Wednesday, April 18, 2018

London Book Fair 2018: My Take

Yes, poets are center stage at the book fair

It was my first time at a book fair and I was entirely unprepared for what I saw. I doubt there was another place in the world between the 10th and 12th April other than Olympia in London that was as full of people walking with books, talking about books, and selling books. Every time a badge would come into my vicinity, I could see ‘writer’, ‘bookseller’, ‘publisher’, or ‘student’, in other words, people whose lives generally revolve around books and their production. It was overwhelming and exciting at the same time.
Something similar could be said about the seminars. The choice was incredibly diverse and answering to any tastes. Over the span of three days, I visited 12 seminars, and it still seems like a tip of the iceberg. One of the highlights was #MeToo: Passion, Politics & Poetry: The Power of the Collective, their open discussion about the importance of awareness and support when it comes to sexual abuse victims was very inspiring. The idea to integrate poem-readings into the discussion was brilliant and added the sense of immediacy and unity to the event, I got the instant urge to read that poetry collection from cover to cover. Next one has to be The Tension Between Universality and Diversity: A Reading and Audience Discussion with Author Selina Siak Chin Yoke The author gave a brilliant talk and managed to touch on the important social issues when it comes to diversity, as well as make it funny and entertaining. The talk prompted me to read the book, the signed bunch of which, luckily, Selina Siak Chin Yoke was giving away at the end of the seminar together with a piece of Malaysian traditional cake (Putri Salat)!

As a Poetry Matters Project’s intern, I was looking forward to Poet of the Fair: Imtiaz Dharker in conversation with Jen Campbell and was in no way disappointed. The interview was open, honest, and insightful for both, writers and editors alike. Imtiaz shared her impressions on modern poetry and the ways in which she sees poetry, “poetry is something that is in everyday life” for her.
Last but not least, Bringing the World to Your Bookshelf: The Art/Importance of Translating Fiction for Children and YA was particularly interesting to me personally, as it discussed the questions of book distribution, publishing, and editing. Since I wish to become a book editor in the future,
I found the talk educational and inspiring. Insights into reviewing process from
 Alex O'Connell were especially interesting.
Overall, the stands were overflowing with people and coffee cups, but no one seemed to mind. Every space was open, so the background of shouting and laughing was an inseparable part of the experience. It was the London Book Fair, so being surrounded by words seemed like an appropriate setting. After visiting such an event, I am determined to find out more about international book fairs and attend them as often as possible, it was an invaluable experience for me!

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Submitted: April 18, 2018

Rada Kuznetsova-Intern
Poetry Matters Project 2018  

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Young Poets Recognized at Statewide Event

This year Kwame Alexander will be featured Poet.

Submitted by Lucinda Clark
Founder of Poetry Matters Project

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Bells and Whistles 2018,McCormick S.C.

It was a dark, stormy rainy day when I pulled up to the McCormick Park stage yesterday. We quickly assessed and determined that we needed to go to plan be. The major thought that I had was that it is Poetry Month and the diverse poets that were scheduled to gather should have a cozy, dry place to share  their beautiful words.
We were able to set-up in an area inside the MACK. What happened next is the best in what Poetry Month is about.  Pastor James Kinsler appeared and a local merchant, Barbara, began gathering the people for the blessing of the festival! The people came and we learned how the festival got its name. After a blessing which included request for rain to cease, it did not, we began as best as we could.  We had young and seasoned: Americans, (from McCormick, Augusta and Pennsylvania) and Bengali, S. Africa and Zimbabwe citizens sharing their voices and listening.
 Emcee Vanessa Harris flowed effortlessly between poetry stage to entertainment stage at S.C. Wilds.  There were singers and music. Michael Jacob came all the way from Tennessee. 
It was the best opening of poetry month I have participated in recent memory. 

Pastor Kinsler blessing the festival

Soma Mukhopadhyay AU professor reading in two languages 
Aaron Benzuidenhout GRSP student from Zimbabwe

Rudrasankar Asst. Professor at Emory  shares in Bengalese

Sa Jules, Selma Simms and Zana Seymour take a minute before reading
L-r Soma Mukhophyay, Zana Seymour, Sa Jules, Selma Simms, Vanessa Harris, Aaron Bezuidenhout,  Rudra Sankar, Xavier Clark l-r front Liz Gilmore, Belinda Jamison and Lucinda Clark

Submitted by Lucinda Clark
Founder Poetry Matters Project
April 8, 2018