As December arrives I tend to look back to a year full of international adventures, performances, achievements and of course, an extensive lists of goals and dreams ahead… but 2020 is our special year to be remembered for everything but. There has been uncertainty and fear and confusion in every country of our planet and by default in every circle and project all of us were/are involved in. Rather than continuing with the lists of what-didn’ts I want to share with you some of the fantastic experiences I have had the joy of witnessing this year, the year of resilience.
THE POETIC PHONOTHEQUE
When the lockdown started here in Copenhagen, I realized one thing I would miss out on would be the live performances of music and poetry I often attend. This reminded me of something I used to do as a child, in Colombia. I frequently visited the Casa de Poesía Silva to listen to their fonoteca, a collection of cassettes of the renown poets in Latin America. This led me to realizing it was time to make a long dream of mine come true. To create my own fonoteca!
Based on the idea of the internet as a linking point, I sent out an open call to an international poetry network, for poets to send me recordings of their poems in their own voices, in various languages, no subject and no specific length, simply stating their name, the title of the poem, the country they’re from and which city they reside in. The result is a collection of around 100 poems, in various languages, from New Delhi to Stockholm, from Medellín to Vienna, from Zanzibar to Rome. The collection can be listened to here: https://reddoormagazine.com/phonotheque/listen/ and I hope to continue expanding it, so please send me your poem!
THE WAYS OF THE FIREFLY
Oh my heart, that moment when I finally finished writing this book, felt like an exorcism. After a few excruciating years of limbo where I needed to regroup my understanding of everything around me – a tragedy in 2016 which happened and made me rewrite my present- I thought it would be impossible to write again. As a matter of fact I was in so much sorrow that I felt my grief was contagious and if I wrote, I would stain the days of those who read my words. But something happened inside me. A light kept blinking on and off. titillating. Asking for ink. And so late at night and early in the morning I wrote, and when I was in most pain I wrote and when I felt nothing I wrote… until the story was told, the book was completed, and somehow I understood, I had my closure. So you must understand, this book is precious to me, because it is a book of pure survival. A novel in poetry form, and a riddle for those looking for answers.
It does not surprise me that it was published on the year when the world froze and everyone had to face uncertainty and sorrow, loss and concepts of survival unknown to them before. Nop. It felt…right. It felt like this book is simply stubborn and won’t let anyone silence it. My gratitude goes to Klaudia Ruschowsky for her translations of my work to German, and to Moloko Plus for choosing to have me in their selection of authors. Get it at: https://tinyurl.com/molokofirefly
TRANSGRESSIONS FOR THE PUBLIC SERVICE:
As if this weren’t enough, I can’t forget to mention that my first solo album of music, Transgressions for the Public Service was also released this year, as a digital album, as a cassette… and then, as a limited edition through Moloko!
THE REOPENING OF RED DOOR
On the 7th of October of 2009, the first issue of Red Door Magazine was released, as an online quarterly publication, and without much scandal or party, a very important part of my life began to take form. Since then, 25 issues have come to life, now also as printed publications (another achievement of 2020!), which also means I’ve spent over 10 years traveling the world and meeting incredible characters and documenting their stories through Red Door.
…but ever since I moved to Denmark, Red Door has taken on a new phase, a new position which excites me and scares me incredibly. It became a gallery, a physical space for local and international creators to exhibit their work, give workshops, build good memories and network with one another. The first stunt was confusing but I guess I needed more of it. I needed to continue having the possibility of offering a location to those I meet along the way who are curious about Copenhagen… but also I wanted to be able to provide our local community of artists a place to exhibit their work. I say this is scary because we all know, art is a difficult enterprise, but here I am, on the second stunt, hopefully a permanent location for the gallery, on Møllegade, the most poetic street of this city.
I say this not because I want to sound cute, but because this street houses several bookshops (all which sell and host poetry) a Literature House, a Poetry House, and I believe TWO poetry festivals, plus several studios of artists. Honey, I’m where I need to be:
THE RED TRANSMISSIONS PODCAST
I started Red Transmissions Podcast in 2019 maybe as a predecessor idea to the phonotheque, with similar intentions. I have had the fortune of traveling and visiting such fantastic locations in the world, and meeting all these characters whose work is so important, why not begin having recorded conversations to help document this? I am now on episode #25, which interviews The Space Lady, and before that had Noah Cicero as my guest, and previous to that the Tranås crew: Magnus Grehn, Colm Kiernan, Milica Denkovic, Bengt Berg… and before that TV personalities, award-winning writers, visual artists, circus performers, book festival directors, screenwriters, rockstars, worldthreaders gallore.
You can tune in to the podcast via iTunes, Spotify, most podcast providers or simply by googling Red Transmissions Podcast. I’m certain you will enjoy what they have to say.
THE PATREON ADVENTURE BEGAN!
One of the greatest challenges of independent artists is finding ways to support themselves, finding ways to tap into their audience and develop an active communication, finding ways of giving value to these interactions. After researching Patreon for many years, I have now finally decided to join this platform, and since April have been using it as my main form of delivering interesting content and important information to my growing audience there. Of course, I still find it challenging to transition my social media followers to a subscription platform, but slowly this is growing and I find it much more productive, as not only do I get to share my creative process in detail, but once I encounter my supporters, the conversations flow easier because they know in advance what I am up to and where I am going, so they can provide feedback, advice, or simply cheer on with the satisfaction of knowing they’re giving me their active support.
If you would like to be part of this adventure, visit patreon.com/madamneverstop
I look forward to sharing so much more with you!
GETTIN’ ON WITH IT
Last, but not least, my very first “official” short film was created, during the summer/fall of this year, in collaboration with composer Jevgeniy Turovskiy, which is a poem from my book “The Ways of the Firefly” released by Moloko. The film is not yet available publicly due to participating in various competitions, but it has been announced as part of the official selection of the Athens International Video Poetry Festival, and the Helios Sun Poetry Film Festival, and was screened in London and Turku recently as part of poetry festivals. What a great experience this has been and continues to be!
Many other wonderful things have happened in spite of the restrictions, such as the TRANÅS AT THE FRINGE hybrid festival in Sweden and fellow talks, including an online talk about translation in the coming days, and the reading events at DET POETISKE BUREAUS FORLAG, my Danish publishers, as well as an upcoming anthology in Finnish, a couple books I am finishing in Spanish, and a poetry book in English, plus plenty of visual art. I stay busy, I stay hopeful, I stay lucifering, (Luciferin is a generic term for the light-emitting compound found in organisms that generate bioluminescence, such as fireflies, so whether or not it is an actual term, we stay lucifering, okay?) and I hope that you reading this, wherever you are, continue to thread your path also, with patience and kindness, with love and even more patience, and with all the resilience necessary to get us through whatever may come next.
May you have a lovely, poetic winter, and may the snow cover the ashes and bring forth a brave new world.
Love and poetry,