Two new poems of mine have just been published by Rupert Loydell on the Stride Magazine site as part of his The Remix Project. The series, of which mine is no. 13, is a response to Rupert’s invitation “to submit a (preferably new and unpublished) short poem plus a remix of said poem” for publication. My contribution consists of two ‘square poems’, ‘A Quare Meal for a Square Dealer’, developed while working on material for the 9×9: a set of poems under constraint, and a remix of the two 81-word blocks into a set of lineated stanzas, ‘The Other Side of Money’.
From Wednesday 13th May at 12 noon Soundart Radio will broadcast a short weekly series of radio hours I have put together called ‘constrained radio show’. The shows feature poetry, text, voice, sound, music, and audio work in a variety of styles and genres loosely gathered under formal or thematic headings. The ideas that guided my choices for the first episode of ‘constrained radio’ were a sense of working within constraints or rules or limitations, or responding to those rules perhaps by resisting them. In the second show ideas of repetition and transposition run through the selection, with a mix of vocal, verbal, textual and sonic loopings, versions, layers, and reuse. Track listings will be posted here.
As my response to the hyperlocal commission from Arts&CultureExeter I made a set of 9 square visual poems, using the first 9 square numbers, and found images in square format as the initial constraints. These are hosted on the Arts and Culture website, and will also be uploaded my social media.
Words were drawn from texts I encountered over the weeks of ‘lockdown’, and the images selected from my stack of collage materials. These were edited by erasure, translation, and recombination. The texts respond to their sources, but transpose associations to novel social and political behaviour. The impulse to respond creatively finds itself faced with arguments in favour of action, and a counter rationale for inaction. The poems emerged despite this. Contexts include the work of Louis Zukofsky, Hannah Weiner, OuLiPo, and Bernadette Mayer.
I have reviewed two recent publications by James Davies for Stride magazine. Published by Ma Bibliothèque in their Good Reader series, The Ten Superstrata of Stockport J. Middleton, performs a series of ten variations on the opening page of Philip K. Dick’s 1965 novel, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. The sequence Forty-Four Poems and a Volta, published by Red Ceilings Press, is composed of forty-five short texts, each centered on its page, each of two parts, the second of which is in parentheses.
Both of Davies’ sequences work at the business of language, at its use in naming or making distinctions, separating same from different, the operation of the word as label, the functioning of a textual instance as example or test. Here Wittgenstein’s language games, language as function and operation, meet scanning errors and search results, language as sortable or reordered matter. Two books to read both for the (fragmentary) narratives they tell, and for the (novel) ways they deploy the stuff of writing.
I am excited to have been selected as one of 10 artists for a hyperlocal commission from Arts and Culture Exeter; I plan to work on a set of short poems / visual texts that respond to the limitations and constraints of the current lockdown period.
Echoing the restraints we are all currently having to live by, Mark Leahy will be creating a series of short poems confined to a square format, which will be shared on his social media. The poems draw on Mark’s readings, news and other text entering his local environment over these uncertain weeks.
Influences include Louis Zukofsky’s 80 Flowers, Raymond Queneau’s Exercises in Style, erasure poetry, Oulipo, Tina Darragh’s On the Corner to Off the Corner, and Bernadette Mayer’s Midwinter Day.