A note on: Illumations - Thomas Bernhard at Austrian Cultural Forum

]another grand entry into this event series i'm lucky to be curating for the austrian cultural forum, this time celebrating thomas bernhard, an author who has always been important to me, seeing the world as it is, and not the plastic rendition of optimism that creates an opposite feeling in the hearts of those with their bloody eyes open. 

The lineup was really stellar, I got to work with the amazing Maja Jantar once more, and the equally inspiring Tereza Stehlikova, and discover two visiting austrian poets, Raphaela Edelbauer and Sophie-Carolin Wagner, who i had naturally researched but never seen perform live.

as ever what the artists do in these events, recreating the authors in question through such innovative means, is inspiring, and the ACF couldnt be cooler to work for http://www.theenemiesproject.com/illuminations

A note on: Poem Brut at Rich Mix III was a powerful night

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The third poem brut event I've held at Rich Mix continues the project's momentum, and in so doing, keeps restoring my faith in the concept which motivates these live happenings - that is, if we concern ourselves with the actual material of live performance, time / space / aliveness / physical presence etc..., what possibilities are there for the poem to become itself, and not some hackneyed, overtly controlled syphoning of experience into language? I had become, in a slight way, slightly overly familiar with the events I had been curating, it's why I instigated Poem Brut after years of The Enemies Project, and nights like this, communal, friendly, busy with people (nearly 100 in attendance again), led by particularly wide ranging and challenging work, keep my heart afloat that this is work that needs doing. The positivity from the audience and participants really meant a lot to me, really made me consider carefully what it is I've tried to build and what I should do in the future.

We had poets visiting from Trinidad, Berlin, Estonia, Austria, America and it was gratifying they all said they had never experienced an event like this before. All the performances can be viewed https://www.poembrut.com/richmix3

Poem Brut is an exploration of poetry and colour, handwriting, composition, abstraction, scribbling, and illustration, affirming the possibilities of the page, the pen, the pencil - in a computer age - generating over a dozen events, multiple exhibitions, workshops, conferences and publications.  3am magazine, a partner in the project, is also running open call for new works that fit within the tradition

A note on: A performance for Jerome Rothenberg

What an immense pleasure this was. To have the chance to celebrate Jerome Rothenberg, his influence on me, and on so many people, it was a beautiful night all told. 

The event was held at Birkbeck College, London, hosted by the Contemporary Poetics Research Centre (www.bbk.ac.uk/cprc) on October 17th 2016. Organised by the centre's director, Dr. Steve Willey.

For my performance I carefully selected poems taken from Rothenberg's 1974 collection Poland/1931 and 1978 collection Seneca Journal and after much deliberation, I interspersed them with my own poems that responded / related to these works as influences. In the live performance, the poems were glued to paper to form two long poems, and then illustrated. Then for the last few minutes, wonderfully, Jerome joined me in the painting.

I had the pleasure to then spend a day with Jerome and his wife Diane in London and really feel inspired and humbled by their extraordinary lifetime of travelling, writing and following a path any of us would be lucky to follow. 

A note on: Goldsmiths Lit Live & Graduate School Festival - May 13th 2016

Had the pleasure of reading at the impressively varied and extremely popular Lit Live series, thank to Livia Franchini, alongside poets entirely new to me, and discovering some interesting writers, after presenting on a panel for the Goldsmith Graduate Festival, on Found poetry, thanks to Kathryn Maris. Always amazing energy at Goldsmiths, the panel was a really generous conversation with Kathryn, whose work I admire, increasingly so with each exposure, and Cat Conway and Joe McCarney, who were both insightful. We talked quite broadly about found poetry, and I tried to situate my position more theoretically, with a wider scope. Then Lit Live itself, well over a hundred people came to see 10 readers, and I read my BBC Radio 3 commission and then set up one of my polyphonic choral poems. A beautiful way to meet people in this clearly tight knit scene, to ask them to read with me, surreptitiously, and to have the audience somehow implicated in what I was doing. It worked well, it seemed. A generous night overall, glad to have been part of it. 

A note on: Reading at London Literature Festival, Southbank Centre for Moby Dick Live

Great to read one of my favourite chapters of Moby Dick, a book I revisited and closely read just a year ago when meeting Philip Hoare, chapter 110 Queeqeg's Coffin, as part of Southbank Centre's Moby Dick Live event, where the entire novel was read out loud in ten minute chunks for four days for the London Literature Festival. http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/moby-dick-unabridged-1001129

You can read the chapter in question here: http://etc.usf.edu/lit2go/42/moby-dick/791/chapter-110-queequeg-in-his-coffin/and it is well worth doing so. I managed to cut together the audio of my reading with images from illustrations of Moby Dick, which can be seen above.

"An awe that cannot be named would steal over you as you sat by the side of this waning savage, and saw as strange things in his face, as any beheld who were bystanders when Zoroaster died. For whatever is truly wondrous and fearful in man, never yet was put into words or books. And the drawing near of Death, which alike levels all, alike impresses all with a last revelation, which only an author from the dead could adequately tell. So that- let us say it again- no dying Chaldee or Greek had higher and holier thoughts than those, whose mysterious shades you saw creeping over the face of poor Queequeg, as he quietly lay in his swaying hammock, and the rolling sea seemed gently rocking him to his final rest, and the ocean’s invisible flood-tide lifted him higher and higher towards his destined heaven." 

A note on: Performing with Prudence Chamberlain at CapLet #1

Thanks to Jonathan Mann, and the first ever edition of his new Capital Letters reading series, I had the chance to read new collaborations with Prudence Chamberlain, in the rather auspicious surroundings of St.Margaret's Chapel, outside of the Gallery Cafe, in Bethnal Green. I'm sure just the first time Prudence and I will collaborate in a live setting as well as the page

Translation Games at the Poetry Library

From the moment I came into contact with Translation Games, through the unusually considered and energetic work of Ricarda Vidal and Jenny Chamarette, I knew it was the kind of project I wanted to be involved in. The kinship it has with what Im trying to do with the Enemies project goes beyond the similar contextual concerns into the very culture of the project, it's openness, it's direction, it's appreciation of complexity. translationgames.net
ALL IS CIRCULAR, LIKE THE SUN. AND ALL BURNS US, EVENTUALLY.
I came into Translation Games at the beginning of it's second phase, as Ricarda and Jenny were expanding the scope of the program and working towards an event, which happened just a few days ago, at the Poetry Library, as part of their special edition series. The process involved 3 artists translating a selection of concrete poems from Antonio Claudio Carvalho's amazing POW series, into their own mediums. They had just a week to do so, and the results were unveiled at the event, with a general presentation of the project and its aims, as I sat in the dark, at the back of audience, live translating the translations and the general goings on.
THE NEEDLE THAT BOWS THE MUSCLES BEFORE IT PIERCES.
There was a Q&A after the works were presented too, where I got to share the stage with Ricarda, and with two of the artists involved, the film maker Anna Cady and the artist Sam Treadaway. Both their work really was a joy to witness, and being so familiar with the POW series, I felt I had an inside track to the roots of their process. Anna's ethereal filmwork highlighted the potential of realising certain paradoxes about death and expiry which cannot be attained in formal language, and Sam's transforming of Simon Barraclough's sun poetry into scent was breathtaking. Sam handed tiny discs to the audience, which were miniaturised renditions of the poem and were infused with the scent of leather, oranges, cedarwood...it was remarkable. You can, and should, read more about it on the translation games website.
7 MINUTES OF LENGTH
IS LOOPED
CUT
LIKE FILM
So much came out of the discussion and the work, but perhaps pivotally for me, I was really forced to consider the lines between translating and collaborating, and how intention defines the difference between these ambiguous concepts when they are deployed as I deploy them, which is, hopefully, a test to traditional boundaries. The live writing was a pleasure, because the event was a pleasure, and I tried to inculcate a meta-dialogue (humorous, I hope) alongside actual expressionistic poetic response. The words, as I was spilling them out, appeared on a screen so the audience could read as the event unfolded. The entire live writing text has been published online and if you liked the excerpts here, you can read it allll http://translationgames.net/?page_id=295