Announcing the Spring/Summer 2014 programme

Blog | Published on February 4, 2014

“A poem,” said William Carlos Williams, “is a small (or large) machine made out of words. Its movement is intrinsic, undulant, a physical more than a literary character.”

I have always found this statement inspiring. Perhaps, I am attracted by technology; by the way machines inhabit and change the physical world. Like poems, machines can be intricate, crafted according to logical rules, yet retain a sense of magic. We know how they work, but can’t quite believe they are possible.

Today we launch our brand new catalogue into the world. It has been produced by another machine called a risograph printer. Each page has been run flat through the printer while a drum of ink rotates at high speed to create an image. My colleague Nick tells me that risograph is the missing link between old technology and new, between screen-printing and the digital world. I like this, too. The only way to move forward is to look back. Our voice is never our own.

In 2014 Penned in the Margins makes a big leap forward, with more (and more diverse) productions than ever before. Caroline Bergvall: Drift is an extraordinary piece of performance that combines Old English and Norse sagas with contemporary reflections on migration. Siddhartha Bose’s new show The Shroud also combines ancient with modern to create a beautifully considered piece of theatre about loss. And in the summer we premiere a new event concept which draws on John Keats’ notion of Negative Capability to explore the mysterious world of artistic inspiration. Can a poem be inspired by a higher – or ‘other’ – force, or is it just the result of technique?

Our publishing programme kicks off in May with Mount London, an anthology of essays that collectively attempts to ascend an imaginary mountain above the streets of the capital. And we release the first in a series of psychogeographical explorations of London’s cemeteries by our in-house literary detective Chris McCabe: In the Catacombs. I am also very excited to be publishing Midland by the mercurial writer/artist/musician Honor Gavin: it’s a beautifully unorthodox history of Birmingham that combines social observation with autobiography.

I’m looking forward to developing more projects that exist across our publishing and events programmes, and I’m delighted to announce that we will be working with the brilliant Anglo-Breton poet Claire Trévien to transform her celebrated book The Shipwrecked House into a one-woman stage show. This production will preview at Ledbury Poetry Festival in July (alongside Negative Capability) and then tour from the Autumn.

Penned in the Margins started life as a series of poetry readings in a converted railway arch in South London. I had just graduated and was making my first steps in the London arts scene. That was, incredibly, in 2004. To celebrate the last ten years, we are publishing a Best Of anthology, Marginalia, and holding a big party in September at Rich Mix, London to which all are invited.

As ever you can keep in touch with our events, productions and books here on our website or on Twitter and Facebook.

Tom Chivers, Director



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