SCOTT THURSTON: Dancing the Five Rhythms, Part 2: The Wave

Content that we are fully warmed-up and engaged, Carrie now invites us into flowing – the first of the Five Rhythms. For the benefit of a couple of newcomers, Carrie explains that flowing is a rhythm of long, continuous movements without end or beginning; earthy; connected to the feminine, but also expressing the emotional key of fear. On this occasion she proposes that we start by spending a few minutes simply attuning to our bodies and listening-in to what is happening there – physically, emotionally, energetically. Although the orthodox advice in flowing is to focus on one’s feet, Carrie suggests to allow our whole-body awareness to lead us into movement – seeing if a particular part of the body presents itself as willing to start. I immediately think of my right knee and the impacted secrets it harbours – its history and the significance of its actions and reactions. I start to concentrate on how the knee wants to move. It starts to arc out quickly to the right and I’m surprised by its boldness, yet, as it comes back in, its tone is softer and it slows down. This sets off an emotional response in me which, if not exactly fearful, is a kind of gentle sympathy for my knee’s pain. As the rest of my body starts to take itself up into flowing, following the knee’s tentative but clear cues, I feel more aware of the energy field around me as my hips and feet engage and walk me off the spot. I’m fond of moving my arms in flow – casting them around in long, lazily curving arcs, at times whirling around and around on the spot with one hand held aloft towards the sky, the other pointing down towards the earth. Today, however, I resist the pull of my arms and try to keep my attention in my feet – how they pull, glide and turn, slightly awkwardly, across the floor; feeling into the rippled texture of the mat. I wonder if the Zen group that meets here senses something of the energy that we twist and twine into the floor, into the brickwork, the exposed metal struts of the roof? And whether we in turn benefit from an energy of quiet stillness instilled in the space by their meditation?

As my movement develops I start to feel the effects of momentum. Opened-up and more flexible, I’m allowing my body to let its weight carry it forward. It feels delicious and I’m about to let it take me away before I suddenly reconnect with my emotions. Something bites in here, something fearful. There is a set of tessellated situations, a knot of issues to do with the building where I live – problems with noise, rubbish and so on. Then there’s a larger pattern around work – an impending battle I’ll have to fight to defend an area of my activity. There is something common in these shapes which I focus on as a fear of confrontation, a fear of conflict which may not actually be realised but which still persists as an apparent possibility. Attending to the kernel of pain here – holding the fear tightly as a present reality – is not easy, but it deepens my movement in time with the momentum. As I move across the floor I start to feel the fear change in its intensity, and, as I note this I’m invited once again to take a partner.

I look up to find my gaze met steadily by John – a large, roundly-built man with piercing blue eyes and a shock of white cropped hair. We’ve shared a lot in our dances over the years and I know that here is someone I can be vulnerable with and be trusted for it. We start moving together in an almost impossible simultaneous attention to ourselves and each other. I love the fact that in facing John’s huge frame with my own slight build I can rehearse an accounting for my strength and courage. I don’t try to puff myself up to match his size – graceful and gentle though he is in it – but I let go into my slightness, finding a way in which I’m able to lightly hold my fear of facing a strong man. As we suddenly turn in the same direction, my hand grazes John’s and becomes a cue for contact. Our movement is more engaged now and complex. We start to whirl each other about, following the momentum of flow, negotiating our respective weight and flexibility. There is no room for self-consciousness as our dance becomes a shared meditation. Although stray thoughts and reflections pass through, I recognise them as such and let them go. Part of a thought that grips for a second is that I almost miss the feeling of fear in my body now that it has changed into something else. Because I’m no longer pressing on my wound I can’t quite sense its lineaments: the depth, extent and urgency of the damage. But another part of me is quite willing to accept, and even celebrate, the shifting of this feeling. I understand it as part of the alchemical work of the dance – how getting more fully into the present relativises these other aspects of experience, allowing them to settle back into proportion, bringing a new perspective into play and a corresponding sense of calm control. John looks into my eyes with his wicked but compassionate expression and we take our leave of each other as we disappear back into the mind of the group.

The edge into staccato is announced by a thumping breakbeat: bass and snare in syncopated rhythm creating a pulsing start-stop movement. Carrie invites us to feel the beat in our hips and explore outward directions. This rhythm is associated with the masculine; its energy direct, demonstrative, assertive; but it’s also a gateway into the heart, staging successive planes of encountering and opening to otherness. I sometimes find the transition from flowing into staccato awkward and today is no exception. I peel off the dance floor to go to the toilet, and even though I try to remain in the beat, when I return I find my presence somewhat diminished, and a kind of disgust at myself emerges, critical of me for breaking my attention. Perhaps this is what defines my sense of moving between the feminine and the masculine? I take staccato for granted, despite the fact that it can easily unseat me. I love its precision, its hard, clear edges, but it is exactly these qualities that can crowd out my softer, more receptive side before I’m quite ready. It’s as if I find it hard to let go of flowing and I need to interrupt the transition into staccato to let fluid flow out of me. Eventually I’m able to see myself mired in this pass and this acknowledgement allows me to shift my attention and become more present in the beat.

Nearby I’m suddenly aware of the sharply exhaled breath and flashing limbs of Michael. As the call comes to take a partner, we step closer towards each other and engage. There’s a lot of history to this relationship as well. Mike’s youthful energy and enthusiasm in the dance extends at times to loud shouts which pass right through me, turning me to distraction and anger. One of the bravest things I’ve done in this class is to tell Mike that his shouting upsets me. Once I had expressed it to him, I became more capable of managing my feelings about it, and I’ve since become more tolerant altogether. Although Mike is fifteen years younger than me, he takes me in and absorbs me in his youthfulness. He is pure staccato. Tall and sinewy, his beautifully tanned limbs are lithe and flexible from his articulate yoga stretches in the warm-up. His face angles into a strong aquiline nose, a staccato gesture in its own right, and we quickly fall into an intense pattern of expression and return – throwing shapes with our elbows and wrist like punches. I recall dances when my feelings towards Mike were still raw and painful and I struggled to meet his energy with grace. Once I brought myself to a complete standstill, holding out my palms as a barrier, forcing him to meet me on my own terms. What ethics unfold in such a gesture? It wasn’t right to try to contain Mike, to control him, freeze him, shame him in order to meet my needs. I might as well have tried to catch the wind in a net. All that has passed between us has created a more liminal sense of self – made it present that what I ‘am’ is, at least for this moment, part of something which is in the air, in the entangled energies between Mike and myself. It crackles. The energy expands, our attention and commitment so intense I can feel others in the room attending to us. There are moments that occur when a group is deep in a wave when the energy of the rhythm being danced seems to collect and pool in a particular part of the room. You notice when it happens to you – that the rhythm has gripped you so tightly that you no longer feel any effort, any self-consciousness. It might only last a few seconds, but these moments crystallize as intensities strewn across the map of the wave.

Mike and I are sweating now, grinning, blasting out air and slicing across the room as if engaged in mortal combat. Staccato is unsurprisingly quite a martial rhythm and requires keeping one’s ground as much as throwing out energy – a difficult balance to maintain at times. The music changes and we are requested to take our leave of each other, which I do with a breathless, moved tenderness mixed with grateful delight for the transport we have shared.

By myself again I settle back into a more inward mode, trying to connect to anger – the emotional key of staccato. It’s not too hard to find a ready object for this, although I often feel it’s a little artificial to call up triggers for emotions, as if I’m manipulating myself. Images flash up of bullies and autocrats, and they get dispatched by the crack of a sharp elbow directly into the centre of the face as I whip myself up. I don’t like feeling anger, it overwhelms and scares me. But this practice has taught me greater familiarity with it, and how to form a more flexible relationship to it. It is the opportunity to bring the anger into this more physical arena of action and reaction that tames it. It’s not about shutting it off, but giving it room to express itself and to change into something else. As Roth puts it in her teaching – the way is through, not around. I know from experience that if I can’t get this feeling moving in staccato there’s a real chance I’ll get stuck in a nervous, tentative, self-disgusted place where anger is not addressed, but is widespread and where it paralyzes me.

The next and final exercise in this rhythm takes the sparking one-to-one encounter and raises it. Dancers in pairs engage with each other as before, then find other pairs and before we know it we’re in three groups of eight in the room. Carrie’s invitation is for one person to begin with a simple, repetitive movement, and for the rest of the group to join-in with that action. Louise steps up and begins by raising her arms into the air from a lowered position by her sides, without bending her elbows, her fingertips coming together at the apex. The rest of the group, one by one, starts to fall into movement around her. From the space under which Louise’s arms come to a momentary rest, John, crouching on his knees before her, sweeps out his arms backwards towards Patrick who eagerly seizes this energy and concentrates it in between his palms. Whilst he holds it there, I approach, and swinging both arms above my head as if wielding an imaginary sledgehammer, I bring its full force to bear on the small space between Patrick’s hands. A coin has been struck, and having delivered the blow, I raise my arms back up again in time as Patrick collects the energy once more, that John has passed to him. After I strike the second coin, Jan reaches deftly into the space and plucks it out. She passes it to Sarah who then stacks it neatly on a small pile. Mike swoops on the pile and collects it, racing across the room towards Alison, who, with a gentle gesture, completes the cycle by lifting each newly-minted coin into the space between Louise’s palms as she raises her hands. We’ve become an assembly-line, folded-in on itself, but efficiently drumming out shapes of air and energetic envelopes. As the process continues it becomes hypnotic as we sweep, gather, strike, pluck, stack and lift in perfect time, manufacturing crystalline chunks of scorched, solid air in our foundry of the collective heartbeat. The pattern lifts out of the room and becomes a model for collective action. There is joyousness mixed with rapt, focused attention on everyone’s faces – we could literally keep this going all night. As the dance deepens however, the mechanism starts to adapt itself as parts of the machine become bored of a particular action. Stepping out of sequence, Jan starts to act as a co-hammerer with me. Sarah takes over the plucking out, but then throws the coins to Mike instead. I withdraw from the hammering, and as I do so, Louise suddenly radically alters her movement by lying down on her back. With each new variation, a new function is created and everyone turns to service this new development. The whole machine keeps reconfiguring itself inside-out, so eventually all semblance of the coin-minting has transformed into other exchanges and shapings of energy. In the five minutes or so that we have been in operation I feel as if we have created a whole series of solutions – imagined products for real problems. There’s a shape in the air for solving a dispute between neighbours over a party wall; a transference mechanism for emptying a bookcase; a construction for expressing guilt without fear of criticism (glass case supplied). This is nothing less than pataphysical production; machines working on the infrathin of everyday life, tools shaped by the movement of human hands.

The tempo picks up and we enter chaos: the rhythm of letting-go. Chaos feels like being on the crest of the wave, the peak of the evening, and for many this rhythm comes to epitomise the archetypal Five Rhythms experience – a form of ecstatic release.

Carrie asks us to take a partner as a way in. I sidle up to Jan, and, shoulder by shoulder, we build up a gentle sideways swinging motion, whilst keeping our feet rooted. Slowly we relax our neck muscles, faces and jaws, and let our heads fall into the steady rhythm. After this loosener, we detach ourselves from each other and the group forms a large circle in the centre of the room. In this ritual, dancers enter the circle as many times as they like – some staying there for the entirety of chaos – to experience a more intense, focused form of release. The circle closes behind one who steps forward and opens again to absorb them as they return – all the while remaining intent on what is happening in the centre.

I feel stirred by the pounding tribal rhythms and I throw myself into the circle over and over again. Everything is in motion. I’ve taken off my glasses so they don’t get thrown off. As I go deeper I can start to feel changes in my body. I’m on the edge of entering into trance and the emotional complexes that I negotiated earlier hover in the background of my awareness. There is that raw fear and anxiety about a lack of control over my surroundings that I cycled through in flowing, and the white-hot anger that I touched on in staccato. But the charge of these emotions is less intense than before. What I do come up against, however, is an ancient and familiar adversary. Whilst I’m thrilling to the beat, flying through the air, a terrible sense of self-disgust suddenly overwhelms me. I’m judging myself wanting. All kinds of thoughts crowd-in. I’m critical of the practice, I’m critical of the importance I attach to it, I’m critical of the amount of time I spend doing it. This deadly train of thought starts tearing into other compacted uncertainties – that I don’t read enough to develop or sustain my own body of knowledge, that I’m dull intellectually, timid politically, that I waste my time doing things for others whilst neglecting my own development. Even my poetry doesn’t escape the onslaught. It’s a full-on offensive that I’ve come to know as a Demon. It doesn’t have a face, or a name, but this creature emerges on a regular basis, particularly when I’m run-down. As ever in the dance though, the only way out is through.

A short while later I become aware of Payton, deep in her own chaos a few yards away. I’ve never had a conversation with her off the dance floor but we have danced together many times, often meeting in the midst of chaos. Payton’s demeanour is modest and self-contained, but always present and committed. Her short hair gives her a slightly boyish look. Right now she holds up a mirror to qualities in me I sense but don’t always acknowledge, and I wonder, literally, what she might see in me. All this swirls about in the heat, noise and sweat of chaos. We aren’t dancing explicitly together, nor communicating overtly, but we share the space lightly, lending each other permission and support to go deeper. As this dance develops, I feel the claws of the Demon loosening their grip on me, and even find myself actively able to parry his onslaught. Suddenly a wave of relief washes over me and I shed a few tears as it does so. The cruelty of the attack, which I know comes from part of myself, leaves me weeping with pity for the innocent young child who has been its object. The emotional key of chaos is sadness, and whilst it’s not always a key I arrive in, I’m surprised by how this sadness is structured – as a kind of wise, gentle pity for vulnerability, rather than a more general, existential melancholy. I believe it is the innocence I sense in Payton’s dance of release that helps me to encounter this aspect of myself, and my heart opens in gratitude towards her.

We’re asked to let the circle go and Payton and I pass out of each other’s orbit. I find this difficult but rally back into myself and keep following the beat further and further into trance. I’m now a completely lithe shape of quivering, gyrating limbs, hovering above the floor. There’s no longer any effort in my movement – I’m strung out, laid-back in the beat as if being tossed in a torrent of white water. But the Demon still has another trick in store and flashes up a mirror of my self-satisfaction in my movement. ‘Egoist!’ it whispers and I baulk, the nimbus of energy sliding around me suddenly punctured, inert. I increase my pace in the dance, trying to throw off this image, to strike back into the less individuated bliss I inhabited before. But trying to outrun ego seems to just make it go histrionic, calling more attention to itself as it screams and kicks. Just as I’m beginning to despair of finding a way back into the rhythm I catch sight of yet another mirror – Carrie – over by the decks. Often in my dance I find that there is part of me that gains pleasure from feeling that I’m doing a good job, that I’m participating, that I’m committed, that I’m a well-disciplined dancer! But I tussle with this self-consciousness, bordering on pride, just as I now tussle with the Demon holding up a mirror for my ego to get mesmerised by. It’s a leap of thought, but suddenly I feel myself throwing a life-line across to Carrie which she catches psychically. In this gesture it’s as if I’m acknowledging the existence of that pride, that egoism – it’s part of me – but I’m placing it in Carrie’s hands for safe-keeping. This realisation releases a huge amount of energy and I start to reclaim my rhythm in the dance. When I’m under that attack, it’s as if no other state of affairs could possibly exist, and yet, as I keep coming back to this passage through chaos, I slip the net of the ego a little more easily each time. It’s as if I’m getting a taste for the new state of awareness that lies beyond. It feels and looks so similar but something crucial is different. It’s as if the seat of my conscious processing is no longer settled down in my chest, but floating just above my forehead, part of the larger field of energy shared with those around me.

The music shifts again and we enter lyrical. The transition between chaos and lyrical used to be really difficult for me. The emotional key of the fourth rhythm is joy, but I would often find this lightness hard to take after the dark intensity of chaos. As my practice developed I started to realise that this difficulty was telling me something about my attitude to happiness. Sometimes I would just get stuck in a resentful funk, finding it hard to join in, getting angry at what I saw as others’ levity. Then I’d start feeling sorry for myself, at my inability to participate. In lyrical, as throughout the wave, there is the renewed potential for tracing the patterns of movement of one’s many sub-personalities. I started to notice that a key aspect of getting stuck was a sense of remaining too attached to a reduced, but familiar sense of self that had undergone a dramatic transformation in the abandon of chaos. How to negotiate this transition without getting bogged down?

Part of the answer came from Roth’s own account of managing this change whilst teaching a class in Sweat Your Prayers. She describes a class in Munich, deep in the throes of chaos:

When it came time to shift into lyrical I didn’t want to stop the energy by pausing to introduce the new rhythm, so instead I made adjustments through the music. Robert eliminated the bass tom and established a new foot pattern using the two toms with the highest tones to lift the dancers, to lighten their steps. Sanga switched from using his hands on the djembe to using timbali sticks, but he kept the energy going with an intense, notey, highly accented song. My voice soared with them into this airy, light place. All at once, the entire tribe of dancers crossed the threshold into lyrical. (p. 158)

For me, I found the key was to keep my feet moving when chaos ended, instead of stopping dead and beginning again. I allow the pounding, rooting beat of chaos to persist a little longer before gently starting to elongate my stride, shifting my weight and slipping into a lighter-than-air, twisting, turning movement, that I sometimes liken to the balletic thrusts of the muscular thighs of speed skaters, or a figure skater moving backwards.

Allowing one rhythm to emerge from another allows my energy to stay fluid. Lyrical is the rhythm of shape-shifting, and, as the group enters it, Carrie invites us to find simple movements which we can repeat over and over again, leading us deeper into trance. She asks us to allow each shape to grow, to get bigger and bigger until it reaches its peak of expansion, and then to let it contract or shift into another movement. I find my attention drawn to my hands and I start to gently clasp them inwards, towards my heart, feeling the movement from the inside out. Through repetition the shape deepens and I begin feeling a corresponding energy object forming in front of my chest like a sheen, a dome, a blister. The impulse is to expand from this point, so I extend my arms outward and back. As this movement repeats and repeats, it gets bigger and more dynamic until I suddenly feel like I am evoking the shape of an eagle in flight. This is the shape-shift – a man-becoming-bird which has its equivalents in the shamanic rituals of many cultures, caught memorably for me in Bruce Chatwin’s The Songlines where he describes the performance of a Lizard song in a version of aboriginal ritual story-telling adapted for an outsider. In a shamanic healing that I underwent, I ‘became’ a snake – allowing an insight about flexibility and adaptability to be embodied and integrated. This becoming strikes me as one of the most powerful tools of the practice. Its essence lies in putting into action a deep empathy – not just with the different patterns of energy and behaviour symbolised by animals, but with those of the other members of the group. And yet our apprehensions of animal energies provide templates for the shapes of desire and its internal and external objects – like constellations. The lineaments of our characterisation of animal movement, when inhabited in the dance, start to turn about on themselves as we inhabit them. The perception of the movement, and the movement itself are altogether different things and the passage between them can be revelatory.

As I am finding myself in the shape of a flapping eagle, I’m aware of John nearby and I’m shocked by the vividness with which I suddenly perceive him to be inhabiting the shape of a bull. With his robust build, this vision of John seems entirely apt as he stamps out his ground and addresses me with an alert, quizzical stare. As I move around the room I also receive a host of further visions, little glimpses into the symbolic transformations that are taking place all over. A crane rears up in the corner as a gazelle slips by, scattering a cluster of sparrows. The room is a shifting, pulsing menagerie.

Gradually Carrie sets up the invitation to deepen this process of mutual mirroring. Another kind of shifting out of self starts to occur where we take on the shapes of others’ patterns of movement – borrowing a thrust-out thigh here, a lengthening neck over there, a rotating ankle from somewhere else. The group presence gathers in intensity and we start to weave in more closely with one another. An arm goes up to the ceiling and half a dozen arms respond in unison. At some point it starts to become unclear who is initiating movement and who is responding to it.

Finally, a silence steals in and the group starts to break down into stillness. This is a gear shift of particular sweetness if one is tired, but it would be missing the essence of stillness to see it as repose after exertion. I close my eyes and focus on my breathing, feeling the sweat drip from my brow onto my feet. My movement slows right down, in time with my breath, and I pause as each shape reaches a point of clear expression and extent. The work on energetic awareness I’ve done in studying Tantra has really deepened my experience of stillness. As I bring my open palms together in front of me, I feel for the resistance of my energetic field. It feels solid, as if I’m wearing two thick gloves. I start to explore the rest of the field, focusing on the areas emerging from the chakras from the root upwards. I’m still very much a novice in this area of awareness, stumbling in the dark as I feel my way, but there is a huge pleasure and beauty in negotiating my subtle body. In particular there are moments when my movement seems to float on the energy, and it feels effortless. On other occasions the energy sends a limb quite forcefully in a certain direction, only for it to meet resistance and stop in mid-air. In Roth’s teaching, the advice in stillness is to explore the relationship between moving and not moving, and, once a movement has formed itself, to hold oneself in that position like a statue, feeling into the shape’s meaning. When I feel the energy itself almost dictating where movement starts and stops, I think I understand Roth’s rationale. But I’m still slightly perplexed by it, still not fully aware of how the energy body operates: its forms and lineaments, its properties and qualities.

The emotional key of stillness is compassion, which I link to the way in which this rhythm engenders a sense of spaciousness. Through focusing on the breath I become sensitised to the space both within and without, and its interconnection. As I encounter elsewhere in the wave, that liminality arises again – a less centred sense of self. I often find myself visualising members of my family – both living and dead alike – sending and receiving energy through this attention. If there is someone towards whom I’ve felt particularly angry or hateful, then my attitude softens and there is a letting go of the hardened feelings, a clearer recognition of our common condition and our animosities as transient, like wind passing through a cornfield and making the ears stir like the sea.

A few years ago I was on a day workshop on stillness when we took the statues aspect to the next level and started to sculpt the body of our partner into shapes, ranging from the fantastic to the subtle, to explore what they could express. Once we were formed in this way, we moved with that shape to investigate its meaning further. My partner put me into a shape which, when I started to move, felt like I was holding a sword in one hand and carrying a shield in the other. It instantly reminded me of the elegance and power of fencing postures, as well as making me more aware of the continuities between stillness and martial arts practices such as Tai Chi. My maternal grandfather used to fence after the war, during which he served as an infantryman. In his amazing scrapbook-cum-memoir – a treasured family artefact – he spoke of what he learned from his fencing tutor, Ernst Froeschler: ‘co-ordination of mind, eyes, feet and hands – all these things he taught me…’ I think about my grandfather often in the dance, and he is a strong presence in other visions. I certainly had a close relationship with him in childhood and young adulthood, and once stayed with him for a week in London during the summer I left school. When I think of him now I’m interested in the way he combined what one might think of as the tough, self-sufficient characteristics of a soldier – living alone in his retirement – with a softer, more receptive side shown in his hobby of painting with watercolours and gouache. Even the range of his subjects as an artist was broad – from the charm of little pen and ink renderings of characters and scenes from the illustrated children’s stories of Brambly Hedge by Jill Barklem, to the brooding, uneasy cityscapes of Maurice Utrillo, most memorably a copy of ‘The Passage (The Dead End)’. Somehow, finding myself tracing imaginary feints and parries in the air brought me back to my grandfather and made him present in my dance.

Some time later I actually enrolled on a fencing class, a big sacrifice because it clashed with my regular Five Rhythms class. I had one lesson only! Everything was going well and I was enjoying feeling my way into the techniques, and realising I had a good level of fitness for the sport. I was delighted to learn of the use of the word ‘cadence’ to describe the rhythm of a fight, and I felt all set to explore a parallel poetics of prosody and fencing. However, in the last minute of my first bout with an opponent, I rolled my attacking right ankle over my foot and sprained it. Although I was okay within three weeks, some part of me took it as a sign, and I didn’t return to the class.

An intrusive thought in stillness is why play at feinting when you could learn the real discipline of fencing, of Tai Chi? There’s the onset of a depressed, dispirited feeling, almost of disgust, as I regard myself in this moment. It takes a while, but eventually another thought emerges in the movement to counter this – the appealingly paradoxical notion that Five Rhythms is a discipline without discipline. This speaks to anxieties I had in my early twenties when, although I’d been writing poetry for six or seven years by then, and publishing it for four years, I was troubled by the fact that I’d never mastered a grasp of regular metrical patterns. When I lived in Poland I set myself to a study of meter and worked up some compositions in more formal measures. And then I abandoned them. Whatever it is, I reflect, that gives my poetry its integrity, it is something which is measured in terms other than regular rhythm. And somehow this stands for what I find beautiful in the Five Rhythms practice: its pragmatism, its democratic, un-dogmatic openness. It’s a space in which one seeks – and occasionally finds – one’s own sense of what it means to be disciplined. One perhaps also glimpses the way in which moving through the wave time and time again throws into relief the jagged outlines of the soul as it shape-shifts its way through life, so that one becomes acquainted with a much larger vision of the potentials of selfhood and humanity.

SCOTT THURSTON has published three full-length poetry collections with Shearsman Books: Internal Rhyme (2010), Momentum(2008) and Hold (2006). His most recent publication is Reverses Heart’s Reassembly (Veer Books, 2011). Scott lectures at the University of Salford where he runs a Masters in Innovative and Experimental Creative Writing. He co-runs The Other Room poetry reading series in Manchester; edits The Radiator – a little magazine of poetics; and co-edits The Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry with Robert Sheppard. He lives in Liverpool. See his pages at:



  • Clare

    Fantastic Scott! Yet another piece of insightful, gripping, honest and detailed writing. I’m particularly impressed with how you notice and untangle the thoughts, feelings and physical experiences that move through you and put them clearly and comprehensibly into words.
    I’d be happy to hold your pride and egoism anytime you want to free yourself from it for a while. I know how limiting it can be…..
    Love Clare x


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