Gelynion: a publication by Hazard Press

Thanks to the remarkable skill and generosity of Jeremy Dixon, Gelynion was accompanied by a beautiful, handmade publication. A six way collaborative poem, where each of the core touring six poets - Nia Davies, Zoë Skoulding, Eurig Salisbury, Joe Dunthorne, SJ Fowler & Rhys Trimble - each wrote a line, and then, with names removed, each other poet added a line, wherever they wished on the page until six poems of six lines had been written. Each poem a truly collaborative work.

Jeremy, who makes such wonderful literary objects at then handcrafted just 60 copies for a limited edtion run. He had them waiting for us at the very first gig in Newport and they proved to be a great success throughout the tour. It's hard to convey their delicate and unique character, small and elaborately finished. A huge thanks to Jeremy, do visit Hazard Press and peruse their wares.

The poems within were read twice on the tour, including being the very last reading at the last Welsh gig, at the Hay Festival, where each of us six stood to read a poem each.

Gelynion: Enemies Cymru - Blog #2: Cardiff

Not a huge trek from Newport to Cardiff but undoubtedly different vibes, as we wished for, precisely why we tour the Gelynion concept around. Cardiff’s size, it’s status as capital in no way inculcated a ‘London’ effect, where reserve was the norm. While the nature of the event we put on, bigger, with a wider range to the backgrounds and communities of the poets, meant that at first the proceedings were slightly less familiar than Newport, by then, as had happened in some of the best nights the Enemies project has seen, many people were taking me aside to tell me the evening had been a landmark happening – bringing together those, in good spirits, with generosity, who might not have come together otherwise ever.

We had some free time in the afternoon to spend time in Cardiff city centre, but being a place I had visited quite a few times my main focus was my collaboration with Zoe Skoulding. Zoe is a towering figure, someone I’ve long admired, been influenced by and whose work spans the range that I myself aspire to master, being as respected on the page as she is in the sound poetry community. She is also a trailblazing editor, teacher and someone I’ve genuinely sought the opportunity to collaborate with in the past. We spent a memorable afternoon in a circus in Paris once, milling before I did a screaming sound performance to an audience of 4, and since then, ideas have been percolating. We exchanged concepts really, structures, how we might overlap new poetry, performance and the use of her technological skills. The concept of water synchronised with discussions we’d been having about poetry, it’s closures and fissures, and its possibilities, and so it became that Zoe opened up on water while I went Bubble. My new poems, written in the Travelodge that afternoon, sat in between Zoe’s own soundscape and the live recorded sound of my poems being wrung out into water. Adding in song, she built a beautiful, ethereal sound performance as I blew bubbles and eventually roped in others into a bubble choir. It was enjoyable indeed.

The marked quality of the collaborations on the night was really exceptional. There was a clear sense every pair had taken the commission to work together as a serious enterprise, and while the great majority of the work was text based, and read, the range within was remarkable. The pace of the event, the intent behind the works, was intensive, and held the attention for every minute. Steven Hitchins and Camilla Nelson are both poets I’ve read and followed, being hugely influenced by Allen Fisher myself, whom Steven has written about extensively, and seeing Camilla once read a tree at the Writers Forum, and their overlapping and intertwined exchange was a perfect beginning. Damian Walford Davies and Kevin Mills created a beautiful exchange that began with the auspices of something quite reflective, even formal, about bees, and then became a really powerful work on the impossibility of silence and the possibilities of perceiving sound. Wanda O’Connor matched the near legendary Peter Finch beat for beat in a rousing collaboration, dense and innovative, on atrocity. Joe Dunthorne & Nia Davies brought the Swansea love in a typically deft and witty piece, and the evening closed with Rhys Trimble and Eurig Salisbury offering the audience a taste of the great Cynghanedd tradition, in call and response. Their work, along with Llyr Gwyn Lewis and clare e. potter really illuminated the Welsh language and it’s vital presence in these events. So gratifying it is to not only see poets of different styles, communities, ages and nations together, but languages too. 

Clearly the momentum of Newport had been rolled into Cardiff and those many in attendance, bearing down on a hundred, stayed long after the poetry had ended, many intending to follow the tour on to it’s different stops. Wales is proving a fertile and hospitable ground for our work. Next to Swansea.

Upcoming events / exhibitions / publications

Some upcoming events, publications, exhibitions, including the launch of my new poetry collection with Test Centre (June 3rd) and a performance at Tate Modern (July 18th), plus a few things that’ve happened in 2015.

May 2nd – Celebrating Jackson MacLow’s Light poems, reading at the Wellcome collection. 

May 8th – Feinde: Austrian Enemies, collaborating with Jorg Piringer at the Rich Mix.

May 13th - reading at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, for an event discussing Henri Gaudier-Brzeska’s relief The Wrestlers, drawing on my work for the Tate.

May 14th - for UNESCO’s European Literature Night Edinburgh, I’ll be launching my collaborative poetry collection,Oberwildling: on the life of Oskar Kokoschka, with Colin Herd, at the Sutton Gallery.

May 15th –a reading at Little Sparta, the garden of Ian Hamilton Finlay.

May 17th – a reading at Five Years Gallery, for the ‘How to write’ project 

May 18th – a reading at Cog Arts, Dalston

May 19th to 27th I’ll be reading in Newport, Cardiff, Swansea, Bangor & Aberystwyth in Wales, as part of the Enemies project: Gelynion, collaborating with Joe Dunthorne, Nia Davies, Zoe Skoulding & co 

May 29th – Reading at the Hay-on-Wye festival to close Gelynion in Wales.

June 3rd - I’ll be launching my new poetry collection {Enthusiasm} published by Test centre on June 3rd in London. 

June 5th – Gelynion in London, at the Rich Mix Arts Centre.

June 6th – Stoke Newington Literature Festival, reading with Iain Sinclair & Tom Chivers for Test Centre.

June 6th - My solo exhibition, Mahu, opens on June 6th at the Hardy Tree Gallery in Kings X. 10 events follow in the 3 week run.

June 11th - a reading at the Garden Museum, London, for my residency with J&L Gibbons Landscape Architects

June 21st – Reading at the Berlin Poesiefestival.

July 18th – a performance & discussion at the Tate Modern 

A recent interview on Sabotage Reviews, by Will Barrett, a comprehensive discussion of the purpose behind my work.

In February I attended the Salzburg Global Seminar for a program called the Neuroscience of Art: what are the sources of Creativity & Innovation? A report

I attended the International Literature Showcase in Norwich, produced by the Writer’s Centre and the British Council, speaking on a panel about technology & literature. My writeup here.

Since January I’ve been in part-time residence at the Hubbub at the Wellcome Collection, which is exploring the nature of rest through neuroscience, social science & aesthetics. 

I performed with Zuzana Husarova for the Parisian sound poetry festival Festina Lente in February.

I attended the Lettretage conference in Berlin, in January, giving a presentation which describes the history and purpose of the Enemies project.

I now have a page on the Poetry Archive

I launched my collaborative book 1000 proverbs with Tom Jenks, at a Liverpool Camarade event, published by Knives, forks & spoons press.

For Wrogowie: Polish Enemies, I performed with Milosz Biedrzycki, celebrating the work of Tomaz Salamun

For Enemigos: Mexican Enemies, I collaborated with Amanda de la Garza, via video.

I read at the Whitechapel Gallery with Chris McCabe, for Stateland, curated by Gareth Evans.

Fourfold, a press in Glasgow, published my collaboration with Ross Sutherland, nick-e Melville, Ryan Van Winkle & Colin Herd: the Auld Fold.

The new Penned in the Margins 2015 programme features details on my first play, a scratch of which is scheduled for October.