This Friday's Leap in the dark. If you're on the guest list you'll get an invitation today.
If not, you can find more details and register here.
If not, you can find more details and register here.
A Leap in the Dark 43 Friday 28th August 2020
Spring Journal concluded
A regular Friday night highlight of A Leap in the Dark since we began in early April has been the reading, by Michael Hughes, of Spring Journal, a poetic response in 24 cantos to the Covid-19 crisis by Jonathan Gibbs.
Tonight we reach the final Canto and, to mark the conclusion of this extraordinary work, the evening is devoted to a reading of the entire poem, culminating in Canto XXIV.
Joining Michael and Jonathan as readers will be Kevin Boniface, Marie-Elsa Bragg, Season Butler, Susanna Crossman, Kevin Davey, Emma Devlin, Rónán Hession, Amy McCauley, J O Morgan, Helen Ottaway, Aea Varfis-van Warmelo and Eley Williams, who will each read a canto.
Note: This Leap will be recorded.
There's no charge for taking part in A Leap in the Dark, but please make a donation, no matter how large, to The Trussell Trust.
1 The Pale Usher welcomes you
Overture composed and performed by Helen Ottaway and Melanie Pappenheim
2 Spring Journal, introduced by Jonathan Gibbs
3 Canto I. Michael Hughes
Canto II Kevin Boniface
Canto III Michael Hughes
Canto IV Jonathan Gibbs
Canto V Michael Hughes
Canto VI Marie-Elsa Bragg
Canto VII Michael Hughes
Canto VIII Season Butler
Canto IX Michael Hughes
Canto X Kevin Davey
Canto XI Susanna Crossman
Interval with music composed by Helen Ottaway and performed by Helen and
Canto XII Michael Hughes
Canto XIII Aea Varfis-van Warmelo
Canto XIV Michael Hughes
Canto XV Amy McCauley (as Malady Nelson)
Canto XVI Michael Hughes
Canto XVII Emma Devlin
Canto XVIII Michael Hughes
Canto XIX Michael Hughes
Canto XX Eley Williams
Canto XXI J O Morgan
Canto XXII Michael Hughes
Canto XXIII Rónán Hession
4 Jonathan Gibbs introduces canto XXIV
5 Spring Journal canto XXIV, read by Michael Hughes
6 The Pale Usher signs off
Kevin Boniface is an artist, writer and postman based in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. Over the years his work has taken the form of zines, exhibitions, artists’ books, short films and live performances. He is the author of Round About Town, published by Uniformbooks. kevinboniface.co.uk
Marie-Elsa Bragg is an author, priest, therapist and Duty Chaplain of Westminster Abbey. Her first novel, Towards Mellbreak, was about four generations of a quiet hill farming family on the North Western fells of Cumbria. Her second book, Sleeping Letters (2019) is the description of the the ritual of the Eucharist alongside a compilation of poetry, memoir and fragments of un-sent letters. Marie-Elsa has contributed articles and interviews for papers such as the Telegraph and the Church Times; Radio pieces for BBC Radio 4 and interviews for literary festivals and Story Vault Films.
Season Butler is a writer, artist, dramaturg and lecturer in Performance Studies and Creative Writing. Her writing, research and art practice centre around intersectionality and narratives of otherness, isolation and negotiations with hope. Her debut novel, Cygnet, was published in spring 2019 and won the Writer’s Guild 2020 Award for Best First Novel. http://seasonbutler.com
Susanna Crossman is an award-winning Anglo-French fiction writer and essayist. She has recent/upcoming work in Trauma (Dodo Ink, 2020), Neue Rundschau, (S. Fischer, 2019), (translated into German), We’ll Never Have Paris, (Repeater Books, 2019), The Creative Review, 3:AM Journal, The Lonely Crowd, Berfrois and more. Co-author of the French book, L'Hôpital Le Dessous des Cartes (LEH, 2015), she regularly collaborates on international hybrid arts projects. Her debut novel Dark Island will be published in 2021. For more: @crossmansusanna http://susanna-crossman.squarespace.com/
Kevin Davey is the author of Playing Possum and the forthcoming Radio Joan, both published by Aaargh! Press. His non-fiction work includes English Imaginaries (1999).
Emma Devlin is a graduate of Queen’s University Belfast. Her work has featured in Blackbird and The Bangor Literary Journal. She can be found on Twitter: @theactualemma. Her short story Home, Sisters won the 2019 Benedict Kiely prize.
Jonathan Gibbs is a writer and critic. His first novel, Randall, was published in 2014 by Galley Beggar, and his second, The Large Door, by Boiler House Press last year. He has written on books for various places including the TLS, Brixton Review of Books and The Guardian. He curates the online short story project A Personal Anthology, in which writers, critics and others are invited to 'dream-edit' an anthology of their favourite short fiction. Spring Journal is a response to the current coronavirus pandemic taking its cue very directly from Louis MacNeice's Autumn Journal.
Michael Hughes is the author of two novels: Countenance Divine (2016) and Country (2018) both published by John Murray, the latter winning the 2018 Hellenic Prize. Under his stage name Michael Colgan he recently appeared in the acclaimed HBO television drama Chernobyl.
Amy McCauley is a poet and freelance writer. She is the author of OEDIPA (Guillemot Press, 2018) and 24/7 Brexitland (No Matter Press, 2020). Amy’s first full-length collection of poetry will be published by Henningham Family Press in 2021.
J O Morgan lives and works on a farm in the Scottish Borders . He is the author of six poetry volumes, each of which is a single book-length work, with subjects ranging from ancient and modern British warfare to northern folkloric cultures and quantum physical theory. Natural Mechanical (CB editions 2009) Long Cuts (CB editions, 2011) At Maldon (CB editions, 2013) In Casting Off (HappenStance Press, 2015) Interference Pattern (Jonathan Cape, 2016) Assurances (Jonathan Cape, 2018). His most recent work, The Martian's Regress (Jonathan Cape, 2020), is set in the far future. It considers "what humans become when they lose their humanity," and explores "what a fragile environment eventually makes of those who persist in tampering with it."
Helen Ottaway is a composer and sound artist. She is lead artist with Artmusic, creating and producing collaborative, site-specific art work. She has written for many forces from string quartet to choir and orchestra and recently has started to include found sound in her work. Her writing for hand-punched and hand-wound musical box began during an artist’s residency in Sri Lanka in 2017. Back in the UK she continues to compose for and perform on the instrument. www.artmusic.org.uk https://helenottaway.bandcamp.com/
Melanie Pappenheim is a London-based singer, composer and performer.
Aea Varfis-van Warmelo is a trilingual actor and writer.
Eley Williams is a poet and author of the prize-winning short story collection Attrib. (Influx Press). Her forthcoming novel A Liar’s Dictionary will be published by William Heinemann later this year. She lectures at Royal Holloway, University of London.
The Pale Usher is David Collard, who organises these gatherings.
The pale Usher—threadbare in coat, heart, body, and brain; I see him now. He was ever dusting his old lexicons and grammars, with a queer handkerchief, mockingly embellished with all the gay flags of all the known nations of the world. He loved to dust his old grammars; it somehow mildly reminded him of his mortality.
Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
The next Leap in the Dark on 29th August is dedicated to the Pale Usher’s home county of Essex and will feature:
- Sarah Perry (author of The Essex Serpent) on her forthcoming book
Essex Girls (published by Serpent's Tail)
- Artist Elsa James and writer Syd Moore
- The Pale Usher on Billericay’s unlikely links to F. Scott Fitzgerald
- the Settee Salon with Sarah, Elsa and Syd
- Paul Stanbridge reading from his novel Forbidden Line (Galley Beggar Press)
- David Henningham, artist, publisher and author of Foulness (forthcoming
from Weatherglass Press, 2021)
- Music from Dr Feelgood and Ian Dury & the Blockheads
The Pale Usher