Friday, 23 October 2015

Death by Water

At each of our meetings to date we have started by reading sections of the poem out loud or listening to different versions of the poem.This always generates discussion about how the meaning of the poem changes depending on who the speaker is.

To spend some focused time experimenting with how performance can impact the interpretation of 'The Waste Land', members of the Research Forum spent an evening with local improvisation group Athelstan Sound at Resort Studios testing out different ways of 'sounding' part IV of the poem, 'Death by Water', arriving at various different embodied understandings of this section of the text. 

Photos - Jenni Deakin.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

The Fire Sermon

“The big claim you could make is that modern poetry was born in Margate” (Professor David Herd 13/09/15)

On 13th October, Professor David Herd, Head of the School of English at The University of Kent joined The Waste Land Research Group to help us unpack Part III of the poem, ‘The Fire Sermon’, which include the 50 lines of the poem that Eliot wrote whilst in Margate in 1921.

Professor Herd discussed 'The Waste Land' in terms of how Eliot was holding elements of the modern poem together; rejecting regularity in favour of a structure which reflected the state of the world post WWI (as well as his own state of mind following a nervous breakdown). Herd identified some of the motifs Eliot was experimenting with; burning, clutching and connecting, as devices for managing content and holding disparate fragments together, marking the birth of the modern poem. 

Sitting in Margate Museum we also listened to T.S Eliot reading 'The Fire Sermon' and discussed Professor Herds ideas on connectivity in relation to the other sections of the poem. 

Photos: Jenni Deakin.

Monday, 5 October 2015

A Game of Chess: I never know what you are thinking

Artist Rosalie Schweiker joined Waste Land researchers for an evening in the bar at Margate Yacht Club. The session focused on us all getting to know each other as well as the second section of the poem, 'A Game of Chess'. From discussing the last time we'd all played chess, to thinking about assumptions we have of each other and the poem, to identifying snippets, ideas and themes of interest, and scribbling these down on the back of beer mats, it was a fun and productive session. It was also nice to be in a pub discussing the section of the poem that's set in the pub; the context for our exploration following the form of the poem.

Ian Jones and the Commodore of the Yacht Club (who was on the bar) stepped up to give a great improvised rendition of the poem. This included the Commodore reading out the barman's lines 'HURRY UP PLEASE, IT'S TIME' every time they occurred. During this reading the rest of us were tasked with having a sip of our drinks every time the word "I" appeared, tracking the changing subjectivity through this section of the poem.
Discussion at the very end focused on gossip, building a research community, offline connectivity, and how to capture conversations and the energy in a room in a meaningful way. A black book to capture snippets, overheard conversations, images and other material will now be in circulation as an alternative documentation strategy. Thanks Jemma Morgan!

Photos: Jenni Deakin.