Sunday, April 24, 2011

Lets Talk About Text

Next weekend is the Bury Text Festival. Although more compressed than previous BTFs it is still a weekend full of delights, from the opening at Bury Art Gallery on Saturday morning, to readings/events at a local church and Bury Met during the day. Sunday continues with the NW's current obsession with all things Schwitters, with a full day seminar, before another reading/performance in the evening. Worth a trip out on the tram for some or all of this. Given how many contemporary artists use text in their work, its good to see an exhibition that gives equal voice to writers who use visuals in theirs. From Fluxus, through to the Concrete Poets, through to the YBAs, through to flarf, writing and art fuse together from both different directions, and Greater Manchester is there at the intersection.

Part of that intersection, of course, is The Other Room, and Knives Forks and Spoons Press. The latter had a poetry garden party of sorts yesterday afternoon in Newton-Le-Willows, where along with over a dozen other KFS poets I read a short piece of work to the invited audience. I've missed the Other Room's last couple of events, but with Tom Jenks, James Davies and Scott Thurston amongst the readers yesterday, was able to pick up their latest lovely looking yearly anthology, amongst a few other books and pamphlets. Zoe*, our hosts' Jack Russell ran around the garden making judicious interventions on the reading, turning Matt Dalby's sound art into virtually a duet (he coped admirably, as he describes here), and suddenly disappearing at the point when Robert Sheppard read about a "dog running around in circles." Dogs were present in a few of the works, as was Cornelius Cardew, which probably sums up the experimental poets' juxtaposition of the everyday with the esoteric.

Knives Forks and Spoons have just been justly shortlisted for the Michael Marks Pamphlet Publisher of the year award, a sign of how far they've come in just 18 months or so.

* I originally wrote Zod, rather than Zoe, our hosts' Jack Russell. What a great name for a dog that would be!

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