On 11 April, over Zoom, the brilliant Hannah Hodgson and Momtaza Mehri communed with the spirits of Julia Darling and May Ayim. Oof, it was a good'un (wifi issues nonwithstanding). We are disappointed that this event couldn't take place at the Star and Shadow Cinema in Newcastle as planned (gosh darn you, global pandemic!), but Newcastle - we'll be back! And we made a very pleasing map of where the audience was from, which stretched out to California and Portugal, as well as across the UK. We've gone global, baby!
Now, we are truly delighted that to share Hannah and Momtaza's poems in response to their chosen poets, as well as Hannah's full talk which was recorded. Hannah speaks movingly about Julia Darling's life and death, and about the impact that Darling's writing on illness has had on her - and you can watch it back in full. Thank you to everyone who came to this event and sign up to our mailing list to hear about our next séances!
Hannah Hodgson is a poet living with life-limiting illness. Her work has been published by the Poetry Society, Teen Vogue and Poetry Saltzburg, amongst others. She is the recipient of a 2020 Northern Writers Award for Poetry. Her first poetry pamphlet Dear Body was published by Wayleave Press in 2018, and her second pamphlet, Where I'd Watch Plastic Trees Not Grow, was published with Verve Press in 2021. She has written three poems in response to Julia Darling's work about illness, death and queerness. Read Hannah's responses to Darling's work here.
Momtaza Mehri is a poet, essayist and independent researcher. Her work has appeared in the likes of Granta, BOMB Magazine, Real Life Mag and The Poetry Review. She is the former Young People’s Laureate for London. Her latest pamphlet, Doing the Most with the Least, was published by Goldsmiths Press. Momtaza has written a phenomenal prose poem in response to Ayim's life and works. Read Motmaza's poem 'Unifications' here.
We were able to record Hannah's talk for you to enjoy! Watch it in full below (which will be premiering on YouTube at 12 noon BST 23 April 2021).
Thanks to Arts Council England for making this possible, and to Lily Arnold our illustrator.