Announcing the 2022 Bristol Poetry Institute Annual Reading

Author photo of Denise Riley smiling warmly

We are delighted to announce that this year’s Bristol Poetry Institute Annual Reading will be delivered by Denise Riley in the Wills Memorial Building, Queens Rd, Bristol BS8 1RJ, at 6PM on Friday 16th December 2022

Book your free ticket here.

Over the last five decades, Denise Riley has steadily acquired the reputation of being, in the words of Simon Armitage, ‘one of the best poets around’. Sarah Perry, writer of The Essex Serepent, and Max Porter, writer of Grief is a Thing With Feathers, each called her 2016 volume, Say Something Back ‘the best thing I’ve read in ages’, while Robert Macfarlane declared the book’s ‘heart-piercing elegy to her son Jacob, “A Part Song”: the most powerful contemporary poem I’ve read in years’. 2022 sees the much anticipated publication of its successor, Lurex. The evening promises to be enjoyable, thought provoking and moving.

Denise Riley lives in London. Her prose books are War in the Nursery: Theories of the Child and Mother [1983], ‘Am I That Name?’ Feminism and the Category of ‘Women’ in History [1988], The Words of Selves: Identification, Solidarity, Irony (2000), The Force of Language (with Jean-Jacques Lecercle; 2004), Impersonal Passion: Language as Affect (2005) and Time Lived, Without Its Flow [2012].  Poetry collections include Marxism for Infants (1977), Dry Air (1985), Mop Mop Georgette (1993), Penguin Modern Poets series 2, vol 10 (with Douglas Oliver and Iain Sinclair; 1996), Selected Poems (2000, 2019), Say Something Back (2016), Penguin Modern Poets series 3, vol 6 [with Maggie Nelson and Claudia Rankine; 2017], Lurex [2022].

Admissions to the 2022 Bristol Poetry Institute Annual Reading are free but booking will be essential.

Ways of Reading: Bernadette Mayer and the New York School

image from Rosemary Mayer's Ways of Attaching Exhibition

Join the Bristol Poetry Institute and Spike Island for a conversation and a collaborative writing session dedicated to the New York School poets and the works of Bernadette Mayer.

Date and time
Location
Spike Island 133 Cumberland Road Bristol BS1 6UX

Book your free place here

Bernadette Mayer is an influential avant-garde writer associated with the New York School poets of the mid-20th century. Like her artist sister Rosemary Mayer, she garnered visibility during the second-wave feminist movement in the US. Mayer is known for her experimental poetic forms and narrative structures akin to streams of consciousness, which examine the complexities of gender and sexuality within the intimate interactions and attachments of family life.

A conversation between Dr Rebecca Kosick, Co-Director of the Bristol Poetry Institute, and Dr Rosa Campbell, Associate Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Literature at the University of St Andrews, is followed by the collective reading of selected texts by Bernadette Mayer.

Ways of Reading is organised in collaboration with Spike Island and hosted on the occasion of Rosemary Mayer’s solo exhibition Ways of Attaching.

Bristol Poetry Institute at Lyra Festival (April)

The Bristol Poetry Institute is pleased to once again partner with Lyra, the Bristol Poetry Festival for a series of exciting events this spring. We’d love to see you for any of the below events. All are free and open to the public.

 

April is the cruellest month | The Waste Land Lecture

Date: Friday 1st April 2022

Time: 17:30

Tickets: From £0.00

Venue: Bristol Central Library

To mark this year’s 100th anniversary of The Waste Land, Jim McCue will consider why we are still reading T. S. Eliot’s poem, how our understanding of it has changed, and what was meant by “editing” it as part of a 2,000-page scholarly edition of the poetry.

 

Radical Translation | with Girasol Press

Date: Saturday 9th April 2022

Time: 17:00

Tickets: From £0.00

Venue: Wills Memorial Building (G25), Queens Rd, Bristol BS8 1QE

Radical Translation explores politically and artistically “radical” approaches to poetry in translation, featuring poets and translators published by or connected with Bristol-based small publisher Girasol Press. We’ll hear from Say, Spirit, Sheffield-based poet Alex Cocker’s experimental translations of Michelangelo’s sonnets, which tease out questions of androgyny, queer desire and the “trans” in translation. There will be readings of new work from Latinx poet and translator Juana Adcock, whose poetry explores living between languages and the violence of present-day Mexico, and from the writer and translator Jessica Sequeira, whose fiercely hybrid texts transgress boundaries of language and genre. Lastly, the afternoon will feature video contributions in Ch’ol and Tsotsil, as well as Spanish and English, from three Mexican poets (Canario de la Cruz, Edgar Darinel García, and Miriam Esperanza Hernández Vázquez) included in Jukub: Poems from Chiapas for the Reverse Conquest. Jukub, the Ch’ol word for canoe, alludes to the Zapatista Army of National Liberation’s maritime delegation, which in 2021 sailed to Europe to mark 500 years since the “conquest” of Mexico in 1521. As a publisher, Girasol Press is interested in experimental approaches to translation and in the tactility and radical slowness of book-arts and antiquated print technologies, such as their trusty Adana 8×5!

 

Diana Bellessi | To Love A Woman/Amar a una mujer

Date: Saturday 9th April 2022

Time: 18:30

Tickets: From £0.00

Venue: Wills Memorial Building (G25), Queens Rd, Bristol BS8 1QE

Join Argentinian poet Diana Bellessi and translator Leo Boix to celebrate the publication of To Love A Woman. With support from Polish multilingual poet Bohdan Piasecki. Presented in partnership with the Poetry Translation Centre. Bellessi is a groundbreaking writer who has been credited as the godmother of LGBTQI+ poetry in Latin America. Over the decades she has championed feminist and queer issues and themes, and has exerted a strong influence on prominent poets and writers from the 1980’s through to the present day. Bellessi’s direct, simple aesthetic style was adopted, in part, to speak directly to ordinary people of Argentina over the literary intelligentsia, part of her deep commitment to highlighting the social condition of the working class in Latin America, alongside progressive politics and ecological conservation. A prolific writer, Bellessi has published 25 books and this selection draws from the whole range, charting the progression and evolution of her poetry. Largely untranslated until now, The Poetry Translation Centre is proud to be publishing this collection, many of the poems appearing in English for the first time. Bellessi and Boix will be reading from To Love A Woman in the original Spanish with English translations, and discussing her life and work. While the BPI has not organised this event, we are excited that it continues our engagement with Bellessi and Boix, following a PTC and BPI-hosted translation workshop led by Boix last spring.

 

Poetry Aloud | Featuring Daljit Nagra

Date: Sunday 10th April 2022

Time: 14:00

Tickets: From £0.00

Venue: St. George’s Bristol, Great George St, Bristol BS1 5RR

A free, fun and inspiring afternoon for children, young people and families with top poets and musicians. Children and young people from schools in Bristol and the surrounding areas will perform their chosen poems, old and new, and poems they have written themselves. This event is presented in partnership with Poetry By Heart. Children and young people, aged 7-18, can sign up to perform a poem of their choice by contacting info@poetrybyheart.org.uk. The event will feature special performances from former BPI Annual Reader Daljit Nagra and clare potter, and a poetry and music collaboration by Bob Walton and JOW.

Announcing the 2021 Bristol Poetry Institute Annual Reader: Roger Robinson

Headshot of Roger Robinson

Thu, 25 November 2021

18:30 – 19:30 GMT

Great Hall, Wills Memorial Building

Queen’s Road, Clifton Triangle

Bristol, BS8 1RJ

 

Tickets are free but must be booked in advance

 

We are very pleased to present Roger Robinson as this year’s Bristol Poetry Institute Annual Reader. The event will last one hour and comprise of a poetry reading and a question and answer session. A 20-minute book signing with the poet will follow the reading.

Roger Robinson is a writer who has performed worldwide. He is the winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize 2019, the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize 2020, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He was chosen by Decibel as one of 50 writers who have influenced the Black-British writing canon. His latest collection ‘A Portable Paradise’ was a New Statesman book of the year. He is an alumnus of The Complete Works and was shortlisted for The OCM Bocas Poetry Prize, The Oxford Brookes Poetry Prize, commended by the Forward Poetry Prize and shortlisted for the Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry 2020.

He has received commissions from The National Trust, London Open House, BBC, The National Portrait Gallery, V&A, INIVA, MK Gallery and Theatre Royal Stratford East where he also was associate artist.

He is an experienced workshop leader and has toured extensively with the British Council. His workshops have been part of a shortlist for the Gulbenkian Prize for Museums and Galleries and were also a part of the Webby Award winning Barbican’s Can I Have A Word. He is co-founder of both Spoke Lab and the international writing collective Malika’s Poetry Kitchen. He is the lead vocalist and lyricist for King Midas Sound and has also recorded solo albums with Jahtari Records.

Audio Recording of La gran nàusea Booklaunch 25/10/21

On Monday 25 October, 2021, the Bristol Poetry Institute was delighted to host our first in-person event in over a year, featuring a bilingual Catalan/English reading and discussion of La gran nàusea, by Xavier Mas Craviotto. For those not able to attend, we hope you will enjoy this audio recording of the event, introduced by Miguel García Lopez.

The BPI Alejandra Pizarnik Reading Group

Update: this reading group has been moved to April 2022.

The Bristol Poetry Institute is looking forward to hosting this reading group addressing the works of Argentine poet Alejandra Pizarnik, to take place in September. Please see the poster below for more information or reach out to the organiser, Dr Laura Jansen.

THE ALEJANDRA PIZARNIK READING GROUP Faculty of Arts Organised by Laura Jansen Under the auspices of the Bristol Poetry Institute Fridays 3:30-5pm September 3, 10, 19 and 24, 2021 With the participation of poets Alice Oswald & Phoebe Giannisi ‘There is an aura of almost legendary, classical prestige that surrounds the life and work of Alejandra Pizarnik.’ César Aira (1998) During her short life, Alejandra published eight small books that have earned her a fundamental place in poetry in Spanish. Her forerunners were classical Greek and Roman poets, Arab-Andalusian poets of the Middle Ages [...] Rimbaud and the French surrealists. Eventually, her poetic vocabulary became unique: echoes of [these traditions] can be heard in the background of her writing, but they are never allowed a full presence. Alberto Manguel (2015) Postgraduates and Postdoctoral researchers interested in twentieth-century writers are warmly invited to attend this online interdisciplinary reading group, hosted by Laura Jansen of the Department of Classics and Ancient History in partnership with the Bristol Poetry Institute. Our focus this year is on the oeuvre of Argentine poet Alejandra Pizarnik (Buenos Aires 1936-72), whose writings include poems, diaries, correspondence and critical essays. We will be exploring a selection of texts from works such as Diana’s Tree/ Árbol de Diana (1962), Works and Nights/ Los trabajos y noches (1965), Extracting the Stone of Madness/ Extracción de la piedra de locura (1968), and A Tradition of Rupture: Selected Critical Writings (2019). The texts will be circulated in English, while readings of short poems during the sessions will be performed in English, as well as in Spanish and French, the two languages in which Pizarnik wrote. Participants are expected to commit to regular online attendance of the four sessions. The group will meet on Fridays, 3:30-5pm, starting on September 3, 2021. It is expected that the reading group will be predominantly for postgraduate and postdoctoral scholars, although senior scholars are also very welcome. All those interested in attending should get in touch with the organiser by July 1, 2021: laura.jansen@bristol.ac.uk

Translation workshop with Leo Boix featuring poetry by Diana Bellessi

Photo of Diana Bellessi

Date and time: 15 and 22 June, 18:30-20:00 BST

Cost: pay what you can

Register: via Eventbrite

In collaboration with the Poetry Translation Centre, we are very proud to present a workshop on Spanish poetry, focussing on the work of Argentine poet Diana Bellessi. A guide translation is provided by the guest translator so there is no need to know the language being translated, simply sign up and bring your love of language.

This online workshop will take place over two 90-minute sessions on Zoom over two consecutive Tuesdays. This format will let us spend time with a single poetic voice. The workshops will be led by translator Leo Boix.

Diana Bellessi is a poet from the province of Santa Fé in Argentina. Born in 1946, she has become one of the foremost voices in Latin America, her many awards include: 1993 Guggenheim Fellowship in poetry, 1996 Antorchas Foundation fellowship, 2004 Premio Konex, Merit Award, 2007 Fondo Nacional de las Artes, lifetime award in poetry. She is considered to be the godmother of feminist / LGBTQI+ / Lesbian poetry in Argentina and her work demonstrates a deep commitment to progressive politics, ecological conservation and the social condition of the working class in Argentina and Latin America. Her poetry is seen as groundbreaking for its depiction of Lesbian desire and has exerted a strong influence on prominent poets and writers from the 80s and 90s through to the present day.

Leo Boix is a bilingual Latino British poet, translator and journalist based in the UK. He has published two collections in Spanish, Un lugarpropio (2015) and Mar de noche (2017), and was included in many anthologies, such as Ten: Poets of the New Generation (Bloodaxe) and Why Poetry? (Verve Poetry Press). His English poems have appeared widely including in PoetryThe Poetry ReviewModern Poetry in TranslationPNReview and The Rialto. Boix is a fellow of The Complete Works Program and co-director of ‘Invisible Presence’, a scheme to nurture new young voices of Latino poets in the UK. His debut collection of English poetry, Ballad of a Happy Immigrant, will be published by Chatto and Windus in 2021.

For more information, head over to Eventbrite.

Bristol by Heart Poetry Recitation Contest: Metre and Memorisation Project

The Metre and Memorisation Project, funded by the Brigstow Institute at the University of Bristol, announces the Bristol by Heart poetry recitation contest in collaboration with Poetry by Heart and the Bristol Poetry Institute.

Details of the Prize

Contestants are required to recite a poem from memory.  Poems chosen should be poems or extracts from poems of between fourteen and forty lines in length and in English.  All poems must be published and not the work of participants. Beyond this, the choice of poems is up to students and their teachers.  Poems can, for instance, be poems that are also being studied as part of regular school work, such as poems required for GCSE.  Alternatively, they can be selected from the wide range of suitable poems on the Poetry by Heart website, or indeed from further afield.  Why not choose poems that reflect Bristol’s diverse population or poems from its rich poetic history? Participants choosing a poem not on the Poetry by Heart website are asked to include a copy of the text of the poem learned along with their entry.

There are four age categories: 7+, 11+, 14+, 16+.  Heats will be held in participating schools. The process of judging these heats will be left up to the individual school: judges can be teachers, the participants’ peer group, or a combination of two.  The best 3-5 performances in each age category will then be uploaded onto the Poetry by Heart website for consideration by the judges.  Students whose school / class is not participating in the competition can enter independently, providing that their entry is approved and uploaded by a teacher or parent/legal guardian.

We would encourage teachers and parents to make learning and performing the poems as enjoyable and inclusive a process as possible and to talk about different methods of memorisation. The judges will be looking for a high quality poetry recital rather than a dramatic interpretation, and we recommend that poems are performed in the reader’s natural accent.  Further Tips on poetry recital can be found on the Poetry by Heart website.  All participating students, whether shortlisted by the schools or not, are invited to fill in a questionnaire about their experience of memorisation.  The data from these forms will be anonymised and used to help the Metre and Memorisation project into its research into the psychological effects of poetry memorisation.  Three of the contestants who complete these forms will be chosen at random to receive a £10 book token.

There are four age categories: 7+, 11+, 14+, 16+

The Deadline for entries to be uploaded is 5pm on Friday, 2nd July.

Winners in each category will receive a £50 book token plus a £25 book token for their school libraries.  The two runners up in each category will receive a £15 book token plus a £10 book token for their school libraries.

The Competition is open to children and young people in Bristol and the Surrounding Area. All schools in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire are eligible. If your school is from further afield and would like to take part, please contact the organisers who will make a discretionary decision.

Further details about how enter are available on the Learning Zone at poetrybyheart.org.uk.

Reading and Discussion with Janet Hendrickson and Rebecca Kosick

Image of the book covers.

The Bristol Poetry Institute will host, with the Wild Detectives Bookstore in Dallas, TX, this engaging conversation and reading featuring translator Janet Hendrickson and BPI co-director Rebecca Kosick. The event will take place Thursday 14 January from 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM GMT.

Rebecca Kosick and Janet Hendrickson will discuss how writing and translation are inseparable practices during this transatlantic reading from their recent books. Rebecca Kosick’s Labor Day (Golias Books, 2020) is a serial poem set in the postindustrial US Midwest that explores the landscapes of the author’s childhood through the distorted lens of memory. Janet Hendrickson’s Treasure of the Castilian or Spanish Language (New Directions, 2019), an experimental translation of a seventeenth-century dictionary by Sebastián de Covarrubias, turns the original into a series of prose poems. Laura Jansen of the University of Bristol will moderate the conversation.

For more information and to book your place, head over to Eventbrite.

Poetry Translation Workshop with Assiya Issemberdiyeva and Liz Berry

In partnership with the Poetry Translation Centre and the Embassy of Kazakhstan in the UK, we are pleased to be hosting a translation workshop on Tuesday 26 January 2021, 18:30-20:30 GMT. This session exploring Kazakh poetry will focus on the work of Yerlan Junis. Junis’s lyrical verses are highly regarded by his literary colleagues for their unexpected surrealist images and expression of human emotions. The session will be led by poet Liz Berry and guest translator Assiya Issemberdiyeva.

This online workshop will take place over Zoom in one two-hour session. In order to make this workshop experience as accessible as possible, pricing is pay-what-you-want. Knowledge of the source language is welcome but not required; the poet/translator-facilitators will support you in crafting your translation.

Follow the link to Eventbrite to book your place now.