27 May 2016

Beginning to Speak

On 7 June at Spike Island, Bristol, I will join artist in residence Tamarin Norwood to talk of beginnings, in relation to our respective work and current research.

Working from a paragraph by Gabriel Josipovici and a paragraph by Clarice Lispector, that we exchanged a few months ago, we will present a number of reflections on beginnings, necessity, remoteness, friction, blindness.

‘I hadn’t turned the page.’
(Gabriel Josipovici, Everything Passes)

‘And it is no use to try to take a shortcut and want to start, already knowing that the voice says little.’
(Clarice Lispector, The Passion According to G.H.)

This event is part of Tamarin Norwood’s POINT TIME LINEhttp://www.spikeisland.org.uk/events/talks/talk-beginning-to-speak/


23 April 2016

H.G. / Listening and Its Not

Listening and Its Not is a new anthology published by Compost and Height and SARU, collecting a number of responses to a score by Patrick Farmer that invites people to travel 10 miles north of their home and to write about their experience of listening ‘without pointing directly to it, or at it’.

My text is entitled H.G., and I obviously never left the house:



20 March 2016

Nothing, the voice said.

In response to Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s Lord Chandos Letter (1902), in which he voiced a crisis of language, I will read an excerpt from my book in progress, in which I write a crisis of voice:

Nothing, the voice said. Nothing the voice said.

Kakania, curated by SJ Fowler
31 March, Austrian Cultural Forum, London

16 February 2016

‘Perhaps my whisper…’ – workshop in Edinburgh, 20 February

‘Perhaps my whisper was born before my lips’
A listening, reading, writing workshop for the What We Heard series at EMBASSY Gallery, Edinburgh
Saturday 20 February, the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop

‘Perhaps my whisper was born before my lips’ is a sentence I borrowed from Marlene van Niekerk’s The Swan Whisperer (2015): a tale of transmission, disappearance and utterance, that places writing at the edge of language, trafficking with the ephemeral and the unreliable, and in close proximity with listening and with reading aloud, challenging the primacy of the written text through a story of interference, rhythms and non-origin.
‘Perhaps my whisper was born before my lips’: I take this sentence as a prompt for this workshop, in which we will consider the triggers, connections and networks that allow the messy, changing archive of sunken aural memories to resurface. What is the life of a sound beyond its actual sounding, of a word before or after it is uttered, beyond or after or even before and without our experience of it? What radiates from sounds and remains, or excites residues from the past? Do we need to footnote aural memories? Or those rhythms or broken verses that we know by heart and resurface intermittently?
As a writer who has chosen to write in a language that is not her mother tongue, I am interested in a form of writing-as-sounding that is not polished—that prompts to linger, stop, interrupt, and question what is not there, what is unheard, inaudible. Writing as it rummages the untidy archives of the past and its residues, but always works for the moment, using memory as a fictive apparatus.

‘Nothing is over. Everything is over. We have barely begun. We are in the midst of the midst.’ Antena, A Manifesto for Discomfortable Writing (2013)

In this workshop we will listen, read and write through residues beyond note, memory without recording devices. And we will set up possibilities for reading out loud, together, within miscomprehension and intermission, where misunderstanding becomes mise-en-abyme.


31 January 2016

To be stranger in a language. ‘The Swan Whisperer’ by Marlene van Niekerk

This is a tale of transmission, disappearance, and utterance, of writing as it hovers at the edge of language, trafficking with the ephemeral and the unreliable; challenging the primacy of the written text through a compelling reflection on flow and interference, rhythms and non-origin. A tale of listening as the rebeginning of writing; of people missing but resounding through words whose meaning is lost (or maybe it was never there completely): it has to be made anew every time. A story of speech emerged from and given back to birds, wind and water, a story of speech into landscape. A tale of writing as divining and impure continuity.

My review of Marlene van Niekerk’s beguiling text The Swan Whisperer (The Cahiers Series, 2015) is now published on Music & Literature.

I have a lot more to think and write around / from / for van Niekerk’s text. Mostly about the density and pacing of the prose. This will happen in my next book.

23 January 2016


Here is where my next book is moving through:














26 November 2015

The Secret Euphoria of Reading

‘The blurbs state their presence as echo chambers in which the absent books resound with murmurs, with questions such as: what builds a library? What connects disparate works and words? What do books transmit onto our selves? And further on, detours into what is commonly deemed irrelevant, marginal, minor — until I’m no longer sure who generates what, what is written before and what after, what is read into writing and written out of reading, and notions of origin are buried beneath layers of rewritings.’

For a long time I’d thought of writing something around a book (in Italian, no English translation) that collects Roberto Calasso’s book blurbs for the legendary Italian publishing house Adelphi, echoing in turn what those blurbs and those books had meant to me years ago, before I even knew I’d be a writer.

‘Woven across the fabric of Calasso’s blurbs is a thread of marginal figures, writers in spite of themselves. These people wrote yet would not call themselves writers. They were recluse, enclosed, outsiders locked in, disrupting any notions of a unified and coherent writing subject.’

As part of my ongoing work on frames, margins, edges, The Secret Euphoria of Reading is now published on 3:AM Magazine, thanks to Tristan Foster’s support and accurate editorial input. You can read the piece here.

‘Adelphi’s main series ‘Biblioteca’ began with Alfred Kubin’s The Other Side. Calasso’s collection of blurbs begins with Samuel Butler’s Erewhon: a scrambled nowhere, a scrambled other side, a book first published anonymously, the perfect start for this collection of texts written around the eventful and sensuous nowhere of reading.’

The Secret Euphoria of Reading: on Roberto Calasso’s Cento lettere a uno sconosciuto

25 November 2015

Trapdoors: more than an interview

When I met Ian Maleney for an interview last summer, and mentioned how in writing En abime I ended up organising a system of trapdoors, I could not anticipate that the interview he’d have published could become a set of trapdoors in itself, opening into words, poetry, images and sounds.

Ian read through and listened to my two books, En abime and F.M.R.L., mixed in my voice and other voices, and arranged a non-linear structure that mirrors the rhapsodic way our conversation took shape in July as we discussed periphery, voice, dialect, writing sound, poetry and more. My fractured, at times unfinished sentences appear as they were during the interview: they were not polished or completed into anything else than the way they were uttered.

You can read and hear the interview on Fallow Media .

22 November 2015

Rhythms and Song / Reductive book launch at Hundred Years Gallery


Rhythms and Song is a new text published in the Reductive Four book . It’s in five parts: 1 and 5 are recordings of inner voices as well as prompts/scores for reading, 2, 3 and 4 were born out of very specific moments and materials: remembering a statue of Martyr Saint Vittoria in Rome during a gig (bones and wax), counting/listing some books of mine that got burned in a fire earlier this year (paper and fire), mixing the voices of Twin Peaks’ Nadine and Breton’s Nadja (silence and voice).

I will read from the texts during a performance in collaboration with Ryoko Akama on Friday 27th November at Hundred Years Gallery in London , as part of the Reductive Four book launch.

Rhythms and Song

1. That listening feeling.

2. The murmurs of Saint Vittoria, martyr.

3. The silences of Nadine and Nadja.

4. After the fire. A litany of ashes.

5. Lines, dots, blank. Recalling a visit to the Agnes Martin exhibition at Tate Modern, 30 June 2015.


15 November 2015

Inner Voices: Transmission, Translation, Interference

To hear, read, write, voice, perform inner voices as they’re transmitted, translated, interfered with.


To consider thinking as material, mind as receptacle and mediator of voices and sounds.


To merge ideas into identities, thinking-listening-into-writing, the tangles of intellect, body, intuition. Is writing only ever inscription, or is it not also refraction, reflection, erasure, echo, transmission, arrangement?


There’s writing in silence and writing in non-writing. The Italian essayist, journalist, novelist Pier Vittorio Tondelli wondered in 1987, in his series of Fragments of the Inactive Author about these gaps, about the moments of pause for a writer, those moments when he/she looks back at his/her words and asks: who wrote them? Who spoke to me, through me? What did I hear?


To think of writing as listening to a multiplicity of inner voices even during apparently inactive or silent times; of the circularity and short circuits of writing thinking translating listening reading. These circuits demand attention as much as abandon, activity as much as inactivity, undoing and obsession as much as doing and structure.


To listen to, play with, perform, structure or short-circuit the inner voices that speak or sound in the mind when reading and writing.


It is never only writing—it’s a transmission that channels and merges and is interfered with, and works through residues of before, and moves them, and moves.

I am prompted by Clarice Lispector who sought to write the invisible in the mud.

Curious about the intermissions of translation as listening.

Prompted by Henri Michaux as he wrote sparrow music, as he wrote silence stoned by thoughts, and longed to write music to question, auscultate, approach the problem of being.

Prompted by the early meaning of psyche—not only as interiority but as air, breath, an element connecting inner states with the sensuous world.

And because sometimes inner voices voice desire, I am prompted by Rainer Maria Rilke’s Malte Laurids Brigge who copies and rewrites books in the library then finds the sense of it all in the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries, the sixth mysterious one in the series bearing the inscription ‘À mon seul désir’: ‘To my only desire’.



The American poet Jack Spicer said that no matter what message they receive, ultimately mediums speak in their own accent through their own individual bodies. There is an inextricable tie between body and inner voices and yet at the same time, a deep sense of beyond our selves channelled through them and through us in writing, listening, translating, transmitting. What rhythms, what arrangements move them and frame them? Listen to the whispers, speeches, cries of inner voices; to what is deemed ineffable or inaudible and yet is present when you listen, read, think, translate, perform, write; to what sounds and resounds when you appear to be silent.


To interfere with inner voices, translate them into words, complicate them into other sounds, empty them out.


To leave plots behind and present sounds and poetics of thoughts into words performed, messages distorted, whispers, murmurs, the ineffable, the unnameable, the inaudible, movable entities and ideas into presence: present.


Clarice Lispector, A Breath of Life: ‘I’m writing because I don’t know what to do with myself. I mean: I don’t know what to do with my spirit. The body tells a lot. But I don’t know the laws of the spirit: it wanders.’ … ‘Since I was a child I’ve been searching for the breath of the word that gives life to murmurings’. Between thought and words is ‘a tiny difference of less than a millimeter. Before thinking, then, I’ve already thought.’ … ‘I only use reason as an anesthetic… I therefore turn back to my rich interior nothing.’


Writing, vortex-transmission of inner voices never owned, but echoed and passed on through that ‘rich interior nothing’.


‘And now you give the impression of knowing absolutely nothing’, said one of the voices channelled through Elfriede Jelinek’s Her Not All Her.


Muted reiterations dwell on the changing textures of written unforms.

I cannot quite hear inner voices but in half-guessed disturbances.

Tempted by broken utterance, in spite of dissolution and rarefaction, a sonorous nothing, a stuttering reverb.

Transposed and rearranged, cut through by words and voices that won’t be explained, but transformed and shaped as they expire: in proximity rather than in understanding.

Inner voices outstretched beyond the borders of body to be cast over and over again, an echo of echoes, headed toward transformation and change rather than tracing origin and keeping permanence. And the question is not who I am, but whom a self and its words are cast onto, and how. 

Inner Voices: Kate Briggs, Patrick Farmer, Jennifer Hodgson, Dominique Hurth, Signe Lidén, Christian Patracchini, Steve Roden, David Toop, Valerio Tricoli, James Wilkes

Inner Voices will be presented in Aarhus, Denmark as part of WhereWereWe: on Writing, Intimacy, Body, a five-day festival curated by Rhea Dall, Martin Glaz Serup and myself, and produced by Project Art Writing and Litteraturcenter Aarhus.
Godsbanen, Aarhus, 2-6 December 2015

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