Writing on Writing on Performance Writing

Categories:  performance, performance writing, writing, Writing Coastlines
Tags: , , , , , ,

Performance Writing is one of those unwieldy terms – not quite familiar enough for us to assume we already know what it means, not quite descriptive enough for us to simply guess. Fitting, then, that this term refers to a field with a willful unwillingness to commit to fixed definitions. In Thirteen Ways of Talking about Performance Writing, a lecture given to all first year undergraduates of Dartington College of Arts on Tuesday 22nd November 1994, in the inaugural term of a new undergraduate degree called Performance Writing, John Hall advocates for definings rather than definitions:

Like ‘writing’ ‘defining’ can best be treated as a gerund, catching the present tense of the verb up into a noun, without losing the continuous dynamic of the verb: the process of the act of defining. If the process were to end in resolution we would move the defining into definition. We would know.

We won’t.

John Hall performing at PW12, Arnolfini

John Hall performing at Performance Writing Weekend 2012, Arnolfini, Bristol, May 2012.

To consider the term Performance Writing in explicitly Performance Writing terms, the intelligibility of the term is intertwined both with the context of its production and of its consumption. At one time those were one in the same. Dartington College of Art was a specialist performance arts institution which operated in South Devon, England, from 1961-2008. It evolved out of a particular and somewhat peculiar mixture of the Dartington Hall experiment in rural regeneration led by Dorthy and Leonard Elmhirst in the 1920s, and the alternative education experiments of both the Dartington Hall School and Schumaker College, which both operated on the Dartington Estate, and the Steiner School movement. Dartington College of Art was also influenced by the cross-disciplinarity and collective engagement and post-modern modes of writing which emerged from Black Mountain College in North Carolina in the 1950s. The term Performance Writing was in use within the Theater department at Dartington as early as 1987. The discussions which led to the development of Performance Writing as a set of independent practices at Dartington began in 1992. The BA was founded by John Hall in 1994, the MA in 1999, and practice-led PhD research in Performance Writing also began at this time.

Steve McCaffery & cris cheek performing Carnival, 2012

Steve McCaffery and cris cheek performing Carnival live at Birkbeck, London, UK, 06 June 2012

Performance Writing pedagogy, methodology, and practices were developed by active practitioner-lecturers at Dartington, including John Hall, Ric Allsopp, Caroline Bergvall, Aaron Williamson, Brigid Mc Leer, Alaric Sumner, Redell Olsen, cris cheek, Peter Jager, Barbara Bridger, Melanie Thompson, Jerome Fletcher, and many others, and enriched by an program of visiting artists from around the world. From the outset, Performance Writing has taken a consistently broad and overtly interdisciplinary approach to what writing is and what writing does in a range of social and disciplinary contexts, exploring writing and textual practice in relation to visual art, digital media, installation, performance, collaborative practices and sound/audio work, as well as book art and page-based media. The democratic, inclusive, and above all extensible nature of Performance Writing methodology has led to its adoption and adaptation by both independent and academic researchers, practitioners, pedagogs, and institutions in places as far flung as: Aarhus, Denmark; Berne, Switzerland; Oakland, California; Banff, Canada.

Erin Robinsong performing at In(ter)ventions 2011

Erin Robinsong performing at In(ter)ventions: Literary Practice at the Edge, The Banff Centre, February 2011

In the UK, Performance Writing methodologies and sensibilities have spread – primarily through graduates of the the program at Dartington – into a rich diversity of artistic forms and institutional formulations, including but by no means limited to: performance in/with digital literature, as explored by Jerome Fletcher in the context of the HERA-funded research project ELMCIP; thematic multi-diciplinary writing workshops, as led by Devon-based Writing&; digital glitch literature and electronic voice phenomena performance, as explored by Liverpool and London based Mercy; conceptual writing and small press publishing, as explored by Leeds based Nick Thurston, and language and voice as explored by Bristol-based salon series Tertulia. In 2005 Text Festival in Bury hosted Partly Writing 4: Writing and the Poetics of Exchange, a session with which a number of Performance Writing people were involved. Text Festival continues to present work which is profoundly ‘Performance Writing’ in nature. Affinities with Performance Writing are also evident, though not in name, at Birkbeck, at Royal Holloway, and in the MFA in Art Writing led by Maria Fusco at Goldsmiths University (though information about this program is not turning up on the website any more, which does not bode well). Performance Writing sensibilities are also evident the Writing-PAD initiatives at Goldsmiths University, which include the publication of the Journal of Writing in Creative Practice, which will put out a special issue dedicated to Performance Writing late 2013 or early 2014. And in Open Dialogues: critical writing on and as performance, a writing collaboration that produces writing on and as performance founded by Rachel Lois Clapham and Mary Paterson in 2008. Performance Writing sensibilities also appear to be emerging within the CRASSH research centre at Cambridge University, which recently held the excellent seminar: Beyond the authority of the ‘text’: performance as paradigm, past and present.

Performance Writing as paradigm (at present) appears to be expanding from a disappearing centre (its past). Which is to say, Performance Writing is currently undergoing a paradigm shift.

Oana Avasilichioaei performing at Environmental Utterance, UCF, 2012

Oana Avasilichioaei performing We, Beasts at Environmental Utterance, University College Falmouth, 2 September 2012.

In 2008 Dartington College of Art merged with University College Falmouth, Cornwall. The relocation to Cornwall was completed in 2010, at which point, University College Falmouth, incorporating Dartington College of Art, as the institution became known, ceased recruitment to the BA Performance Writing. It has not resumed. The MA Performance Writing, led by Jerome Fletcher, continued to run at Arnolfini, a major European art and performance centre in Bristol, UK. Two Performance Writing Weekend festivals have been held at Arnolfini: PW10, and PW12. Recruitment to the MA Performance Writing was ceased in 2012. It has not resumed. Performance Writing continues at the postgraduate and research level at what is now called Falmouth University, where I am now nearing the completion of a practice-led PhD, which will in fact be awarded by University of the Arts London, but which in my mind remains entwined with the pedagogy, methodology, and practices of Performance Writing, Dartington College of Art.

What’s in a name anyway?

Earlier in this post I proposed that the intelligibility of the term Performance Writing is intertwined both with the context of its production and of its consumption. How can this term and the sets of practices it refers to be understood in its current institutional context? On the current Falmouth University website, the four slight paragraphs dedicated to the Performance Writing Research Group page trail off with an ellipsis… All trace of Performance Writing programs and pedagogy past have been erased from both the Dartington and the Falmouth websites. As there is no new student intake, Performance Writing is not being taught at either the undergraduate or graduate levels. Thus, Performance Writing is divorced from both the context of its own production and the possibility of its own consumption.

Writing & the Body workshop, Arnolfini, 2012

Writing & the Body workshop, Arnolfini, Bristol, 2012.

In addition to its willful unwillingness to commit to fixed definitions, Performance Writing has long eschewed any suggestion of a fixed corpus, preferring rather to assemble a fresh corpus around each new set of questions posed. Perversely, my question here is: what comprises the corpus of writing on Performance Writing? Paradoxically, as Performance Writing expands and evolves in new contexts, its corpus grows exponentially, but so too do its variables. Art Writing. Conceptual Writing. Performance Poetry. Sound Poetry. Digital Literature. Alt Lit. As these terms and conditions shift their names become many, which makes writing on writing in the field harder and harder to Google.

Here then is a collection of texts which directly address (or perform) Performance Writing in the Dartington sense of the term. This list is neither means exhaustive, nor fixed. Please. Send names and links and references. I’ll gladly add them. Note that by the time you read this list it may have been amended from what it once was and after you read it it may yet be amended again. Already I am indebted to John Hall for additions to this list and clarifications on points in this post as a whole:

Ric Allsopp, “Performance Writing,” in PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art. Vol. 21, No. 1, 1999. pp. 76-80.

Caroline Bergvall, What do we mean by Performance Writing? (PDF) a keynote address delivered at the opening of the first Symposium of Performance Writing, Dartington College of Arts, 12 April 1996.

Barbara Bridger, Dramaturgy and the Digital in Exeunt Magazine, 2013.

Barbara Bridger & J. R. Carpenter, “Call and Response: Toward a Digital Dramaturgy,” in Journal of Writing and Creative Practice. Goldsmiths, London, UK (forthcoming)

David Buuck, What is performance writing? in Jacket2, 2013.

J. R. Carpenter, Performing Digital Texts in European Contexts, commentary column on Jacket2, 2011.

J. R. Carpenter, Where performance and digital literature meet…, The Literary Platform, May 2012.

cris cheek, Reading and Writing: the Sites of Performance in How2, Volume 3, Issue 3, 2009.

Rachel Lois Clapham, assemblage, Inside Performance Volume 24. no.1, 2011

Jerome Fletcher, Performing …Reusement. E-composition / Decomposition (PDF), inCybertext Yearbook, University of Jyväskylä, 2010.

Maria Fusco, Michael Newman, Adrian Rifkin and Yve Lomax, 11 Statements Around Art Writing, Freize, 2011.

John Hall, Performance Writing: a Lexicon Entry, in A Lexicon: Performance Research Volume 11, No. 3. September 2006. pp. 89–91.

John Hall, Thirteen Ways of Talking about Performance Writing, Plymouth: PCAD, 2008.

John Hall, Essays on Performance Writing, Poetics and Poetry Vol. 1. On Performance Writing, with pedagogical sketches, forthcoming from Shearsman Books, October 2013.

Carl Lavery & David Williams eds, Good Luck Everybody: Lone Twin – Journeys, Performances, conversations, Performance Research Books, 2011.

Della Pollock, Performing Wiring (PDF), in The Ends of Performance. eds. Peggy Phelan, Jill Lane, NY: NYU Press, 1998. pp 73-103

Alaric Sumner, Writing & Performance, PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art, PAJ 61 (Volume 21, Number 1), January 1999

&Now Awards anthologyRemediating the Social catalogueA Global Visuage

Three recent anthologies which have no idea how Performance Writing they are.

In addition to the above list, there are numerous works which, although not expressly performance writing in name, are profoundly performance writing in nature. Listed here are but a very few of those:

Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project, Harvard University Press, 2002.

Deleuze and Guattari, Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature, U of Minnesota Press, 1986.

Jean-Jacques Lecercle, A Marxist Philosophy of Language. trans. Gregory Elliot. Leiden & Boston: Brill, 2006.

W. G. Sebald, Rings of Saturn, Vintage, 2002.

Situationist International Text Library

Gertrude Stein, How To Write, NY: Dover, 1975.

McKenzie Wark, A Hacker Manifesto. (PDF) Harvard University Press, 2004.

The field of Performance Writing has of course produced a rich corpus of creative works, far too numerous to mention here.

For more information about Performance Writing, and/or to participate in ongoing workshops, events, and activities, visit:

Performance Writing entry on Wikipedia
(this page needs updating)

Performance Writing group on Facebook
(1,157 followers at the time of this writing)

Writing & multi-diciplinary writing workshop series
(led by former Dartington Performance Writing Faculty)

Tertulia
(Bristol-based salon series)

In(ter)ventions: Literary Practice at the Edge residency program at The Banff Centre
(where I am Performance Writing Faculty)

Reading List 2011

Categories:  reading
Tags: , , ,

Since 1996 I’ve been noting the author and title of each book I’ve read in a red book a little larger than A5 size, worn at the spine now, but with plenty of pages left as there were plenty of pages to begin with. Since 2005 I’ve been duplicating those entries here on Lapsus Linguae. Whether in book or digital form, the resulting document cannot properly be called a reading list. I’ve only ever listed books read, and only those read cover to cover. In the beginning this made sense because I mostly only read books and lots of them and almost all of them from cover to cover. I still read lots of books, but finish fewer of them.

So much of what I’m reading these days is research-related, parsed for the parts I need, those parts then heavily annotated, read and re-read. I read more online now that I used to, but not books – articles. I also spend a lot more time in libraries than I used to, but rarely for book-related reasons. Most of my time at the Bodleian Library this year has been spent with the Marconi Archive, sifting through boxes of loose sheets of papers. Though I’ve read more than a book’s worth of correspondence written in Marconi’s atrocious handwriting, that reading is not reflected here. At the British Library, much time has been spent leaning over large tables in the Maps and Manuscripts reading rooms. Perhaps Joseph Frederick Wallet Des Barres, The Atlantic Neptune should appear on this list. It is a book, a massive book, three volumes worth. Though it contains charts rather than chapters, I’ve read every page. Same goes for John Dee’s 1580 map of the world upon the back of which Dee outlines England’s claim to the America’s for Queen Elizabeth. It is only one page, or sheet of vellum rather, but it may be one of the most important documents in Canadian history. And then there are all the variations on Samuel de Champlain’s maps of Nouvelle-France I’ve pored over, and the vintage guide books I’ve not followed, and the stacks of post cards…

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[ desk stack 09/09/2011 ]

Over the past two years this habitually kept list of authors and titles of books read has become less and less and less representative of what I’m actually reading. Which makes it all the more interesting in certain ways. Map-related books figure prominently, as to voyages and travelogues and books on walking. Media theory, of course. And network communications. A number of books listed here are re-reads. I got most of the way through A Hacker Manifesto years ago, but had to return it to the library eventually, with fines owing. Foucault makes way more sense to me now than in 1998, when I first attempted the same battered copy of The Order of Things I have with me here in England. The Rings of Saturn is even more haunting now after having walked in Suffolk myself. We’ve all read bits and pieces of The Travels of Sir John Mandeville – it’s almost odd to read them together at last, all of a piece. Darwin is an elegant prose stylist, who knew? Why did it take me so long to stumble over Cha’s brilliant Dictee? The year’s reading began with the utterly original Riddley Walker and ended with its author Russell Hoban’s passing. So many quirky odd-ball intriguing wandering wonderful books browsed, borrowed, bought and begun in between. Other still on the go. Those finished, listed below:

  • McKenzie Wark, A Hacker Manifesto
  • W. G. Sebald, The Rings of Saturn
  • Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Dictee
  • Michel Foucault, The Order of Things
  • Mandeville, The Travels of Sir John Mandeville
  • Hakluyt, Voyages and Discoveries
  • Gillian Cookson, The Cable
  • Courtney Rowe, Marconi at The Lizard: The story of communication systems at Housel Bay
  • J. G. Ballard, Concrete Island
  • Iain Sinclair, Ghost Milk: Calling Time on the Grand Project
  • William Gibson, Zero History
  • Douglas Coupland, Marshall McLuhan: You Know Nothing of My Work!
  • Roberto Simanowski, Digital Art and Meaning: Reading Kinetic Poetry, Text Machines, Mapping Art, and Interactive Installations
  • Francesco Careri, Walkscapes: Walking as an Aesthetic Practice
  • Carla Harryman & Lyn Hejinian, The Wide Road
  • Gertrude Stein, Lucy Church Amiably
  • Karen Russell, Swamplandia
  • McKenzie Wark, The Beach Beneath the Street: The Everyday Life and Glorious Times of the Situationist International
  • Guy Debord, Comments on the Society of the Spectacle
  • Friedrich A. Kittler, Gramophone, Film, Typewriter
  • Marshal McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man
  • Robert C. O’Brien, Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
  • Lydia Davis, Cows
  • Adam Lebor, The Budapest Protocol
  • Russell Shorto, The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony that Shaped America
  • Charles Darwin, The Voyages of the Beagle
  • Lauren Beukes, Zoo City
  • Ben Marcus, The age of Wire And String
  • Steven Millhauser, In The Penny Arcade
  • Sandra Barry, Elizabeth Bishop: Nova Scotia’s “Home-made” Poet
  • Brett C. Millier, Elizabeth Bishop: Life and the Memory of It
  • Jean-Jacques Lecercle, Deluze and Language
  • Maya Merrick, Sextant
  • H.D., end to torment
  • Andrea di Robilant, Venetian Navigators: The Voyages of the Zen Brothers to the Far North
  • Franco Moretti, Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for Literary History
  • Rachel Hewitt, Map of a Nation: A Biography of the Ordnance Survey
  • Jeffrey Sconce, Haunted media: Electronic Presence from Telegraphy to Television
  • Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
  • Judith Schalansky, Atlas of Remote Islands: Fifty Islands I Have Never Set Foot on and Never Will
  • Elisabeth Belliveau, Don’t Get Lonely Don’t Get Lost
  • Jonathan Safran Foer, Tree of Codes
  • Jay David Bolter, Writing Space: Computers, Hypertext and the Remediation of Print
  • Rita Raley, Tactical Media
  • Daniel Defoe, A Journal of the Plague Year
  • Russell Hoban, Riddley Walker

Reading List 2010

Categories:  reading
Tags: , ,

This is not a best-of list. This is just a list. This may be the least amount of books I’ve read in one year in many a year. The list of reasons why this list is so short may be longer than this list. The sad fact remains that most of my books remain in storage in Montreal, whereas I, happily, remain in England. Though my books stubbornly remain in one place I have been travelling a lot. Destinations this year — for work, pleasure, and most often both — included: Banff, Ottawa, Leicester, Oxford (twice), Vienna (twice), Montreal (twice), Vermont (twice), New York (just the once, alas), and back and forth between London, Bristol, Bath and Falmouth too many times each to count.

I wrote a book this year, which took up a bit of time. More about that here. I made a massive new work of electronic literature. More about that here. And I started a practice-led PhD research degree in the fall. My days of reading for pleasure are over for the foreseeable future. Though I do take pleasure in most of what I’m reading now, the reading itself is slower, heavily annotated, highly fragmented and ever so much more deliberate than reading led purely by the pleasure of leaping from one book to the next. That said, in addition to my own university library card, I now also have reader’s card’s for the British Library and the Bodleian Library at Oxford — two of the greatest libraries in the world — where I intend to spend as much time as possible reading bits and piece archival material, maps, manuscripts and extremely old books, none of which may appear on next year’s book list. Oh well.

The thing about lists is, they don’t show what’s not on them. I’ve read the equivalent of many more books than the ones listed bellow in parts and portions. I have a stack of at least ten books open and in heavy use, none of which I intend to read in full. Much of the reading I’ve done over the past few months has not been from books at all. I have been spending a lot of time in the British Library Maps collection. I am pleased as punch with my subscription to Cabinet Magazine, for example. And remain an avid consumer, collector, creator of zines. As a newly minted sort of semi academic, application forms, rules and regulations, conference proceedings, journal articles and web archives have taken over a sizable portion of my reading life. And then, there’s my crippling addiction to online Scrabble. But let’s not get into that.

Scanning this list of the books read in full this year, a few come flooding back so vividly they are worthy of special mention, though to reiterate, this is not a best-of list. Just an an aide-mémoire. I think about Alice Oswald’s Dart everyday because it’s about the River Dart, which runs right outside my window, which used to be Alice’s window (she used to live where I know live and now lives down the road). I remembered just how much I love Larissa Lai’s chapbook Eggs in the Basement when I used it recently to teach an MA seminar on computational poetry. Though, or perhaps because, Eggs in the Basement is not computer generated, it offers a fantastic entry into computational poetics without all that pesky computation getting in the way. Bits and pieces of Cynthia Ozick’s The Cannibal Galaxy keep coming back to me, for being-an-immigrant reasons too complex to explain herein, and for similar reasons Hans Fallada, Alone in Berlin chilled me to the bone. I re-read Shakespeare’s The Tempest on impulse over the summer and cannot believe how absolutely central to my thesis it is becoming. Likewise, I am so glad I never read Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe until this fall as now I come to it with a completely different set of preoccupations than I would have when much younger, resulting in a startlingly different reading than that which all previous commentary had led me to suppose the book was about.

Despite my quip about my days of reading for pleasure being over, I am looking forward to many of the books my research is leading me into. Especially since the PhD comes with a studentship, which is more commonly called a fellowship in North America, though I think of it more generally as a book buying budget, with mad money left over for train travel to libraries London and Oxford and anywhere else the reading leads.

Happy reading.

  • Tom McCarthy, C
  • Michael Boyce, Anderson
  • Merlin Coverley, Psychogeography
  • Darren Wershler-Henry, The Iron Whim: A Fragmented History of Typewriting
  • Timothy C. Campbell, Wireless Writing in the Age of Marconi
  • Michel Tournier, Friday
  • J. M. Cotzee, Foe
  • Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
  • Mary Butts, Ashe of Rings
  • Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost
  • Henry David Thoreau, Walking
  • Patrick Wright, On Living in an Old Country
  • Hans Fallada, Alone in Berlin
  • Félix Fénéon, Novels in Three Lines
  • Bernard Malamud, The Magic Barrel
  • Cynthia Ozick, Dictation
  • Mavis Gallant, The Selected Stories of Mavis Gallant
  • Elizabeth Strout, Olive Kitteridge
  • Medlar Lucan & Durian Gray, The Decadent Gardener
  • Shakespeare, The Tempest
  • Elizabeth Hay, Late Nights on Air
  • Alistair MacLeod, Island
  • Italo Calvino, Difficult Loves
  • Patrick McCabe, The Butcher Boy
  • N. Katherine Hayles, Electronic Literature: New Horizons for the Literary
  • Henry David Thoreau, Cape Cod
  • Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat
  • George Eliot, Middlemarch
  • Cynthia Ozick, The Cannibal Galaxy
  • Isaac Bashevis Singer, The Spinoza of Market Street
  • Andy Diggle & Jock, The Losers
  • Merce Rodoreda, My Christina & Other Stories
  • Larissa Lai, Eggs in the Basement
  • Vladimir Nabakov, Nabakov’s Dozen
  • Lance Olsen, Anxious Pleasures
  • Iain Sinclair, Hackney, That Rose-Red Empire: A Confidential Report
  • W. G. Sebald, Vertigo
  • Jean Webster, Daddy Long legs
  • Mavis Gallant, In Transit
  • Alexandra Leggat, Animal
  • Ron Carlson, Five Skies
  • Walter J. Ong, Orality & Literacy: The Technologizing of the World
  • Arther Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles
  • Alice Oswald, Dart

Reading in London: 7 Poets for Oxfam Autumn Fundraiser

Categories:  performance, poetry
Tags: , , , ,

I will be reading some very short prose pieces at Back To School: 7 Poets for Oxfam Autumn 2010 Fundraiser, Wednesday, 29 September, 2010 – 7 pm, at Oxfam Books and Music shop, 91 Marylebone High Street, London W1 (10 minutes walk from Baker Street tube station).

The evening will feature seven poets, from Canada, Britain, Ireland, and New Zealand:

Carole Baldock – British poet and editor-publisher of Kudos and Orbis magazines

Charles Boyle – Faber poet, publisher and novelist, shortlisted for TS Eliot Prize

JR Carpenter – Prize-winning Quebec writer, poet and performance artist

CL Dallat – Irish poet, writer and musician of significance

Helen Oswald – shortlisted for the current Forward Prize for Best First Collection

Anna Smaill – a leading younger poet from New Zealand

Anthony Thwaite – legendary poet-critic, and editor of Larkin’s Collected Poems and Selected Letters

This event is supported by Kingston University and hosted by Todd Swift.

Please reserve seats for these events by contacting shop manager Martin Penny by email or phone 020 7487 3570 or oxfammarylebone [at] hotmail [dot] com

Admission free. All money raised goes to Oxfam, a registered charity.

For more information, please visit the Eyeware blog.

E-Writer in Residence, Dartington Campus, UCF

Categories:  electronic literature, reading
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

This fall I am the Performance Writing E-Writer in Residence at University College Falmouth’s Dartington Campus, located on the Dartington Hall Estate, a 1,200 acre mixture of arable and pastoral farmland, woodland, residential and commercial accommodation. Written records of this site do not begin until the thirteenth century, but there is evidence of considerable activity in the area during the Roman occupation and the manor of Dartington is mentioned in a Royal Charter of 833 AD. The buildings and structures situated on the estate range in age from Deer Park Wall and Earth Works at North Wood which date from the Bronze and Iron Ages, to the main Hall which was built in 1388, to those properties which were built by the Elmhirsts in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. The site has been continuously occupied for well over a thousand years, but this is the last year that Performance Writing will be located here, so I feel most fortunate to be here at this time.

My duties at E-Writer in Residence mostly involve sitting in my office, working on my work. The above photo is not a view from my office, thankfully, or I’d be too busy staring out the window to get any work done. One of my favourite things about the campus is how, to get from one side of it to the other, you have to walk across part of a cow pasture with actual cow pats in it (not pictured). I do this sometimes just to go to the library to visit the copy of my novel that they have there. I’m also leading an electronic literature workshop with the Performance Writing undergraduates, with a concentration on literary mapping. And I’ll do a public reading on the Dartington Campus Thursday 3 December, 7.30pm in Studio 3 (free). This will be the last in a series of three performances dedicated to readings featuring innovative and dynamic writers. For more information on this event, visit The Arts at Dartington.
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A Reading at Sharpham House – November 3, 2009

Categories:  reading, Words the Dog Knows
Tags: , , , ,

Hosted by Alice Oswald

Tuesday, November 3rd 2009 at 19:30 Sharpham Centre.

Alice Oswald will welcome and introduce J R Carpenter, a Canadian novelist, short story writer and web writer based in Montreal. She is the winner of the QWF Carte Blanche Quebec Award (2008), the CBC Quebec Short Story Competition (2003 & 2005), and the Expozine Alternative Press Award for Best English Book for her first novel, Words the Dog Knows, which was published by Conundrum Press in 2008. Her electronic literature has been presented at the Musée de Beaux-arts (Montréal), the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (Toronto), The New Museum of Contemporary Art (New York), Jyväskylä Art Museum (Finland), The Web Biennial 2007 (Istanbul), Cast Gallery (Tasmania), and in the Electronic Literature Collection Volume One. She serves as President of the Board of Directors of OBORO, an artist-run gallery and new media lab in Montreal, and is currently the E-Writer-in-Residence at Dartington College UCF.

You are warmly invited to bring a poem to read aloud.
7.30pm in the Octagonal Room, Sharpham House. Donations please
http://www.sharphamtrust.org/
. . . . .

WordFest: Banff Distinguished Author Reading

Categories:  reading, Words the Dog Knows
Tags: , , , , ,

I’ll be reading from Words the Dog Knows at WordFest Saturday, October 17, 2009, at The Banff Centre’s Eric Harvie Theatre at 7:00pm, with Emily St. John Mandel and The Distinguished Banff Author, Douglas Coupland. Renowned for his wit and honesty, Douglas Coupland presents his latest work Generation A, once again capturing the spirit of a generation with a social commentary on ever-evolving pop culture. Coupland is joined by debut novelists and online experts J.R. Carpenter and Emily St. John Mandel. This event is sponsored by The Banff Centre.

Tickets are $20.00, $10.00 for students and seniors. Enter to win tickets – call WordFest at 403.237.9068 or click here for more information.

WordFest is an annual readers and writers Festival featuring a broad range of events enhances the interests of the communities WordFest serves. The Festival is complemented by supplementary events throughout the year. WordFest is further committed to an extensive youth engagement program, Book Rapport, as well as to various community outreach activities.
. . . . .

Book Launch Tonight: Leonard Cohen You’re Our Man

Categories:  launch, poetry, reading
Tags: , , , , ,

I have a poem in this fine book. If I were in Montreal I’d be reading at the launch tonight. If you happen to be in Montreal, check it out.

7:30 PM
Thursday, Sept. 17, 2009
Westmount High School Auditorium
4350 Ste. Catherine St. West
Westmount/Montreal, Quebec
Tickets are $5 and available at the door.
Doors open at 7 P.M.

Poets reading tonight include:

Ann Weinstein, Jason Camlot, Ann Lloyd, David Solway, Donna Yates-Adelman, Michael Mirolla, Jeffrey Mackie, Angela Leuck, John Fretz, Grace Moore, Meredith Darling, Rona Feldman Shefler(a classmate of Cohen’s,) Sue Borgersen(arriving today from Nova Scotia,) erika n. white, Sandra Sjollema, Ryan Ruddick(Westmount High teacher,) Brian Campbell, and Eleni Zisimatos, Ehab Lotayef, Lesley Pasquin, and standing in for Margaret Atwood will be Westmount High Student, Elisha Hill, reading Atwood’s poem, “Setting Leonard to Music.”

Proceeds from this event will support the Foundation for Public Poetry’s “Leonard Cohen Poet-In-Residence” program at Westmount High(Cohen’s old high school.) This initiative is a collaboration between Westmount High School, the Foundation for Public Poetry, and the Westmount High Alumni Association.

Books are $25 and will be available for sale and signing.

More info: http://publicpoetry.wordpress.com/
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Next Stop, SappyFest!

Categories:  electronic literature, mini-books, performance, reading
Tags: , , , , , ,

Literary types of all stripes will invade SappyFest this year. Thursday, July 30, I’ll pack a suitcase full of zines and novels and join the migration eastward.

SappyFest is a little independent music festival produced annually in partnership with the Ok.Quoi?! Contemporary Arts Festival, Struts Gallery & Faucet Media Arts Centre. The festival takes place July 31 – August 2, 2009, in Sackville, New Brunswick, the centre of the universe.

If you happen to be in the centre of the universe that weekend, come visit me at the Zine Fair, Saturday August 1, 12 to 4 PM at the United Church. There will be participants from across Canada, a kids workshop, a presentation by Andy Brown (Conundrum Press) and readings by Jeffrey Makie, Jaime Forsthythe and Dawn-Aeron Wason.

Sunday, August 2, 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM, check out the The Vogue Writers Block, a multi-media event at The Vogue Theater (Sackville’s art deco movie theater) featuring The Joe, Catherine Kidd, J.R. Carpenter, Lezlie Lowe, Andrea Dorfman, Ian Roy, and Thesis. I’ll reading a section of my novel, Words the Dog Knows, that traverses three different electronic literature projects (How I Loved the Broken Things of Rome, Entre Ville, and in absentia).

Now a registered non-profit organization, SappyFest Incorporated, the festival was founded in 2006 by the good people of Sappy Records, Julie Doiron, Jon Claytor and Paul Henderson.

Ok.Quoi?! is an interdisciplinary festival of contemporary art, focusing on video, audio, new and independent music produced by Struts Gallery & Faucet Media Arts Centre in partnership with SappyFest. The works of over 50 artists will be presented over 6 days in a variety of screenings, installations, concerts, broadcasts and performances. Alongside exciting international and national work, Ok.Quoi?! features new and innovative projects from local and regional artists. All events save for the Last Chance for Summer Romance concert and barbecue are free, and open to all ages.

More info: SappyFest & Ok.Quoi?!


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Vallum Cafe/Culture Reading Series – July 23, 7pm

Categories:  poetry, reading
Tags: , , ,

I will be reading some of my most poem sounding prose in Montreal this Thursday when Vallum: contemporary poetry reading series Cafe/Culture returns with fantastic lineup of Oana Avasilichioaei, J.R. Carpenter, Holly Luhning and Anne Cimon grace the ultra-cool Le Zigoto Cafe, 5731 du Parc (just below Bernard). Door prizes and a surprise musical guest! It all starts at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 23rd, 2009.


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