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Join us to hear from Claudine Toutoungi (English & Modern Languages, 1994) about her recently published collection of poems Two Tongues. Claudine will read a selection of the poems, talk about the collection and answer your questions.
Slip-ups, skirmishes and the sidelong glance characterise Claudine Toutoungi's Two Tongues, a surreal and startling second collection that takes on the dislocations and double takes of modern life and weaves from them poems of wit, grit and delicious abandon. In a landscape populated by levitating snailfish, sotto voce therapists, melancholic kittiwakes and collapsing stage sets, boundaries blur, languages merge, vision is partial and identity nothing but fluid. Misdirected medical reminders, discarded letters, crossed wires and linguistic mash-ups proliferate as the urban and natural worlds collide in an exuberant exploration of confusion - spatial, verbal and psychological. A gallery is overrun with mushrooms, a scientist takes home a fox-cub to nurse, a wild swimmer grapples with sharks and all the while these questing, querulous poems shape-shift from searing to soulful to droll to defiant, as they confess, cajole, sometimes ponder, occasionally pout and perpetually wrestle with our fractured world.
'Delightful and dramatic... Unfailingly entertaining, these weary, witty poems force us to look at the flimsiness of this set we strut.' - CLARE POLLARD
'Two Tongues is a collection of singularly energetic grace, whose rueful, restless poems are as fascinated by what others want us to be, as by what we want to be ourselves.' - W. N. HERBERT
If you would like to view the recording of this event please contact Sarah Jenkinson.
Claudine’s debut collection Smoothie (2017) and her second collection Two Tongues (2020) are published by Carcanet Press. Her poetry has appeared widely, including in Poetry, PN Review, the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Spectator, the New Statesman, Poetry London, Poetry Ireland Review, the Rialto and elsewhere. Claudine’s plays Bit Part and Slipping ran at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, and Slipping featured in New York’s Lark Play Centre’s HotINK series and was a Best Play Finalist in the 2015 Audio Drama Awards. She has written multiple other audio dramas for BBC Radio including Deliverers, This Is Your Country Now Too: Mira, seasons of Home Front, the comedy drama series The Inheritors, and several dramatizations. Her poem Rift is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPOBrUAcnGU