Report on University Camarade by Abby Knowles, MA student

I’ve never been very good at sharing. I’ll be polite to your face during tapas but when you take the last olive I will abandon you quicker than I dropped my plan to wax at home on a weekly basis (pretty much immediately).

University Camarade performers and their lecturers

With this in mind, I applied to be part of University Camarade. This show is part of a wider event called The Enemies Project, that is being curated by SJ Fowler (www.stevenjfowler.com). The project is about ‘Contemporary poetry in collaboration, Innovative live literature and Performance Art’ (www.theenemiesproject.com). It’s basically poets sharing; their experiences, knowledge and performance space.

I was accepted onto the project and together with Tom Young, David Yeomans and Joe Shaw, we were paired with a student from another University and asked to create a five-minute experimental poem to perform in London.

What the Chuff is Experimental Poetry?

Good question. Apparently, a lot of things could be classed as experimental poetry: lists or streams of consciousness or shouting a nursery rhyme while sitting on a melon thinking about George Osborne.

The lovely thing about this genre is that you get to throw the ‘traditional’ rule books out the window. You can chuck your stanzas and your enunciation and your commas. Experimental poetry, for me, is all about the experience of the performance and the process reading of a non

                                                                                                                                                                        traditional

                                                                                                                                                                                                poem

                                                                                                                                                                                                               (ta-da!).

The Weekend in London Town

‘Kimberly Campanello’s love of books is more contagious than impetigo’, is a well-known phrase in the Creative Writing department (made up by me, just now).

As part of the weekend, Joe, Tom, David and I were accompanied to London with Kimberly and shown some of her favourite sights around the city. We visited the British Library, The Poetry Library, had half a pint at The French House (they only serve halves so it takes longer for all the writers to get pissed) and went to the alley where Dryden was stabbed to smile for a selfie.

This may sound strange for a Creative Writing student, but before I applied for this course I didn’t read a lot. I used to read when I was at school: I was avid and would write quotes on my bedroom walls in silver pen and I could spend hours in a book shop or library. When I read I felt clever, worthwhile and bloody marvellous.

Little by little I stopped reading. I worked. Ate. Had a baby, turned on the tv. I stopped being curious.

But then I went to London at the weekend with some writers and an engaging tutor. That young, intelligent girl I’ve kept stuffed full of reality tv and Maltesers got to peep out. I was spoken to as a writer and I felt encouraged and valued and really fucking happy.

I ended the trip in a bookshop. I bought myself something random just because the cover looked interesting and I bought my daughter a book about amazing women to read to her bedtime. I’ve hardly watched any tv since.

The University Camarade Process

Tom (partnered with Michael Sutton from Edge Hill University): “We had the balance of getting on with our own things but we came back and wrote in response to each other.”

David (partnered with Kieran Wyatt from Edge Hill University): “We emailed our poems back and forth with increasing frequency. I found I was looking forward to each new draft.”

Joe (partnered with Jennah Fletcher from Kingston University): “It was a challenge with distance and communication, but it’s made me learn about my own writing process and style.”

Me (partnered with Vilde-Valerie Torset from Kingston University): “I worried we wouldn’t have any common ground but once we started talking the process became easy.”

The subject matter for our poems varied: David and Kieran wrote about entrapment and enclosure, an intelligent piece conveying characters in contrast to one another.

Tom and Michael focused on their train journeys home (this is a basic description for what was an ELECTRIFYING performance – put your tea down and watch it now, right now).

Joe wrote about Sophia the Robot and how it has got Citizenship when a lot of humans don’t have that basic right. Jennah’s subject matter was different but their performance together was cleverly timed and delivered so that the poems became one entity.

Vilde-Valarie and I wrote about the performances we do as women, she from a young person’s point of view, me from a married mother’s point of view.

The Performance

Was fucking terrifying. The microphone looked enormous and I could hardly look up from my piece of paper.

Having said that, there was nothing but encouragement and support from the audience and fellow poets. Looking back at the performance, you can’t even tell I’m shaking and now I can’t wait to get back on stage and do some more poetry.

I will know for next time that microphones aren’t that intimidating and that five minutes is not a long time once you’re up there. If you get the chance to be part of this project you really should (even if it’s just to visit a library with Kimberly – that was worth it in itself).

As Tom so succinctly put it: ‘can we do that all over again?’

To view all our trip photos on Twitter click here.

Writing Surgery for Third Years! (with cake…)

We will be running a special writing surgery for third years on 14th February from 2:30 in the upstairs bar of the Student Union building. Refreshments will be provided.

This writing surgery will be an opportunity to bring pieces of your writing to discuss with a tutor and with each other. You can bring work you are developing for modules, your dissertation/creative writing project, writing competitions, or anything else you are working on. Feel free to bring more than one piece of writing.

We will also be briefly discussing postgraduate study and career planning. YA writer and RLF Fellow Zoe Marriott will talk to you about her writing career and about how you can get additional support with your writing as you develop your dissertations. Please confirm attendance at the Eventbrite link so we can order the right amount of catering (coffee and cakes). The bar will be open from 4:30-6 upstairs specifically for us.

Book your place (and cake) here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/writing-surgery-next-steps-for-you-and-your-creative-writing-tickets-42453528647?utm_term=eventurl_text

Writing workshop at the hostel.

MA Symposium

Transformation: Literature, Creative Writing, and Change

Thursday 28 June 2018

De Grey building, York St John University

To transform is to change. We live in a society gripped by change. In the span of a generation, for example, technology has fundamentally transformed the way we conduct our lives, from personal relationships to international politics. Literature has always been a site for the exploration of transformation, both of society and of the self. The world of literature is transforming, pushing towards openness and inclusivity. Technology has transformed how we consume literature and how literature is made available to us, allowing marginalised voices to gain an audience and creating communities of readers who transform their own and others’ understandings of texts.

This one-day symposium invites critical and creative reflections on transformation in contemporary literature and media (from 1971 onwards). We aim to address a number of topics related to transformation. How has criticism and scholarship responded to change? Does our understanding of the future transform our past? How are texts transformed by the sociopolitical climate in which they are created? How do texts, in turn, transform the world around it? How do readers or audiences transform the meaning of a text to suit their needs? How are texts transformed by the environment in which they are created or consumed? What transformations are happening in contemporary media and literature and what changes might we see going forward?

We welcome proposals from MA students for 15-20 minute critical or creative responses on the topic of transformation. Group proposals of up to three speakers are also welcome. We would also like to invite final year undergraduate students to submit individual proposals for 10-15 minute presentations. ‘Literature’ and ‘Creative Writing’ should be understood very broadly and we welcome proposals exploring film, media, television, digital platforms and texts, theatre, art, and music.

Submissions might address, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Encounters and community – transformations of and through community
  • Transformation of the self
  • Transformation of a text
  • ‘Transformative’ experiences: reading, texts, and subjectivity
  • Transformation of the learning and writing environment
  • How writing has transformed
  • Conservation, preservation, reservation – resisting change
  • Turning towards utopia/dystopia
  • Retrospective transformation/anticipating change
  • Eco-criticism, the environment, and ecological changes
  • Digital pasts; analogue futures
  • Being and becoming human/animal
  • Transforming perspectives
  • ‘Change history’: transforming ‘origin stories’

Please send abstracts of 300 words to Transformation.Symposium@gmail.com by 15 March 2018.

Promoting Beyond the Walls 2018: Hello from the promotion team!

 

Promotions Team

This year we are already hard at work advertising the Beyond the Walls 2018 anthology, which will be published by Valley Press. So, here’s a quick update of what we’ve done, what’s coming up and how you can stay involved.

Just to let you know that the deadline to hand in your creative work for this anthology is 16th February. You may submit work previously written for your modules. The submission guidelines are:

  1. You must provide a cover letter that includes your name, programme and year of study.
  2. The max word count for prose (fiction or non-fiction) is 1200 words.
  3. The max number of poems is 3.
  4. The max number of images as JPEGS or a link to a portfolio is 3.
  5. You may submit in more than one genre/form.

You can email your work as attachments to: beyondthewalls2018@outlook.com

Our job as the promotion team is to promote the creation of the book and then the event that launches it. So, for now we are focusing on promoting the submission itself. To do this we had team meeting to create our social media.

First, we looked at previous years’ accounts and made the goal to have a stronger presence on these sites. The Facebook we created has already reached this goal.

Facebook Post

Facebook Post

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Come join on Facebook at YSJ Beyond the Walls 2018.

Our Twitter has also gained a following and even appeared in the SU:

SU Feed

Follow us at @beyondwalls2018

And last but certainly not least is our Instagram account, which you can find by searching: ysjbeyondthewalls2018.

Instagram Post

We knew it was important to get the word out, so we decided to come into lectures and speak to you face to face. Over tea and toasties, we organised who was going where and how we would inform you. We’ve already visited a few lectures and it has been and will continue to be a successful venture.

In the future we will be using our social media accounts to promote the launch which is part of York Literature Festival. This free event will take place on 21st March 2018 at 6.30pm in The Basement (City Screen). It includes readings by Valley Press authors Nigel Forde and Nora Chassler. Don’t forget to book your free tickets here.

We can’t wait to read your work so please remember to submit before the deadline the 16th February.

York St John University Creative Writing students on the 2nd year Publishing, Production and Performance module are seeking submissions of writing and art for Beyond the Walls, an anthology showcasing work by YSJ students.

Last year’s edition of Beyond the Walls

The anthology will be published and distributed internationally by Valley Press. Additionally, we will select five of the published writers to read from their work at the Beyond the Walls launch event on the 21st of March at The Basement at City Screen as part of York Literature Festival. Selected readers will share the stage with Valley Press authors Nora Chassler and Nigel Forde.

This is an outstanding platform to showcase your work.

We are looking for fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction on any subject or theme. You may submit work previously written for your modules.

We are also seeking visual art, photography or design images for the cover. Last year’s gorgeous Van Gogh-inspired cover was designed by BA (Hons) Design student Ellen Shaw.

Submission Guidelines:

Please provide a cover letter along with your submission identifying your name, programme and year.

1. max 1200 word count for prose

2. max 3 poems per submission

3. max 3 images submitted as JPEGS or with a link to portfolio

4. You may submit in more than one genre/form

Email work as attachments to beyondthewalls2018@outlook.com

The submission window opens on Friday, January 26 and closes at 11:59 pm on Friday, February 16.

 

 

York Literature Festival Events

York St John University supports and hosts a number of events as a partner of York Literature Festival. The festival promotes the arts in York, with an emphasis on literature, spoken word and poetry. They also feature music, comedy, cinema and theatre in the programme. This year the festival will run from Thursday 15 March 2018 until Monday 26 March 2018 across a number of venues in York. The York St John programme of events taking place at York St John University and York Theatre Royal are as follows:

Thursday 15 March – Launch of York Literature Festival and York Centre for Writing (with Fiona Mozley and YSJ Creative Writing Staff) 

For full details and to book tickets please visit the Theatre Royal page.

 

Tuesday 20 March – Poetry Workshop with Geraldine Monk and Nisha Ramayya

For full details and to book free tickets please visit the Eventbrite page.

 

Tuesday 20 March – Geraldine Monk and Nisha Ramayya

For full details and to book free tickets please visit the Eventbrite page.

 

Wednesday 21 March – Research, Writing & Revision: The Art of Paperback Writing with Jack Sheffield

For full details and to book free tickets please visit the Eventbrite page.

 

Wednesday 21 March – Beyond the Walls Anthology Launch and Student Showcase

For full details and to book free tickets please visit the Eventbrite page.

 

Thursday 22 March – Launch of the Pollination Project Anthology

For full details and to book free tickets please visit the Eventbrite page.

 

Friday 23 March – 200 Years of Frankenstein 1818-2018: Mary Shelley’s monstrous legacy, with Angela Wright

For full details and to book free tickets please visit the Eventbrite page.

 

Saturday 24 March – Writers and Artists One Day Creative Writing Conference

For full details and to book tickets please visit the Writers and Artists Website.

Storytelling and Spoken Word Laboratory

THE TALE EXCHANGE, or,

How To Be A Magpie

Storytelling and Spoken Word Laboratory

With storyteller Cath Heinemeyer and spoken word artists Imogen Godwin and Henry Raby

 

Round 1. 24th Jan, 1-2:15, Quad South Hall. We will steal elements of a strange Siberian folktale, and pass them through the prism of drama to make rapid words for performance.

Round 2. 31st Jan, 1-2:15, Quad South Hall. We will receive a missive from another group working on the same story on the other side of our city, and answer it. And vice versa.

 

Round 3. Thurs 1st Feb, 5:30-7:30, MB004. The Tale Exchange. The story made large at a spoken word event with Henry Raby. With pizza.

 

Free for all YSJU students – try and come to all 3 if you can.

This is a Things As They Are event. To book your place, email c.heinemeyer@yorksj.ac.uk

York St John Creative Writing Students Perform in London

In February, four York St John Creative Writing students will perform collaborative experimental pieces.

University Camarade III – February Saturday 10th 2018: 

Rich Mix, London

7PM – FREE ENTRY / VENUE 2 / 35-47 Bethnal Green Rd, London E1 6LA www.richmix.org.uk

A unique collaborative event, students from the Creative Writing departments of Kingston University, Edge Hill University, York St John, and Glasgow present a dozen brand new works in collaboration. Featuring:

YVONNE LITSCHEL & BRONTE PLEASANTS
VILDE TORSET & ABBY KNOWLES
JAMIE TOY & EDWIN STEVENS
SILJE REE & HANNAH SUMMERS
EMILY MOYCE & JAI BROUGH
AMJAD HAJYASSIN & LUCY CASH
JENNAH FLETCHER & JOE SHAW
SVETLANA ONYE & HEATHER O’DONNELL
TOM YOUNG & MICHAEL SUTTON
KIERAN WYATT & DAVID YEOMANS

Abby Knowles

 

Abby Knowles is a poet from North Yorkshire. Struggling with work, childcare and wifing while gaining her Master’s Degree in Creative Writing, Abby is usually one solid poem away from a hilarious mental breakdown. Last week she did the school run with her trousers on backwards.

 

 

 

Tom Young

 

 

Cooking smoke. Aching knees. Heckles, hockles, shocks and burns. Dust from under floorboards congealing into thick, black mud in the nose. Weepy weekend people blowing home, howling into the hills. Fat heads, fat tongues. Malignant breaths, exuding regrets. Dead dells. Thomas Jonathon Young writes memories from the Dales of Durham.

 

 

             

 

Joe Shaw

 

 

Joe Shaw is an experimental poet and visual artist studying at York St. John university. His writing explores the concepts of queer aesthetics and identity. He won the Northern Youth’s ‘Slay on Words’ – a poetry slam collaboration between York universities in 2017.

 

 

 

 

David Yeomans chose the Creative Writing MA at York St John University to deepen his knowledge and practice of writing. Although set on course to write mass-market thrillers, he has found poetry and needs to explore this form. When not writing, he works as a full time NHS psychiatrist.