“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
Two poems in the Spring/Summer 2010 issue of BRAND: "your tiny sappho" and "David's First Drafts 2: Bathsheba." I'll be reading at the launch in July... Details to follow!
Warm days, long evenings: it's time to leave the house/library/office and enjoy some poetry! I'm reading at the Lumen Poetry Series at the Lumen Church, 88 Tavistock Place, London, on Tuesday June 8th, 7pm, along with Staple editor Wayne Burrows and fellow Staplers (?) Jacqueline Gabbitas and Fawzia Muradali Kane. The series, run by Ruth O'Callaghan, raises money for the Camden Cold Weather Shelter, so you can store summer heat for those in need in winter and hear some awesome poets.
Bourgeois / foreskin
The penis is capacious: it’s a handbag, an armpit,
the space between two objects. Two lips.
It has space inside for a lipstick, wallet, tampons,
a gun. Cocked. Dirty tissues, a dried-up pen, condoms
used and caught in a wrinkle of leather and silk.
It snaps shut on a mirror, opens at the twist
of her fingers. Above all, it contains – archives,
embraces, protects. Envelops. There is no outside
to its outside, its round balls hold all the world,
and in its ducts the Milky Way. Finger each swirl
from the lidded eye: the o of how (as in power),
the o of come (as in money). No way out
Spring flowers are raising their heads through the cold earth and so am I. After a season's silence, here are some small flowerings:
*Poetry news! Infinite Difference: Other Poetries by UK Women Poets, edited by Carrie Etter (Shearsman 2010) launched in London last week to a standing room-only crowd. There's further events throughout the spring (see the link above). I'm incredibly proud to be a part of this awesome anthology, alongside some of my favourite writers such as Andrea Brady, founder of Barque Press -- look out for my review of her new book Wildfire some time soon in Hand + Star.
Contact information at the bottom of the piece...
95 Cent Skool: Summer Seminar in Social Poetics
2010 gets underway with two events: Days of Roses Tues Jan 26 at 3 Blind Mice, where I'll be reading with Jon Stone and Rowyda Amin), and a Q&A with Kim Longinotto on Sun 31 Jan, after a screening of Gaea Girls at the Renoir, also released this month on DVD by Second Run. I have an essay in the accompanying booklet -- and also an essay for the BFI's DVD of Sally Potter's legendary The Gold Diggers. Catch up with my Q&A with Sally and Tilda Swinton on BFI Live.
Hand + Star (confession: I'm a contributing editor, with articles on Alice Notley and poetry in translation up now) is an "offbeat e-magazine is published by independent poetry producer Penned in the Margins and tak[ing] its name from the Fleet Street workshop of Tudor printer Richard Tottell, whose 1557 Songes and Sonettess popularised the work of Thomas Wyatt and the Earl of Surrey." With a regular BookLust blog, there's no danger that Hand + Star will forget the codex form, but as a digital-native magazine it's realising the radical potential of new communication technology in the same ways that Tottell was doing 450 years ago. You can read the magazine online, subscribe to its RSS feed, and/or join the magazine's Facebook page. Knowing Penned in the Margins, I predict innovative live events and even publications in the offing!
After three years of writing and two years of planning, the great day is finally here! It's pick of the week in The Guide and Andrea Hubert flags up two big events: Sally in conversation with Tilda Swinton on Wednesday 2nd Dec (which I'm, gulp! chairing, and which you can watch live online at www.sallypotter.com at 8.30 GMT); my "Beginner's Guide" to Sally's early films, including cult favourite Thriller on 8.30 pm on Friday 4th Dec: join me for a drink in the atrium beforehand from 7.30. The book will be on sale, too -- and thanks to Chroma and Dr. Kate Ince for this kind, thoughtful and in-depth review.
I'm not great at blowing my own trumpet, but I'm chuffed to say that the irreverently excellent Luke Kennard and distinguished scholar Pam Cook have done a fantastic job on my behalf in reviews, respectively, of the "classy, assured … brilliantly disconcerting" Her Various Scalpels in Poetry London (Autumn 2009) and "rich and edifying" The Cinema of Sally Potter in Sight and Sound (December 2009). Neither review is available online -- but both magazines are well worth checking out (not just for the reviews).
Two opportunities to get some hot poetry in your wet and windy Wednesday: from the comfort of your armchair/desk/iPod, listen to me read on the Arts Show, hosted by Nikk Quentin Woolf, on the fantastic community radio station XStream East. The show is actively seeking guests, so if you're a London-based artist and you can get to Cable Street, drop them a line.
If you can brave the wuthering, come along for a fine cuppa (Absolute Cinnamon? Chilli Chilli Bang Bang? what's it to be?) and some great readers at Yumchaa Soho tonight from 7, where Ride the Word XVIII hosts Horizon Review Issue 3. I'll be reading along with HR editors Jane Holland and George Ttoouli.