Apples and Snakes x Bloomsbury Poetry present: POETRY SALON
Join your host, award-winning poet and Bloomsbury’s poetry editor Kayo Chingonyi for an evening of conversation, music and readings with the four inaugural poets of the Bloomsbury Poetry list – Valzhyna Mort, Anthony Joseph, Selina Nwulu, and Polarbear.
Honouring the transnational, richly textured, sonically deft work of these poets, this poetry feast will explore themes from black womxnhood, honouring the dead and writing in strange times.
A literary salon of sorts, this will be an unmissable evening of poems and reflections from four of the finest contemporary poets.
This is a partnership event between Apples and Snakes & Bloomsbury
Valzhyna Mort’s first collection to be published in the UK was named winner of the International Griffin Prize and a New York Times Best Poetry Book of 2020. Music for the Dead and Resurrected grapples with the complexity of living in the shadows of imperial forces, of speaking through familial trauma with a grotesque, humorous voice, of seeing with more than one’s eyes. It is a body of work which balances political import with serious play. There are few poets writing with such an intuitive sense of the balance between arcane and contemporary currents in poetry. Mort’s lines are timeless, finely honed to last beyond a single lifetime.
In the acclaimed poet’s first collection since 2013, calypso renderings of the sonnet bubble with lyricism, musicality, and breathtaking emotional depth. With Sonnets for Albert, Anthony Joseph weighs the impact of being the son of an absent, or mostly absent father, in poems that, though they threaten to break under the weight of their emotions, are always masterfully poised as the charismatic man they depict.
Formerly a Young People’s Laureate for London, Nwulu’s work was featured in the acclaimed New Daughters of Africa anthology. A Little Resurrection is her debut full-length collection, the work of a questing sensibility that explores seldom-seen corners of Black British life, with Nwulu’s own experiences as a poet of Nigerian descent raised in Yorkshire and time spent living in Senegal informing the work. In these poems blackness itself is complicated, extending the resonances of being to reflect the self in a state of flux, a fugitive spirit battling the harm of erasure. There is a profound joy in these poems, all the more powerful for being hard-won. This book heralds the branching out of an important trajectory in Anglophone poetry.
Polarbear is one of the most influential poets of his generation. The Lost Chronicles is the work that made his name, collected in print for the first time. These poems have racked up hundreds of thousands of views online and been performed all over the globe, lodging themselves in the hearts and minds of audiences. His gift is for the many kinds of music a line can contain. He marries the intricate, compulsive, rhyming strategies of rap with the seanchaí’s gift for telling a story and the saxophonist’s flair for bending the possibilities of sound.
Image credit: Anthony Joseph, Selina Nwulu, and Polarbear by Naomi Woddis. Valzhyna Mort by Kapitonova.