A note on: footage from Milosz festival with Tom Jenks & Weronika Lewandowska

Beautiful to have this footage from a great collaboration in Krakow this past June. Performance art, video art, poetry, theatre, it was a grand pleasure making the work with Tom and Weronika. For more info www.stevenjfowler.com/krakow

European Literature Night: Edinburgh – May 14th: the full whack

European Literature Night 2015 will be a unique evening of live contemporary literature in Edinburgh, with over 30 poets performing at five events, from a dozen European nations, all on one night. www.theenemiesproject.com/el

Part of the continent-wide European Literature Night program, held in 75 cities during mid-May, and supported by the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature trust, our program brings together some of the most forceful European avant-garde, literary and sound poets, to share their work, to read alongside and to collaborate with a swathe of Edinburgh’s equally brilliant poetry scene.

Four simultaneous events take place in the early evening of Thursday May 14th, around 6pm, with solo readings, before all poets and audiences will congregate at Summerhall for the epic finale of the night, with 11 pairs of poets presenting brand new Camarade collaborations, starting around 8pm

Every event is free of charge, so join us at The Fruitmarket Gallery, The Saltire Society, The Sutton Gallery and The Forest before seeing the night in at Summerhall, with poets from France, Spain, Iceland, Austria, Germany, Sweden and of course, Scotland. 


European Literature Camarade! Summerhall - 8pm doors for an 8.30pm start - Free entry. In the Demonstration room http://www.summerhall.co.uk/2015/unesco-european-literature-night-edinburgh/ 

Following the amazing success of the Auld Enemies project in Summerhall in 2014, we return to the Demonstration room for the grand finale of this ambitious evening. Brand new collaborative work will be presented by pairs of poets from across the continent. Featuring:

Colin Herd & Iain Morrison
Ryan Van Winkle & Calum Rodger
Graeme Smith & Andres Anwandter
nick-e melville & Anne Laure Coxam
Valgerður Þórodds & Katy Hastie
Esther Strauss & Ann Cotten
SJ Fowler & Jorg Piringer
Max Hofler & Robert Herbert McClean
Eduard Escoffet & Martin Bakero

JL Williams & Jessica Johannesson Gaitán 

The Saltire Society Caesura on Sound poetry: supported by the Scottish Poetry Library
6pm - Free Entry https://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/connect/events/caesura-31-spl-saltire-society Enjoy some of Europe's most dynamic and pioneering sound poets, coming together for one night to present their innovative musique concrete, from Paris, Barcelona and Vienna. Featuring Eduard Escoffet (Barcelona), Martin Bakero (Paris) Jorg Piringer (Vienna) & curated by Graeme Smith (Edinburgh) as part of the Caesura series. 

The Sutton gallery on 20th century art:
6pm - Free entry http://www.thesuttongallery.com Join us for performance art from Esther Strauss (Vienna), readings from Tomasz Mielcarek (Poland), Robert Herbert McClean (Belfast), and the launch of Colin Herd & SJ Fowler's collaborative book Oberwildling: on the life of Oskar Kokoscka, published by the Austrian Cultural Forum all in the environs of one of Edinburgh's most beautiful galleries.

The Fruitmarket Gallery on Possibilities of the Object:
6pm - Free entry http://www.cityofliterature.com/event/european-literature-night-fruitmarket-gallery/ 
At one of Edinburgh's cultural hubs, The Fruitmarket Gallery, hear readings from Valgerður Þórodds (Reykjavik), Max Hofler (Graz), nick-e melville (Edinburgh), Jean-François Krebs (Paris/Edinburgh) and Iain Morrison (Edinburgh), all responding to the exhibition on display. 

The Forest Café on Activism / Craftivism
6pm - Free entry http://www.cityofliterature.com/event/european-literature-night-the-forest-on-activism-craftivism/ At an Edinburgh staple, join Ryan Van Winkle and other Scottish poets, alongside Austrian Ann Cotten, for readings on the theme of activism. Featuring Thomas MacColl, Ed Smith, Rachel McCrum & Ryan Van Winkle (Edinburgh), Katy Hastie & Calum Rodger (Glasgow) & Ann Cotten (Berlin) 

European Literature Night is supported by Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust, the Austrian Cultural Forum, the Polish Cultural Institute, the Scottish Poetry Library & many others.


Poetry at Little Sparta - May 15th 2015 

"Set in the Pentland Hills near Edinburgh, Little Sparta is Ian Hamilton Finlay’s greatest work of art. Imbued with a high idea content, the garden is created from the artistic fusion of poetic and sculptural elements with those of the natural landscape which is shaped and changed to become an inherent part of the concepts realised at Little Sparta.” http://www.littlesparta.org.uk 

The day following European Literature Night, we will be presenting this unique poetry event at Little Sparta. The performances will begin at 2.30pm and finish 4.30pm, taking the form of a series of short readings given as a tour of the gardens. This will be a unique mini-festival poetry celebration of one of the most extraordinary landscapes in Britain with an amazing array of contemporary European poets.

Readings & acoustic sound performances from Andres Andwandtner, Martin Bakero, Eduard Escoffet, Graeme Smith, Calum Rodger, Ryan Van Winkle, SJ Fowler, Colin Herd, Iain Morrison, Esther Strauss, Katy Hastie, Robert Herbert McClean, nick-e melville, Valgerður Þórodds & more.

Please note entrance to the garden is £10 and if you can't make your own way, you can join the poets on a pre-booked coach to the location by emailing me at steven@sjfowlerpoetry.com. The coach will meet at 1pm in Edinburgh city centre, at Waterloo place, and depart Little Sparta at 5pm. All are welcome. Thanks to the Little Sparta Trust, Calum Gardner & Graeme Smith.

Enemigos - Day of the Deaded - London Bookfair

Day of the Deaded
Rich Mix Arts Centre : Friday October 31st : 8pm : Venue 2
 
Come & spend your Day of the Dead, October Friday 31st, with the Enemies project at the Rich Mix Arts Centre, for a night of Día de Muertos in London. Featuring original performances and poetry from Mark Waldron, Tom Chivers, David Berridge, Ohad Ben Simon, Mercedes Azpilicueta, Mary Paterson & more, this unique evening is part of Enemigos: the enemies project Mexico and a rare chance to gather your friends to remember the dead in the most imaginative of ways. http://weareenemies.com/dayofthedeaded.html
 
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The second phase of Enemigos: the Enemies project in Mexico recently took place at Hay Xalapa, the Cervantino festival in Guanajuato and Mexico City. An extraordinary series of events in Mexico held over a few weeks, it was topped by the release of the long awaited Enemigos anthology.
 
My reading from the Hay festival in Mexico is here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NLrM5SygAM and my six blogs from the intense and eventful fortnight are here:
http://blutkitt.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/mexico-diario-de-la-poesia-1-hay-xalapa.html
 
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The Enemigos anthology is a groundbreaking anthology of cross-national, cross-lingual radical translation, where 8 poets from Mexico City exchanged texts, and deliberately experimental translations, with 8 poets from London and vice versa. The result is a unique anthology of collaborative poetry that explores the outer realms of translation and has connected two communities of poets across continents. It features the work of Tom Raworth & Roldolfo Mata, Carol Watts & Enzia Verduchi, Rocio Ceron & Holly Pester, David Berridge & Alberto Blanco, Tom Chivers & Ana Franco Ortuno, Gaspar Orozco & Tim Atkins, Jeff Hilson & Pura Lopez Colome, and myself & Amanda de la Garza. It is published by EBL Cielo Abierto, and will be available in the UK April 2015. https://es-es.facebook.com/EblCieloAbierto
 
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Enemigos will continue on into 2015, beginning with a major event to mark the first night of the London Bookfair, where Mexico is the nation of honour. On April 14th, at the Rich Mix Arts Centre, a series of visiting Mexican writers and poets will present work with British counterparts, and the Enemigos anthology will see its UK launch. www.weareenemies.com

Mexico : diario de la poesía #6 - Enemigos & the shadow of the Mexica

Aside from the practicalities of seeing the cities of Xalapa and Guanajuato, if there is one profound difference to this visit to Mexico, as compared with the weeks spent here in Mexico City last year, it is a sense that the paradox of the country has somehow been more in evidence. A circle of perception about the place has been completed. This is all in my perception of course, by its nature, incredibly limited and narrow in its vision, but last year was an opening up, a realisation that this is a place defined by things I couldn't have realised without experience. The hospitality, the energy, the physical vibrancy of Mexico. This year then is the closing of that bracket. What fuels that energy? I have no idea, but it is still a place where in Iguana, just an hour or so from Mexico City, a student was skinned and left on the street as a message to not be visible. They removed his face, what is the symbolism of that? He was protesting what he saw as unfair new tests for teachers, ones that precluded people who spoke indigenous languages and didn't favour Spanish or English. He and his 50 or so compatriots, student teachers, were not out against the narcos. Protests have erupted across the country, near the anniversary of 68 student repressions. This has come up in every conversation I have had here since it happened. Poets, academics, students, children; they tell me they are scared to travel, to be kidnapped. A nation where people smile at me on the street, shelter me without asking during a rainstorm, laugh off my lack of Spanish, give me gifts, buy me food, take me into their homes, offer to translate me, collaborate, lead me to transport, carry my bag. An obvious contradiction? A paradoxical place to such an extent it is a cliche. I have spent two weeks here, and being so sick right of the heart of that stay, losing my normal physical confidence, this has got into my breath. It has been a different experience, not bad, not at all. It has been magnificient. But not easy either. Not casual and light. 

I said farewell to Nell and Bee and the others who made up the official part of my trip, having chosen to stay on an extra series of days and see those I met last year and moved into a new, smaller, more ordinary hotel in Roma, a more youthful neighborhood. No one helping me now, strange to get used to cars picking you up and people shepherding you to events. I had more time to write and rest, still a bit weak. The first day 'alone' I did three readings and must have met a hundred new friends. 
First we read in the Condessa, launching the beautifully produced Enemigos anthology, what began my ties with Mexico in the first place really. We had 8 poets from London and 8 from Mexico City butcher each others works with the radical translations at the heart of the collection. To see it in print was very gratifying. I saw Ari Chavez Chacon again, who helped me so much in 2013, a brilliant artist herself and a friend, and Jack Little, the Newcastle born poet who has lived here for 4 years, and who runs the Ofi press. 

After a long lunch where I really got to talk with the wonderful Amanda de la Garza and Rodolfo Matas, and Ana Franco Ortuna, we headed to the Casa del Lago, an amazing and much lauded poetry venue right on the lake of the Chapultepec park, in the heart of the city. Apparently this ornate lakehouse had housed everyone from Paz onwards, and we set up as a panel to read from and talk about Enemigos. I met Gaspar Orozco here too, diplomat and poet and punk singer, not something I'd think possible in England. The audience was made up of families, a photography class and well wishers. I found it enjoyable, still full of cold, to be rather light hearted with the discussions, but reading the work of my dear friend Tom Raworth I felt quite sad he wasn't with me in the city he resided in during the 70s. We finished the day in a mescal bar, the Mexican hospitality raging as a thunderstorm wracked the city. 

I spent much of the next few days simply exploring the city, walking for many hours at a time, intermittently meeting friends like Jack, Ari and Rocio Ceron, and others, and getting to know Roma and la Condessa. It's been a long time since I've had days almost alone, unbusied. All things require adjustment. I spent the last day, the day I write this on, mostly in the anthropological museum. Famed for its grandiose architecture and epic displays, I spent the better part of 5 hours wandering the halls. But again the shadow came back. It was too intense, I became almost entranced, a bit sick even. I had to read every panel almost, to satisfy myself. I didn't take a single picture. There is a richness to the rendering, the animals, the faces of death, to the dwarfed gurning humans, to the very process and intent of the artwork of the indigenous civilisations of Mexico that is like the sensation I had experienced when being unable to escape the potential of the worst suffering and fear and occlusion that this country can produce. It is something of an intoxicant, and for now, just for now, I am okay with going home to London,

Performing with Amanda de la Garza / Holly Pester at Laboratorio Arte Alameda


What an incredible job Edgardo Dander did capturing this reading at the Laboratorio Arte Alameda in Mexico city, just over a week ago. Amanda de la Garza looks so beautiful, and is so captivating, reading her transliterations of my poems. And Nomeda's video responses to the work are breathtaking. & finallu Playing the straight man, hamming it up theatre GCSE style, was well worth it to bring out the incredible Pester skills, so funny, I could barely keep a face straight.

Mexico city diario de poesia #7

The last entry, writing it from England. Sad raining psychologically repressed England. Went to a dead town by a desolate coastline, filled with slot machines, battered chip shops and grown idiots staring at me, the day after my return. A huge mistake. I should've gone away to Spain, or stayed in Mexico. The final day was spent feeling as though it was surreal to leave, that I couldve spent a month, a year, in Mexico city and written something good. Maybe a mirage, maybe it's always polished when you know you're off and every day is packed with new things and new people. Maybe though, there's a difference between the places. We ate our free massive hotel breakfast again, the last time Ill be having quesadillas in the morning, then I went out into the city to meet Ioan Grillo, the remarkable British journalist who moved to Mexico city 12 years ago. Originally from Lewes, I discovered his story and his amazing book Narco some time ago and contacted him out of the blue to see if he would meet me. He did, and I was privileged to spend a few hours speaking with him, plying him with questions about his experiences with cartels and his experiences of Mexico. Consummate journalist, he spent more time asking me questions. The beginning of a friendship I hope and undoubtedly a special experience to mark my last day in the city. www.ioangrillo.com
Holly and I then met up and walked down to Regina again to eat and sit and talk. The hours passed before we did a final circle of the Alameda and the Madero before catching our cab to the airport and flying 11 hours through the night. What can be said about the hospitality, warmth, generosity and energy of those who have gone far out of their way to host and befriend us in Mexico? One of the best trips of my life. Thanks to Ari, Ed, Rocio, Amanda, Itzel, Eliza, Adrian, Jack and many others. I hope to return, soon.


Mexico City diario de poesia #6

The day of our final performance, our main event, an hour or so split between Holly and I, a showcase really, in the Centro Cultural de Espana en Mexico, where we had eaten and hung out all week, in their main hall. The show had been loosely titled and advertised as something like night and death, and poetry. Not sure we could quite live up to that. Having not really formulated the content before the day of the performance, it was a day of construction and rehearsal. Absolutely a joy for me, to have the pleasant nerves to keep me sharp but to be working with someone as experienced, subtle and talented as Holly, after a good week of spending nearly all day together, we had immense reservoirs of material. Also we were genuinely trying to shape something new to both of us, that crossed the width of our practices in an original way. We created a programme that featured readings, performances, written collaboration, sound poetry and improvisation all stitched together with segways in antagonistic play between us - interruptions, interventions and quite physical stage play.

We soundchecked, looked after by the amazing staff of the cultural centre, and Ari, from Festival Expandibles, and really sat in the size of the hall, an amazing venue. Ari and I then took to the cathedral square, to get my face painted as a Calavera, to pay true homage to the fact that the performance was taking place on the day of the dead. The family doing the face painting, for 50 pesos, were cholos apparently, a gangster family. The girl who did my makeup couldn't have been more than 10 years old. 

The show ended up going very well, and certainly left us on a high. There is something shared in the act of performance, and in the act of collaboration, that brings you intensely close to someone, and Holly and I having known each other for years, seen each others work for years, and spent a load of time together, but without ever having collaborated before, meant this crescendo was all the more powerful. Holly was on special form, it was all I could do to keep up with her! So much in that piece, too much to write about, hoping to get the video sometime soon. Suffice to say we covered translations, prisons, ravens, volcanoes, shanties, jaguars, and massive projected sexy pictures of me shampooing my hair amongst many other things.

The audience wasn't huge, but this seems to be in the inverse of the immense Mexican hospitality. If you phone someone on 20 minutes notice they will meet you for coffee and take you around the city or their home, but if you set a date and time, they probably won't make it. None the less many of the people in the city we met and admired did make it, which was amazing. We all went for food afterwards in the cultural centre restaurant where we had been spongeing all week with meal tickets, and then we wandered down to the beautiful Regina street where we closed out our last night in Mexico city in an appropriately buoyant, satisfied, slightly exhausted mood. The day of the dead was over too.

Mexico City diario de poesia #5

Days are running out. I actually walked into the restaurant used to people speaking Spanish, or used to me not understanding what anyone's saying. A quieter day, but perhaps the most profound of what has been an immensely human, social trip. Some time to actually explore the city, to realise how enormous it truly is. I walked from the historical centre, down the entire length of the Reforma down to the Chapultepec park, which is a huge complex of forests, avenues, museums and most importantly a zoo. In the last month or so alone I've been to Edinburgh, Bratislava and now Mexico city zoo. An institution which reveals the character of the people of the city. It was day of the dead, the family day, so it was packed with kiddles, but the whole feeling was very respectful towards the creatures. I saw brown, black, ice and Panda bears! and Axlotls. A charmed two hours.
I then walked a ring around Chapultepec, found the avenue of poets, which features busts and memorials to Mexico's famous poets and was adorned with skeleton paraphernalia for the weekend. I cut out of the park and spent a few hours walking south, exploring la Roma and the Condessa. I walked all the way back to the hotel from there, coming back via the Madero pedestrian road and seeing the teeming thousands of families and fancy dressed revellers. The atmosphere was very warm and some of the costumes are truly amazing, and funny. Parents seem to be practising a mild form of child abuse by dressing their young, many babies wrapped in bandages as mummies.
In the evening Amanda de la Garza was amazingly generous to pick us both from the hotel and drive us an hour outside the city to a small town in the mountains to visit a famous cemetary and witness an authentic day of the dead celebration. It was a humbling and moving experience. Winding through the steep cobbled roads of the town we followed an almost hidden path to the cemetary, a place we would have never found in a thousands years without Amanda. The walk to the gates were lined with brightly lit food stalls and joke shops. Hundreds of people were dressed for the occasion, but inside the cemetary, lit by hundreds of candles, with live musicians playing, with families sat around the graves of their loved ones, eating, talking, joking, it felt we had entered something entirely new and yet wholly welcoming. The atmosphere was like the music, upbeat in rhythm, profoundly sad in content. Many sat alone on graves, other families sat around dioramas and flowers and food on the graves. To witness an old couple look on to the grave of their child, covered in toys, left us silent. It's an experience I will remember forever.
On our return we ventured into the carnage of the Madero to see the thousands and thousands who poured into the city centre to celebrate. Some of the costumes were violently gory, others funny, but it was so packed you could barely move. I felt completely relaxed, there was no violence in the air though people had been drinking all day and we let the mass tide of humans carry us on.

Mexico City diario de poesia #4

I was immensely lucky with kind people who attended my seminar. The whole thing was a joy, because they were very warm and interested and English speaking! That being said the Cultural Centre actually laid out a translator with a microphone booth and earphones. Only one person took the translation. He was used to doing political translations, so he said he loved a bit of avant garde poetry for three hours! I just did a little tour of my methods - written work with disjunction, found text, mishearings, write throughs, performance, conceptual work, visual work etc... we did three workshops. One where we wrote through Coral Bracho and Octavio Paz with stolen lines to form new poems, another where we rendered a Paz poem visually, as a spiral, and a third making new poems in the Renga form, stealing lines and going multilingual. I showed some of my more out there performances on video too, they loved my boxing when ill and sound gorillaing. Met some great people, they were too too nice to me. 

The day of the dead stuff here continues to amaze. The dioramas they build are so inventive, and have such a sense of humour too. The sense of immediacy of purpose that facilitates this humour and community is remarkable. Again, we have no equivalent. I also bumped into the guy from the hotel who had been separated from his wife in America. He got residency! He can go back and see his baba. I wished him well.

Holly and I made our way to the Labatorio Arte Alameda next to Alameda park where the Enemigos performance would be. A famous avant garde venue apparently, it was a remarkable space inside of a giant yellow church, a big black cube. While we waited for Mexican time to catch up with Greenwich Mean Time we went to a cafe where a man had a hat on with rabbit ears and then his fellow waiter picked up an accordian and played it with such beauty.. i was terribly heartsick for my romanian, he played romany tunes! I finally met Amanda de la Garza, who I'd written with for the Enemigos anthology, we had transliterated each other's poetry. She was remarkably friendly and charming and talented, she is a curator at the contemporary art gallery in the city and has a clearly powerful poetic presence, as well as incredible freckles, el tigre. Also there was a frog on the coffee machine in the cafe and some sort of creature next to it, see below

The Enemigos evening, the reading, were grand. Amanda, Rocio, Holly and I popped up throughout the night, to a nice intimate crowd. Amanda did a great piece with a typewriter, her poem 'dictated' as she read, and she read her transliterations after I'd read three poems from the anthology, Atacama, the one about James Harvey and the one about Newquay. We had a VJ all night collaborating too, showing videos behind us as we read, he was amazing www.vimeo.com/nomadaspace Rocio showed some of her new work, which was very beautiful and then to close, Holly and I did an improvisational piece, on an hours notice! We came up with it fast. She sat in the dark and said mean things to me while i sat in the light and said nice things to her. They dont get our humour really so it ended up being like a drama exercise! i acted so heartbroken that i made one of the sweet Mexicans weeep! haha, maybe I should be a fucking actor. It was fun though, being restrained and not being able to verbally abuse Holly as I wanted to. This picture to the left is of the audience while Amanda read one of the transliterations.
we went out for a big meal afterwards in this massive hall with hundreds of people eating and playing dominos. they were so nice to me, the extended Enemigos Mexican family, a whole host of them, like i was an old friend. Ari the panda and her pando, Sara, who moved to Mex from Berlin to study, Rocio, Amanda, loads of people. They all got my jokes and were kind enough to laugh. They ripped the piss out of me a lot too for the picture I allegedly sent for the performance poster where I look like I am in a shampoo advert, and for the fact that Eduardo, the VJ, and I, both were wearing the same clothes with the same hair. But he was a dude, so I was happy to have a twin in Mexico city. / Nearly everyone we've met in mexico is really really kind hearted and gentle, much more than england. they find it very easy to make time for you and want to speak to you. 

Mexico City diario de poesia #3

Teotihuacan. The bus driver drove Mexican speeds and having been in a car crash, I began the day with fear lacing my joy. We saw the slums that line the hillsides of the north east of Mexico city, where people claimed land like a goldrush and now own it after squatting. The pyramids are an hour outside of the city. We were paraded first to a weird shop where they showed us native dogs which were black and hairless, then the multiple uses of the many cactus', like alcohol and paper. The smell was of a leaking septic tank. The handmade aztec and mayan object recreations were proper takk. The mangey dogs loved Holly.
No one knows who built the pyramids or why, the aztecs just found them later on. The complex is enormous. We did the sun temple, a hard steep step climb, with groin sweats on, and then the moon temple. Holly takes lots of self pictures. There were loads of stray dogs, racing each other. I bought a Jaguar flute, that makes one of the most obnoxiously entertaining noises you can imagine, and seems to have a curse that once you buy one you have to keep fucking blowing it in the ears of strangers. Human slavery was put to epic use. The spirituality of the place was somewhat mauled by tourists, but it didnt matter, the day was gentle, calm, sunny with a sprinkle of rain god / dog.

Back in Mexico city, after another frightening journey courtesy of pothole jumps, we headed out, explored and came across the most amazing display being erected and formed in the cathedral square for the imminent day of the dead celebrations. Huge statues of skeletal horses backed by an enormous marquee where hundreds of people had come out to build dioramas, sculptures, flower arrangements and stalls. The festival actually means something, to remember one's dead, but its humour, its artistic expression, at its very root, clearly and palpably brings people out and together in the act of making. It was amazing to witness what we have no equivalent to in England. Balls to baby jesus birthing / dying as a holiday next to giant skeletons and sugar skulls and free and open art making.

Mexico City diario de poesia #2

A frightening amount of the buildings here lean. Seriously lean. The city is built on Tenochtitlan, the city of lakes. It makes towers and churches cut angles. They really love the Minions from despicable me in the city too, they are everywhere. After pancakes, we began the day with Holly's seminar in the CCEMX http://ccemx.org/2013/10/07/poesia-sonora/. A bit of a cautious experiment, as we didn't know who to expect, how many, what their knowledge was of avant garde poetry and indeed whether they spoke English. Turned out, they didn't speak English. Holly did an amazing job considering the seminar was to last four hours. I put my fat palm to my face a bit. She was calm and clear and covered her practise in gentle depth. Miscommunication - technology - error - song - body - code. She played some Mondegreens, some BBC radio (which immediately started talking about Jimmy Saville) from which she's usurped for poems and we finished up with a interactive exercise in symbol led sound poetry. All considered, she was doing a poem, talking to a room of people who for the most part couldnt understand her. But there is creative potential in not understanding, and the final feeling was perhaps more warm and intimate and genuine than it couldve been. Her skill, my seminar is thursday. Haha. Though I did find one of the best childrens books Ive ever seen.
We then were accompanied again by the lovely Ari, el pandarhia, and walked a fair swathe of the city, from the historical centre down the Alameda central and onto the reforma (a massive avenue de avenue), through the Zona Rosa (which is full of gay people and prostitutes apparently but seemed to me like a quaint, upmarket shopping district) and then into the Condesa http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Condesa very much famed for its trendy ways. We visited the American legion and their English language bookshop http://underthevolcanobooks.com/, which had loads of amazing writers and then doubled a mochacino in a trendy cafe. I left Holly as she was meeting a mate of a mate and walked back to the hotel in the dusk / darkness on the massive glowing streets of the city, music in my ears.
I ate alone in a restaurant, getting by on a day's worth of Spanish and going back to the hotel I bumped into the concierge who had helped on our arrival. Clocking off, we started talking, him with his thick American accent and I bought him coffee while he told me how he was deported from the US even though he was born and raised there, leaving behind his (caucasian - he kept saying this, I didnt ask) wife, while she was pregnant. He has spent a year in Mexico city, never having been there before, working as a busboy essentially, and a month ago his wife gave birth. He hasnt seen his kid. He is going to Juarez tomorrow for a physical (?) to finalise his papers to return, hopefully. I wished him luck. He asked about me, thought Holly was my wife, though said it was weird we stayed in different rooms and insisted he was going to buy some of my books. I told him not to waste his money.

Mexico City diario de poesia #1

Every single person on the street stares at my big white face, my stupid mohawk and my mustard trousers, which is fair enough, and not entirely unpleasant. The city is both immensely busy and fraught and yet indelibly slow. I walk at least three times faster than anyone else I've seen. My lack of Spanish is a serious breakdown of possibilities, as perhaps it should be, to teach me a lesson, as Ive skived off English nearly everywhere else in the last five years, when I've not travelled much outside of Europe, as I used to often. The police are everywhere, look bored, but have intense weaponry, personalised shotguns and assault rifles. People let off fireworks which have no visible result but make a hard, dense crack when they go off. Sounds like gunshots every few minutes. There are 1000s of people crammed into tiny streets just off the historical city centre where we are staying and they all walk in front of cars. The food is absurdly dense and pleasant. The city is so big, that I am grateful I live in London in order that I not be overwhelmed. People are generous and patient with me.
We were met by one of the organisers, the charming Ari Chavez, in the morning and were shown to the Centro Cultural de Espana en Mexico, where we are doing workshops and a reading later in the week. It is a beautiful, unique architectural space, full of art and art spaces. We then took to the city. She walked us around, gently touring the very city centre. I've munched enchilladas and tacos so far, and guacamole so spicy I feared for the toot fog. The flight over was so easy, British airways has Louis CK and Alan Partridge on its in flight, and the great bear stakeout, unbelievable. No brain sleep cloud. Sharp. 
We go to meet Jack Little in the evening. Just such a fundamentally decent, warm hearted, open, hospitable soul. Amazing to spend hours with him, with a view over the city and then from a near cantina in the old town, just listening to how he found himself in Mexico City, 22 years of age, now his home, having perfect Spanish, mexican family around him, years past and how poetry became his passion in the years spent in Mexico, despite his mother being a really well known and established poet in the UK. Just an humbling experience to spend time with someone so outgoing, positive, human. Really the day is a day of two generous people who live in this city, giving something of their home over to us, allowing us new eyes to a place so big and intense it can blind you. Here's some of Jack's work on 3am http://www.3ammagazine.com/3am/two-poems-jack-little/ and his remarkable Ofi press, where he published this interview we did awhile back  http://theofipress.webs.com/fowlersteven.htm

EVP Bristol

Time for the city again, so important, back so soon after the enemies, and the cube is a truly exquisite space. How could this not be in the shadow of something as immense as the night before? It was different rather than lesser. A space to truly test the 'new day new work'. The greenroom was an attic bricabrac holecave of joy for me to play in, dance in, while Outfit shellacked. We all felt homely in the space. I could've felt really exhausted, body jaded, and with the material at times, unable to call down the spirit of the shaman animus monster lock bodywar, but I just smoothed that sideways. The first signs of tour cosh, tiredings, but not really. Such a joy to be around everyone on this thing, so much gentle brilliance, brightness, intelligence, creativity. Nice to be collaborating with Ross too, at claw, bear wrestle, and flesh out ideas on trains instead of reading / writing. Weird monolithic, premier innn, i name checked it live, but no one was hooked on that. Not everything can rattle like a sword inside of a stick.