The Brontë Sisters Power Dolls

Fighting sexism in the publishing industry…


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POLYply reading: Peter Gizzi and Drew Milne

This is the first in a new reading series initiated by the RH Poetics Research Group. All welcome. Free entry and wine.

7pm, Tuesday 18 May
16 Acton Street, Kings Cross. London. WC1X 9NG.,-4.064941&sspn=17.361197,42.099609&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=London+WC1X+9NG,+United+Kingdom&z=16
Peter Gizzi is author of The Outernationale (Wesleyan, 2007), Some
Values of Landscape and Weather (Wesleyan, 2003), Artificial Heart
(Burning Deck, 1998), and Periplum (Avec Books, 1992; republished by
Salt, 2004). His editing projects have included o•blék: a journal of
language arts (1987-1993), The Exact Change Yearbook (Exact Change/
Carcanet, 1995), The House That Jack Built: The Collected Lectures of
Jack Spicer (Wesleyan, 1998), and My Vocabulary Did This to Me: The
Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer (Wesleyan, 2008). He is the poetry
editor for The Nation.

Drew Milne’s books of poetry include Go Figure (2003); Mars Disarmed
(2002); The Damage: new and selected poems (2001); Bench Marks (1998); and
Sheet Mettle (1994). He edits the occasional imprint Parataxis Editions, and has also
edited Modern Critical Thought (2003);
and, with Terry Eagleton, Marxist Literary Theory: A Reader (1996).
He is the Judith E Wilson Lecturer in Drama and Poetry, Faculty of English,
University of Cambridge.

POLYply / Royal Holloway Research Group / MA Poetic Practice /
Centre for Creative Collaboration, University of London.

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Lucy and Christopher have
set up the following new blog:

looking for creative work
for the inaugural upload!

– poetry
– fiction (of varying length)
– non-fiction
– sound pieces
– illustration
– photography

Follow the links for more information…



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I can’t understand what all the fuss is about…

The latest German literary sensation is 17-year-old Helene Hegemann, whose debut novel, Axolotl Roadkill, has sold more than 100,000 copies in just two weeks and is nominated for a major literary award.  Hegemann’s novel is a chronicle of Berlin’s sex-and-drug-fueled techno scene and according to Der Spiegel, “many consider it to be a generation-defining novel.”

Unfortunately for Hegemann, she now finds herself at the center of a growing literary scandal, accused of plagiarism by a writer who claims she lifted whole passages from his techno blog and his novel, Strobo. She has been accused of plagiarizing from other sources as well. What is Hegemann’s response to these serious charges? She says: “I can’t understand what all the fuss is about.”

From the Independent:

In an artful attempt to steal their critics’ thunder Ms Hegemann and her publishers have gone on the offensive. They have managed, in part, to turn what at face value appeared to be a clearcut case of stealing somebody else’s words into a wide-ranging debate about the meaning of plagiarism in the online era. They argue that Axolotl Roadkill is merely an example of modern “intertextual mixing”.


While she acknowledges that she used numerous “sources” for her book, she also claims that she is a member of a different generation of writers which is used to adapting and using the abundance of information available online for its own creative purposes…[Hegemann says] “There is no such thing as originality anyway, there is just authenticity”.

Now, however, Hegemann and her representatives may be backing away from this position.  Again from the Independent:

Yesterday, however, Ms Hegemann’s and her publishers clearly thought it was time to modify their stance. Ullstein published a statement admitting that Ms Hegemann had lifted some 20 excerpts from Strobo virtually word for word. It acknowledged that a further 20 passages came from other texts or were inspired by them. A list of Ms Hegemann’s “sources” will be published in the fourth edition of her book. However the plagiarism question was neatly side-stepped: “This novel follows the aesthetic principle of intertextuality and may contain further excerpts,” the statement concluded. Whether the reading public will accept that explanation remains to be seen.

It’s unclear whether Hegemann actually has personal experience of the techno scene she writes about in her novel or whether she relied solely on other first-hand accounts, which is perhaps how she got herself into trouble.

In discussing Hegemann on the Guardian’s Books Blog, Robert McCrum writes, “When everything is available free online, what is the meaning of copyright?” He closes with this: “…plagiarism is just one part of the literary contract that may now be up for renegotiation in Google-world. Some will say, with Cavafy, that ‘The barbarians are coming.’ I don’t take that line, but I think the renegotiation is increasingly urgent.”

Is the controversy surrounding Axolotl Roadkill a sign of things to come?   [SW]


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95 Cent Skool

The 95 Cent Skool is a 6 day long experimental seminar that will be offered in Oakland, California, July 26-31, 2010. It is convened by Joshua Clover and Juliana Spahr. It will explore the possibilities of poetry writing as part of a larger social practice, at a distance from the economic and professional expectations of institutions. We believe a dozen people sitting around a table can’t ruin poetry, but that costs, professional context, mythologies of individual genius, and client/service-based models can — and in our own experiences teaching in pay-to-play writing programs, often do.

Our concerns in these six days begin with the assumption that poetry has a role to play in the larger political and intellectual sphere of contemporary culture, and that any poetry which subtracts itself from such engagements is no longer of interest. “Social poetics” is not a settled category, and does not necessarily refer to poetry espousing a social vision. It simply assumes that the basis of poetry is not personal expression or the truth of any given individual, but shared social struggle.

The 6 days will feature:
• Morning discussion groups lead by Juliana and Joshua
• Two guest speakers: one on the political economy and one on ecology
• Afternoon group and/or collaborative writing sessions
• Dinners and drinks at a nearby bar

The 6 days will not feature:
• Workshops led by a “master poet”
• Agents or editors who will advise your work into publication
• A Richard Wilbur Celebration Night
• Instruction in reciting poetry to bring out the emotional content of the poem

The final program will be available later in the Spring.

Each participant will be asked to contribute up to 1% of annual gross income as their 95 cents exclusively towards operating expenses. The workshop leaders and as many other organizers as possible will donate their time. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Email us if you’ve got questions about how much you can pay. We will also help in finding free housing for any participants in need.

The program is open to any interested participant with any level of prior engagement with poetry. This program is not affiliated with any institution of higher education and no transferrable institutional credit will be offered. There is no application fee, but space is limited. Please send a note indicating interest and experience to

Please feel encouraged to re/post this listing to your blog or otherwise redistribute. If you would like to receive further information about the 95 Cent Skool, please email the address above, or join the 95 Cent Skool facebook group:
The 95 Cent Skool will happen with the support of Small Press Traffic and ‘A ‘A Arts.

Thank you very much,

the 95¢ Skoolers —

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Poetic Practice Reading Group: this Monday in Egham…

Poetic Practice Reading Group
6.15 – 7.30 pm
International Building, Egham
Room IN045

Monday 1st February 2010

Sophie Robinson

‘writing nonlocation location’ : creating queer space in poetic

I’m going to begin by talking about Bruce Boone’s essay ‘Gay Language
as Political Praxis: The Poetry of Frank O’Hara’. I want to examine
Boone’s reading of O’Hara – particularly concepts of ‘competing
language-cultural codes’, marginalised communities, proximity and
low/derided culture – and discuss the function of ‘gay language’ in
poetic practice.

I want to use these concepts as a starting point for thinking about
contemporary uses of ‘queer language’ by looking at a recent issue of
EOAGH dedicated to the subject. I will be looking closely at kari
edwards’ editorial statement, and the poetry of Abigail Child and Amy
King included in the issue.

I then want to present some of my own recent work, and discuss my
practice in relation to the ideas raised. I particularly want to focus
on forms of queer space (proximity, disorientation, liminality,
occupation, subculture) which both influence and are produced by queer
texts, and will be contextualising this by referring to extracts from
Sara Ahmed’s Queer Phenomenology.

The Bruce Boone essay is here:

And the EOAGH Queering Language issue is here:

Extracts from Ahmed’s Queer Phenomenology are here:

Biography: Sophie Robinson has an MA in Poetic Practice from Royal
Holloway. She is currently completing a practice-based PhD on queer
time and space in experimental poetic practice. Her poetry has
appeared in the anthologies The Reality Street Book of Sonnets (Reality
Street, 2008) and Voice Recognition: 21 Poets for the 21st Century
(Bloodaxe, 2009). Her first book, a, was published by Les Figues press
in 2009, and she has a chapbook forthcoming from Oystercatcher in
Spring 2010. She currently lives and works in London.

All Welcome

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New Website by Recent MA in Poetic Practice Graduates….

Here it is!

We have finally put press free press activities onto a website.

It would be great if you could have a look and let people know!

We will be updating regularly. Feedback welcome!


press free press

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