Saturday, March 16, 2019

My REF statement describing Twitters for a Lark / Review of the book in Tears in the Fence

I may be retired from Edge Hill but, as you may know from reading three previous posts, they can still use my publications from my period of employment in the dreaded REF process. Part of the process for those entering creative writing involves the writing of a 300 word introduction to the work. That’s four out of the five. I thought I’d put them on my blog. I don’t think I’ve perjured myself. Indeed, making them public seems a useful thing to do. I’m not offering them as a model, but they might help somebody write their own. It might also – in this context – draw people’s attention to the book, persuade them to buy it, even.

It is the very different Twitters for a Lark, about which I have written the following:

Twitters for a Lark: Poetry of the European Union of Imaginary Authors (with Others), Bristol: Shearsman Books, 2017

If the right poets for the times don’t exist, then they have to be invented. Working with this axiom, I co-created the works described above. While collaboration is a major mode of contemporary poesis, and these poems have been parts or wholes of at least 5 performances, this project is unique in collecting multi-authored collaborations under one concept. I was able also to combine working with both well-known and emergent writers of various poetical persuasions. It was an experiment in the creation of fictional poets and exposes the fiction of ‘voice’ as a construct of careful artifice. Like its sister book, A Translated Man, it researches the limits of what Foucault calls the ‘author-function’ through the means of ‘fictional poems’, to use Bruns’ term. Not a hoax (the book foregrounds its fictiveness), this work operates in some relation to the Ern Malley Hoax and to the use of heteronyms by Pessoa. The collaborative element helped to create the illusion that each invented poet (one for each of the EU countries) was an individual, but ensuring that they were quite different: from conceptualists to Oulipeans, from lyricists to experimentalists. Fictional biographies at the end of the book (commingled with ‘real’ bibliographies) destablises the unreality of the project. The EUOIA project (as I call it) was conceived before Brexit, but performances and the reception of the book have been coloured by this divisive issue. (The book itself very clearly reveals the authors of the poems.)


Norman Jope’s review ‘Games Across Frontiers’ (Twitters for a Lark) appears in the new Tears in the Fence 69, Spring 2019: 122-127. I rather liked: ‘Each imagined poet is like a fabulous beast, imagined by a tonsured scribe at a bench’ (Norman Jope)

See also Billy Mills: ‘Poetry after Brexit’ (Twitters for a Lark): Elliptical Movements (web), 13th May 2018.  Read this review  Here

This is joined by Annie Runkel, ‘Twitters for a Lark’, Dundee University Review of the Arts, at in May 2019.

There are rather a lot of references to the book and to EUOIA on this blog, so here are a few links to hubposts that have links to other posts and/or videos of the many performances by myself and collaborators (and sometimes not with me):

To find out more or less about the EUOIA check the EUOIA website which is still live at,

Access the other REF statements on my 2014-2017 output via links accompanying the first one here: