Conceptual Poetics exhibition and opening night at The Poetry Library

Conceptual poetics takes Marcel Duchamp’s approach to visual art and extends it to poetry.

Join us at the opening of this exhibition and enjoy a glass of wine while listening to readings from some of the poets and publishers associated with this avant-garde poetic practice.

The conceptualist movement has become perhaps the most contested but also one of the most popular movements in contemporary poetry. Focusing on poets and artists in the current UK scene, this exhibition features work published by presses such as if p then q, Information as Material and ZimZalla.

The Poetry Library at Royal Festival Hall

Admission is free but space is limited. Email to reserve your place.

The Other Room 24 and 25

We are very pleased to announce a double set of events on 7th June (Leeds) and 8th June (Manchester) with Steve McCaffery and Karen Mac Cormack. The Leeds event will also feature Alan Halsey and Geraldine Monk. For the Leeds event we are working in partnership with the legendary Information as Material. A press release for that event can be read below. We will post some previews over the next few weeks of all our readers. Both events are free.

Legendary sound-poet returns to Yorkshire to perform, for one night only.

On 07 June 2011, Leeds Art Gallery will host a very special performance by Yorkshire-born Steve McCaffery, an acclaimed poet and writer in his own right, and a founding member of the legendary sound-poetry group The Four Horsemen. This will be the first time that McCaffery, who is now based in New York, has performed to a Yorkshire audience, despite the fact he grew up in Barnsley and lived in the region until he moved to Toronto, Canada in 1968. This is a unique opportunity to see an artist whose work and critical writing continues to inform artistic practice of all kinds.

McCaffery’s performance is part of an evening of readings by other remarkable writers, organised by The Other Room and Information as Material. The programme includes performances by Zambian born Karen Mac Cormack, a New York based poet who, like McCaffery, emerged as a key figure in Canadian poetry and is often associated with the Language Poets; and the Sheffield-based poets Alan Halsey and Geraldine Monk, both widely respected for their ongoing contribution to writing and publishing. All four performers are connected to one another by publishing collaborations that extend across the Atlantic, and demonstrate the international context in which writers across the North of England are working today.

This free event will take place at 6pm on 07 June 2011, in the Tiled Hall at Leeds Art Gallery. Booking for the event is advised. For more information about the event, and to book your place, please visit

To arrange an interview, or request publicity images, please contact:
Simon Zimmerman
Telephone: 07834 070 040

The Other Room is a programme of events organised by James Davies, Tom Jenks and Scott Thurston at The Old Abbey Inn in Manchester. The Other Room presents work by ‘experimental’ writers from all over the world. McCaffery and Mac Cormack will both perform at The Old Abbey Inn on 08 June 2011.

Information as Material is a York-based independent publishing imprint and was established by artist Simon Morris in 2002. It continues to publish and exhibit work by artists and writers who, as their website explains: “reuse existing material – selecting it and re-framing it to generate new meanings – and who, in doing so, disrupt the order of things.” Information as Material is currently undertaking a year-long residency at one of London’s leading visual arts galleries, The Whitechapel.

Steve McCaffery – holder of the David Gray Chair of Poetry and Letters at the State University of New York at Buffalo was born in Sheffield in 1947 and grew up in Barnsley before moving to Toronto in 1968, where he became a member of the legendary sound-poetry group The Four Horsemen.

Karen Mac Cormack was born in Zambia and holds dual Canadian and British citizenship. A key figure in Canadian poetry and a peer of the Language Poets, Mac Cormack’s ‘polybiography’ Implexures traces aspects of her English ancestry whilst opening up to the worlds of history and science.

Alan Halsey ran The Poetry Bookshop in Hay-on-Wye from 1979 to 1997. He continues to work as a specialist bookseller in Sheffield and co-edits West House Books with Geraldine Monk. Halsey produces text-graphics as well as poetry and has published collaborative works with both Mac Cormack and McCaffery.

Geraldine Monk was born in Blackburn and has lived in Sheffield since 1984. During the seventies she lived in Leeds where she came into contact with the poet and painter Jeff Nuttall who admired and encouraged her work. The Salt Companion to Geraldine Monk, edited by Scott Thurston and with a foreword by Nuttall was published in 2007.

The event is supported by Leeds Art Gallery and funded by Art Council England, as part of ‘In a word…’, a regional programme that aims to stimulate support for people who approach writing in new and interesting ways that both respond to and challenge convention.

The event will include the UK premiere of McCaffery’s Sound-text environment Carnival Panel III.

Rewriting Freud iOS app

Rewriting Freud has just been made as an iOS Universal app and is now for sale on the iTunes App Store.

This is the next incarnation of the conceptual artwork Re-Writing Freud by Simon Morris.


For the book work, Re-Writing Freud the artist Simon Morris has re-written Sigmund Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams. A computer programme (designed by Christine Morris) randomly selects words, one at a time from Freud’s 222,704 word text and begins to reconstruct the entire book, word by word, making a new book with the same words, every time the programme is re-started. This book is one instantiation of that process, scrupulously typeset according to the dimensions, fonts, chapter divisions and paragraph lengths of the 1976 Penguin paperback edition of Freud’s work, and printed on equivalent paper stocks.

Morris unleashes a virus. He puts a contagious process to work, intervening in Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams, rupturing it and returning it to us in a new order. By subjecting Freud’s words to a random re-distribution, meaning is turned into non-meaning and the spectator is put to work to make sense of the new poetic juxtapositions. The world of dreams is subject to the laws of the irrational and Re-Writing Freud gives the spectator the chance to view Freud’s text in its primal state. This fine production was printed by Imschoot, Ghent, in an edition of 1000, and given their blue stamp of approval. With a conceptualist formalism, Morris’ version of Freud’s text follows the typographic layout found in the edition of Freud’s work owned by his long-term collaborator, the psychoanalyst Dr. Howard Britton, whose worn book cover and ‘Big Daddy’ sticker from a Sugar Puffs cereal packet sets the tone for Morris’ appropriation.

“With Re-Writing Freud, judgments about sense no longer themselves make any sense. The reader who responds to this book by complaining that it is nonsensical is neither right nor wrong, but asking the wrong question, posing an impossible problem in response this book’s insistent imaginary solution.” – Professor Craig Dworkin, University of Utah, from the Introduction to Re-Writing Freud, ‘Grammar Degree Zero’

Read more about the project at the Information as Material site.

“Bibliocidal Tendencies”: British Publisher Information as Material Tears Into Literature for Art’s Sake

“Conceptual writing is a fusion of art and literature. This process-based practice involves works where the idea is the writing and the writing is the idea. It is a non-expressive poetry, a poetry of intellect rather than emotion. Non-conceptual writing involves old-fashioned ‘creative’ prose and there’s more than enough of that material in the world already. Conceptual writing appreciates the wealth of text in the world — from the highfalutin to the everyday — understanding that new meaning can be generated through re-framing extant material. Conceptual writing produces a critical relation to non-conceptual writing, and in so doing opens a space of possibility for new forms of readership. We write through the work of others, comfortable in the knowledge that all writing draws on a host of influences. As James Joyce famously remarked: “I am quite content to go down to posterity as a scissors and paste man for that seems to me a harsh but not unjust description.” In conceptual writing the references are explicit rather than implicit.”

More here.

information as material

From Nick Thurston:

“Firstly, (and in another sense, finally!) we’ve readied a new information as material website. You’ll soon notice that it’s WordPress powered, for the sake of compatibility and manageability, and that there’s still plenty of historical information which needs to be posted. However, it’s current, it’s functioning, and we’ll be much more diligent about keeping it so than before. Have a look if you get a chance:

Secondly, attached is the general press release for an information as material-curated exhibition at Shandy Hall (The Laurence Sterne Museum), Coxwold (UK). It runs from September to late October and as you’ll read in the PDF there’s a lot on show and lots of new releases to celebrate. We’ll post full listings on the website nearer the time, but do contact the persons listed in the PR if you’d like to be kept posted by any other means.”

Press release here.

Reading the Removal of Literature

Alan Halsey’s review of December Other Room reader Nick Thurston’s Reading the Removal of Literature can be read at Stride magazine. Here’s the start:

Reading the Remove of Literature is unlike any book I’ve looked at. I’ve read it too but the looking at it is the first essential. With all but a few books one reads without consciousness of seeing. Nick Thurston’s book demands that one look at it constantly and never detach the seeing from the reading – and yet it is only marginally what we generally describe as a ‘visual text’.

The first words of Craig Dworkin’s introduction set the scene: ‘The book you are holding is an edition of Maurice Blanchot’s L’Espace littéraire, although not a word of Blanchot’s text remains. Every page of this book has been assiduously erased by Nick Thurston.

click the LINK for more