Sunday, January 31, 2016

MINA LOY event/reading at the Bluecoat, Liverpool (Parmar, Skoulding, Sheppard, Crangle, Ashcroft, Gordon) set list

Christ on a Clothes Line

Myths of the Modern Woman Sat, 30 Jan 2016 4.00 PM - 6.00 PM

Bluecoat, School Lane, Liverpool

Myths of the Modern Woman - an afternoon of readings and discussion curated by Sandeep Parmar, academic, poet and author of The Reading Mina Loy's Autobiographies: Myth of the Modern Woman. The event featured contributions from poets Zoe Skoulding, Sara Crangle, Joanne Ashcroft, Robert Sheppard and artist Melissa Gordon. Read an interview with Sandeep Parmar on Loy here.

Parmar programmed Myths of the Modern Women in response to Loy's writing and to Melissa Gordon's enduring fascination with Loy's play 'Collision' (1916). Gordon's exhibition Fallible Space, an installation determined by the script of 'Collision', provided the backdrop for the afternoon.  The event was introduced by Sandeep Parmar followed by poetry readings by Skoulding, Crangle, Ashcroft and Sheppard. The readings were followed by a round table discussion. 

Mina Loy (1882-1966) is recognised today as one of the most innovative modernist poets and artists, numbering Gertrude Stein, Marcel Duchamp, Joseph Cornell, Djuna Barnes and T.S. Eliot amongst her admirers.

Everybody read special sets assembled (and written) for the afternoon, four carefully crafted performances. Melissa then joined the poets to talk about Loy, experts rubbing shoulders with enthusiasts.
Me reading with Melissa'a piece visible behind

Robert's set (see his website here)

I wrote a new poem for the event, referencing Loy, the previous Saturday, in the Performance Space, inside and around Melissa's installation (which we'd seen assembled as part of a performance of Loy's 'Collision' the evening before; so did Joanne: see her photo here). It's one of a series of poems in which I am trying to be anecdotal to some aesthetic effect. So I began with that:

1. 'Useless Landscape' Partly about the Tom Jobim I was listening to - 'its title floats free' - 'one of Loy's mad bums' spotted in Church Street, and the installation itself: 'A sharp shard in suspense'. Unpublished.
2. 'Only the Eyes are Left, for Mina Loy' (in Hymns to the God and History or Sleep; see here)
3 'A Scapel of Light Slicing through a Smile, for Charlotte Saloman'. (from Hymns)
4 'Leeds' (unpublished exploration of modernism)
5 'Empty Diary 1920' (see below) from Empty Diaries and Twentieth Century Blues (see here)
6 'Empty Diary 2009: Hellstew Microblog' (unpublished, from 'Wiped Weblogs', a row of Song Nets)     

Empty Diary 1920

Grippe Espagnole

                        Split in a

mirror, gloves or fingers in

their meadow of scarf lines, with

its censure, like a man’s. I’ve

shelves of those Everyman books,

a chair in front of the fire.

Light up, read Goldman, bloomers

under the wet umbrella.


I’m photographed in front of

my portrait, self-vigilant,

a seismic oscillation

of bone, cruel beauty dances

for a field of fogged lenses.

Only a master could paint

the crumple of rich dresses;

                        my nest of

hair for marble eyes to steal

a home, crystal beads trembling

under those hot sick fans. Such

tyranny behind men’s masks

breeds: Poisons sprayed onto bus

seats, nestling between the hard

joints, sticky with the flu’s beads.

Image result for mina loy

Classic Loy - Man Ray