Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Robert Sheppard reading at Knives Forks and Spoons Pop Up (and reflections on set lists and the reporting of poetry readings)

The KnivesForks and Spoons Pop up Reading on the 4th of October 2014 in the public area of St Helens Central Library, Merseyside featured PATRICIA FARRELL, JOANNE ASHCROFT, JAMES BYRNE and ROBERT SHEPPARD.

I have decided that I will list what I read at readings I’ve given. I’m offering this one a little retrospectively, and I thought it best to reflect a little on my imperfect reporting of previous gigs as I did so. I see that I have done it in the past for the so-called (by me!) DeKoninck Tour I gave to launch A Translated Man), but not in any systematic way. I curate each reading I give with some care and I have never read the same set list twice, even on the DeKoninck Tour. It seems such configurations of poems deserve recording, since they are records of important mediations of the work (if only for me but, I hope, not only for me). Interestingly, I did offer the set list for the last reading of the tour here, but that was more a ‘playlist’ for the video of the reading than a simple record. I do keep a record in my diary of what I’ve read. But I plan to do this more systematically in future (and use the ‘set list’ tag in title and keyword tags).

This piece on the opening of 8 Water St recently gives a sense of what we did at the reading and there’s a portion of the single text we performed here. (I’ve also retrospectively added some photos of the event after the original posting, another new aspect to this blog, the re-sculpting of previous posts. This is not an unchangeable ‘journal’ or ‘log’ any longer. Though that’s a different point for separate consideration as I approach the tenth anniversary of this blog.)

I have also got into the habit of removing announcements of forthcoming readings once they’ve happened (such as this one about the launch of The Alchemist’s Mind, here which escaped culling) though interestingly there is a kind of ‘set list’ here (and I’ve added the tag to it retrospectively). Practically I shall turn announcements into reports.

Another kind of ‘set list’ is simply when you have the video embedded in the blog, such as with the ‘Honda Hands’ video of my collaboration with Jeff Hilson here or even of my collaboration with Zoe Skoulding (Gurkan Arnanut, the first collaborative work of the EUOIA, the European Union of Imaginary Authors) which she had to read without me because of illness. Here.
Me reading at the Arts Centre, Edge Hill, to launch the opening of the exhibition of collaborations with Pete Clarke. I am clearly reading work relating to the images (some behind me).

In short, I have been un-systematically offering set lists and account of readings over the years. So here is the first systematic one (with links to poems read and books excerpted):

The Knives Forks and Spoons Pop up Reading on the 4th of October 2014 in the public area of St Helens Central Library, Merseyside featured PATRICIA FARRELL, JOANNE ASHCROFT, JAMES BYRNE and ROBERT SHEPPARD (as such it was an Edge Hill reading too, since we all work there as well as having publications out from the press).

Set List

I designed this reading (which I knew would be in the ‘public area’ of this busy library) around short poems, all of them associated with named ‘places’; I thought this might be a good handle to allow passing trade to grasp or even those concentrating on the reading to keep focussed on (with the ambient noise and bustle). I think I was right in this. No long poem could have stood it. I decided to read some accessible pieces towards the beginning, detour into something more complex, and then bring it back out again, and geographically to return to the North West of England. A long list for a short reading (with the poems' 'locations'):

‘Crescent’ (Berlin Bursts) - Bolton
‘The Only Poem: Mentzendorf House, Riga’ (BB) – Riga
‘Riga Duet’ (BB) – Riga
‘Berlin Bursts (BB) – Berlin
‘After Pasternak’ from Words Out of Time (unpublished; forthcoming KFS) – Sussex, the Saxon Shore, the Downs
‘for Stephen; (Warrant Error) – Prague
‘Netherlands’ (WE) – Netherlands
‘Afghanistan’ (WE) – Afganistan
‘Lebanon’ (WE) – Lebanon
‘London (WE) – IKEA, London
‘Liverpool 2nd July 2007’ (WE) – Liverpool


‘Berlin Bursts’ may be read here.
‘Afghanistan’ may be read here
‘The Only Poem’ and ‘Riga Duet’ may be read here.

Read about Warrant Error here.
And Berlin Bursts here.  
And KFS' Words Out of Time here.