The unique annual European Camarade is back, bringing together some of the finest modern poets of the thriving Manchester scene with writers from across Europe to create brand-new work especially for the night. In 2021, the European Camarade is supported by Manchester Poetry Library – the North West’s first public poetry library, based at Man Met University – and is curated by the library’s project manager, German-born Martin Kratz, alongside European Poetry Festival organiser SJ Fowler.
The Camarade format asks pairs of poets, many of whom have never met before, to produce new collaborative works for the night of the reading, with no criteria other than a time limit.
The European Camarade forms part of the wider European Poetry Festival, and follows up four events already organised in the great outdoors around and about London during July. A further eleven events (ranging from a showcase of Latvian poetry to an evening of Swiss writing) take place during November in London with another Camarade taking place in fellow UNESCO City of Literature Dublin. The Camarade format asks pairs of poets, many of whom have never met before, to produce new collaborative works for the night of the reading, with no criteria other than a time limit. The blurb states: “This non-determinate curatorial model creates innate innovation and explorations of the possibilities around live poetry and performance. Moreover, it creates friendships and communities. These events are rapid fire and energised but fundamentally serious and complex in the work they often produce.”
This special one-off at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation sees various duets of writers taking to the stage; previous performers have included Kimberly Campanello, one of the contributors to Simon Armitage’s A Poetic Declaration project, being aired for the first time in September at the Ripples Of Hope Festival at HOME. Tour organiser SJ Fowler is reprising his long-time collaboration with zimZalla press’s Tom Jenks, latterly of much-missed The Other Room experimental poetry reading series. Tom’s TOR co-organisers are also taking part: James Davies teams up with sound artist Matt Dalby, while creative writing lecturer at the University of Salford Scott Thurston will be performing alongside Athens-born poet and translator Callie Michail.
Scott’s former student Lydia Unsworth, now based in the Netherlands (and with a new pamphlet, cement terraces, out with New Mills-based Red Ceilings Press) has collaborated with Creative Tourist‘s very own Literature Editor Sarah-Clare Conlon for the event. Previously Sarah-Clare has read alongside Jazmine Linklater, one-third of the No Matter organising line-up, part of the team at Manchester-based independent poetry publishing house Carcanet Press and creative writing workshop facilitator at the Northern Lights Writers’ Conference. For the 2021 Manchester leg of the European Camarade, Jazmine is collaborating with Sally Barrett, whose husband Richard Barrett – co-organiser of another regular reading series Peter Barlow’s Cigarette – is working with Glasgow University’s Colin Herd.
Camarade regulars back for 2021 include Veer-published Patricia Farrell, working with Michael Egan, and her usual collaborator Robert Sheppard, Emeritus Professor of Poetry and Poetics at Edge Hill University, while David Spittle, Stephen Sunderland and Ailsa Holland complete the line-up announced at this stage – more names are to be added.