Friday, October 24, 2014

25 Edge Hill Poets: Scott Thurston

Photo of Scott Thurston reading from his sequence ‘Turning’ at The Knives Forks and Spoons garden party in Newton-le-Willows, 23 April 2011, taken by Phil Davenport

la limite de nos mouvements en désordre dans cet espace étroit déjà renouvelé


Dream of revaluing everything all the time when
everything is all the same. Thinking with the body’s
things as they move. Scared of the death sense
made of the guilt fiery encounters in personal and
public history. Snare the stuck habit, a new feeling

situation did not send my attention this way. Adjust
the symbols as you are pulled through the space: someone
consistent, someone changing. Did I move too fast, too
slow, too high, too low? Consumption of an elastic kind,
just like honey.

What I came to name later, being looked after
by these figures, dreaming the basis of what now realised.
I move the way I write in a moment of a real
loss noticed. A soldier about to shoot the farmer, making
a slow motion crash into an obstacle of wooden panels.

To say something while you move would be movement too.
Something moves me, I did not do it. The reactions are
the movement, dream-like, not material. Counterweight
reflection on fidelity and loyalty, recognising what tensed
against it, the contingency of the same.

The discipline between release in the front, in the back:
the sex of place. Imagining the witness, witnessing
the witness, to destabilise the whole effect. You brought
light in. Have I stood too firm in myself? Am I near or far
from my ego?

I undertook a PhD in Poetics (1997-2002) as the first to do so at what was then Edge Hill College of Higher Education. My supervisor was Robert Sheppard – a quite possibly unique relationship since he had been teaching me ‘A’ Level English in Surrey only some six years previously! I had an amazing, expansive time at Edge Hill, not only as a research student, but also as a regular part-time lecturer – cutting my teeth on teaching TESOL, Creative Writing and English Literature. I felt very much part of the team and still remember fondly the departmental habit of having lunch together, which is so rare as to be practically extinct these days. It was huge fun working alongside Helen Newall and Julie Armstrong-Colton on the first year modules in particular.

In order to support the opening stages of my doctoral work I sat in on the Literary Theory seminars for the MA Creative Writing. There was amazing cohort that year and I’m still in touch with many of them, even working with one of them (Ursula Hurley) in my current job at Salford! Being involved in the (still extant) Edge Hill Poetry and Poetics Research Group was also a special part of my experience – giving and receiving intent and sustained feedback on my writing that has remained unequalled. Robert’s important work on poetics was crucial to my development as a researcher and lecturer in Creative Writing – and I worked with him as a research assistant on a project investigating the use of poetics in teaching for the English Subject Centre. This research was referenced in the NAWE benchmarking statement for Creative Writing – the first for the discipline in Higher Education.

As a PhD student I was extremely fortunate to have the presence of Pam Jackson as my internal examiner for my viva – and still recall her brilliant insights about readerships and writerships which she offered during the two and a half hour (!) examination. I also want to acknowledge the invaluable support of Alastair McCulloch and Julie Proud in the Research Office as it then was.
I still regularly attend poetry readings at the Rose Theatre and fondly remember participating in the annual National Poetry Day readings – on one occasion performing the sound poetry of the late, great Bob Cobbing alongside Robert. My working life has not taken me far away and in fact has recently led me back to Edge Hill as I begin a new research collaboration with colleagues in the Dance department. I look forward to continuing to develop my relationship with Edge Hill well into the next 25 years. 

Scott Thurston

Here are some links also:

Author page at Shearsman
Author page at The Archive of the Now
Interviewed at 3:am Magazine
Poetry recordings at Penn Sound
Co-editor of Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry
Co-organiser of The Other Room
Previously on Pages: Introducing Scott Thurston

PS Scott has just been appointed a readership at Salford University.