OPEN WINDOWS, OPEN DOORS: Poems, Pictures & Reflections

The first New Departures publication since 2007, Open Windows, Open Doors by Vanessa Vie, will be launched early in 2020, sixty years since Michael Horovitz first launched the acclaimed experimental imprint, and its performance-based sibling, Live New Departures. 

Open Windows, Open Doors is Vanessa Vie’s debut volume of diverse poetic writings, accompanied by a substantial selection of her varied visual art inventions created between 1997 and 2019. Its release early next year extends the quintessential commitment of the New Departures imprint to wonderment, internationalism, and multi-medic cross-pollenation in the arts. 

This book’s title and contents vindicate and respond to the challenge of Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s ‘Populist Manifesto’: “Poets, come out of your closets,/Open your windows, open your doors,/ You have been holed-up too long/in your closet worlds.” 

Almost entirely self-taught, as both multi-media artist and poet- writer, as well as singer-songwriter-musician, Vanessa grew up on the coast of Northern Spain, and came to Britain at the end of the last millennium. She decided to stay in Albion for good in 2000, 

largely inspired by absorbing herself in the visionary art and poetry of William Blake. 

It soon came naturally to her to converse, and then to write in English, with, as publisher Michael Horovitz puts it: “a relish for the stimulus of adapting to a second language, whilst still retaining the passionate spirits of her inborn duende.” 

According to William Burroughs: “The techniques of much contemporary writing are 50 years behind those of musicians and painters”. “Vanessa Vie’s innovations,” says Horovitz, “invariably bring the interplay of her poetry with highly original musics and visual art to the fore. Her prolific compositions and performances, solo or in conjunction with others, can amount to a nimbly synthesised dance on two, or sometimes three artistic trapezes at once.” 

Vanessa Vie has presented Happenings inspired by the poetries of Rumi and Dylan Thomas, as well as devising transformative musical settings for those of William Blake, Emily Dickinson, Federico Garcia Lorca and Horovitz himself. 

“Many people have asked me throughout the years why I read and write in English,” says Vanessa: “Samuel Beckett began writing in French because he wanted to get away from his mother tongue. Living, reading and speaking in French had bestowed him with a new personality. The English language has bestowed me with a new personality and freed me from my mother tongue. I find its nuances of sound and structure to be a restorative victual for my intellect, imagination and memory.” 

Open Windows, Open Doors (£14.99, 128 pages, ISBN: 978-0-9026892-7-5) will be launched in late January 2020. For more information, details of launch events, a review copy, use of images, or to arrange an interview with Vanessa, please contact New Departures on 020 7229 7850, or via michaelhorovitz@me.com 

BIO NOTES:

New Departures Publications were first launched exactly six decades ago as miscellanies, in editor-torchbearer Michael Horovitz’s last year at Oxford. Early anthologies featured works by the innovative likes of Samuel Beckett, William Burroughs, John Cage, Stevie Smith, Langston Hughes, Kurt Schwitters, Alan Davie, Kathleen Raine, Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, to be dubbed by the Times Literary Supplement “the most avant-garde magazine in Great Britain”. Horovitz has taken the magazine’s spirit across continents over the last 60 years with Live New Departures, Jazz Poetry SuperJams and the Poetry Olympics festivals. 

Vanessa Vie (née Maria Vanessa Fernández Álvarez) was born 11th May 1973 in Avilés, Asturias. In 1992 she abandoned a career in medicine in favour of music, visual art and literature. She has since fronted two rock bands and worked solo and in collaboration with other musicians and artists. Her written work has appeared in anthologies and magazines in the UK and USA. In 2012 she met and befriended Michael Horovitz. An album of their collaborations, Lyrical Soulmates Unanimous, is in the pipeline. She has presented exhibitions of her artworks in both Spain and England, and one of her drawings was chosen for a T-shirt by the Hard Rock Café Barcelona in 1999. Open Windows, Open Doors is her first collection. 

Vanessa Vie (photograph by Lubka Gangarova) 

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