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.
I am delighted to have been long-listed for KCL’s Creative Responses to Modernism with a wee glib closet drama ‘Embark’, all about the different dogs that crop up in salon literature.
Entries were invited from postgraduate students based at the Universities of London and Sussex, with submissions encouraged to ‘continue or challenge the modernist project’ through writing, images, short films, digital artefacts, performances or musical compositions.
The list also features Sarah Chadfield, Mary Horgan, Ivan Juritz [edit: WINNER!! – text of his brilliant ‘A Textual Source for Mallarmé’s Coup de Dés’ available with shortlisted entries here], Kate McEnery, Grace Yeong and a team submission from Simon Vickery, Tom Peters and Edward Szekely.
Final judges for the prize include Lisa Appignanesi, Michael Berkeley, AS Byatt, Alison Duthie, Juliet Gardiner, Jeremy Harding, Michael Holroyd, Stephen Romer and Fiona Shaw. My thanks to the Centre for Modern Literature and Culture for the opportunity, and I look forward to reading and hearing the other submissions.
Now in its second year, The White Review Prize was ‘founded to reward ambitious, imaginative and innovative approaches to creative writing’. I am delighted to have made the shortlist with my piece ‘Spins’ alongside writers whose work I have long admired: please follow the links to read the brilliant ‘MUEUM’ by SJ Fowler, ‘Lives of the Saints’ by Luke Neima, ‘Submission for the Journal of Improbable Interventions’ by Brenda Parker, ‘by Accident’ by David Isaacs, ‘Biophile’ by Ruby Cowling [edit: WINNER!], ‘Obsolescence’ by Joseph Mackertich and ‘Chiral’ by Paul Currion.
My piece can be read here.
Author David Gaffney and I were invited to read for Haringey Literature Live, a monthly series MC’d by Ambit‘s Kate Pemberton. Focussing upon short fiction, the evening was held at the Chocolate Factory, an art, design, music and media studio-complex in Wood Green’s Cultural Quarter.
Thanks to Kate and to the warm audience. You can buy copies of David’s Sawn-Off Tales through Salt’s online store.
I owe C4CC a lot, both acoustically and for hosting increasingly inventive ways by which wine is dropped somewhere between my trouser-ends and white tiling. ALSO! on the 29th March, the former station building staged a number of readings and performances for Runnymede International Literary Festival 2014. The day featured students from the MA in Poetic Practice at RHUL including Carrie Foulkes, Sophia Fratianne, Christian Groves, Kaori Maeda, and Heather Remington. Audiences were treated to work by Rod Mengham, Ben Hickman and Holly Pester. Please read the word of Frances Kruk; you’ll thank me. Please look out for the work of Aimee Le; you’ll see why. Please read the work of Marcus Slease, Robert Sheppard, Rob Holloway and Peter Hughes.
At the end of useful hours, there were readings by PhD students Robert Selby, Aviva Dautch, Kate Potts, Karen McCarthy-Woolf, Nisha Ramayya, Dominic McLoughlin, Ishita Mandrekar, Declan Ryan and me. Many thanks to Frances Kruk, Robert Hampson and Declan for organising the day.