“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
Today is being called "Black Monday" as the coalition government's tax and welfare cuts strike home. It's also "We're No Fools" day as we strike back with Fit to Work: Poets against Atos, over 60 poets protesting, expostulating and speaking truth to power. Keep us going with a small donation to our GoFundMe.
Today is also Easter Monday (or Eostre, and also the last day of Passover), so it seems appropriate to announce signs of the sistership, a feminist Bible (re)written in collaboration with Sarah Crewe. It's due out in April from Knives, Forks and Spoons, and we'll be launching it with a Sunday Service in May.
Binders Full of Women (limited-edition handmade chapbook) is sold out… Long live Binders Full of Women FREE pdf ebook! Yes, it’s free to read online, or download and print via Scribd. But please consider donating to Rape Crisis UK or the Michael Causer Foundation. We’ve raised an incredible £320 so far and we’d love to raise more… We suggest a donation of £2 if you’re able.
The sunshine may be deceptive (if glorious), but the calendar does not lie: spring is soon to be springing. And with it, lots of brilliant events that I'm lucky & glad to be a part of: discussing, facilitating, chairing, and learning. Join me! Take your pick from:
Starting with three amazing events!
17th January 2013, 7.30 pm. £3: Binders Full of Women LIVE! at Artsadmin (nearest Tube: Aldgate East) -- 11 Binderpeeps reading poems, for you.
24th January 2013, 7 pm, free: Poetry Review 102:4 (Winter 2012) Launch. Keats House (nearest Tube: Belsize Park; nearest Overground: Hampstead Heath). I'm reading with Edward Doegar, Richard Scott and Warsan Shire. You can swot up by reading one of my poems from the issue here.
25th January 2013, 19h30: The Personal is Political: Feminist Documentary, SILO. Forum des Images, Les Halles, Paris.
Olumide Popoola invited me to take part in this ever-expanding project, The Next Big Thing; she was invited by Seni Seniviratne. You can read Olumide’s Q&A about her upcoming play Also by Mail, and at the bottom of this post, there are links to the four writers who I’ve invited to take part… and can’t wait to read their answers next Weds 19th Dec!
Rather than talk about a solo-authored poetry collection, though, here are my thoughts about 2012’s “big things” in my poetry life, three anthologies sprung from similar purposes: Catechism: Poems for Pussy Riot (with Mark Burnhope and Sarah Crewe); Binders Full of Women (with Sarah Crewe); and Fit to Work: Poets against ATOS (with Mark Burnhope and Daniel Sluman, forthcoming in 2013).
Where did the idea come from for the book?
Solstitial times are almost upon us -- and what better way to mark the darkness moving towards light that a poetry reading? I have five coming up:
*Weds 12th December, 3-4 pm: Worldwide Reading for Pussy Riot, Free Word Centre. Tea, cake and political protest! With Sasha Dugdale, Amy Key, and Redell Olsen.
*Weds 19th December, 7.30-9.30 pm: ACTIVIST MUSE!, at Carslaw St*Lukes Gallery. A night of feminist poetry, fiction, film and debate. All proceeds to Pussy Riot. I'll be hosting the poetry section, with Sascha Aurora Akhtar, Sarah Crewe and Linus Slug.
*Thurs 20th December, 8.00 pm til late: FEELINGS, at Vogue Fabrics. Poetry + film + sad disco. I'll be reading with Carol Watts. There will be dancing.
*Thurs 17th Jan 2013, 7.30 pm: BINDERS FULL OF WOMEN, at Toynbee Studios. Poetry + glitter glue. Readers including Sarah Hesketh, Agnes Marton, Jacqueline Saphra...
Exciting times, personal and political! The Binders Full of Women zine project, co-created with Sarah Crewe, launched -- 22 feminist poems and a glittery cover can be yours for £3 + postage -- and was picked up by the New Yorker and Harriet, the Poetry Foundation's blog. You can also read more about Binders... on feminist magazine Week Woman (and coming soon on Peony Moon, which recently featured Catechism: Poems for Pussy Riot).
Catechism: Poems for Pussy Riot, which I co-edited with Mark Burnhope and Sarah Crewe (we're interviewed ensemble on Sabotage Reviews), is now out! And you can hear Sarah and Cat Lucas of English PEN talk about the book on Radio Free Europe! Available from English PEN, who are posting poems & their Russian translations daily. The ebook is available for the magnificent sum of 'donate what you think it's worth' (we recommend a fiver), and a print-on-demand hard copy for £7.50 -- for 110 incredible poems! All proceeds go to English PEN Writers at Risk and the Pussy Riot Legal Fund. And there's a Russian ebook and events around the country to come...
as we hope the band will be too! Please download the e-anthology of 110 poets from English PEN, share, tweet, and cause a riot for the sake of the three women, unfairly imprisoned for exercising freedom of expression.
I spent far more time reviewing (most recently on Sabotage Reviews) than being reviewed, so please forgive my over-excitement at these extremely kind and exciting words from John Field, in a review of Tom Chivers' bobby-dazzler of an anthology, Adventures in Form. On Poor Rude Lines, Field writes: