stage, featuring across platforms such as The Roundhouse, Jawdance and TEDx.

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