Camaradefest II

by Aki Schilz

1) I am not very good at updating this blog

2) This is a post about Camaradefest II

3) I have prepared a document that will (hopefully) give some flavour of the event but the basics are as follows:

On October 25th a collective of 100 poets gathered at RichMix London for an epic 10-hour day of back-to-back, brand new poetry collaborations: CAMARADEFEST II. From the performative to the reflexive, the percussive to the profound, with movement, images, mobile phone feedback, gameplay, costumes, sonic experimentation, storytelling, humour, heartbreak, music and madness, each pair trod new ground, bared souls (and revealed PIN numbers – it got intimate), spoke in many tongues and voices, about journeys on buses and across shingled beaches, komodo dragons and living in strange skin and pressing faces close to the ground, created stories on loop, read from novels and iPads and paper and from memory, imagined psychoanalytic encounters and chance meetings, looked out on henges and motorways, through rain-splashed train windows and mirrors and glasses, talked boybands and feminism, hashtags and leaves falling through sky, drowned worlds and lost love, from the micro to the macro, the chromosomatic to the big-wide-world of everything we know and don’t know, via allegory, metaphor, puns and just bloody good poetry. It was nothing short of astounding. I feel privileged to have been a part of it (video below).

I wrote a few micropoems on Twitter throughout the day, taking bits from everyone else’s poems to compose a sort of ‘mashup’ collection/overview of the event. After several frustrated attempts at retrieving these micropoems retroactively via Twitter, then further frustrated attempts at copying and pasting them effectively into a Word document, I realised there was something quite apt about the junk that had filtered through with my copy and paste job, about the surrounding bits and squiggles.* So I fiddled around a bit, and left them largely as they were. I quite like the result. Here’s my round-up, therefore, of the day, bits and squiggles and all:

Camaradefest II.

*Not a technical term. As far as I know.

Special Mentions:

The day was organised by the inimitable SJ Fowler, who deserves a special mention for his incredible energy and diligence as curator (he’s a brilliantly sharp and intimidatingly prolific poet himself) of a full day of sometimes spontaneous performance that managed to draw a crowd so large extra seating had to be put out in the main hall. And whom I have to thank for inviting me to be part of the day, along with my poetry partner in crime, Nick Murray, editor and publisher at Annexe Press.

Here’s me and Nick performing the experimental poetry-game we devised for Camaradefest:

For a full lineup and all the videos, click here.