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 of 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.
On 25th January, I’ll be performing with the Written and Composed collective for their ‘Native Tourist’ night at the Hackney Attic. With live readings, performances and music from members of the collective, do come for collaborations, bangs and whistles inspired by the idea of finding home.
£6/4, starting at 8pm. The other events at the Attic during January look great too: do give them a look while you’re there.
I’m playing a small part in ‘126’, an audiovisual exhibition taking place as part of ‘Queer Season’ at Sutton House throughout February and March 2015. The exhibition features all 126 of Shakespeare’s Fair Youth sonnets as read by members of the LGBTQ community.
Kakania is a series of events, commissions and publications curated to address the world of Habsburg Vienna. Supported by the Austrian Cultural Forum , Pushkin Press and design agency Polimekanos, a number of artists and writers responded to certain figures who came to prominence or emerged during this time: on the 22nd January as part of this series, the Freud Museum will host an evening of poetry and performance featuring Emily Berry responding to Sigmund Freud, Esther Strauss on Anna Freud, Tom Jenks on Otto Gross, Jeff Hilson on Ludwig Wittgenstein and Phil Minton on Carl Jung.
Tickets for the reading can be bought here, £7 for 7pm. The evening also marks the launch for Kakania: an anthology of new works that sees over 40 writers and artists work brought together. I have a small piece there concerning Broncia Koller-Pinell; often overlooked, this article nods to her work amongst the salons of Vienna. My thanks to SJ Fowler for the commission and for the opportunity.
The other stories presented during the week included wonderful pieces by Matthew De Abaitua and Martin MacInnes, also illustrated by Carrie Crow. All the images are from a larger body of work by Crow, Observatorio, that uses views from pay-per-use telescopes throughout the world.
Many thanks to the editors at 3:AM for finding a place for the piece in such great company.
I’ll be reading new work as part of Lit Live!, an evening of prose and poetry put together by The Goldsmiths Writers’ Centre and Literary Kitchen. Held on Thursday December 11th, doors open at 7pm at The Peckham Pelican with readings starting at 7.30pm.
The roll-call includes poets, novelists and writers Barry Tench, Laura Kaye, Charlotte Heather, N J Hynes, James Chambers, Bex Barton, Rasp Thorne, Livia Franchini, Charlotte Barrow, Jeremy Worman, Sarah Leipciger, Alistair Roberts, William Wyld, Paul Carney, Nisha Ramayya, and Kate Potts.
Many thanks to Vanguard Poetry for their recent stop-over at Royal Holloway, University of London. From their website,
Vanguard Poetry is, at its simplest, a van full of poets, poetry, and the means to engage with and create more poetry. More than this, it’s concerned with the social and political ramifications of poetry and the written word. We provide a space where these concerns are explored. In that spirit, we’re coming to you. The van is a moveable word-hoard, designed for us to go to the audience rather than expect them to come to us.
Not only was I lucky enough to read envannishly, but also I had a chance to participate in the great poetry workshop earlier in the day hosted by poet and activist Steve Willey and a raven on a hammer. Alongside undergraduates Maisie Gibson, Anna Darnena, Taha Hussein, Rose Walker, Francesca King, Sabriena Loh Liling and Nikki Acquah, the van also provided a stage for poets Kei Miller and Sean Bonney to read their work.
It was a real pleasure to read to such a great, attentive audience who were not deterred by rambunctious tarpaulins nor sub-zero temperatures. Thanks to Alex Davies and Steve for the great experience: above are some snaps of the event, courtesy of attendants and Alex.
Another year of Interrobang, the music, literary and independent publishing festival based in London. I was working as MC for The Clove Hitch’s prose-poets, featuring Nisha Ramayya, Holly Corfield Carr, Kate Potts, Preti Taneja and Anna Kirk, and later reading with Annexe Introduces‘ authors Gary Budden, Gabriel Moreno and Charlotte Newman, and then again as part of S J Fowler‘s Camarade lineup.
Thanks to Nick Murray for organising the day, to The Clove Hitch’s writers for their great work and to Prue Chamberlain: you can see footage of our ongoing collaborative work below, with performances from the other Camaradauts available on the We Are Enemies video series.
Many thanks to the final year undergraduates at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama for their time and attention this week, with Prue Chamberlain, Nisha Ramayya, Kate Potts and I leading a day of exercises and workshops as part of the Generative Constraints collective. Hosted by Diana Damian Martin, the day concentrated upon the joists and grist shared between poetics and performance: featuring curated and created cut-ups, improvised dictionaries, écriture féminine, measured breathing and freshly Labradorean work, it was a privilege to work with the year group and be part of their term’s activities.