This was my first year on the judging panel, and I was delighted to discover so many accomplished submissions across such a wide spread of languages and eras.
The full list of winners and commended entries, along with poems and commentaries, are now available to read on the Stephen Spender Trust website.
It was fantastic to dive into this poem by Ariane Dreyfus with Susan Wicks and Sasha Dugdale at the Translation Duel – we covered everything from the appearance and disappearance of body parts and gender in language to the way changing a title radically changes perspective. Have a listen!
I’m look forward to taking part in the MPT translation duel at Ledbury Festival! Susan Wicks and I have both translated a wonderful poem by Ariane Dreyfus and are sharpening (s)words and wits for our discussion, chaired by Sasha Dugdale (acting as a mutual second, and in charge of first aid).
June 2017. I’m just back from Paris, where I read at a fabulous salon curated by the novelist Anne Marsella, in the spirit of the inspirational Emilie du Châtelet (mathematician, natural scientist, translator of Newton, author; her lover and companion was Voltaire). Poetry, song, video, dance, wine and FUN!
The deadline for the 2017 Stephen Spender Prize has now passed and I’m looking forward to starting the judging process, alongside co-judges Margaret Jull Costa and Sean O’Brien. More on this soon…
On Sunday 11 December 2016, I took part in the Brighton Poem-a-thon, an all-day poetry relay of 60 poets, including Inua Ellams, Sarah Howe, Grace Nichols, Sasha Dugdale, and Sarah Hesketh. The event was held at the Komedia in Brighton and raised £30,000 for the Refugee Council.
Sasha Dugdale reading Golan Haji for MPT at the Poem-a-thon
Sidekick Books have launched their latest Birdbook anthology. Saltwater and Shore features brilliant poems by Vahni Capildeo, Rishi Dastidar, Jane Yeh and Sasha Dugdale, among many others.
I wrote about Turnstones at Kilve Beach and turned Zénaïde Bonaparte (wife of the famous ornithologist Charles, Napoleon’s nephew) from a dove into a Great Skua.
The ever-brilliant Faustus have been touring their amazing new album, Death and Other Animals. On it you’ll find a beautiful setting by Paul Sartin of a poem I wrote for them, during their residency at Halsway Manor, at the foot of the Quantocks. ‘Gurt Dog’ is a reworking of a local legend of a huge black dog who looks after stray children and those who have lost their way.
Alan Gillis and I recently (May 2017) finished editing the Tower Poetry Summer School Anthology, which features the work of the lovely students who came to Oxford for poetic craft workshops and mentoring last August. Here are some of them regenerating the space where the bins are kept with concrete and sound poetry, courtesy of chalk, their talent, Christ Church and ee cummings…
Earlier this summer I took part in an event at Shakespeare & Co in Paris to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Modern Poetry in Translation. Here’s the podcast of the event, hosted by Sasha Dugdale, with readings from David Constantine, Helen Constantine, Timothy Adès, Jennie Feldman, Marilyn Hacker, Fergal Keane, Nikola Madzirov, Caroline Maldonado and Stephen Romer.