Nature and Other Forms of That Matter

23rd June at 18:00. Royal Hoolway University, 11 Bedford Square, London, WC1B 3RF.

Poetry reading and artist’s film
David Herd * Carol Watts * Allen Fisher (film)
Room 0-02 * Free entry.

Full details here.


David Herd’s collections of poetry include All Just (Carcanet, 2012), Outwith (Bookthug, 2012) and Through (Carcanet 2016). His recent writings on the politics of movement have appeared in Almost Island, Los Angeles Review of Books, Parallax, and PN Review. He is Professor of Modern Literature at the University of Kent and a co-organiser of the project Refugee Tales.

David will be reading from Through. Written between 2011 and 2015, the book is an inquiry into the language of public space and human movement. Five extended poems set out to address the ways contemporary public discourse has been rendered officially hostile. What does it mean, the book asks, to inhabit a language that frames itself in such a hostile manner? How, it asks, might users of the language begin to re-occupy the terms? Considering the cost of such official hostility to human intimacy, the poems set out explore possibilities of solidarity. The picture they aim to present is of a language on a knife-edge. How, in the present moment, do we hear the term ‘through’?

Carol Watts’ poetry includes: Dockfield (Equipage, 2017), 56 a collaboration with George Szirtes (Arc, 2016), Sundog (Veer Books, 2013), Occasionals (Reality Street Editions, 2011), Wrack (Reality Street Editions, 2007). Her chapbooks include the series When blue light falls (Oystercatcher, 2008, 2010, 2012), this is red (Torque Press, 2009) and the sonnet sequences Mother Blake (2012) and brass, running (Equipage, 2006). She is the head of the school of English at the University of Sussex.

Carol will be reading from a number of her books, including her most recent publication, Dockfield (Equipage, 2017) in response to ideas of nature, ecology, landscape and the anthropocene.

We will also be screening Allen Fisher’s 2017 film ‘Y Gors Ddu: The Black Bog’ (5 mins) in which he describes his recent working process on Black Ponds a new collection of paintings, facture and gathering of drawings, paintings, in situ performances and presentations on y Waen Ddu, the Black Bog – a rare raised peat bog situated in the Brecon Beacons. The project is supported and assisted by Arts Alive Wales and BBC Wales

Allen Fisher is a poet, painter and art historian. He has exhibited in many shows from Tate Britain to King’s Gallery York to Hereford Museum and Art Gallery. Examples of his work are in the Tate Collection, the King’s Archive London, the Living Museum, Iceland and various British and international private collections. His last single-artist show was at the Apple Store Gallery Hereford in 2013. He has over 150 single-author publications to his name. In 2016 new publications were: Imperfect Fit: Aesthetics, Facture & Perception from the University of Alabama, Gravity as a consequence of shape and a second edition of the collected PLACE from Reality Street Editions, and a reprint of Ideas of the culture dreamed of was published by The Literary Pocket Book.

This poetry reading and film showing is part of the project Nature and Other Forms of That Matter.

Peter Riley and David Herd

Tapestry Room, Firth Court (Western Bank), University of Sheffield. 6pm Friday 17th May.

Peter Riley (born 1940) is a contemporary English poetessayist, and editor. Part-time M.A. thesis on Jack Spicer at the University of Keele, supervised by Roy Fisher. In 1978 he moved to the far, eastern, side of the Peak, getting a stone cottage in a small village called Bolehill which clung to the valley side overlooking the town of Wirksworth. Riley was an editor and major contributor to The English Intelligencer. He is the author of ten books of poetry, and many small-press booklets. He is also the current poetry editor of the Fortnightly Review and a recipient of the Cholmondeley Award in 2012 for “achievement and distinction in poetry”. Publishes also with Sheffield’s Longbarrow Press. His collections include Passing Measures, Selected poems 1966–1996 (Carcanet, 2000), Messenger Street (Poetical Histories, 2001) The Dance at Mociu (Shearsman, 2003), Alstonefield: a poem (Carcanet, 2003), The Day’s Final Balance: uncollected writings 1965–2006 (Shearsman, 2007), The Llyn Writings (Shearsman, 2007), Greek Passages (Shearsman, 2009), The Derbyshire Poems (Shearsman, 2010), andThe Glacial Stairway (Carcanet, 2011)

David Herd works in the area of modern literature, with emphasis on poetry and its relation to questions in politics and philosophy. His books include All Just (Carcanet, 2012), Enthusiast! Essays on Modern American Literature and John Ashbery and American Poetry. He is currently writing a book on modern poetry and the state of exception, editing a collection of essays on Charles Olson (Contemporary  Olson) and his chapbook, Outwith, will come out soon with Bookthug. His essays and reviews have been widely published in journals, magazines and newspapers. Recent writings on poetry and politics have appeared in PN Review, Parallax and Almost Island. Alongside Simon Smith he has collaborated with both Jack Hues and The-Quartet on the project ‘Rote-Through’, and with Sam Bailey, Evan Parker and Matt Wright on the project ‘Feedback’. He is a co-founder of the Sounds New Poetry festival and currently directs the Centre for Modern Poetry in the School of English.