Rehearsal tonight with Zoe Fothergill

Apols for the blurry photo but I thought it’d be fun to record the pace quickening

Zoe prep two

event details here

A formless monster of dismaying length. (our lecture)

My collaboration with Zoe Fothergill is nearing its ruly/unruly climax. Here’s the event poster, designed by Wakaka co-host Chris Walker.

Facebook event here.

10 days to go!

Zoe F and Iain M poster

Al Filreis: Modern Poetry course online, starting in September

Hi y’all, (kitsch American greeting explained below, although apologies for being geographically way out!)

I’ve found out that Al Filreis – one of the most omni-present names in places that contemporary poetry is discussed – runs a free online course on ‘Modern Poetry’ each year. By modern poetry here he means charting the development of poetry from Dickinson and Whitman to the present day, and the course only looks at American Poets. Despite that stricture, it seems commendably broad.

Here’s a video Al F made with some of his students to promote the course last year. It’s complete with some pleasingly bashful camera work and initially unexplained presentation of Al F tightly boxed in the frame by two young women who react silently to everything he says. He seems like a lovely guy, I have to say.

Anyway, I think I may well take part in the course when it starts in 2013 on September 7th. It runs for 10 weeks and you only have to sign-up with an email address I believe.

Below is the link for more info on the course and how to sign-up:

‘If you haven’t enrolled in ModPo yet, go here to register:…. It’s free. The course begins on September 7 and runs for 10 weeks.’

Zoe Fothergill Collaboration: the structure vs. form quiz

An update on how my current collaborative venture with Zoe Fothergill is going. We’ve set a date for the kitchen lecture too, the 2nd of March, so we’re heading into the final straits. This post below charts where we found ourselves just after the new year:

Given that Zoe and I met first of all at a ‘pub’ quiz at a previous Project !!Wakaka! event, it seemed that a reasonable next step forwards in our Structure/Content  discussion might be to set ourselves a quiz of our own devising. The aim was to clarify our understanding what we meant by the words ‘form’ and ‘structure’ so that we could proceed clearly to the fun bit.

I put together the following questions in response to Zoe’s and my initial discussion, fuelled by a thirst to know what we were talking about when we talked about form (as Raymond Carver’s story collection might less-memorably have been called).

I sent Zoe the questions and asked her if she would agree to us completing our own shortish responses and then sharing them with each other at an agreed time, so that neither of us would be responding to the other’s answers or assumptions. I also asked if she would like to add any questions to the list before we proceeded. The list of questions below is the final set we responded to, complete with questioning annotations.

Feel free to contribute your own answers in the comments!


Quiz on Structure and Form

Can you give some examples of structures in art? (just visual or literary, dance, music etc too?)

List some interesting structures outwith the arts

Is structure a fixed thing?

What is your definition of structure and form?

Which is sturdier, form or structure?

How is poetry structured?

Can you give some examples of form in art?

Can you give some examples of form in poetry?

Which might change more in the making of a piece: form or structure?

What would you understand a ‘structuring device’ to mean?

Is there an artform in which it doesn’t make sense to talk about structure?

Is there an artform in which it doesn’t make sense to talk about form?

Which is most visible to a viewer/reader in a finished piece: form or structure.

Can you think of a song that has either the words ‘structure’ or ‘form’ in its lyrics ?(bonus points for finding a song which has both)

Can you think of any artworks with the words ‘structure’ or ‘form’ in its title? (ditto)

What’s the most formally successful work you’ve ever done? also ever encountered?

Complete the following sentence: The main difference between structure and form is …………………………………………………..

How do you approach making a new piece? (i prefer work to piece – do you mind if we change it? i have jam sandwiches in my head with piece)

Can a piece have no structure?

Can a piece have no form?

Can a work have no content?

Can a work have no meaning?

If form follows function, what does structure follow? (love this question!)

If the medium is the message, can the structure be the content?

When does structure become stricture?

Can the whole of the definition of ‘structure’ be covered by the bigger, more various definitions of the word ‘form’?

Explain what it means to say that structure becomes the content?

What is your favourite prefix to -structure and to -form?

How does the revelation of structure influence meaning?

Without rules and structure what can be assessed?

Is structure a false place to start?

Do you consider preoccupation with structure to be an avoidance of content?

Why is ‘how’ more interesting than ‘what’ but not as compelling as ‘why’?

Sedated By a Brick, murmurings and performancy

Sedated By a Brick,  a performance group in Bristol I wish I was seeing more of, posted on their blog today about stuff they’re doing in March. Incidental to the main thrust of their message was this text image which pressed my attractively-lit visual poetry buttons.


Read the post from whence it came here.



It’s February. Weeping, take ink.
Find words in a sobbing rush
For February, while black spring
Burns through the rumbling slush.

And take a cab. Ride for a rouble
Through wheel racket and bells’ throbbing
To where the downpour makes more din
Than the sound of ink and sobbing;

Where rooks in thousands, like charred pears
Windfallen from their branch-thick skies,
Drop into puddles and bring down
Desolation deep into dry eyes.

Thawed patches underneath show black,
The wind is furrowed with cries, and then,
The more suddenly the more surely,
Verses sob from the pen.


Boris Pasternak


I have truck with this

Spotted poet-friend Gerry Loose’s name in a link to this online magazine. Haven’t investigated fully but have seen enough to come back for more. Am intrigued by Gerry’s arrows, for a start. I like a good arrow or non-textual signifier!


Anyway, ladies and gentleman, I introduce TRUCK.