photography by FABIO PALEARI

Greta Bellamacina is the Queen of Broken Magic

Written by Mari Florer


She writes poetry and directs films. She runs the publishing house The New River Press and is currently the new face of the cult British fashion brand: John Smedley.

Meet the contemporary Greta Bellamacina - the London-born woman who is trying, in her own creative way, to change the world for both women and poetry.

As a child she spent a lot of time on film sets. When she was thirteen years old, she had her first acting role in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Five years later she was discovered as a model in a lift whilst she was working as an intern at US Vogue. She has modelled for both Burberry and Stella McCartney and collaborated with Vivienne Westwood on a poetry project to help Climate Control.

This is just the surface of Greta Bellamacina’s world. Her passion for the society and literature just seems to continue to grow more and there are new interesting projects going on right now.

MB: Where do you live?
GB: I live in London in Fitzrovia right underneath the BT Tower.

MB: What’s happening in your life right now?
GB: I am currently in the pre-production process of making two new feature films which I have been writing over the past year, entitled “Hurt by Paradise” and “Nothing’s Ideal”. Both films draw on the female position in society today. I am really excited to start filming.

I am also doing a series of poetry readings to promote my new collection “Pershing Tame”.  Last year I did a book tour, performing around Europe and the U.S., reading at The Shakespeare & Company, The Groucho, The Chateau Marmot, Ace Hotel, Neue House and The Albion Beatnik bookshop and others.

MB: How would your partner or best friend describe you?
GB: Queen of broken magic.

MB: Do you like being a mother? Has it changed you in some way?
GB: I feel incredibly connected to other women. I think as an artist you always want to connect emotionally with everything you make. I have been overwhelmed by the new depth of emotion of having a child.

MB: You are running a publishing house. Is it a lot of work?
GB: Yes, The New River Press - it is truly a labour of love. Last year we published our first set of poems, I particularly love Robert Montgomery´s debut collection “Coltash” and Rosalind Jana’s collection “Branch and Vein”.

MB: Any special book or project going on?
GB: I just launched “Smear” a collection of contemporary female poetry which I edited. There doesn’t seem to be anything quite comparable in the poetry world. I didn’t feel there was a comfortable place for young women in their teens and early twenties to voice their thoughts, their politics, and their emotions through poetry. I think there really isn’t anything. I found it frustrating myself growing up and I know a lot of poets who get disheartened early on. So I wanted this collection to be open to first time poets. I did an open call on New River Press Instagram and we got hundreds of submissions, I chose the best 20 or so and added about 10 established poets that I already knew. The book is really there to discover and encourage new voices.

MB: What do you think defines a contemporary poet of today?
GB: I think like any time it´s about discussing the world you live in now. It´s about staying true to your authentic voice. Not being afraid to cause a riot.

MB: Could you mention one female contemporary poet we must read?
GB:One of my favourite poets is Alice Oswald, I especially love her collection Darts. Her writing is so closely connected to nature. She uses images of the world to reflect a group human mind.

MB: What poem you wrote are you most proud of? What is it about?
GB:I think it has to be my most recent poem. This Christmas I wrote a poem called “Dartmoor Wedding Song”, it's a meditation on the British landscape in winter.

Here it is:

“Dartmoor wedding song
Dartmoor came with a low fog
ancient gods all sleeping between
the sky and the clouds,
the same as the bed we woke up in
slopping downwards, a room made for the fallen
the last breath of a flower
hung in the direction of rain song

The air of god dreams roped in the wind
shaking the locking shadow organs
making the daytime observe its place to the sun.
the last land to bewitch
the trees and groan out the gut of broken stars
which sit silently on the side of the road still stung,
free angels, ebony bird tombs

born again to moors, forking the heartlands
washing in the mystery of love
and the ferrying images of you pushing the pram
up the hill towards me, barely a shape
grappling with this idea of distance
in the communism of Sundays
and the abandonment of paradise.”

MB: How do you think a modern future library looks like?
GB: I wrote and directed “The Safe House: A Decline of Ideas” a documentary about the decline of the British public libraries. Whilst filming I discovered that rather than replacing libraries with central libraries we need to keep them local. We need to have a curated cannon of books for all age groups. The future library is a temple of learning, a place for self-education.

The film is available to watch online with Curzon Home Cinema.

MB: Are you still working as a model?
GB: Yes, I am currently signed to VIVA MODEL MANAGEMENT in London and Paris. They represent me on their talent board.

MB: Which job as a model (or actor If you prefer) do you remember the most? Why?
GB: At the age of eighteen I got into the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. I have really special memories of performing the bride in “The Blood Wedding” by Federico Garcia Lorca. It was the first time I really felt completely at home.

MB: Are you going to Paris or London Fashion Week 2017? In case you do, do you have any favorite designer you specially like?
GB: Yes, I will be going to Paris to support the Each X Other fashion show. I did a collaboration with them last year. My boyfriend, artist/poet Robert Montgomery has collaborated on their new show, entitled- “The City is Magical Sculpture of The Group Mind”.

MB: What’s in your wardrobe? What sort of garments or labels?
GB: Turkish born designer Dilara Findikoglu - everything she makes is a piece of art. I also love The Vampire’s Wife and Shrimps.

MB: If you could change one thing in the fashion world tomorrow - what would that be?
GB: A lot of clothes on the high-street are made in sweatshops with child labour. I think this needs to urgently change.