Tate Liverpool: Summer Sessions: Free Radicals
Join radical poets Juliana Spahr and Sean Bonney, and new British poet Ruby Robinson for an evening of politically-charged poetry readings. Situated in the context of the contemporary avant-garde, Spahr and Bonney’s poetry undermines the political and cultural establishment, giving a fresh voice to the dispossessed. Also interested in dismantling and rebuilding, Robinson’s poetry engages with class issues, exploring the contemporary world in scrupulous detail, and offering up imaginative and emotionally-rich commentary on legacies of trauma.
Based in America, Spahr’s work addresses the defining issues of our time, including global terrorism, late capitalism, and environmental threat. Spahr was actively involved in the 2011 Occupy Movement, her experience of which she urgently reflects upon in The Winter the Wolf Came (2015). Spahr is the founder of Commune Editions, a publishing project whose aim is to publish poetry as a companion to political action. In 2009 Spahr was the recipient of the Hardison Poetry Prize.
Experimental, angry and politically committed, Bonney’s poetry marks a progression and continuance of The British Poetry Revival. His recent collection of epistolary poems Letters Against the Firmament (2015), offers up a vivid and fierce account of the sheer brutality of the Austerity years in Britain. Bonney’s performance style is energetic and distinctive. By performing at occupations, on demonstrations and on picket lines Bonney firmly situates his work within the political contexts with which it engages.
Drawing from neuroscience on the idea of ‘internal gain’— an internal volume control which helps us amplify and focus on quiet sounds in times of threat, danger or intense concentration — Ruby Robinson’s powerful and imaginative debut poetry collection Every Little Sound (2016), reflects on ideas of separateness and connectedness of human experience in relationships, and our capacity to harm and love. Every Little Sound has recently been shortlisted for The Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection 2016.