Watadd was co-founded by Dr Steve Wiley and Ammar Haj Ahmad in July 2015, and since then has organised readings and workshops in the UK and in Palestine. Now based at Birkbeck, Watadd is defined by its porosity, and by its wide range of participants who work within and outside of institutional structures. While not a membership organisation, Watadd has hosted events with poets, activists, artists, academics and playwrights, including Rafeef Ziadeh, Damian Gorman, Ahmed Masoud, Atef Alshaer, Julian Maynard Smith, Max Phillips, Sophia Brown, Stephen Watts, Ghazal Mosadeq, Alice Yousef and Abdullah Sarhan. Watadd has also run events with the P21 Gallery (London) and the Lajee Center (Aida Refugee Camp).
FRANK O’HARA AND FRIENDS & FROM THE ‘SELFIE TO THE STREET’
This one-day colloquium (24 July 2016) brought together poets, academics and members of the public to celebrate the life, work and artistic connections of Frank O’Hara, the New York poet, art critic, filmmaker and MoMA curator who died 50 years ago on July 25th, 1966. The event was organised by the North American Poetics Network of CHASE (Consortium for the Humanities and Arts South-East England). Speakers and readers included Geoff Ward, Daniel Kane, Redell Olsen, Andrea Brady, Prue Chamberlain, Sophie Robinson, Caitlin Docherty, and Jeff Hilson. The event also marked the premiere of ‘From the ‘Selfie to the Street’. A compilation and a collage of a coterie of poets on film, this movie attempted to extend O’Hara’s life-long effort to frame poetry and film together, to see them as part of a single, social shot. The film featured Charles Bernstein, Amy De’Ath, Richard Owens, Libbie Rifkin and Anne Waldman.
Veer Books comes out of the activities of the CPRC, and aims to publish a range of unconforming writing in poetry and poetics, including some texts that other publishers might view as experimental. Operating between Birkbeck College and the University of Surrey, Veer Books have been encouraging new work in poetry and poetics since 2003. We have been seeking to create an audience for the now nearly 100 titles we have published through conferences, workshops and readings in a variety of contexts and locations. We remain open to work that challenges without preconceptions. Veer Books are William Rowe, Ulli Freer, Stephen Mooney, Aodán McCardle, Piers Hugill, Adrian Clarke and Carol Watts.
Running for ten years, Voiceworks was a unique collaboration between poets from the Contemporary Poetics Research Centre at Birkbeck, and composers, singers and instrumentalists from Guildhall School of Music & Drama. New works for voice were created from a long process of exchange, improvisation and practice. The resulting songs, performed at the Wigmore Hall, were a sign of the vibrancy and creative potential of a new generation of work. Many previous participants went on to collaborate on projects in Britain and internationally, or have developed their practice in new directions because of their Voiceworks experience.
THE ROCKDRILL SERIES
The Rockdrill Series series of CDs was published in collaboration with Colin Still of Optic Nerve. The poets featured reading their work are Charles Bernstein, Robert Creeley, Lee Harwood, Tom Raworth, Jerome Rothenberg, Caroline Bergvall, Michael McClure, Maggie O’Sullivan, and Iain Sinclair. Many of these CDs can be purchased through Carcanet.
Constellation Alice Notley: Alice Notley is one of the most distinctive and exceptional voices in contemporary American poetry. On 10 May 2008 she came to the CPRC for a symposium shaped around her voice, which aimed to celebrate her extraordinary writing and generate its own creative ‘work’ of discussion in response. She read throughout, alongside short ten-minute talks by a small group of participants – poets and poet-critics – each of whom had chosen one poem or a short part of her work to explore. The remit was open, so what unrolled throughout the day was a record of engagement with the duration of her reading, including personal responses and kinds of negotiation, reflections on practice, questions of interpretation. Constellation: Alice Notley is both a record of that exchange, revised for a new format, and a wider communal collaboration. It brings together the participants from the day with a more extensive network of connections and voices.
Pores was an Avant-Garde journal of poetic research founded and edited by William Rowe. Assistant and contributing editors who worked on the journal included Stephen Mooney, Aodán McCardle, Piers Hugil, Sean Bonney, Robert Hampson and Caroline Bergvall. The five issues of Pores demonstrate a sustained and remarkable commitment to the investigation and extension of poetic practice and to generating understanding and engagement with contemporary poetries, especially in the UK and Ireland. Since its inception Pores was linked with and supported by the Contemporary Poetics Research Centre.
Readings was a poetics magazine founded and edited by Stephen Mooney, Aodán McCardle and Piers Hugil. In their editorial the editors reserved the right to ‘feature an eclectic set of responses and reactions in and to all items posted…while encouraging intelligent interaction.’