The Gove Curve

‘The time for sitting is over and the revolution begins. “Gather your weapons, grab what’s at hand, there’s an uprising and we’re all gathering”, the music seems to cry. Then, when everyone is gathered we hear the clear and articulate reading of a poem by Steve Willey. As the words end, the crowd stands there in sad and silent reflection. There will be no revolution today. It’s a non-Hollywood ending and I like it.’ (Echoes and Dust)

To make sound and live performance a central part of a poetics means to make poems where the external context of the performance becomes a creative element in the poem’s internal form.

rumour cubes art work
The Gove Curve (cover art version for The Narrow State, the album by Rumour Cubes)

In a live, improvised, or even practiced performance the form of the poem is located in the space where that performance happens. The poem is filled with history. Working with Adam Stark and Rumour Cubes has allowed me to enter new spaces, reach new audiences, and orientate myself and my work in different ways to the history that is unfolding around me.

The space in which The Gove Curve was written and performed was a space in which Conservative MP Michael Gove was proposing and initiating a series of education reforms. He was doing this in the context of economic cuts to Britain’s state and welfare institutions.

The Gove Curve was a protest against these reforms and the hostile ideologies that motivate them. To an extent, the logic of the poem rests upon one single pun: ‘school’ refers both to the interactive, social groupings adopted by fish and the educational institution used by humans. The Gove Curve describes and dissects them both.

Post Rock, Solstafir, Rumour Cubes
Performing ‘Gove Curve’ at The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes, 22 Jan 2015

The Gove Curve has been published by Critical Documents in the International Egg and Poultry Review (Cambridge: 2011), and by Max Czollek in the German language online magazine Kultmucke (2013). It has been performed with Rumour Cubes in venues across the UK.

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