Counting Backwards in two weeks

Counting Backwards is a new series of text-sound-performance events. It takes place on the first Thursday of alternate months at Fuel cafe bar in Withington. The first event is on Thursday 3 June 2010. Entrance is free. Performing at the first event are Mike Cannell, THF Drenching and Holly Pester.

Mike Cannell is an intermedia poly-poet from west Midlands who works in visual, linear and sound poetry of various types. His work is primarily concerned with exploration of the materiality and emotional power of language. He releases the experimental sound poetry podcast l,angu(ages)paz,m, which is to be regarded as both one long, ongoing sound poem and an audio essay proclaiming ideas regarding experimental poetics He is also is the editor of würm, a monthly e-magazine showcasing experimental poetry of all kinds. His work including many e-books can be found at:, worbdlog, {n/o/t/a/t/w/i/t}. His work has featured in online periodicals such as Otoliths and wordforword.

THF Drenching is a free improvisor and composer of musique concrète, based in Manchester, England. As a dictaphone-player, he was one fifth of Derek Bailey’s final band Limescale, and has played with many of the UK’s best improvisors. He was also half of the bricks and dictaphone duo Pleasure-Drenching Improvers. As a poet (writing under his slave name, Stuart Calton) he’s published four books. Three came out on Barque Press and one is self-published. His fifth is awaiting publication. As a composer, he’s completed thirteen albums of musique concrète, electronic music and various dubious overdubbed semi-improvised amalgams.

Holly Pester is an experimental sound poet and writer undergoing practice-led research at Birkbeck, University of London in ‘Speech and the Archive in Intermedia Poetry’. Her performance texts are experiments in the sound and shape of speech, blending pre-verbal noises with semantic surrealism in an investigation into language transmission. She is currently investigating the sound aesthetic of the ‘radio-voice’ and the poetic qualities of analog sound.

Holly Pester regularly performs her poetry at art and literary events in the UK including the Serpentine Gallery Poetry Marathon and the upcoming Text Festival 2011. This also includes collaborative works with regular co-performers Jamie Wilkes and Abbi Oborne. She has been published in numerous journals and an anthology of London poets, City State.

Examples of her work and theory can be found at

Richard Barrett, Matt Dalby, Gary Fisher

Counting Backwards editors

Counting Backwards

At last I can let you know about a new series of events in Manchester.

For a few weeks now Richard Barrett, Gary Fisher and myself have been working on a new series of text-sound-performance events called Counting Backwards.

Beginning Thursday 3 June 2010, Counting Backwards will take as its starting point contemporary text-sound practices that question semantics and received traditions, and emphasise performability.

Counting Backwards takes place at Fuel Cafe Bar in Withington on the first Thursday of alternate months. Entry is free. The flyer for our launch event is below.

Via Matt Dalby

Knives Forks and Spoons second event

We will be holding another of our massively popular book launches. It will take the form of a seminar at the Crescent pub in Salford. Bring a poem if you fancy.

Tuesday 13th April Starts 7pm


Matt Dalby,

Simon Rennie,

Alec Newman.

There will also be a bookstall of proportions as yet unseen by mankind. It will have an old headscarf on it!

via Alec Newman

Matt Dalby reviews the Other Room 15

The second birthday of The Other Room reading series was marked by a packed venue, with more than forty people present to see performances from Ian Davidson, Zoe Skoulding and Matt Welton. Unusually in Matt and to a lesser extent in Zoe there were two poets performing that a reader who relies on the mainstream media for information about poetry might have heard of. This is not to the detriment of either reader, more to the detriment of mainstream media understanding of poetry.


The Other Room Anthology 2009/10

A wonderful thing which is now going to press after finding the bugs in the proof.

Keep your eyes peeled.

Features readers from April 2009-Feb 2010: Tim Atktins, Phil Davenport, Lisa Samuels, Allen Fisher, Alex Davies, Matt Dalby, P. Inman, Tina Darragh, Sean Bonney, Frances Kruk, Craig Dworkin, Michael Haslam, James Davies, Tony Trehy, Nick Thurston, Sophie Robinson, Steve Waling, Rob Holloway, Holly Pester.

More details soon when it’s printed.

Matt Dalby Reviews The Other Room 14

Interesting discussion of February’s readers and notions of performance in poetry and performance in general. Snippet below:

Despite snow there were around thirty people at The Old Abbey Inn for the latest Other Room reading on Wednesday. The readers were Steven Waling, Holly Pester and Rob Holloway. To be honest I found my attention wandering a lot throughout the evening so my account will be pretty unreliable. That wasn’t the poets’ fault, it’s just been a hazy kind of a week, but it may have contributed to some of the misgivings I had that will become apparent.


Missing: 6 years of Poetry Review – reward for finder

A counterblast to Blake Morrison from Matt Dalby:

“Not only are we not really here, it seems we were never here. I would have posted this sooner if I’d got round to reading the weekend Guardian before now. In a review on Saturday Blake Morrison reviewed Fiona Sampson’s A Century of Poetry Review.

Now given that things were fairly eventful round there in the 70’s you’d think there might be plenty of opportunity to mention the British Poetry Revival, Bob Cobbing and so on. Apparently not. The closest he comes are the following:

Controversy also surrounded Eric Mottram in the 1970s, with his radical Anglo-American poetics. Which comes as an aside in a discussion of Muriel Spark’s editorship, and

Several editors of the Poetry Review, including Mottram and later Peter Forbes, strenuously avoided little-Englandism, and there’s a reasonable showing of Americans and Europeans here, including Brodsky, Ginsberg, Ashbery and Primo Levi.

And that’s your lot. Maybe this is reflective of the contents of the book, I can’t find a list of contents and don’t propose buying a copy to find out.”

More Matt Dalby here.

Working methods – speed vs. slowness

“I have always known that I work quickly. My work whether text, visual or sound poems, essays, or whatever else emerges in brief intense bursts. I simply assumed that this was a flaw, that high quality work could only be reached through laborious and extended processes. Education and other aspects of the culture tended to support this belief…But it’s only in the last week that I’ve begun to think that this might not be a fault, it might just be the condition of my mind, the way that I work best. I think part of the reason is there’s a kind of moral supposition that the more carefully thought-out something is the better it is. We distrust pleasure, are suspicious of fun and things that seem effortless.”

Matt Dalby, here.

“Recollection in tranquillity, not derangement of the senses, is the sine qua non of good writing…the digital age has simply compounded a problem caused by the increasing hegemony of one school of writing (the Ionic) over another (the Platonic).”

Andrew Gallix, here.

Matt Dalby – array


“Once again made it with only a whisker to spare. October’s sound poetry CD-R is out now for only £3.

It’s called array and features 12 tracks. They explore simple facets of vocal sounds from plosives to sibilants by way of breaths, scream, whispering and laughter. Some tracks are tightly scripted while others are wholly improvised.

Other than tweaking the volume up and cutting sections off the beginning or end of certain tracks there is only one major edit in production. The various ‘i’ tracks were a single long track consisting of two elements. The first was a drone, made using a loop pedal and then reversed. The second was a vocal track played twice over the reversed drone. The whole track was then split into sections.

Seven microphones of varying quality were used at all times.”

More here.

The Other Room 10 – aftermath

Sean Bonney and Frances Kruk gave us a magnificent evening on 5th August.  Tony Trehy‘s photograph of Sean and Frances above.

Richard Barrett has posted more photographs here.

Matt Dalby has reviewed the evening  and you can read it here

Alex Davies recorded the first half and you can listen to that here.

Thanks to all for these resources and thank you again to Sean, Frances and everyone who came along.

Ad Finitum reviewed by Matt Dalby

Be prepared for the possibility that I will get many things horribly, hilariously wrong. The motivation for this post and the others that will follow, although I’m not currently sure how many that will be, is that I’m simultaneously enjoying and finding it hard to come to an understanding of P.Inman’s work. Therefore I’ve decided to document my thoughts on reading Ad Finitum – which at present I have done in full twice, and will do several times more in the course of these posts.

A thorough review of Ad Finitum by Matt Dalby in three parts…so far!

Part One

Part Two

Part Three