Bob Brightt, Richard Capener, Sarah Cave, Madelaine Culver, Emma Gomis, Ali Graham, Chris Gutkind, Caroline Harris, JD Howse, Griffen Hoyle, Briony Hughes, Astra Papachristodoulou, Tanicia Pratt,
Chloe Proctor, Charles Putschkin, Dylan Rowe, and Soft Play
'Container' is concerned with themes related to making sense of the disruption of lives, the fragmenting of meaning and the insidious nature of commerce in everyday life in this challenging period - and the interweaving of these strands.
Bob Brightt is a poet, yogi and educator based in Kent, with a PGDip in Poetic Practice from RHUL. His poems have appeared in publications such as Vallum Magazine, and Pamenar Magazine and he has read in various settings including at the Gulbenkian Café as part of the 'leaving-our-own-continent Camarade' to mark the UK's departure from Europe and participated in the last European Poetry Festival prior to Brexit.
Bob can be found online at https://www.bobbrightt.com
What genre are you writing in? What themes do you want at the core of your story? What important traits will your main character have? What will motivate your antagonist? What tone (comedy, tragedy, etc.) will your story have? Why should the reader be interested in your plot? What is my argument? Who is my audience? What research will I need to do? What genre am I writing in?
Check for coherency. Do all parts of your piece make sense together? If so, continue. If not, consider revising or cutting whatever doesn't fit in.
Check for necessity. Do all parts of the story contribute? Does each section give necessary background, advance your plot or argument, develop an important character or point, or introduce critical analyses? If not, cut it.
Check for anything missing. Are all your characters or points properly introduced? Is all your supporting data or information present? Do your points flow smoothly together, or are there some logical gaps?
Who says "suck the milk of nations” anymore? Which is easier to follow?
How to Write (with Pictures) was entirely derived from the Wikihow article of the same name.
Richard Capener currently lives and works in Bristol. His writing has been featured in Sublinary Editions' Subscriptions, Streetcake, Overground Underground, Beir Bua, Spontaneous Poetics, Selcouth Station and the Crested Tit Collective's Rewilding: An Ecopoetic Anthology, among others. His debut pamphlet is forthcoming from Broken Sleep Books. He also edits The Babel Tower Notice Board.
Richard can be found on twitter at @richardcapener3 - his journal The Babel Tower Notice Board can be found on Twitter at @babelboard
by Madelaine Culver
Made using oyster shells left over from a friend's birthday dinner and video footage collected from Alnmouth Beach on the Northumberland coast, "Story of the Shells #2" is the second part in a series exploring perceptions of the female body and sexuality through oyster anatomy. Spoken in the film and contained within the hand-crafted oyster-shell mobile that features in it is the final stanza of my text-based poem, "Story of the Shells."
Madelaine Culver is a writer and poet with a background in arts administration. Based in the North East of England, she successfully completed the Writing Poetry MA at Newcastle University in 2020. Her work has been published by, or is forthcoming from, ALIENISTmagazine, 3:AM, The Babel Tower Notice Board, Ink Sweat and Tears, New Boots and Pantisocracies, and the international journal, Shuddhashar. Find her on Twitter @fromxthextower.
Madelaine can be found on twitter and instagram @fromxthextower
by Emma Gomis
“Oneiric” (2020) is a cinepoem that came out of some time I spent in Nebraska looking at migratory flight lines of Sandhill Cranes, one of the largest animal migrations. I wrote some of the poem while waiting in the blinds for the sun to rise and the birds to start keening. Some of the footage was also shot there. The rest is based on dreams and augury– a form of divination first practiced in Ancient Greece in which augurs watched the patterns of birds and interpreted their movements as harbingers.
Emma Gomis is a Catalan American essayist, poet, editor and translator. She is the cofounder of Manifold Press. Her texts have been published in Denver Quarterly, The Brooklyn Rail, Entropy, Asymptote, and Vice Magazine among others and her chapbook Canxona is forthcoming from b l u s h lit. She was selected by Patricia Spears Jones as The Poetry Project’s 2020 Brannan Poetry Prize winner. She holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing & Poetics from Naropa’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, where she was also the Anne Waldman Fellowship recipient and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in criticism and culture at the University of Cambridge.
Emma can be found online at www.emmajanegomis.com and www.manifoldcriticism.com or on instagram @emmajanegomis
In the desert in Sardinia
After Sebastiane (1976)
The man wearing the least clothing is
sharpening a knife. There are people
on the TV in the gym with infinitely more
fuckable bodies than me. In the rain-wet
faces of the public was a freefall through
a series of white thuds. Someone has to do it.
If you are that would-be jackal two inches off
my lungs or something similarly real, realness
measured in threat, you would understand this.
My beliefs looking at me in the dark -
not horrifying - just expectant. I wanted
to walk off my body or the subjunctive is
not in direct reference to what is necessarily
real but instead actually the new year -
lowercase - and to the embarrassing flagrant back
of me. I search the conversation
on the messaging app for versions of you have
made me proud. In any desert, I have not said
my name. I would be an engine of already
gone, would be of why should I not and
tower over me. To bring on solstice
I have been having in my mouth
crocuses methodised right are breathable
through initially waking something then
no matter that I do not ever behold you
again. Not meaning much I to
Back-of-the-neck hairs. It is so offered to me. I do
not remember the taste done with
making life I looked at the career
of an omen no one having
to tell of in the difference
of future from true I forget I fear
that while bent over you
got an eyeful of my heart and
what does not happen anymore
is who were you to look in on
excruciatings in where my no-soul nests
on the other tv channel that
was all we had in the gym no
one put on the bird programme
it did not happen not
one dropping tiredness though all
rawness gone at an end not elsewhere
just done all this for big shoulders less hips
these associatings and consequentialisings and
when I feel most close to history is when I you
know and I hear a film where the dogs are
from ‘Medea redux/Hares on the Mountain’
I have been slumping all mirrors wrong way in against the wall because I have been thinking about what we owe to each other. When I say all talk of sex embarrasses you, it means the pale grit bends to the shape of my clothed knees. I do not take the clothing of my knees lightly so they are clothed lightly in fabric the weaving of which was not a task undertaken lightly the non-lightness of this task was not conceived in light were our children conceived in light
the Internet, pretending, coming, coming,
I lick cordial off my wrist
of a photo or some other likeness
of you. I will have been admitting
this. What other admission I will publish
the machinations of all my organs
bar some. I am a good dog
in romantic scenery, bad thing.
I would have climbed across a dome of marble
or designer granite second only to the firmament, as if
this dome were a sand dune, to see
where the past thirteen days have gone. When
in every sense but physical you were
wringing your hands, bereft, nobody to
prop you at the [event]’s end, it had me
thirsty in this autumn way,
orange-yellow, conscientious production
of heat, affronting winter. Callas’ Medea
is the inverse of ripple of stone in the hands
after pressing against or slapping.
I hope you come back to your acts of squirreling
away. Callas’ Medea is senseless
and has been making. I was seeing
plagues in my dreams, of insects,
of cruise ships cutting
through land as if scalpels, scraping,
the insects burdensome. Pasolini’s Medea has
no onscreen interaction with gods though
special effects of the time would have allowed for the staging
and what is the meaning of this choice, the apostrophising,
the centaur, the globules of beaded jewellery
in places of apparition, separate union,
voices in the night’s sky. I believed in a factory of
care and affection. What does it
mean of me in worlds of this shaping
to know song as a function of organs,
biologically, you will be explaining this,
no I will be buoying my song
along knowing I will live
of ornamental gravel, all those I cannot stand
until I do. I hate when the world gets me so ashamed.
"In the desert in Sardinia is part of my ongoing interest in the poetics of film and the cinema of poetry. Here, I was thinking about the embarrassment and exuberance of looking queerly; about moving images that stare back and these existing along a spectrum of dread and pleasure; the somehow simultaneous anonymity and conspicuousness of going to the gym alone and watching a film alone.
These excerpts are from Medea redux / Hares on the Mountain, a long piece in progress considering the myth of Medea and the English folk song 'Hares on the Mountain', after the Internet. I wanted to distort and ricochet the trope in myth of a woman pursued and transforming who, on running out of transformations, falls (for) a man; to inhabit and take apart the 'I' and 'we' of a text; to devote to the sexlessness, sexuality, and magic of the hare; to orbit Medea in all her unpredictability, pride, and desire for a time; and to somehow mark the temporality of crisis."
Ali Graham lives and works in Norwich. Their poetry has been published by The Tangerine and Datableed, and their essays have been published by SPAM zine and Stride. Their interests include hybridity, lyric essays, folds, and materialities.
Ali can be found on Twitter as A__Graham and Instagram as aligrhm.
by Chris Gutkind
by Caroline Harris
The handmade bookwork Cut-out Bambi uses techniques of reversal to explore how it might be possible to decentre, disrupt and destabilise the human gaze and its reflection through the material form of the pamphlet. In this piece I wanted to make explicit the collision between ‘cute’ images of deer in mass media – from the 1942 Disney animated feature and from contemporary online culture – and the erasure of deer by humans.The Soundtrack was conceived as a response to the difficulties of sharing material works and replicating the experience of interacting with a bookwork during the COVID-19 lockdown, when readings and events are conducted online. It aims to produce a kind of ‘sonic materiality’ by introducing a texture of layered sound into a poem reading. The four tracks represent three different readings of the Cut-out Bambi text – the whole of the four-scene poem; the Bambi: Marginalised poems; and the text as seen through the erased deer – along with a recording of the scalpel sounds when cutting out deer from one of the poem’s YouTube stills.
Cut-out Bambi: The Soundtrack was written and performed by Caroline Harris, with sound editing by Ethan Wilson
Caroline Harris is a writer, editor and publisher, and a poetic practice PhD researcher at Royal Holloway, University of London. Pamphlets include SCRUB Management Handbook No.1 Mere (Singing Apple Press), Cut-out Bambi and experimental letterpress poem Type Flight (both Small Birds Press) and work is held in the collections of the Bodleian Library and National Poetry Library. Poetry is published or forthcoming in Fake (Corrupted Poetry), Rewilding: An ecopoetic anthology (Crested Tit Collective), PERVERSE and Finished Creatures, among others.
by JD Howse
by Griffen Hoyle
Eden 2 is an interactive audio drama set in the main headquarters of an up-and-coming natural health company. Pick your poison and follow one of three story paths as you unravel mysteries surrounding unreported accidents, vanishing VIPs, and a greenhouse that's simply to die for. This horror-comedy explores themes of health, natural medicine, diet culture, multi-level marketing schemes, and the myth of corporate fem empowerment.
Griffen Hoyle is a scriptwriter, producer, and multi-media artist that specializes in outdoor, site-specific art installations and puzzles both tactile and virtual. Her work has been featured at the Southwark Playhouse, the Charlestown Working Theatre, and in a field in Runnymede while wearing a giant puppet for the delight (horror) of HRH Prince William. She studied Drama and Creative Writing at Royal Holloway, University of London and graduated with her MFA in Writing for Stage, Screen and Broadcast Media from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in 2019.
Griffen's production company can be found online at https://samesteps.online/ or on Twitter at @SameSteps. In addition to the link above, Eden 2 can also be found on Spotify.
'It must be the water’ is a hybrid audio-visual performance which deconstructs language and images used in television advertisements for leading bottled water brands. The work was created for GREEN BLUES, a 2020 poetry, performance and research seminar series exploring visions of adaptation to ecological upheaval.
Briony Hughes is a TECHNE AHRC funded doctoral researcher and visiting tutor based at Royal Holloway. She is interested in kinetic movement in language, water bodies, the archive, and site-specific writing. Briony’s publications include Dorothy (Broken Sleep Books) and Microsporidial (Sampson Low). She is a founding member of the Crested Tit Collective, and editor of Rewilding: An Ecopoetic Anthology. Briony has recently launched Osmosis Press.
Briony can be found on twitter at @brihughespoet or @osmosispress
Review of 'The sea is spread and cleaved and furled' by Ahren Warner
by Astra Papachristodoulou
by Tanicia Pratt
Hyphae is an evolving project engaged with the complications of writing from a lyric communal voice. The objective is to create a long form study of pronouns which aims to approach a resolution for the “proposed universal”.
Chloë Proctor is a London-Irish mulchy poet. She considers her practice to exist in the chthonic realm of involuting soil poetics [read Donna Haraway]. She is interested in interjections, clashing discourses, soil, fungus and semantic mess-making. Her work has appeared in contemporary anthologies such as Rewilding: An Ecopoetic Anthology and Azimuth: The Ecology of an Ear. She has also been published by Corbel Stone Press and The Centre for Alterity Study. Her book-art, Saprotrophic, can be found at the National Poetry Library. She is an MA graduate of Poetic Practice and a former member of the Crested Tit Collective.
Chloë can be found on Instagram and Twitter @chloproc, or on her website at chloeproctor.me
“Brambles” was shot at Ashton Court in Bristol and imagines the end of cities as seen from the future.
Charles Putschkin is a Swedish-Polish multimedia writer based in Bristol. He is a co-creator of Renata Kexxel.
Charles can be found online at https://charlieputschkind.wordpress.com or on twitter @CPutschkin
'Speak / Scroll / Spread' is a trio of visual pieces collating concerns with the spread of Coronavirus and misinformation. The pieces attempt to draw parallels between the infection nature of post-truth doctrine and the current world health crisis, ultimately drawing attention to our inaction towards the unseen pandemic, post-truth.
Pottery, like poetry, requires planning, execution and finesse. Plenty of opportunity to go wrong. 'Vase' draws on the visual and on Platonic philosophy to offer a meta-poetic self-criticism, while compelling a confluence of plan and execution. It almost serves as an ironic defeatist mantra - think I Will Create No More Boring Art but it's boring.
Dylan Rowe is an English Literature and Drama graduate currently residing in Norwich. He studied at Royal Holloway University of London and plans on returning for an MA in Poetic Practice in October 2021. He enjoys and believes in the potency of collaborative, interdisciplinary art which exercises a state of accessibility without sacrificing depth and aesthetic integrity.
Dylan can be found on Instagram at @written_by_dylan or on Twitter at @DylanLukeRowe.
by Soft PLay
Catch Up (2020) is a performative response to constraints imposed by the pandemic. It was devised and performed by Soft Play, and filmed and edited by Alan Cunningham.
Soft Play (Iris Colomb & Paul Ingram) are a double act working between poetry, performance art and slapstick comedy. Their pieces have included, inter alia, custard pies, balloons, axes, buckets, milk, balls, signs and stepladders.