Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The City - reading on radio this Friday

Me and the wonderful Ana Seferovic will be reading from our poetry book The City, as well as other bits and pieces, with lovely musicians this Friday 27th January. The show starts at 9pm Belgrade time (8pm GMT)and will be broadcast in front of a live audience. You can listen in for free at http://nofm.rs

Here is a little blurb about the project (and a silly picture of me and Ana...)

The City.

The city seeks to poetically excavate the concept of urban space from a priori concrete ideas to personal memory - the hidden rather than the monumentally enforced stories of a place. The foundations are laid by two poets, Alice Maddicott (UK) and Ana Seferovic (Serbia), working in close collaboration to deconstruct cities of personal memory to form one constantly evolving city; seeking out atmosphere and the intangible as much as streets and buildings, to create an intrinsic sense of place that can communicate universally.

Created in three movements from architectural facts, through intimate and post-apocalyptic visions, to an ultimate losing of oneself to space and the absence of recognisable place, the project is a distillation of the essence of a city rather than its physical building blocks. These foundations will be built upon by other artists, in the first instance by musicians Manja Ristic (Serbia) and Ryan Norris (USA), who are creating a score in three parts in response to the atmosphere of different areas within the poem.

The first stage of the project sees the publication of a book, CD and archaeological poetry map by the organisation Auropolis. The intention is to follow this with an exhibition, recreating the poem in physical space with the collaboration of visual artists, as well as a series of performances. The project brings together writers, musicians and artists from across the world, all of who will bring their own sense of place to the work as it continues to be built.

I would also direct you to the Supernova Poetry website for more on me and Ana and the poetry work Auropolis does.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

I'm off to Belgrade...

So in honour of the trip and the work me and Ana are going to do there, here's a short story/poem about one of our more bizarre days out in that city...

Ada lake, Gypsy Island.

We walked through torrents
Lapped deeper water
As drums struck
Promises of fire

Round the corner
Past stubborn swans
The fishing champions laughed and
Gave us cigarettes for beer

I don’t think they heard
The reflections dripping hints
Of what was really going on

We followed rhythms
Across the coming night
Stumbled through a lost village
With houses too small and covered
With flowers
For real people

I held her hand and tried
To catch the whispered
Laughter dark
On the softened wind

It would lead us there if we were careful
Listened out and followed
Puffs of potential parties
Blown in waves of frothy
Promises of misadventure

We sought them out
Giggled and clapped our hands
Sped up through sinking mud
Past floating houses
Treading water to reach the
Safety of overhung trees and
Tied up plastic bags

We snatched them so
They flew out behind us
Like sodden flags of rubbish
Torn from where it should


Grow now

The pedalos waited in silence
Past an abandoned sports court
Blaring music that
Confused us
With burnt out expectations
Glowing neon in the too bright light

We kept going till we heard a different tune
A song so old it broke its heart
All over the lake
Bled minor chords in trickles
That floated, shining -
A slick of tortured treacle
Calling hidden rainbows
To the moonlight

The old man in the bar
Sitting behind a bleared clear curtain
Of fattened clingfilm
Beckoned wistfully with wafts of smoke
From falling ash
His other hand curved round a beer
He wanted us to join him for

We did not stop
As the songs crept backwards in time.
Tripped past the concrete bunker
That looked out
Just as a mystery
Watched us as our
Shoes filled up with puddles
And confessions till the other side

Unwoken we walked through
Folds of places
Hiding in a different layer
Sweating secrets
Of this city.