‘... a twilight zone. I’m in there of course. In my Shed. We’re all there’, a Monk Collective

 

These poems in ‘... a twilight zone. I’m in there of course. In my Shed. We’re all there’ [1], a Monk Collective were curated as part of a special issue by Ágnes Lehóczky and Adam Piette to celebrate the 70th birthday and thus the literary oeuvre of the poet Geraldine Monk whose contribution to the British and international experimental poetry scene with her extensive body of work over the many decades has been vital. Geraldine has been a prominent member of the British Poetry Revival since the mid-1970s and the  poetry community ever since; a co-runner of West House Books with Alan Halsey; a prolific poet whose work has been preoccupied with unfolding the intricate strata of politico-historic landscapes and the ‘emotional geography of places’ thus becoming one of the most radical and fierce feminist voices with her ’wild, erotic and deeply strange writing’ [2] of innovative poetry since her very first pamphlet of the mid 1970s; a bold collaborator with fellow artists and writers; affiliated poet at the Centre for Poetry and Poetics, University of Sheffield; a member of Juxtavoices, a large antichoir which includes many familiar faces from Sheffield’s left-field music, poetry and visual arts scene; regular visiting poet at several US universities; and recipient of numerous grants and awards as well as commissions whose work continues to influence and inspire newer generations internationally. Monk's poetry collections include, among others, Interregnum (Creation Books, 1994), Mary Through The Looking Glass (Gargoyle Editions, 2002), Selected Poems (Salt Publishing, 2003), Escafeld Hangings (West House Books, 2005), Ghost & Other Sonnets (Salt Publishing, 2008), Lobe Scarps & Finials (Leafe Press, 2011), Pendle Witch-Words (Knives Forks and Spoons Press, 2012), and They Who Saw the Deep (Free Verse Editions/Parlor Press, 2016). She edited Cusp: Recollections of Poetry in Transition (Shearsman Books, 2012). Monk has received numerous commissions: ‘Hidden Cities,’ among others, is a poetic text for bus tours in and around English cities commissioned by Ruskin School of Fine Art, Oxford University while ‘The Three Stepping Stones of Dawn’ was commissioned for the BBC’s Dawn Chorus events broadcast in May 2016. Her poem (2018) was also central piece in the film Soft Rebellions, a short film by Chloe Brown, created with an all-female crew, production team and cast performed on Sheffield’s Paradise Square in 2018 focusing predominantly on systematically silenced or lost voices of women of the past and the now. Major critical studies of Monk's poetry include, among others, Zoё Skoulding’s ‘Experimental Cities’ (in Contemporary Women's Poetry and Urban Space, Palgrave, 2013), Linda A. Kinnahan’s Lyric Interventions; Feminism, Experimental Poetry, and Contemporary Discourse (University of Iowa, 2003), David and Christine Kennedy’s ‘Body, Time & Locale’ (Women’s Experimental Poetry in Britain 1970-2010, Liverpool University Press, 2013) and The Salt Companion to Geraldine Monk, a book of critical work on Monk’s poetry (edited by Scott Thurston, 2007), and Adam Piette's article ‘Polaroidy: The Revels of Geraldine Monk.’ Gathered Here Today ‘celebrating Geraldine Monk at 60’ was another festschrift anthology published by Knives Forks and Spoons Press in 2012. Geraldine Monk was married to poet and artist Alan Halsey whose last poems for Geraldine are published in this collection, between them proprietors of West House Books, whose life and work Blackbox Manifold and the Centre for Poetry and Poetics are to pay tribute to by way of a literary memorial event in Spring 2023. Thank you to all contributors whose work, each a response to Geraldine’s wonderful variety of writing, constitute/form here a rich texture of a trans-generational-hybrid collective. In loving tribute,

 



 

 


                                                                         
                                                                           Ágnes Leh
óczky & Adam Piette

           January 2023

 


[1] From Geraldine Monk’s ‘mini biobib’ in: http://westhousebooks.co.uk/gmonk.asp

[2] ‘…wild, erotic and deeply strange writing. A poetry that reveals the unspeakable weirdness of the everyday.’ Sean Bonney, in http://westhousebooks.co.uk/poets.asp

 

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