In the beginning... there was the mess
11:30 - 12:30
This poetry performance invites you to dive back into the primeval chaos - if the primeval chaos were a mess made of words. It explores the web of intertextual and intertemporal echoes in poetic myths of beginnings, through a mixture of layered recordings and live readings.
Reacting to T. S. Eliot’s advocating of the ‘mythical method’ as a way of introducing order into the mess of experience, this performance puts forward the potential of myth to introduce disorder in our practice of literature. Messing up our narratives of creation means blending traditions and timelines, paying attention to the thresholds and slippages between cosmogonies, mixing philosophies and spiritualities. It also means reintroducing powerful female voices into predominantly male ‘Chaos-to-Cosmos’ narratives.
This performance brings together a recording of superimposed sounds and voices, drawing from a variety of sources, paired with a live reading of lines of poetry overlapping and answering each other. With this collage soundscape, we hope to recreate the sometimes harmonious, sometimes cacophonous mess of reading rich or difficult texts - and make a messy myth of our own.
Cécile Varry is a doctoral student at Université de Paris, where she also teaches poetry. Her research focuses on the expression of emotional attachment in the poetry of T. S. Eliot, with an emphasis on intimacy, belonging, and the feeling of being at home. She is a postgraduate representative for the British Association for Modernist Studies (BAMS), co-editor of the Modernist Review, and co-organiser of the Figuring out Feeling conference.
Camille Adnot is a PhD student at Université de Paris, where she also teaches English. Her research focuses on the illuminated poetry of William Blake, especially his later “Prophetic Books” in which she is investigating the representation of chaos, to see how it shapes their rhythm, their narrative, the interplay between text and image, and the books as a whole. Outside of her academic engagements, she writes and performs poetry on the Parisian Spoken Word scene and the Poetry Brothel. She also hosts the anglophone writing workshop AWOL.