Monthly Archives: May 2009

Next Openned Event, Wednesday 27 May 2009

Well, I’m back in Phoenix, and have only just got over the jet lag and the already above-100º heat. Blog posting has been slow as a result and will continue to be so for the coming week, after which my insurmountable pile of “to do” will perhaps be less, umm, insurmountable.

In the meantime, scoff on this from the sticky on Openned’s website:

The next Openned night takes place at 7.15pm on Wednesday 27th May. Confirmed readers: Rebecca Cremin, Johanna Linsley, Ryan Ormonde, Michelle Naka Pierce, Chris Pusateri, Sophie Robinson, Catherine Wagner. Join the Facebook event. Openned nights are held at The Foundry in London, UK. Click here for a map. Admission is always free.

Yes, that’s right. It’s another Openned evening. Remember? Just like your mother used to make. You ought to go, it’ll make you feel warm, safe and perhaps even a bit sexy. I can’t go cos I’m too far away, unfortunately.

Disposable Venus Bits – Video

Thank you to everyone who came to the Foundry on Sunday, I had a blast. Hope you did too. Thanks to Steve Willey, there is a rather wonderful video of the event in full at Openned.


Special thanks to Elizabeth-Jane Burnett, Steve Willey and Geneviève Beth Grady for making it such a great event. At some point very soon I’ll post up my remixes of Ideas on Oedipal Bitstreams which I made especially for the event

Also potentially of interest, if you dug any of the music which was playing throughout the performance, the track listing was as follows:

  • Mascara Snowed — Elizabeth-Jane Burnett
  • It’s All Blooming Now Mt. Heart Attack — Liars
  • Sometime Around Midnight — The Airborne Toxic Event
  • Love Will Tear Us Apart — Joy Division
  • Drain Cosmetics — Serena Maneesh

DISPOSABLE VENUS BITS: poems on the wall, on a dancer, and in the air… – Sunday, 10 May 2009

Along with Elizabeth-Jane Burnett and Steve Willey, I will be performing at the Foundry on Sunday night, and DJing for 1 hour. I will be contributing a remix of Ideas on Oedipal Bitstreams, which is reformatted and incorporates images and texts by Elizabeth-Jane Burnett. Doing this excites me greatly.

Full details and flyer below. Admission is free. Bring a date, y’all.

An evening of experiment and collaboration exploring the performance of poems engaging with new technologies.

disposable thankyous :: ideas on oedipal bitstreams :: venus and other noises, by:

Elizabeth-Jane Burnett
John Sparrow
Steve Willey

And featuring dancer Genevieve Beth Grady
With sticker production by Albert Pellicer
Images of Elizabeth-Jane by Maria Teresa Gavazzi



Brief follow-up to Ron Silliman in London, 5th May 2009


I was at both of the Ron Silliman events put on by Birkbeck yesterday in London, and wanted to jot down a few thoughts in response while I can remember them…

The first event was an afternoon session, aimed at postgraduates and relevant ‘interested parties’ so to speak, and was an informal talk by Ron about blogging and his writing in relation to blogging. As most people who know Ron Silliman are aware, his blog, running since 2002, is now one of, if not THE most successful (if you’re judging that by hits) poetry blogs on the planet. However, Silliman himself raised a good point in this regard, stating the aim of a blog (and by implication the measure of its success) in a poetic(s) sense is that it generates discussion and promotes others to produce discussion-generating spheres of conversation also. This, he said, is why his 1000-strong blogroll consists of blogs which are not merely poets posting their poems but poets engaging in discussions and furthering them through dialogues for which the blog is a pivotal medium.

I was reassured by this attitude, and though I must admit at the time of the talk feeling apprehensive about waht I considered the duality of Silliman’s argument (the above was nonetheless framed in terms of the possibilities of self-promotion) he was not advocating ‘vanity publishing’. On reflection, he acknowledged that poets, by and large, would like to put work out, and that if they actively resisted the blogging medium or a web presence in general they were committing professional suicide. This is not mutually exclusive to the sense of community which can potentially be built through the collaborative writings of online discussion, nor must it exclude or wipe out physical community. What blogging does enable is a more instantly and further reaching rigorous testing of community standards.

I say that because this resonated with me, reminding me of Lyn Hejinian’s writing about community in The Language of Inquiry. Although writing about location-specific community, Hejinian outlines the pitfalls of community building (of which clique-forming might be one) as well as the not-so-obvious necessities, such as self-critique within the community – a persistent questioning of one’s motives – which fends off stasis. There was a discussion relating to quality control in the talk – murky waters no matter what size the lake is. Obvious matters aside (such as the potential for more ‘poor quality’ information to be produced due to more empowerment to more people to write and publish – and whether this is true or not – that’s another discussion) what interests me here is the fact that writing in terms of and about one’s interests, with the aim of stimulating discussion and debate, invites critique and the blogging medium opens up the invitation for such critique to a vast and immediate audience. If we’re empowered to write, we’re empowered to respond.

In the Q&A session following on from Silliman’s enjoyable reading, there were echoes of this discussion, but particularly valuable in relation to the above was Silliman’s assertion that what young writers ought to be doing, if they are interested in writing from a LANGUAGE poetry perspective, is essentially subverting him, writing in this moment rather than that moment. I would certainly agree that language around us is changing – we are of course, in some ways, using it the same way they were in the 70s and 80s, but we’re also using it through multimedia devices and other social tools which are shaping and shaped by us continually. The political situations we find ourselves in, the way we process them and the way we respond to them, are all language and are all mediated, and the mediation has changed and will continue to do so.

Anyway, it’s late. Time to sign off.