Writers at Essex: Anna Barham, Carrie Topley and Philip Terry

On Tuesday 23 October, the Center for Creative Writing, held the first of the Writers at Essex events for this academic year. Graphology artist Anna Barham performed Slick Flection (2012) which draws on language to describe tap dancing steps. The performance was presented along with Carrie Topley, a tap dancer who interpreted Barham’s words into steps . The piece itself is an examination of the onomatopoeic qualities of voice and the rhythms of words and text. The language used by the artist, has a stuttering quality that leads us into thinking about the ways we communicate as well as the mechanics and basic qualities of those rhythmical syllables.

Her use of anagrams is not only an exploration of the unconscious meanings of words, but also a poetic game in which the artist experiments with self-imposed rules. Surrounded by the works exhibited  in the gallery, the audience was given the change to experience a memorable performance.

Barham’s reading was followed by Philip Terry, Director of Creative Writing at Essex. Philip Terry read three new poems which, as he said, deal with the theme of steps and walking around. The first two were sestinas, a structured poetic form. The first poem is entitled ‘Gdansk’, a piece produced during the ‘Once upon a Deadline’ project which was part of the Polish Arts Festival. Each of the characters in the poem is named based on a letter taken from Gdansk, city in Poland, where the project took place. The second poem is entitled ‘Nearly in his Footsteps’ and is inspired by Shelley. The third and final poem is a modernized version of Dante’s Inferno, based specifically on Cantos 32-33.

The event ended with the screening of the short film ‘Iris’ by Anna Barham, in which  she abandons language and replaces it with the sound of typing accompanied by abstract images. The number of people who attended the performance marks the event as a success. Everyone  had a change to enjoy a glass of wine and engage in conversation with both Anna Barham and Philip Terry. On Monday the 22nd, as part of the Writers at Essex, the Center of Creative Writing will be hosting a reading by Glyn Maxwell.

For updates on forthcoming events have a look ar the Art Exchange website: http://www.artexchange.org.uk/ or follow them on Twitter @ArtExchangeUoE

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