“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
Three new poems hit the newsstand today, and it's an extra-special issue because Stand was the very first poetry magazine to which I submitted my work, at the suggestion of my amazing English teacher, way back in 199hmmr, hmmr. Jon Silkin, the founding editor, wrote me a beautiful letter encouraging my ambition and suggesting I get a bit more world in my poems, a piece of advice that I return to again and again.
It's the perfect combination: one fantastic reading series (Salt's Ride the Word) + the eagerly-awaited new issue of a great magazine (Staple: The Art Issue) + fine, fine teas at Yumchaa overlooking the Regent's Canal = the best Saturday night out. Did I mention that it's free?
That's this Saturday 29 August, 7-9 pm (so time to go dancing afterwards). I'll be reading as part of the Staple set -- you can read more about the event on Staple editor Wayne Burrow's blog.
Seven more books from the stacks this month: I've been thinking and writing about how...
It took four years to write -- and details a brilliant career that spans thirty years, from Thriller (1979) through Orlando (1993) to RAGE (2009)... The Cinema of Sally Potter: A Politics of Love is finally here! And it's 30% off in the Wallflower Press online store: bargain!
You can find out more at the launch, which takes place at Hornsey Library on Weds 19th August, from 7 pm. I'll be reading from the book, reading some poems inspired by Sally's films, and showing London Story (1996). The event is free so come and join me!
Here's what some people have said about the book:
Weird how the internet has made of this little ici an everywhere: the connections between communication, travel and place are one theme of the beautiful short film, je suis ici, by Ben Crowe and Preti Taneja. Ben and Preti asked me to write some intertitles, which became a poem, which is now on the film's website. Love it!
Two books about the connections between cinema and writing in the US, published within a month of each other. Both lay claim to a community of "we" based in experimental art, predominantly as practised by queer artists. And there’s absolutely zero connections or cross-over between them. I find that strange. Don't you? To find out more about Daniel Kane's We Saw the Light and Brian Pera & Masha Tupitsyn's collection Life As We Show It, check out my review on the Chroma blog.
I'm introducing Separation and hosting the Q&A for it next Tuesday, 14 July. I've been asked because I wrote a brief essay for the BFI's DVD release of The Other Side of The Underneath, the ground-breaking "lost" feminist film by Separation's star, Jane Arden, It's the first time I've done a Q&A and I'm pretty nervous, especially as Separation is a crazy (and wonderful) film: it "concerns the inner life of a woman during a period of breakdown - marital, and possibly mental. Her past and (possible?) future are revealed through a fragmented but brilliantly achieved and often humorous narrative, in which dreams and desires are as real as the 'swinging' London (complete with Procol Harum music and Mark Boyle light show) of the film's setting." So come swing and ask the film's director Jack Bond some searching questions.
You can book online here or by phone on 020 7928 3232.
Head over to Delirium's Library to find out more about what I've been reading in the shade this June… Thoughts, comments and your reviews welcome!
One of my NaPoWriMo poems found its way into the Summer 2009 newsletter of published by the Friends of Lorine Niedecker, one of my favourite Modernist American poets. Read more about Niedecker here and take a look at the newsletter here.
I've been saving up a stacked shelf of poetry to read over the summer -- and I'll be posting reviews -- or rather, non-review reading notes and musings -- on my blog, Delirium's Library. First up is an immediate response to Carrie Etter's The Tethers, launched last night in London. Coming up: a round-up of film poetry, some new Salt titles, Arc's Visible Translation series, the Bumper Book of Alice Notley, Cristina Peri Rossi in Spanish and English, and some random titles collected at independent bookstores around the world.