Archive for October, 2015

17 October 2015

Mediums and Poets, 3 November at Sound I’m Particular, Oxford

On Tuesday 3 November I will finally have the chance to do something that had been on my mind for over a year: to literally fill a suitcase with records, books, CDs, photocopies, notes, audio files, to arrange all of them on a table, and to read/speak/play/be quiet through them without much of a script, letting the rhythms of my listening and reading arrange them — in other words, to present my writing-working-thinking process in a live setting.

The idea behind this is to build a sense of time into the presentation, a time that exceeds the presentation: the time of my engagement with all the materials on the table, all of which I’ve spent hours and hours with, some of which have been with me for years.

Mediums and Poets is part of Sound I’m Particular, a series curated by Patrick Farmer at the Old Fire Station in Oxford.


Mediums and Poets: Imaginative and Sensory murmurs, after Breton, Leiris, Saint Vittoria, Lispector, Hillman, Nijinski and more less familiar voices, heard, misheard, transmitted.

Mediums and Poets is a temporary arrangement of words and sounds constructed by echoes, assonance, contrast, pun and rhyme, where listening becomes a way of framing and presenting words in the present, and of making them present.

‘I have always protested against the allegedly “visionary” power of poets … They were not describing, but were holed up in the gloomy darkness of the backstage of being, listening to the indistinct outline of accomplished, or accomplishable works, without understanding them any better as they wrote, than we do when we read them for the first time.’

‘For the simple fact of having seen her wooden cross change into a jewel-studded crucifix, and having held this vision to be at once imaginative and sensory, Theresa de Avila can be seen to command this line on which both mediums and poets sit. Unfortunately, for the time being, she is merely a saint’.

André Breton, The Automatic Message (1933)




17 October 2015

Frames, Mah, Slideshow, Song / Gorse #4

A new text entitled Frames is now published on Gorse #4

It was written, among many other reasons, out of the recurring question of how to work through Italian texts when I write in English, letting the hesitations in my translation process prompt more writing.

The texts in this case are a number of book reviews written by Pasolini, into and out of which I zoomed more writing, in relation to the only song he wrote called What Are the Clouds?, a marionette play of Othello that he staged in a film, and a slideshow.

The slideshow that appears at the end of the text is entitled Mah: 

Scan 2


The whole text is structured once again as a mise-en-abyme whose beginning and end are open, between sigh and song:


Scan 1


3 October 2015

breaking into frames

A few months ago I wrote a short text which keeps returning in my mind today as the initiator of a whole new strand in my writing, and which emerged out of an exhilarating frequentation of rhythms through listening rather than any rational outlines or plans. I’m not sure I can recall how it started other than the need to respond to the rhythms of a song while avoiding long-winded digressions on what that song was about.
The text embodies my recurring preoccupation with arrangements, frames and breaking into frames; it is part of my ongoing concern with ‘writing sound’ as presence instead of ‘writing about sound’ as reference — or I should say in this case: writing rhythm, writing breath. The more I return to it the more I feel it needs to be read aloud and in a way that would make the reader breathless.

It has generated a number of similar texts, all of them constructed by cross-fading two prompts: in the first of the series it was Loose Joints’ disjointed song Pop Your Funk and a specific sequence in John Carpenter’s film Assault on Precinct 13; in another, for the sake and for the fun of sheer assonance, Breton’s Nadja and Twin Peaks’ Nadine (the one obsessed with silent curtain runners). And more.

Last summer I resisted the temptation of collecting all these experiments with rhythm in a tidy book project, as I became more and more convinced of the need for blurred unclear boundaries in my writing sound knot-riddle-tangle — hence the decision to embed them in texts I wrote in other styles, as motors of more complex structures, and to have them appear in various art, sound, literary publications over the next few months — so that the muddiness, the text-ore, the tangled matter would become prominent, instead of any clear outlines. To echo something I read in that gem of a book, Other Traditions by John Ashbery as he wrote of Thomas Lovell Beddoes: ‘The fragments don’t separate easily from the matrix, and when they do, something is found wanting: they need their rough natural setting to register fully, even as it partially obscures them.’

Frames: Sketch for a Polyphony (After the Fire) is now published in Vanguard Editions’ #1ShortStoryAnthology edited by Richard Skinner.  Here is the Loose Joints/John Carpenter page:



%d bloggers like this: