The evening invites participants to bump into one another and be pleasantly distracted by talks, music, a sky-trained Royal Observatory telescope and a midnight feast, all seen from Western Europe’s highest building. The option is also there to ascend to a limited number of bell tents and sleep at the partially-exposed top of The Shard for bedtime stories, boggling and breakfast. B&B&B, etc.
Independent literary magazine Structo is very pretty. I would happily frame, coo over and have every back issue tattooed upon my face etc etc if I wasn’t quite so uneasy with the spelling of ‘tattooed’. Structo: it’s a natty thing.
As well as being champions of new writing, previous issues have included interviews with Evie Wyld, the late Iain M. Banks and Stella Duffy. I’m very pleased to have a short piece in its forthcoming Issue 12. Its launch will be on 18th August at The Society Club and will feature readings from contributors if you’re in the neighbourhood; as a teaser, I know that the journal includes an interview with Margaret Atwood illustrated by the fantastic printmaker Jade They. Please do check out her work, and Structosnaffle generally.
Photos of the night below, courtesy of Euan Monaghan.
At the beginning of May I was a commissioned to work on a renga-style roundtable poem in response to the Saison Poetry Library‘s excellent exhibition ‘Poetry in collaboration’, curated by SJ Fowler and Chris McCabe. A slideshow of the display can be seen here.
The final text of the shared poem is scheduled to be published in VLAK magazine, hopefully with a group reading of the work to be staged in either July or August. My fellow writers include Matthew Gregory, Livia Franchini, Sarah Howe [BREAKING!ish: editor of new site Prac Crit] and Joanna Walsh [BREAKING!ish: freshly-minted Fiction Editor of 3:AM Magazine], over all of whose work [grammar?] I have ungently and roaringly swooned for quite a while. Which is nice.
The Enemies project is an ongoing series centred upon poetry in collaboration. Curated and hard-wrought by SJ Fowler, its most recent incarnation has been Auld Enemies, designed to put Scottish and English poets in concert.
Following the series’ countrywide tour of Scotland, I’ll be reading with Nick Murray during the London leg on July 26th at the Rich Mix Arts Centre, alongside the amassed forces of Ross Sutherland, nick-e melville, Colin Herd, Ryan Van Winkle and SJ Fowler, as well as Emily Berry & John Clegg, Tom Chivers & Roddy Lumsden, Vahni Capildeo & Jeremy Noel-Tod, Kirsty Irving & Harry Man, Tim Atkins & Jeff Hilson. Hjhgdsfjhgsdfjhgdsf².
Come along if you’re free.
Based at Blessings in Spitalfields, you can reserve your place in advance with tickets for just £4 – Pay What You Can on the door. I’ll be reading alongside mighty mighty Hannah Chutzpah, Selina Nwulu, Amy Acre, Kemi ‘Demerara’ Taiwo, Prudence Chamberlain and others.
Many thanks to the editors Gary Budden and Kit Caless for asking me to chip in on their Anti-Canon project, a ‘collection of short essays focusing on writers less well known, positioned outside of the literary mainstream or simply deserving more attention. An alternative (but by no means definitive) list of works that have influenced the writers at Influx Press, offering a different perspective to what is, and what is not, considered “important”, and hopefully giving you some new books to read into the bargain’.
My contribution gnaws upon Armand Schwerner and the Kaplans’ The Domesday Dictionary. Here we have horror, poetry; we have fiction, facts; we have da Vinci on beavers. Thank you to Giles Goodland for first putting me on the book’s trail.
With Prudence Chamberlain, I played host for POLYproject 6 at the Literary Kitchen Festival 2014. Earlier acts in the week included Adam Mars-Jones, Evie Wyld, and Zoe Pilger, with cameos from the Itinerant Poetry Library, Adam Marek, Stuart Evers and Douglas Cowie.
As part of POLYply‘s project series, we were joined by Jennie Cole, Carrie Foulkes and press free press in the guise of Karen Sandhu & Ryan Ormonde with their new Aloneness project. The second half of the night was twanged into action with a great set by Ollie Evans and work from poet and editor Joe Luna, followed by a screening of Amy Cutler’s film-poetry and a reading from her chapbook Nostalgia Forest.
As a coda to the Generative Constraints conference, an evening of poetry, papers and performances was staged on 16th June at the Centre for Creative Collaboration. The event hoped to examine ways in which political action – both in terms of direct activism and critical arts practices – is enabled by and made possible through conflict. The promotional material also made mention of ‘investigating the potentiality of conflict in relation to practice and practice-based research. Is the stand-off an affective political engagement, or a moment of sympathy, an acknowledgement that each side might rather be elsewhere?’. And when you have rhetorical questions like that, it’s very much a BUILD IT, AND THEY WILL COME scenario.
The event featured great readings from poet, artist, martial artist and vanguardist SJ Fowler in dialogue with Professor of Sociology and Social Theory Sasha Roseneil; this was followed by academic Špela Drnovšek Zorko in dialogue with performance artist Season Butler, with attendant Hungry Hippo battles and envelopements.
Thanks to the committee for organising, and for all the …delegates? performers? In particular, please do visit the dedicated Greenham Common website that Prof. Roseneil pointed us towards during her talk.
Featured as part of Play! 2014, on 2nd June I exhibited some work pertaining to my thesis amongst Royal Holloway faculty and PhD students in the University’s Practice Gallery. This movable feast-apparatus exists to support ‘the presentation of practice-based research in the UK and beyond. In providing a new, cross-disciplinary platform for practice-based research investigations, the gallery aims to generate new dialogues, collaborations and interventions between academics as well as across academia and artistic communities’.
My theory and praxis (‘THEORY AND PRAXIS’!) always seems all the better for being unseen, because I am a fraud and a coward – the opportunity to account for my doctorate by filling a small backlit, bespoke frame with bloody feathers, anatomically-correct lies and Loch Ness press-cuttings felt like only a good thing.
The gallery comprised 12 units of sculpted furniture (‘Alice’ [a social space, a bench to sit on, a stage and a series of frames], ‘A Capella’ [two shelves and two chairs, meant to invite users to listen to music and encounter objects. There are two mp3 players and a two pairs of headphones and a variety of shelf spaces] and ‘Continuum’ [four shelves meant to display objects, and one of the shelves houses a 22" screen with DVD player]).
Designed and built through a collaboration with Bartlett School of Architecture, my thanks to Nik Wakefield the curator for the opportunity, the Gallery’s designers and to my fellow space-mates Nisha Ramayya, Prue Chamberlain, Diana Damian Martin, Clare Booker, and Libby Worth & Julie Brixey-Williams‘ Step Feather Stitch.