May 06, 2009

Back from London

Arrived in the metropolis yesterday in time for lunch with Ron, Will Rowe and Carol Watts, followed by Ron’s workshop at Birkbeck. Ron talking brilliantly and continuously (with questions) for 2 odd hours. Then he, me and Carol went to the London Review of Books for coffee. Then Carol left to sort out the details for the evening, and Ron and I chatted about books and writings and especially the paucity of poetry sections in books shops. I bought Viktor Shklovsky’s Knight’s Move.

Ron’s Birkbeck reading had a more durational feel than his Bury reading because he read only two works: Quindecagon and the registration mark (Blogger won't insert the character as it appears in the book). It was a good size audience and there was a good question and answer session at the end. One of the questions was why it had taken so long for Ron to read in the UK and when would he read again. There has already been such massive interest in the plans for the Text Festival – so I can reveal that I have already begun to shape it and am negotiating with both Ron and Geof Huth to return with new projects. So if anyone out there has any ideas they have for the next one, feel free to propose them to me. After the reading, a group went for an Italian meal, where I mostly chatted to Marianne Eigenheer and Ron about Russia, Mexico, and American politics. And with Carol Watts about the plan to take a Bury Poems style Text Festival-on tour to some US venues. This morning I had an interesting conversation with Patrick Fabian Pannetta, continuing our (now-called) “Proxy Conversation” book project.

This morning before my train, I popped into Tate Modern (which is never a disappointment because I visit it with low expectations). Although I had gone to catch the Rodchenko & Popova and the Roni Horn shows, I got distracted by “Poetry & Dreams – which I have seen before but, developing recent curatorial thinking from the Text Festival shows, I am now working on an analytical essay on “Curating Poetry”. This will come out in a post Text publication which will hopefully also include essays from Tom Konyves on videopoetry and Geof Huth/Joanne Fitton on Text and Archives, and anyone else I think will fit into it nicely to move the Text Festival dialogue on. Anyway, on inspection, the curatorial principle behind Poetry & Dreams seems to include no relation or concept of poetry except maybe some romantic non-poetics notion that a hang that sort of juxta-floats lyrically around is poetry. As the show is actually a pretext for the Tate to show their Surrealist permanent collection, it seems totally bizarre to not represent the role of the Surrealist poets in the movement. The show is a useful example for my essay of art curators who know fuck all about poetry .

(a la Huth & Silliman) Books received:
Peter Jaeger – rapid eye movement (Reality Street Editions)
Wendy Mulford – The Land Between (Reality Street Editions

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