An amazing job by Dave Spittle curating a wonderful night of cinepoetry during Mahu.
A beautiful Sunday evening in Kings Cross. Thanks to Stephen Emmerson, Lucy Harvest Clarke & MJ Weller.
A concept that cannot be understood until it is realised. I had three days from exhibition opening to when I arrived back in London from time in Wales. During that time I had three events, including the launch of my book. I spent 25 hours in those three days in the Hardy Tree Gallery, writing the beginning of my novel by hand. I did not plan the content, but I did try and keep it, strictly, narrative (if strange and menacing) and clear. I began by writing on the wall, then I realised this would be a profound waste. So we got scrolls of paper to hang on the wall. Then I wrote on the scrolls. Then after 5 hours and one scroll done, I got deep stress position pains. So I took the other scrolls down and wrote on them while at a desk, pulling the paper slack up as it was needed.
The story is of a lonely, scholarly farm child called Mahu, living in the countryside of Wiltshire. The townspeople think him strange and he only goes into town to buy supplies for his ailing, if distant mother. His 12 brothers and sisters all have jobs, while he schemes of ways to keep from working so he can keep secretly reading the church histories and occult papers he has stolen in the company of his dog. He meets someone and his priorities shift. She disappears, and he begins to follow her, leaving Devizes for the first time in his life, down the polluted banks of the river Kennet.
Now I'll be writing a wall of the gallery for each week of the run, so by the end, by June 27th, all four walls will be covered and the novel will be finished. The first wall was an experience of chest pain and some agitation, but I have already forgotten that pain and the response from those who have seen it so far has been really pleasing. They say my handwriting is neat.
My first solo exhibition in London will run for three weeks in the Hardy Tree Gallery, in Kings Cross, just behind the British Library.
Mahu is an exhibition of writing - a novel written upon the gallery walls, growing as the exhibition passes. A living book in ink, veering between sense, story and abstraction. The gallery is covered in scrolls of paper, onto which I write, without preparation and entirely within the gallery. As the exhibition passes, so the walls become entirely covered. The text will never be typed, only read, ready to be unfurled.
Mahu remains a novel, in the true sense of that word, employing abstraction as a necessary part of the narrative, a narrative that will evolve as the exhibiting takes place. Ostensibly the story of a man living on a farm in Devizes with his distant mother, hagiographical manuscripts and loyal bulldog, Mahu must leave the only place he has ever known to follow the polluted river Kennet out of Devizes, tracing the clues left by the one human in town who'll tolerate him. A story of menace in small town England, Mahu can be read in cursive from the walls.
As part of the exhibition, the gallery will host 11 events. Each & every event is free to attend, with doors at 7pm, unless otherwise stated below. The gallery’s address is 119 Pancras Road. London, UK. NW1 1UN www.hardytreegallery.com
Click on the event to visit its specific event page, with details of readers and happenings:
June Saturday 6th: Mahu in Sound - 6.30pm start
A sound poetry choir led by Sharon Gal, following a workshop - a celebration of Daniela Cascella's new book F-M-R-L, with Christian Patracchini, Eleanor Vonne Brown, Georgia Rodger, Helena Hunter, Mark Peter Wright & more.
June Sunday 7th - Blart Books & Home baked Books
Curated by Stephen Emmerson & Lucy Harvest Clarke, readings from Blart Books authors, Richard Barrett, Cathy Weedon, Marcus Slease & more – Celebrating ten years of MJ Weller's Home Baked Books
June Tuesday 9th - to Tom Raworth
A host of poets pay their debt to the greatest living British poet by reading selections from his work. Readings from Andrew Spragg, Tim Atkins, John Clegg, Fabian Peake, Philip Terry, Michael Zand & many more.
June Wednesday 10th - Railtracks
Curated by Gareth Evans. A complete reading of Anne Michaels & John Berger's collaborative book, read by actors. 11,000 words over an hour. Read by Anamaria Marinca and Tony Grisoni. RSVP required for this event. Please email steven@sjfowlerpoetry to reserve one of the last few places remaining.
June Saturday 13th – Mahu Cinema
Co-curated by Dave Spittle. Screenings of over a dozen filmpoems, the emerging medium of poetry film or cinepoetry, crossing poetic principles with video art. A full program of screenings.
June Sunday 14th - Mahu Camarade
Pairs of poets collaborate to produce original works of poetry especially for this night. Featuring Sarah Dawson & Lucy Furlong, Clover Peake & Giovanna Coppola, Doug Jones & Matt Martin & more.
June Wednesday 17th - a World without Words II
Co-curated by Lotje Sodderland & Thomas Duggan. A World Without Words is an exploration of language, neuroscience & art. Featuring talks by Harry Man, Malinda McPherson & more
June Thursday 25th - Kakania anthology launch
A celebration of Habsburg Vienna in 21st century London. www.kakania.co.uk Readings from Aki Schilz, David Kelly-Mancaux Emily Berry. Jeff Hilson, Pascal O'Loughlin, Rhys Trimble. Vicky Sparrow, Alison Gibb, Eley Williams & more
June Saturday 27th - If P then Q press & Mahu in Paint
If P then Q is a pioneering British press edited by James Davies, readings from Peter Jaeger, Nathan Walker, Chrissy Williams & more. Following the readings a live collective art & poetry collective collaboration.