“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 work with non-profit organisation English PEN and publish with independent presses Arc, Lark Books, Salt, Shearsman, IB Tauris, and Wallflower. With different hats, I am Poet in Residence at the Archive of the Now, a member of queer feminist film curation collective Club des Femmes, 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.
For workshops, creative consultancies, editorial or writing work, contact me at: sophie [at] sophiemayer [dot] net
The BFI's first ever retrospective of a British woman director's work starts on 2nd December and runs throughout the month. Take a loved one (or first date?) to see the studio run of a beautiful new print of Orlando or let a post-Xmas screening of YES fill your heart with peace and goodwill to all. As co-curator, I'm inordinately proud of this fantastic season -- and also very proud to be introducing it in a "beginner's guide" on Friday Dec 4th, in collaboration with Club des Femmes, for Thriller and Potter's early shorts, some of which have not been seen since the 1970s! There's also events with Tilda Swinton and Julie Christie, so book early and I'll see you on the South Bank to reprise the dance from The London Story!
Join the TSG Facebook group for updates about filmmakers and book events, and discussions about feminist artmaking!
2009 has been pretty special and it's not over yet: hot off the fine presses of Wayne State University Press comes my third book of the year, There She Goes: Feminist Filmmaking and Beyond. In the spirit of feminist art, this book is a collective effort: specifically, an editorial collaboration with with my friend and colleague Corinn Columpar from the University of Toronto Cinema Studies department, and with contributions from an amazing range of writers, including filmmaker Michelle Citron on digital filmmaking and Kay Armatage on programming women's cinema, and interviews with filmmakers Kim Longinotto and Samira Makhmalbaf -- seen in our cover image, directing At Five in the Afternoon in Afghanistan.
A preview of all the female-helmed films at the 2009 London Film Festival for Sight & Sound and a review of lesbian shorts DVD Here Come the Girls (order from Peccadillo Pictures) for Chroma. Both blog posts include great stills of hot women!
I've got two essays -- on Salt's Earthworks series and Ruth Padel's Darwin: A Life in Poems -- and a sexy sequence of three sci-fi prose poems in issue three of the magnificent Horizon Review, which ushers in October splendidly by almost capping the tally of four pieces in October's Sight and Sound (two reviews, and an interview with Agnès Varda split into two sections... S&S are a bit rubbish at putting their material online, so I can only link to the Birdwatchers review). Things really seem to be kicking off with the writing (although I've probably jinxed matters by stating the good news in public) (and hopefully unjinxed them by making the jinx explicit)! On the less good side, this means I have five deadlines to produce ten thousand words by the end of the month.
You can hear Sally Potter in discussion (with yours truly) at Cinéphilia West about her career, her new film RAGE, working with Jude Law and how she gets through doubt and despair on the Electric Sheep podcast. If you like what you hear, there are more gems of wisdom from Potter in The Cinema of Sally Potter: A Politics of Love. Cinéphilia West is a truly amazing bookshop-café with an atmospheric event space: to find out about upcoming events, and to become a member, head over to the Cinéphilia website.
... in two very different settings: Keats House and the Curzon Renoir (although Jane Campion's forthcoming Bright Star connects the two -- check out the film's incredible website). I'm all about the connections between poetry and film so it feels fantastic to be reading...
Coming up on November 11th, I'll be reading at the launch event for the second issue of Artesian, an ambitious visual and literary culture journal whose first issue included articles by Anne Michaels and Don Delillo. More details to follow...
RAGE premieres this week and (I'm not ashamed to say) I've bought a dress to attend my first-ever film premiere. Find out more about where you can join in with the live interactive screening and Q&A, and read more about the film in my interview with Sally Potter for Bird's Eye View. Read Sally's account of the "wild night" at BFISouthbank here and some of the myriad worldwide reactions to the film, its innovative release strategy and NY and London launches in the articles and blogs gathered here.
Hear Britain's most independent director on her career and new film RAGE (premiering on Thursday 24 September in cinemas across the UK & Ireland with a live Q&A [watch online], available on limited edition DVD now, and direct to your mobile phone from Monday 21 September via Babelgum).
Sunday 27 September 2009
7pm :: limited space::come early
Cinéphilia West, 171 Westbourne Grove, London::map
Three new poems hit the newsstand today, and it's an extra-special issue because Stand was the very first poetry magazine to which I submitted my work, at the suggestion of my amazing English teacher, way back in 199hmmr, hmmr. Jon Silkin, the founding editor, wrote me a beautiful letter encouraging my ambition and suggesting I get a bit more world in my poems, a piece of advice that I return to again and again.
It's the perfect combination: one fantastic reading series (Salt's Ride the Word) + the eagerly-awaited new issue of a great magazine (Staple: The Art Issue) + fine, fine teas at Yumchaa overlooking the Regent's Canal = the best Saturday night out. Did I mention that it's free?
That's this Saturday 29 August, 7-9 pm (so time to go dancing afterwards). I'll be reading as part of the Staple set -- you can read more about the event on Staple editor Wayne Burrow's blog.