Friday 12 June 2020

A Leap in the dark Friday 12th June

A Leap in the Dark 21   8pm  Friday 12th June 2020

                 It’s about time, too

On the evening of June 15th 1930 Samuel Beckett, resident in Paris, wrote 'Whoroscope’, which would, the following day, win the prize for the best poem on the subject of Time in a competition organized by The Hours Press, the Paris-based publishing house owned by Nancy Cunard.

To mark the 90th anniversary of this significant literary moment the shade of Nancy Cunard kindly granted me permission to revive the competition and invite a number of writers to contribute an original piece on the subject of Time. These will be shared tonight.

This Leap features composer Helen OttawaySpring Journal by Jonathan Gibbs read by Michael Hughes, and yoga with ’Guru Dave’ Holzer. The publisher Eloise Millar will talk about the publisher Nancy Cunard and Kevin Boniface, Neil Griffiths, Oscar Mardell, Rhys Trimble, Aea Varfis-van Warmelo and The Pale Usher will each take turns to tackle the theme of temporality.

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.

The Programme

1  The Pale Usher welcomes you

2  Helen Ottaway continues to repurpose Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’

3  Spring Journal canto XIII by Jonathan Gibbs, read by Michael Hughes

4  On mantra - David ‘Guru Dave’ Holzer

5  Eloise Millar on Nancy Cunard and The Hours Press


Oscar Mardell reads from Housing Haunted Housing followed by poems about 
 the Fiat Tagliero building, and Crossness and Abbey Mills Pumping 
 Stations, and ending with a translation of the Horacian Ode 'Nunc est 

7 ‘Mr Walker is Painting his Door Frame’ by Kevin Boniface

8 ‘Images of Duration’ by Neil Griffiths


10 Samuel Beckett’s translation of Guillaume Apollinaire’s Zone 
   performed by Aea Varfis-van Warmelo and David Collard

11 The Pale Usher signs off

The Company

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.

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 t’Images of Duration’ by he 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.

Neil Griffiths is a novelist and founder of the Republic of Consciousness a Prize for Small Presses.

David Holzer is a dedicated yogi, author, blogger and journalist. He founded YogaWriters and has taught workshops in yoga for writers in Mallorca, where he lives. Hundreds of people have taken his Yoga for Writers course on the DailyOm platform. His writing appears regularly in Om yoga and lifestyle magazine. David will be explaining why yoga is so beneficial for writers and taking us through a simple yoga sequence that can be done by anyone of any age in the comfort of a favourite chair. 


Please take care when practicing yoga. Should a pose feel that it could be harmful to you, do not attempt it or come gently out of the pose.

Breathing is a key part of yoga. Please breathe comfortably and naturally through your nose at all times. If your breath becomes forced, slow down the speed of your practice.

If you feel any kind of sharp, sudden pain anywhere in your body stop practicing right away. Be especially aware of your joints, particularly your knees.

Michael Hughes is the author of two acclaimed 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.

Oscar Mardell is a teacher and writer - originally from South Wales, but currently living in Auckland, New Zealand. He is a frequent contributor to 3:AM Magazine, and poet of the month at The Inquisitive Eater. He is the author of Rex Tremendae - a ghost story set in the rubble of the Blitz, and Housing Haunted Housing - a collection of poems about Brutalist architecture. 

Eloise Millar's first novel Wednesday's Child was published in 2004 and was shortlisted for the Youngminds Award. She co-founded and co-directs Galley Beggar Press.

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.

Rhys Trimble was born in Zambia in 1977. He is a bilingual poet, text artist, performer, drummer, editor, critic, collaborator, shaman, staff-wielder and shoutyman based in Wales. He is interested in avant-garde poetry and Welsh metrics. He has authored more than 15 books of poetry in Wales, England, India and the US since 2010, including Swansea Automatic, Anatomy Mnemonics for Caged Waves (US) and Hexerisk. Since 2008 he has edited the experimental poetry e-zine ctrl+alt-del.

Aea Varfis-van Warmelo is a trilingual actor and writer. 

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

Tomorrow’s Leap in the Dark will be entirely dedicated to Samuel Beckett’s poetry with readings in English, French and Spanish, performance and discussion. 

Those taking part in include Alba Arikha, June Caldwell, David Collard, Michael Hughes, Paulette Jonguitud, Dan O’Brien, Susan Tomaselli, Aea Varfis-van Warmelo and Frank Wynne

Stay well!

The Pale Usher

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