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Knitting drum machines for exiled tongues by Jasmina Bolfek-Radovani-Radovani (Tears in the Fence) book launch

Knitting drum machines for exiled tongues by Jasmina Bolfek-Radovani-Radovani (Tears in the Fence) book launch

We are delighted to announce that the book launch of Jasmina Bolfek-Radovani’s Knitting drum machines for exiled tongues will take place

at Morocco Bound bookshop, 1A Morocco Street, Bermondsey, London SE1

3HB, on Thursday, 23rd February, from 7.00 pm.

The event has now ended.

It is possible to buy a copy of the book as part of the entry fee and collect it at the event. Please feel free to share the event with friends.

David Caddy will introduce the event. Jasmina will be reading from the book with Bridget Knapper, and in conversation with Professor Debra Kelly. 

Simon Collings in review of the book in Tears in the Fence 77 writes:

Many of our memories are linked to words. When we move to a new country and adopt a new language our memories retain traces of the earlier tongue, our brains recalling events in a different vocabulary and with a different syntax and sound-pattern. This shift of memory-language can prompt moments of forgetting, a sense of loss.  

In her poem ‘Vol interrompu’ (interrupted flight) Jasmina Bolfek-Radovani, who is of mixed Algerian-French-Croatian heritage, writes of:

the breaking down
                of language
                            words, worlds
                            swirling in her mind


Vol interrompu’ is a poem about a childhood memory, a seabird seen one morning in Brussels from a school playground, the image inextricably linked to French sound-patterns. The words je (I) and jeux(games) echo each other when pronounced, an effect impossible to reproduce in English translation. Volé means stolen, the single/plural agreement a written though not a voiced distinction. Volé picks up sonically on vol in the title, and there is also a play in the poem on mouette (seagull) and muette (mute). The reactivation of the memory causes a momentary ‘anamnesia’, or ‘selective mutism’. The mind searches for the language, which is tied to the memory, the text ‘swirling’ across the page in an enactment of that process. Certain phrases in the poem are also echoed in Croatian. 

In addition to this sonic aspect of the work, Knitting drum machines for exiled tongues also has a strong visual dimension. Formal layout is intrinsic to our experience of Individual poems, as for example in the ‘swirling’ agglutination of words in ‘Vol interrompu’ quoted at the start of this review. The fragmenting text of the poem ‘Language loss’ is another example. Every poem in the book has a unique form, and alongside the poems there are photographs accompanied by brief fragments of text (the poet calls these ‘patterns’), and three graphic texts (called ‘tattoos’). These resemble street plans, psycho-geographic codifications of memories and places. 

David Caddy 19th February 2023

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