Word made flesh 1965 / Flesh made word 2015

Tag: Michael Horovitz

ReIncarnation Biographies #21: Michael Horovitz

Michael Horovitz

Michael Horovitz

The twenty first person in our series of introductions to performers taking part in International Poetry ReIncarnation at the Roundhouse in Camden on 30th May 2015 is the poet, activist, visual artist and Poetry Olympics torchbearer Michael Horovitz.

Michael Horovitz founded New Departures publications & Live New Departures bandwagons in 1959 when still an Oxford undergrad. ND#1 published the first excerpts from Burroughs’s then still uncompleted Naked Lunch to appear in Europe. From hanging out with Beckett, Stevie Smith, the Beats et al in the ’50s to his last three years’ collaborations on song-poems & music with Vanessa Vie, he has been practising & preaching poetry worldwide all these years.

Dedicated shit-stirrer & Poetry Olympics torchbearer, Horovitz has published over forty books, the most recent of which, A New Waste Land, was welcomed in The Independent by D.J. Taylor as “A deeply felt clarion-call from the radical underground”, & “A true scrapbook and songbook of the grave new world” by Tom Stoppard. He recently recorded with Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon and Paul Weller for Gearbox Records, & is about to bring out recordings of his William Blake Klezmatrix band & a double disc DVD of the joyous POEM 2012 marathon in the QEH which featured many of tonight’s performers at the top of their games.

Allen Ginsberg pronounced him a “Popular, experienced, experimental, New Jerusalem, Jazz Generation, Sensitive Bard”, whilst Vogue dubbed him “The worst-dressed poet in Britain”.

Michael will be speaking about the impact of the first International Poetry Incarnation after the afternoon screening of Wholly Communion. To book tickets, click here.

Get your tickets for the evening’s star-laden performance here: The International Poetry ReIncarnation

50 Years On: ReIncarnating Wholly Communion

Wholly Communion title cardTo celebrate 50 years since the First International Poetry Incarnation at the Albert Hall on June 11th 1965 (not to mention the seeds that have grown to flowers in its wake)  the Roundhouse will be screening Peter Whitehead’s film Wholly Communion, “the quintessential document of the event that marked the arrival of the counterculture in England” according to the BFI, as part of the International Poetry ReIncarnation this Saturday, May 30th, at 2.30pm.

image001According to Stuart Heaney on the BFI’s website: “Wholly Communion is perhaps the most distinctive British example of a documentary movement that attempted to capture reality while interrogating it: ‘direct cinema’. Whitehead’s camera draws attention to itself and the filmmaker’s presence by filming Gregory Corso’s reading from between two other poets talking during the performance. This technique emphasises the filmmaker’s subjectivity while also identifying the camera (and therefore the viewer) with the perspective of the audience present at the event.”

Michael Horovitz

Michael Horovitz

The ReIncarnation screening will also be followed by a panel discussion between director Peter Whitehead, and three of the 1965 Albert Hall happening’s co-conspiritors, the poets Michael Horovitz and Pete Brown, and biographer Barry Miles.

The day kick offs at 12.30pm with a panel discussion of Revolutionary Poetics, featuring legendary counterculture poet and lyricist Pete Brown, passionate and proper poet-activist Pete the Temp, and rising star of spoken word Cecilia Knapp. They’ll be discussing whether words can ever really change the world.

To book tickets for the Wholly Communion screening and the panel events, click here.

ReIncarnation Biographies #12: Vanessa Vie

pic by Lubka Gangarova

pic by Lubka Gangarova

The twelfth person in our series of introductions to performers taking part in International Poetry ReIncarnation at the Roundhouse in Camden on 30th May 2015 is the Spanish singer/songwriter and artist Vanessa Vie.

Singer-lyrist & artist Vanessa Vie was born in Aviles, Asturias, Northern Spain in 1973.

From 1993 she committed to the practice & study of the Visual Arts and, in 1995, one of her drawings was used  for a Hard Rock Cafe Barcelona t-shirts limited edition. Before long, music, performing arts and poetry would become the centre of her activity. Alberto Arango from the National Cuban Opera, and jazz maestro Don Kemonah, who had moved from London to Spain, were among her various influential teachers.

In 1997 she co-formed, with folk and classical double bass player Ignacio Pozo, her first pop-rock band Ithaca, which dissolved in 2000. In the same year Vanessa resolved to live & work in London, largely in consequence of reading the works of William Blake.

In 2005, with her ex-husband, rock musician Ian Montlake, Vanessa co-formed the alternative-rock band Rockatron, which dissolved in 2009.

Since then she has presented Happenings inspired by the work of poets (including Dylan Thomas and Rumi), and on occasion inspired by the work of visual artists such as Sheila Seepersaud-Jones, and has exhibited her own Visual Art, and used it to illustrate her Words and Music and that of others.

In 2012 Vanessa met poet, artist and iconoclast Michael Horovitz, whose encouragement, inspiration, and active partnership go on feeding her muse. The duo’s renditions of their own, Lorca’s, Blake’s, Emily Dickinson’s and others’ lyrics and poetry have become a staple of Michael’s Jazz Poetry SuperJams.

Get your tickets for the evening’s star-laden performance here: The International Poetry ReIncarnation

Liberty, Equality, Poetry

mhandginsbergAdam Horovitz reflects on the impact of the International Poetry Incarnation in 1965 and looks forward to the celebratory party for it.

I have spent most of my life aware of the International Poetry Incarnation, which took place in the Royal Albert Hall in 1965, very nearly 50 years ago. My father, Michael Horovitz, helped organise it, so of course I was going to be exposed of it. Growing up, I knew some of the poets. They were often about, in our house or at events, being genial and strange and merely a part of my metaphysical furniture.

For a long time, the 1965 Incarnation was a big poetry gig in the sky that people talked about and that I accepted as just another impressive thing that fathers do. As I have grown older, however, and become more interested in poetry in my own right, it has been hitting ever more forcefully home to me what a turning point this Incarnation, this 1965 happening, was.

Annie Whitehead

Annie Whitehead

Poetry in Britain was somewhat in the doldrums in the 1950s, as far as it being a public art went. It tended to sit in small rooms in universities and libraries and speak to and of itself. With my father’s generation – people like Adrian Mitchell, Christopher Logue, Pete Brown – poetry picked itself up and went running around the country talking to people who didn’t expect poetry to come leaping out of hedgerows at them. It went charging up to the Edinburgh Festival and touring through towns and cities with musicians and actors and playwrights in tow. Poetry began to listen, and to sing out in different rhythms. It offered up a party where only drier forms of symposia had appeared available before. Continue reading

ReIncarnating at a Roundhouse Near You Soon

Our beautiful Allen Ginsberg poster, by Chris Hopewell of Jacknife.

“The weight of the world
is love.
Under the burden
of solitude,
under the burden
of dissatisfaction

the weight,
the weight we carry
is love.”
from ‘Song – Poem’ by Allen Ginsberg

So, there’s a little under a fortnight to go until the Roundhouse in Camden plays host to International Poetry ReIncarnation, the fiftieth anniversary celebration of the International Poetry Incarnation which completely filled the Albert Hall with an audience eager to see and hear poets such as Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Ernst Jandl, Michael Horovitz, Pete Brown, Adrian Mitchell, Anselm Hollo and many more – an event which helped to kickstart the counterculture in Britain.

The International Poetry Incarnation was arguably the first major event to open Britain’s eyes to the idea that something more was possible from the arts in Britain, something other and wilder and more popular than the staid hegemony of the previous decades. Jeff Nuttall, author of Bomb Culture, said “the Underground was suddenly there on the surface”; and certainly, as a result of that night – which it is worth noting came together in a week – a hundred other nights were born. Countercultural activist and archivist Barry Miles described “a sense of constituency that was never there before…. All these people recognised each other and they all realised they were part of the same scene.” The Incarnation even presaged one of the greatest public expressions of the counterculture – flower power – by handing out flowers to every person who attended. The only weight that the audience carried away with them from the International Poetry Incarnation was love, and with the encouragement of Ginsberg and the counterculture, it spread like wildfire.

Something worth celebrating, then.

So, there’s little under a fortnight until we attempt to lift the roof off the Roundhouse (one of the venues where people met after the 1965 extravaganza to plan their own events) with an international array of poet/performers who were either part of the original event, or who have endeavoured to keep on reincarnating the potent, loving spirit of poetry in performance over the last fifty years. Over the next two weeks we will be introducing you to the performers taking part in this ReIncarnation; some of the finest voices, transcending cultural spectra and international borders, writing and performing today.

Hold on to your hats; this is going to be exciting!