The second volume of our live literary journal kicked off just over a week ago. With poetry, robotic plants, and a live review of Paris Lit Up, the night proved to be a mosaic of literature, apparatus and sound; embodying VERSO / season 2’s environmental air more than we could have hoped for.
Terra firma, to which we turn our symbolic lens this year, is a Latin phrase meaning “solid earth”. It refers to the dry land on the earth’s surface, as opposed to the sea or air. Through zooming into pre-18th century alchemical symbols, such as “Stone” (last Sunday’s symbol), and “Mercury” (coming up next month), this concept of terra firma will be explored on a monthly basis.
Our editor Anna Arov got the show on the road with her editorial on “Stones” last week, speaking of the place of stone in our world order. Stone as the solid ground we humans build upon, with, through. Stone as memory, the one thing we take away with us, on holiday, during a walk in the park, a swim in the sea; stone as a souvenir for a moment we spent in nature. And yet, how in doing this, we take away a piece of our striking earth. Ultimately, “stone as sacred.”
Versal of course established itself [in] the writing collective over a decade ago, having organised other events as well. Not having been around then, I see VERSO / coming out now as an interactive ethos of culture, energy, imagination, sprouting from a network of writers, poets and musicians who have fun whilst participating. Performers have the chance to put their work before the public, to promote word-of-mouth recommendations during the break or after the show and to boost, by whatever margin, book sales in our pop-up bookstore. Essentially, it is an opportunity to take the night off from staring at a computer screen, and mingle with other writers.
At its best, a reading can be a magical event, allowing a unique insight into a writer's work and craft, prompting the reader to return to the work informed, renewed and hopefully, inspired. VERSO / then, attempts to make such a night different; it isn’t only about writing and reading: it’s about performing, be it with hushed reverence, clamorous address or tuneful play (did I mention the bilingual Latin poetry reading? Yes, it is still being spoken, evidently!) in the homespun, charmed feel that Mezrab brings you.
The second volume will feature a lineup of local and international talent, and we can already promise you this magic featuring Babs Gons (NL), Lily Huong (USA), Charif Shanahan (USA) and Laura Mullen (USA). Next month, please join us on November 1st for our second number where our Editor Margarita Osipian will take the wheel with “Mercury”, American poet Megan Fernandes, Two Lines Press's new translation of German writer Wolfgang Hilbig, presented by translator Isabel Fargo Cole, and more… Through paralleling the alchemical symbols, our aim this year is to offer you the magic touched upon above. We hope to see you next month, for even more bright lights, booze, books, or whatever it is that floats your boat.