“What is the purpose of resisting corporate globalization if not to protect the obscure, the ineffable, the unmarketable, the unmanageable, the local, the poetic and the eccentric? So they need to be practiced, celebrated and studied too, right now.” Rebecca Solnit
I'm a UK-based writer, editor, educator and activist with a passionate commitment to arts and social justice. I publish with independent presses Arc, Lark Books, Salt, Shearsman, IB Tauris, and Wallflower. I am a member of queer feminist film curation collective Club des Femmes and feminist film activists Raising Films, a lecturer in film at LCC and Queen Mary University of London, and a film journalist for Sight & Sound and The F-Word, where I focus on independent, experimental, and feminist films and film culture.
In my critical work, I explore the political potential of experimental literature and cinema, with an emphasis on feminist artists like Sally Potter, who is the subject of my first critical book The Cinema of Sally Potter: A Politics of Love. As well as teaching university courses on topics ranging from transgender cinema to Anne Carson, I've facilitated workshops for youth organisations like Leave Out Violence and taught creative writing at Anglia Ruskin University, King's College, London, and Middlesex University. I have worked with non-profit organisation English PEN and was the Poet in Residence at the Archive of the Now.
For workshops, creative consultancies, editorial or writing work, contact me at: sophie [at] sophiemayer [dot] net
I've been invited to read at Declan Ryan's excellent Day of Roses reading series at Filthy McNasty's (a pub that really doesn't live up to its name -- it even has Pieminister Pies!) in Islington, on 24th June... There's a great line-up and a really good spirit: should be a fantastic night!
The new issue of Vertigo magazine is out now -- and it may be the last! This all-too-rare space for the discussion of non-commercial, experimental, activist, intelligent, beautiful, impassioned cinema and visual media is under financial threat. Where else will you find inquisitive and accessible writing about Palestinian cinema, Hackney on film, cinema in hospitals, Ann Turner's lost classic Celia (and, blowing my own trumpet, Sally Potter's RAGE). Subscribe, buy the new issue, donate, tell everyone you know who cares about film, visual art and smart writing.
... and in the window at Prospero's Books, between Marilynne Robinson's Home and Midsummer Nights, edited by Jeanette Winterson, and nestling above Oliver Jeffers' Lost and Found: amazing company to keep!
I'm launching my first solo collection Her Various Scalpels (Shearsman, 2009) this coming Friday, 15 May, at the fabulous FleaPit on Columbia Road, London EC2 (walk or bus from Old Street or Liverpool Street stations). Come by from 7 pm to enjoy their excellent selection of beers, wines (and teas)... The event will kick off at 7.30 pm. As well as a reading, there will be a screening of short film "Je Suis Ici" by filmmakers Ben Crowe and Preti Taneja (whose first film was nominated for the short film Palme d'Or!) and a photo slideshow by Flickr star Lady Vervaine. Stay on to dance into the night to tunes from DJ j-level...
Keep an eye on my Events page for upcoming readings, talks and appearances.
Made you look.
Two posts about sexual ethics that I wrote for the webzine Shebytches: one about the haters going after Judy Blume (Judy Blume!!!) after she gave a shout-out to Planned Parenthood on Mother's Day; and the other - following an Equality Now action item - about sexual violence in videogames.
HVS gets its first review on Carrie Etter's blog. Yay! Look out for Carrie's forthcoming collection, Tethers, from Seren in June. Sample poems, reading dates (Prague! I'm very jealous) and details here.
As NaPoWriMo draws to a conclusion in a haze of indexing, swine flu hypochondria and the gorgeous sounds of the Late Junction St. George's Day broadcast, I wish I could spring forth a brilliant, fully-formed poem. Due to the aforementioned haze, however, what I have at this sharp end of the month is: a half-full notebook of poem sketches, fragments, notes and crime report numbers; an abiding pleasure in the practice of taking poetry seriously, everyday; a deep-seated love of Fluxus instructions as "inspiration" and exercise; a bookshelf full of poetry books purchased in celebration of National Poetry Month, and which I am planning to read once the indexing is done (and also the new NMC Songbook, a Late Junction fave); a few finished poems that may even have publishing destinations; and, best of all, a renewed sense of connection to other poets engaged in writing and reading their work.
In tribute to Late Junction, which has kept me sane over this indexy month, here's a creative instruction that I mis-heard Verity Sharp issue on the St. George's Day broadcast:
create pieces out of doors
...which I preface by saying that, like Virginia Woolf, I feel that "as a woman, I have no country." On the other hand, I am grateful for the opportunities presented by a British passport, privilege that rests on the displacement and degradation of the rights of others. So my gratitude is mixed with guilt, and a fierce rage against borders and delimiting institutions of all kinds. And a rage against certain constructions of Englishness, whether rural nostalgia or shiny-shiny capitalist greed -- or even the separatist reconstructions of locality undertaken by Geoffrey Hill in Anglia and Ted Hughes in Yorkshire (once the kingdom of Elmet) in an attempt to claim some exclusive English indigeneity that ignores this island's constantly changing cultures and peoples.
Big thanks to Sandra Alland for inviting me to join the gorgeous Zorras and their friends as part of the Cachín Cachán Cachunga queerstravaganza on 31 May, at The Street in Edinburgh. The event promises Afro-Cuban dance, a short video on the multicultural underground of Canadian women artists, more short films from our ever-busy Cachín team, and poetry-music fusion like you’ve never seen it before. Followed by djs and general merriment. So I may dust off the pixie wings. Or the leather pants. So if you're stravaigin' in the area, come on down from 8.30 onwards.
And for more news about events -- all dates and locations in one handy listing -- check out my Events page above.