Listening to the Fern-owl: Poetry as Field Recording

a textured black and white blurred low tech texture is streaked with green lines like a computer screen distorted. Overlaid in white stick letters are the word ‘Poetry as Field Recording’
Poetry as Field Recording - Nastassja Siemensky

This online workshop focuses on the experience of listening, through writing. With artist Nastassja Simensky and Mina Gorji, writer and Associate Professor at the Faculty of English, University of Cambridge

 
Drawing on artist Ashley Holmes’ Sonic Walk in Gleadless Valley, and Breakwater’s listening meditation in Ecclesall Woods earlier this year as part of the Emergent Ecologies programme, this online workshop focuses on the experience of listening, through writing. 
 
This talk and workshop begins by exploring how a number of poets described the sound of the fern-owl, and the eerie experience of hearing its cry. We’ll listen to a couple of poems together and think about the challenges of recording, listening and describing sound in language. 
 
In the workshop, we'll work with field recordings and writing exercises to explore how we can create different effects, dynamics and sonic spaces through writing sound. Together, we will develop ideas and approaches to describing and recreating sound in words, as well as thinking about how we might focus and enhance our own experiences of listening to the environment around us. By thinking through the challenges of distinguishing and articulating what and how we hear, we can consider how listening is culturally informed.
 
No experience or identification as a poet or writer is needed. A longer break is built into this workshop so participants can get a break from their screens.
 
SCHEDULE
6 - 7pm Workshop Part 1
7 - 7.30pm - Screen Break
7.30 - 8.15pm - Workshop Part 2
 
‘Poetry as Field Recording’ is part of Leaky Transmissions, a project by Nottingham-based artist Nastassja Simensky that explores changing land-use, and the potential of collaborative fieldwork involving artists and archaeologists. Find out more about Leaky Transmissions which will culminate in a series of podcasts for Radio Arts Catalyst. 
 
Participants are invited to develop a short response to the workshop and contribution to the third Leaky Transmissions episode, which will also include recordings taken at artist Harun Morrison’s Mind Garden and extracts from a conversation with artist Rachel Pimm about the ideas that resonate through their work for the Emergent Ecologies programme. 
 
ACCESS: The workshop takes place online, with a 30-minute break built in away from screens. It will be captioned, and key instructions and links will be typed into the chat. Materials will be sent in advance to participants. 
 
About the facilitators
Mina Gorji is Associate Professor at the Faculty of English, University of Cambridge. She is currently writing a book about Romantic Poetry and Listening, and has published a study of John Clare's poetry as well as essays on weeds, littleness, mess and listening. As a practicing poet her most recent collection, Scale (Carcanet, 2022), has been described as a work of "deep sonic attention" (Irish Times).
 
Nastassja Simensky is an artist who often works collaboratively to make writing, place-specific performances, events, sound work and films as a form of ongoing fieldwork. Leaky Transmissions is an ongoing body of artwork and research Nastassja is developing through a PhD at the Slade exploring changing land-use and the potential of collaborative fieldwork involving artists and archaeologists
 
Tickets are free but please reserve a place so you can receive the zoom link. If you can no longer make it, please cancel your ticket so your place can be reallocated.