Words on the Move


Words on the Move: A Day of Talks and Performances across Languages, a collaboration between the Stories in Transit project, the Contemporary Poetics Research Centre (CPRC) at Birkbeck and www.watadd.com.

1 November, Keynes Library, 43 Gordon Square (1-7pm)

Book your place for free via Eventbrite

Animating Questions
1. Can culture, and specifically storytelling (in any form) provide shelter for people who have lost their homes? Can a tale become a home? Can a poem? Can a memory of literature and the process of making it over and over again build ‘a country of words’ (Mahmoud Darwish)? Can narratives build a place of belonging for those without a nation?

2. How do experiences of conflict and forced migration place pressure on narrative form? How might artists and writers respond or register these pressures in their creative work? What are the possibilities for creative collaboration in this context?

3. What methods and processes can be developed together to allow the unfolding and generation of stories? What role can imaginary narrative and non-narrative form play in contemporary conditions? In what ways can the ancient human capacity to tell and pass on stories help in the present crisis?

4. What are the best uses of contemporary media for supporting exchanges of stories across borders and to ease and/or explore communications between languages and cultures? How might we talk about and make texts that work across multiple languages (including non-verbal languages such as dance, music and visual art)?

1pm — Professor Marina Warner (Birkbeck) Introductory Remarks

1:15pm — Dr Steve Willey (Birkbeck) ‘Multi-Lingual Workshops’

1:30pm — Keynote Address, Dr Caroline Bergvall ‘Methods of Engagement’

2:30pm — Dr Camilla Nelson, (Schumacher College) ‘Performative Reflections on “Reading Movement” in Palestine’

4pm — Paula Claire, ‘Yet More War…and Peace’ (performance inviting creative response)

5pm — Dr Atef Alshaer, (University of Westminster) ‘Individual and Collective Voices in the Poetry of Mahmoud Darwish’

5:30pm — Fuensanta Zamrana Ruiz ’The Language of Violins: Teaching at the Baremboim-Said Foundation’

6pm — Roundtable, Chair: Professor Matthew Reynolds (St Anne’s College, Oxford University)

Professor Marina Warner, Professor of English and Creative Writing at Birkbeck College, University of London and a Professorial Research Fellow, SOAS, 2014-2017

Dr Steve Willey, Lecturer in Creative and Critical Writing at Birkbeck College, University of London, and Director of the Contemporary Poetics Research Centre


Watadd is a collaboration between London based poet and academic Steve Willey and Syrian actor, poet and filmmaker based in London Ammar Haj Ahmad. For the launch event (7-9 pm, 9 July, P21 Gallery, 1 Chalton Street, London NW1 1JD) they are going to read from their own poetry and from each other’s in translation. More at the Watadd site.

Veer into Benefits 5: Launch of ‘Elegy’

Wednesday, 11 December 2013, 19:30 until 22:00. The Village Hall, Shoreditch Works, 33 Hoxton Square, N1 6NN.

Introduction and short reading by Will Rowe. Extended reading from ‘Elegy’ (London: Veer, 2013) by Steve Willey, featuring collaborative performances with Tom Bamford and others. Also, talks, further readers, and performances T.B.A.

Entrance: Free. Booze situation is Bring your own.

Xing the Zone

Launch of issue one of ZONE. Readings by contributors Tim Atkins, Natalie Bradbeer, Amy Evans, Ollie Evans, Nancy Gaffield, Ben Hickman, Jeff Hilson, Doug Jones, Dorothy Lehane, Richard Parker, Will Rowe, Juha Virtanen, Steve Willey.

Syndicate 7: NANO

Inspace, 1 Crichton Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9AB. Thursday, 19 September 2013, 18:45.

Technology isn’t just changing the way poetry is produced and disseminated, and it isn’t just creating new media forms for poets to colonise. It’s also creating a context in which many techniques characteristic of experimental poetic practice have become commonplace. Join us as Syndicate curates a series of live performances, installations and dialogues at the raw intersection of avant-garde poetics, technology and cyberculture.

Performing tonight:: Sandra Alland / Steve Willey / Ian Davidson


Sandra Alland is a writer, filmmaker, interdisciplinary artist and performer. She has published and presented her work throughout the UK, Europe, the US and Canada. In 2009, Edinburgh’s Forest Publications published Sandra’s chapbook of short fiction, Here’s To Wang, which went into its second printing in 2010. Sandra has published three books of poetry: Naturally Speaking (Toronto: espresso, 2012); Blissful Times (Toronto: BookThug, 2007); and Proof of a Tongue (Toronto: McGilligan, 2004). Sandra curates Cachín Cachán Cachunga Queer & Trans* Cabaret in Edinburgh, and was recently guest editor at Jacket2 for a special issue on Scottish poets. http://www.blissfultimes.ca.

Steve Willey lives in Whitechapel, London. His poetry has been widely anthologized including in: Dear World and Everyone In It (Bloodaxe, 2013); Better Than Language (Ganzfeld press, 2011); and City State (Penned In The Margins, 2009). His long-form poem Elegy (his debut collection) was published by Veer Books in July 2013, but you can’t get it yet. Steve enjoys working collaboratively and across different media, and in the past he has worked with the composer Edward Nesbit and the post-rock band Rumour Cubes on pieces that have been performed at the Wigmore Hall and at Glastonbury Music Festival respectively. Steve’s current poetic projects derive from a trip he took to Aida Refugee Camp in 2009, and a further visit in August 2013. He holds a PhD on the subject of Bob Cobbing 1950-1978: Poetry, Performance and the Institution, from Queen Mary, University of London. With Tom Bamford he runs the Benefits event series in London, and he is happy to be contacted via http://www.stevewilley.com.

Ian Davidson’s latest poetry collection, Partly in Riga (Shearsman 2010) was mostly written while on a residency in Latvia. His current project explores the ways that practices and ideas of movement and mobility, particularly those of humans, relate to contemporary writing. He has made extensive use of a seven syllable line, a quantity that always seems incomplete, and see the pamphlet Into Thick Hair (Wild Honey 2011) for an example. Other poetry collections include Harsh (Spectacular Diseases 2003), As if Only (Shearsman 2007) and At a Stretch (Shearsman 2004), and critical books include Ideas of Space in Contemporary Poetry (Palgrave 2007) and Radical Spaces of Poetry (Palgrave 2010).

Expect:: Innovative poetics, multi-media artworks, interactive performances, lively debate and sparkling wine.

About:: Syndicate is a unique initiative bringing together writers, musicians, artists and researchers working with and in response to digital technologies, new media and evolving network practices. It is organised by Lila Matsumoto, Jo L. Walton and Samantha Walton in collaboration with Inspace and with the support of the Edinburgh Fund’s Innovative Initiative Grant.