Thursday 8 July

Thursday 8 July 2021

Workshop with Ruth Stacey: A Symbolist Dream

2pm – 4pm, Barrett Browning Institute, £20, Tickets here

Using the artwork of Pamela Colman Smith, this workshop will offer prompts to stimulate your ideas and aid you to write drafts of poems that are rich with symbolism and sensory detail.

Ruth Stacey’s latest poetry collection, I, Ursula, ‘… conjures a Dantesque lost forest, where foxes and wild children wrestle amid spells and rhymes of oral tradition…’ – Fiona Sampson for Guardian 4th April 2020. Ruth Stacey is a lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Worcester.

Gillian Clarke and Matthew Francis, host Jonathan Edwards

6pm – 7pm, Zoom, £5, Tickets here

The Mabinogi is the Welsh national epic, a collection of prose tales of war and enchantment, adventure and romance, which have long fascinated readers all over the world. Matthew Francis’s retelling of the first four stories (the Four Branches of the Mabinogi) is the first to situate it in poetry, and captures the magic and strangeness of this medieval Celtic world: a baby is kidnapped by a monstrous claw, a giant wades across the Irish Sea to do battle, a wizard makes a woman out of flowers, only to find she is less biddable than he expected. Permeating the whole sequence is a delight in the power of the imagination to transform human experience into works of tragedy, comedy and wonder.

The timeless and compelling ‘word-music’ of one of Britain’s oldest cultural treasures is captured in this new bilingual edition. The Gododdin charts the rise and fall of 363 warriors in the battle of Catraeth, around the year AD 600. The men of the Brittonic kingdom of Gododdin rose to unite the Welsh and the Picts against the Angles, only to meet a devastating fate. Composed by the poet Aneirin, the poem was originally orally transmitted as a sung elegy, passed down for seven centuries before being written down in early Welsh by two medieval scribes. It is composed of one hundred laments to the named characters who fell, and follows a sophisticated alliterative poetics. Former National Poet of Wales Gillian Clarke animates this historical epic with a modern musicality, making it live in the language of today and underscoring that, in a world still beset by the misery of war, Aneirin’s lamentation is not done.

Focus on Mexico with Modern Poetry in Translation

8pm – 9pm, Zoom, £5, Tickets here

Join Modern Poetry in Translation’s editor Clare Pollard to celebrate the launch of our summer issue ‘If No One Names Us: Focus on Mexico’. Zapotec-Spanish poet Natalia Toledo, whose poems explore Zapotec culture, will perform with her translator Clare Sullivan, and Jeannete Clariond will read from her new collection ‘The Goddesses of Water’ with translator Samantha Schnee, drawing on the mythology of pre-Hispanic Mexico to lament contemporary femicides.

Jeannette Clariond is a poet and translator who has dedicated much of her professional life to studying the thought and religion of ancient Mexico. Her forthcoming book The Goddesses of Water translated by Samantha Schnee will be published in August.

Samantha Schnee is the founding editor of Words Without Borders. Her most recent translation is of The Goddesses of Water by Jeanette Clariond. This year she joins the jury for the Stephen Spender Prize for poetry in translation.

Natalia Toledo’s bilingual poetry (Zapotec-Spanish) has been translated into languages as varied as Nahuatl, Italian, and Punjabi. She serves as Under Secretary of Cultural Diversity and Literacy for Mexico.

Clare Sullivan, professor of Spanish at the University of Louisville, teaches poetry and translation. Her collaborative translations of Natalia Toledo and Enriqueta Lunez have been published by Phoneme Media and Ugly Duckling Presse.

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