A note on: The Essex Book Festival - Sunday March 20th 2016

About as nice a way as one can spend a Sunday. I had the pleasure, thanks to the generosity of Philip Terry, Ros Green, Jo Nancarrow, those behind the Essex Book Festival and University of Essex, to curate a Camarade event for the festival. I had the chance to bring poets from London and Manchester to Colchester, but also draw on lots of local talent. In the end, the works were held in an amazing venue, a huge auditorium in the Firstsite Gallery, and the performances were really distinct and interesting, all very complimentary, a range of voices and styles. 

It was especially satisfying to see so many poets discover new poets, and to reconnect to those who live in Essex whose work I admire so much like Townley and Bradby, who I had the pleasure to work with in a performance in 2015, who did a brilliant performance with their family, and Isabella Martin, Vicki Weitz, Justin Hopper, Lucy Greeves and many others. All the performances are available here www.theenemiesproject.com/essex

Kakania at the Freud Museum - January 22nd 2015

A more beautiful, more fitting setting could not be found for Kakania than the house of Sigmund Freud during his last days in London, now a museum. The Freud Museum showed us the same generosity so many have around the Kakania project and we were allowed to commission five new works, each by a contemporary artist, each taking place in a different room of the house. It's very rare to be able to present works in such a rarified space, one curated so carefully, but also one that maintains a fluency that would us to walk nearly 60 people from room to room on a tour of performances.


We began with Emily Berry reading beautiful new poems appropriated from Sigmund Freud's beautiful correspondence before moving onto Tom Jenks new conceptual work on Otto Gross, read in the exhibition room, Eros around him. We then moved into Anna Freud's study, where the remarkable performance artist Esther Strauss was asleep on Anna's original couch. Esther had stayed up for a whole day to make herself tired enough to sleep, to dream in Anna's room. It was a mesmerising and unforgettable performance. We then moved downstairs where Dylan Nyoukis resurrected Raoul Hausmann in the dining room before Jeff Hilson finished the event, reading his Wittgenstein poems in the landing. 

A major highlight for me, as the first Kakania had been, as a curator. To be able to work with such a calibre of artists, thanks to the Austrian Cultural Forum's generosity, and to launch our two new original Kakania publications too, it was a satisfying feeling. I've long wanted to perform or organise in the Freud Museum also in fact it was a motivation for me to develop Kakania to work in that space, having had a long relationship with Freud's text. In the light of these artists works, the museum became something new to me, and Im sure the audience too felt this was a special evening.

Thanks to Lili Spain for all her support. Pictures below by Wanda O'Connor.