Alkemi: post-show thoughts and thanks!

As August slipped out of sight and September approached, Alkemi took place at The Nines, Peckham, as Sidekick Books, in collaboration with the Stockholm Review of Literature, put on a post-Brexit reading celebrating European poetry!

Credit: Wikimedia Commons
We paired up the following readers to share translations in and out of English:

Sofia Capel and Lucy Durneen

Image: Ian McLachlan

James Coghill and Lucy Leagrave
Image: IanMcLachlan


Jen Calleja and Marta Kowalewska 
Image: Ian McLachlan

Gabrielle Nolan and Kirsten Irving

Image: Ian McLachlan

Poets read translations of their own work across French, German, Swedish and Polish, alongside non-translated poetry and the work of their partners. We got Brechtian love poetry, anxiety and shape-shifting, memories and adventure.

Jon Stone hosted, reading translations of Dutch and Spanish work (with thanks to a brave audience member who stepped up to read the original Spanish in one case!). You can read his run-up Europoetry posts on Paul Celan and Raymond Queneau on the Sidekick blog.

Music was provided by the late Jacques Brel and visual stimulation by a beautiful array of European cinematic classics, provided by Sofia, including this well-timed still:

Image: Ian McLachlan


We had a Mini Translation Quiz, which you can take here (and the answers are here).

The ten-point question asked for three-line poems on a time when words failed you, and one of my favourites came from Sian Moore:


It was a fantastic night, and we’d like to thank all of the performers for such great sets. It was also a brilliant opportunity to meet people involved in other poetry projects around translation, such as Giorgia Cacciatore from the Movimento per l’Emanzipazione Poesia, who furnished us with a stash of beautiful Italian poetry to read, enjoy and pass on:




Thanks to the Nines for having us, the wonderful audience who embraced their curiosity, the readers and the Stockholm Review of Literature. Here’s to more collaborative projects in the future!

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