“What is the purpose of resisting corporate globalization if not to protect the obscure, the ineffable, the unmarketable, the unmanageable, the local, the poetic and the eccentric? So they need to be practiced, celebrated and studied too, right now.” Rebecca Solnit
I'm a UK-based writer, editor, educator and activist with a passionate commitment to arts and social justice. I publish with independent presses Arc, Lark Books, Salt, Shearsman, IB Tauris, and Wallflower. I am a member of queer feminist film curation collective Club des Femmes and feminist film activists Raising Films, a lecturer in film at LCC and Queen Mary University of London, and a film journalist for Sight & Sound and The F-Word, where I focus on independent, experimental, and feminist films and film culture.
In my critical work, I explore the political potential of experimental literature and cinema, with an emphasis on feminist artists like Sally Potter, who is the subject of my first critical book The Cinema of Sally Potter: A Politics of Love. As well as teaching university courses on topics ranging from transgender cinema to Anne Carson, I've facilitated workshops for youth organisations like Leave Out Violence and taught creative writing at Anglia Ruskin University, King's College, London, and Middlesex University. I have worked with non-profit organisation English PEN and was the Poet in Residence at the Archive of the Now.
For workshops, creative consultancies, editorial or writing work, contact me at: sophie [at] sophiemayer [dot] net
I gave a paper at the University of Kent yesterday at the invitation of Mattias Frey to be part of a seminar on film criticism with Jonathan Romney, Chris Darke and Sarah Turner. It was an intense and exciting event that became an incredible two hour discussion. I wish I could present a transcript or recording of the entire event here, but alas there isn't one: instead, I'm going to post the paper that I wrote because I'm still engaged and exercised by the questions that were raised and would love to hear more responses. You can also download the paper as a pdf here.
Frames of War: Some Thoughts on Film Criticism Now
I reviewed Lisa Cholodenko's The Kids are All Right as Sight & Sound's Film of the Month for November (Q&A with Lisa and Julianne Moore here)! Meanwhile, to mark the first-ever UK retrospective of Yvonne Rainer's films at the BFI, I've got a feature on Rainer's incredible career in dance-film-activist-provocation in December's Sight & Sound.
If you're inspired by these two great filmmakers to get feministly-creative (and you might as well: if you're a British woman, from today until the end of the year you're working for free), come along to LadyFest Ten. On Sun 14th Nov, I'll be leading a writing workshop (Return to Oz: oh yes!) and reading as part of the For Books' Sake showcase... It's going to be kick-ass.
What happens when fourteen emerging British poets gather together -- and spin out -- their thoughts on poetry. Stress Fractures: Essays on Poetry stresses just how varied and passionate we are. Edited by Tom Chivers, the book (which is a very lovely turquoise) is available as of Friday from Penned in the Margins. And it launches on 28 October at Whitechapel Art Gallery, where I'll be sharing the stage with Ross Sutherland and Theodore Chiotis and answering the question: what would Emily Dickinson tweet?
London celebrates ten years of awesome grrrl-focused arts action and you're all invited! On Sunday 14th November, as part of For Books' Sake literary programme (which includes fiction goddess Scarlett Thomas) I'll be hosting Return to Oz: Re-writing Our Heroines, which gives you the chance to be Dorothy, Alice, Ramona or Storm for the day, and taking part in a poetry showcase along with the Storm in a Teacup ladies. Day passes are £10: booking, location and other info at For Books' Sake.
Staple 73: The Film Issue is out now! I have a poem about the eroticism of projectors (and my crush on Fairuza Balk). Dr. Lucy Bolton has written a rich and attentive review of The Cinema of Sally Potter for Screen 51:3. And if you missed the Chroma 10 launch at the BFI, you can catch up with our wild Future Sex panel discussion by video at BFI Live.
Maybe it's the upcomingness of Ladyfest Ten, where I'll be running a writing workshop to bring out your inner childhood film/TV heroine (time and date tba), but I feel like women filmmakers, artists and writers are enjoying a heyday. It's not just that my review of Lisa Cholodenko's eye-wateringly funny The Kids Are All Right will be Film of the Month in October's Sight & Sound (my first ever Film of the Month, yay!), but there's Nell Leyshon's Bedlam being the first play by a female playwright performed at the Globe, Fiona Banner terrifying tourists at Tate Britain, and - can't wait to see this! - Alice Neel at the Whitechapel.
After three years of planning, reaching out, and cajoling, six months of editing, designing and nail-biting, and one Palme d'Or surprise for our cover artist, the new issue of Chroma (which I guest edited) is AVAILABLE NOW! Chroma's website is being redesigned at the moment, but if you'd like to order a copy (or several copies ;) of our gorgeous magazine, you can email me.
It's not exactly Carson McCullers' "A Tree, A Rock, A Cloud," one of my favourite short stories of all time, but it's news:
Thanks to Wayne Burrows of Staple for the invitation to read at Lumen (and thanks to Ruth O'Callaghan for hosting us: some of her translations of Mongolian poets appear in BRAND 6 -- another excellent reason to border a copy), and for this review of the event:
A couple of diptych poetry reviews:
And some recent film releases as well: