Following an overlong incubation period, this month I was pleased to finally launch a new online prose-poetry journal Jungftak.
It features the work of writers Annabel Banks, Prue Chamberlain, Holly Corfield Carr, Sarah Day, Anna Kirk, Sophie Mayer, Elodie Olson-Coons, Nisha Ramayya, Declan Ryan, Robert Selby, alexander speaker, Preti Taneja and JR Thorp, as well as illustrator Catherine Williams. Thanks to all of their patience and hard work, and to Nick at Annexe Press for hosting a reading of some of the entries during Interrobang festival last year.
Submissions are now open, so please do get in contact and spread the work @jungftak
I’m very pleased to have been shortlisted for this year’s Short Story Prize, run annually by The White Review.
My story ‘Smote, or When I Find I Cannot Kiss You in Front of a Print by Bridget Riley’ is available to read online on the journal’s site alongside the other wonderful shortlisted entries by David Isaacs (also shortlisted in 2014!), Owen Booth, Paul McQuade, Luke Melia, Nick Mulgrew, Chris Newlove Horton and Joanna Quinn. I am thrilled to pop up among such great work.
On 14th May I’ll be joining some readers of and contributors to Belleville Park Pages for the journal’s Spring live event. Set up in Paris 2013, the brilliant Pages have published 270 writers from 26 different countries and bring out a new edition every two weeks: lovely objects they are too.
Freshly-minted and freshly-funded, Argument is a collaborative poetry anthology edited by undergraduate members of Royal Holloway’s English department, established with a view to publishing ‘a collection of works that represents the innovative and dynamic poetry that is being continually created by the staff, students and alumni’ of the university. Its full manifesto can be seen at its dedicated tumblr here.
I’ll be attending the anthology’s launch night on campus’ Crosslands venue; copies of the book, pubished by Oxunibooks, will be on sale for a charitable donation with all proceeds going to REWRITE, an organisation set up to combat prejudice and injustice by bringing young people from different backgrounds together through the power of drama and creative writing. Do come along and support this new venture, and hear some new great voices working in poetry and prose.
Created in response to the Interesting Conference’s cancellation, on 9th May 2015 the Boring Conference will mark its fifth anniversary with organiser James Ward once again ‘[celebrating] the mundane, the ordinary, the obvious and the overlooked – subjects often considered trivial and pointless, but when examined more closely reveal themselves to be deeply fascinating’.
Past audience members have been treated to tantalisingly damp-squibbish topics - yellow lines on the road, the Comic Sans font and Eric Clapton’s bookshelf just some examples – from a roster of speakers including Jon Ronson, Adam Curtis, Helen Zaltzman and John Grindrod.
I’ll be appearing briefly to speak about fictitious entries in dictionaries; with Early Bird tickets already snapped up, £20 tickets will be available for the full day here on the 27th March.
I popped up on the excellent fortnightly podcast The Allusionist this week to muckrake dictionaries and spread dissent. Many thanks to producer and presenter Helen Zaltzman for providing an opportunity to chat about my PhD research (and for her decision that Fleetwood Mac and poodles should feature in the segment). You can hear my quavering, surreptitious tones by clicking the image below:
The Allusionist, available on iTunes and elsewhere as part of Radiotopia from PRX, is a great resource for all things language and etymology-related with previous episodes featuring the history of the bra, the Finnish radio station that broadcasts bulletins in Latin and the various hierarchies of swearing: recommended listening.
Alongside poets and practioners Jen Calleja, Rebecca Perry, Jörg Piringer, Max Höfler, Ann Cotten, Esther Strauss, James Wilkes and Robert Herbert McClean, I’ll be reading work with Feinde as part of SJ Fowler‘s ongoing Enemies project.
It’ll all be taking place on May 12th 2015 in the Austrian Cultural Forum by Hyde Park. Do come along for the evening to hear the visiting Austrian poets before they head up to Edinbugh for the UNESCO European Literature Night.
Just a quick mention that the film ‘126’, mentioned here, was recently featured as part of the V&A’s most recent Friday Late series ‘Queer and Now’. As per the Victorian and Albert museum’s dedicated Lates page, ‘from the fringes of the underground to the drag divas taking over the mainstream, this is a world where pretty much anything can be “queered”. Join us as we turn a queer eye on the Museum; challenging traditional gender roles and exploring the diverse worlds of alternative history, art, design, performance and politics.’
A pleasure to pop up, however virtually and fleetingly, during this programme of music, performance, debate and on-site midst-the-statues haircuts in one of my favourite museums: thanks to curator Sean Curran for organising. Photos of the event, featured above, all taken from the Friday Lates’ dedicated Flickr stream.
Having attended and enjoyed the 2013 conference, it was a privilege to return and present a paper for this year’s international Lesbian Lives: ‘Lesbian Feminism/s Now’ hosted by University of Brighton’s LGBT and Queer Life Research Hub in conjunction with Women’s Studies Centre, University College Dublin. I was part of a panel titled “‘Didn’t Sappho say her guts clutched up like this?’ – Considering Lesbian Poetry as Feminist Activism” alongside practice-based researchers and academics Prudence Chamberlain and Isabel Waidner, chaired by Dr. Rachel O’Connell; the title of my presentation was ‘cf. CYPRINE (n.): Queer dictionaries as tender activism in Wittig and Zeig’s Lesbian Peoples: Material For A Dictionary (1979)’, and played about with utopian lexicons, French dandelion clocks and kiss-ins. Thanks to the fascinating and kaleidoscopic work of my fellow panel members, and a vocal, engaged audience, we were also able to touch on affective queer feminisms, subversive dictionaries, leaky vessels versus truck-stops, and radical camp poetics as part of the discussion.
Many thanks to the organizers of the conference for a wide-ranging and packed couple of days, with lectures, talks, film screenings, book and local outreach stalls, workshops and performances: the full book of abstracts and timetables can be found here. Personal highlights included a presentation about the role of British lesbians in the history of the Rorschach test from Katherine Hubbard, Val Brown on the figure of tennis-fencer Toupie Lowther and her part in the ‘Hackett-Lowther Unit’ of WW1 ambulance drivers, and the ever-brilliant Prof. Sara Ahmed’s speech, which served as an introduction to her forthcoming book Living a Feminist Life and was exactly the kind of rousing, lyrical, cogent, blistering tonic that one would ever want from a keynote. Arms and wilfulness and walls.
I’ll be appearing with the Generative Constraints collective as part of Vault Festival 2015, a six-week exhibition of performance, music, workshops and panels beneath the railway arches near Waterloo.
Our show’s blurb doesn’t give much away: Nik Wakefield, Prue Chamberlain, Kate Potts, Nisha Ramayya, Diana Damian Martin and I will be offering a brash, immersive and finickity exploration of what the term ‘Anti-Body’ means in terms of practice-based research. From the site:
Anti-Body is a performance at the meeting point between poetic practice and live art. Six writers and artists work together and against each other through a series of predetermined processes. We ask questions about our individual and shared positions, disagreement and exchange, and commitment and difference, through investigations of material, social, and critical/creative bodies. The performance involves queer troublemaking, disembodied writing, voice drawing, Tantric rituals, time-specificity, and mountweazels.