7 Symposium Moments (No. 5)

JS SymposiumThe sharp eyed among you will no doubt have spotted that this occasional series of Symposium moments has been long in appearing! So long, in fact, that the next Symposium is around the corner – on Saturday November 24th. We will publicise the poets who will be the ‘Featured Poets’ very soon. However, there is a special reason for bringing up this moment now. Everyone I spoke to who saw Josephine Dickinson perform her poem ‘Alphabetula’ at the last Carlisle Poetry Symposium agreed that was one of the best spoken word performance they had ever, ever seen. I would go further: I might never see anything as good ever again. It was such an amazing example of what poetry can be and can do. I can’t do it justice as words on a screen, but as she read, and as the strata of pages built up in front of her, and as the sounds fragmented in front of us, there was a palpable sense of fury pressing at the very limitations of language.

You may well lament that you didn’t see it, but you can… Nick Pemberton, who saw it at the Symposium, wanted Josephine to perform it as part of the ‘Freiraum’ evening at Foxes Café on the 7th November. I am delighted to write that she will be reading it again as a key feature of that evening. Come and see it for yourself.

JS poem Symposium

(This is how the poem appeared in Magma)


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