Lawrence Upton

Lawrence Upton, a photograph by Benedict Taylor, 2011, ©

Commentary, Reviews etc

updated June 2018

Upton's writing doesn't try to hide behind vague over-used academic styles and cliche precisely because it doesn't need to -- there's something there, at the same time as it engages with prism-like philosophical concepts in a way which (a) is often coffee-sputteringly funny and therefore keeps the reader completely engaged, and takes them out of their neutral gear, and (b) is clearly informed by a long and in-depth engagement with form and doing. I think the lack of need or interest in ponderous abstraction in Upton's writing -- although it is also always very far from simplistic or naive proposal-wise -- is an indication of confidence and veracity. I have a good bullshit detector. My bullshit detector never goes off reading his material.

Steve Hanson, July 2012; quoted with permission

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Guardians - commissioned article awaiting publication

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DANGER; DANGEROUS STRUCTURE. This list is more than a little shaky now with things missing and inaccurate. Urgentish action is being taken to improve it. We are taking advice from the incoming administration in USA and Southern Railway in this country. Boris Johnson is not helping. When the danger of this list is over, this note will be removed. NB The work will start at the top of this list and move down so that what precedes this note may be considered reliable. For the moment, it starts at the top.


Re Alaric Sumner (1952-2000)

Alaric Sumner's Parasitic hard copy published in Parasitic by Alaric Sumner (Writers Forum, August 2008)

TALK: Alaric Sumner's "Shatter" Writers Forum Workshop 2007

TALK: Sumner's LETTERS for dear AUGUSTINE Writers Forum Workshop January 2007

ESSAY: Some initial responses to "W aves on Porthmeor Beach"Part 2, Section 3, 2004

ESSAY: Some initial responses to "Waves on Porthmeor Beach"Part 1, Sections 1 & 2, 2004

Review of Alaric Sumner's The Unspeakable Rooms

Re Bob Cobbing (1920-2002)

Essay A SINGULAR WORK: Bob Cobbing's Portrait of Robin Crozier [Coldfront 9 December 2015 commissioned by Nico Vassilakis.] This was an invitation extended to quite a few poets and the first two selections have already appeared. Note that there are several responses to the call in each selection and here my piece is a little way down the page.

Commentaries on Bob Cobbing. 109 pp Argotist Online, 2013. A collection of otherwise scattered writings 1980+. Includes a list of essays not included which Upton wishes to preserve. Free e-book

Working with Bob Cobbing in Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry Vol 4 # 2; pp 143 - 158; 2012; eds Sheppard & Thurston; UK ISSN 1758-2733 (Print) ISSN 1758-972X (Online)

Notes to "Variations on a theme of Bob" These notes were first published loose leaf by Space Studios during the exhibition to which they refer. Some typos and infelicities have been removed - although a few remain and shall be hunted down. Here self-published; copyright.

Photographs of "Bob Cobbing and the book"

Notes for "Bob Cobbing and the book"

Bob Cobbing; 21 October 2010 - invited contribution to Richard Tipping's presentation to The Thursday Club -- no plans to publish the text, but some of what was said will feed back into future writing; some has already been said in writing.

Bob Cobbing and the book as medium; designs for poetry [External link]

ESSAY: Writers Forum (Workshops & Publications) [External link]

Writers Forum - Life by 1000 books in A Book of the Book, ed. Rothenberg & Clay, Granary Books, New York; 2000

Re All other matters

Sound-singing Carlo Carrain One hundred years of Futurism: Aesthetic, Political and Performative Assessments ed by John London (Bristol: Intellect). June 2018


. Reconstruction of an invited talk delivered ex tempore to Sound Practice Research Group at Goldsmiths, University of London 15 March 2017.

Thoughts on "Porth Dances and Sings". Text of an invited talk on the latest text-sound composition by Lawrence Upton and John Levack Drever. London, March 2017.

Some remarks on Collaborative Text-Sound Composition – "Possibles" variations by Lawrence Upton & Benedict Taylor. Development of a talk written for a meeting of Sound Practice Research Group at Goldsmiths, University of London 15 June 2016. Accepted for presentation at 10th Annual International Conference on Literature, 5-8 June 2017, Athens, Greece, sponsored by the Athens Journal of Philology – an invitation which it became necessary to decline.

Editorial advice in Correciones Vol 3 pp 14-23 Felipe Cussen; Information as material, 2016 - conceptual commentary invited by Felipe Cussens (September 2015)

So many things brief memoir around the days of insurrection at The Poetry Society appeared in Clasp, April 2016. Paperback, 180pp, 9 x 6ins, £12.95 / $20 ISBN 9781848614604

Five works commissioned talk for the opening of The Future is Here Again: VISUAL LANGUAGE, curated by Nico Vassilakis and Holly Crawford; January 22, 2015 until February 7, 2015, AC INstitute NY USA

H-bombs keep falling on my head published as Nowt 13

Foreword and introduction to "Dancer Knot"

Re-Orienteering published in Journal of Writing in Creative Practice Volume 5 Number 3 pp 431-453

One Many Beginning again in the middle [Nowt Press, 2013

Statement and other documentation for the solo exhibition from Recent Projects at St James Hatcham Church in September 2012

I mistrust my understanding Written in 2002 as the answers to a pro forma interview. Recently revisited and adjusted slightly. Now published as Nowt 6 [2002 - 2012]

Introductory notes to an exhibition with Guy Begbie at The Sheppard Library, Hendon in September 2012

Book Arts Newsletter # 76 Page 9


separate physicalities collaborating included in Artist's Book Yearbook : 2012-2013 edited by Sarah Bodman; published September 2011 by Impact Press; 254pp

The photocopier in visual poetry. Published in Psycick Dance Hall 4 online and hard copy. May 2011

Ian's 575s: Texts exhibited with introductory essay at e-poetry 2011 May 2011 at SUNY, Buffalo, USA published in the web journal Emerging Language Practices #2 at SUNY Buffalo.

Regarding Speculative Scores: from a talk given at Wysing Arts Centre 2011 published by the web journal Emerging Language Practices #2 at SUNY Buffalo

Notes on NAMELY for Peter Manson: Notes prepared for and included in the exhibition Notation and Interpretation at Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; 16 February 2011 - 20 February 2011] published by the web journal Emerging Language Practices #2 at SUNY Buffalo

On collaboration in art and in research into art. This talk was given at Goldsmiths, University of London on 12 February, 2011 as part of a cross-disciplinary graduate seminar on collaboration. It was followed by a performance by Lawrence Upton (voice) and Benedict Taylor (viola) from Bob Cobbing's with your tongues (Writers Forum 2001, 2011)].  Published by the web journal Emerging Language Practices #2 at SUNY Buffalo. From February 2011

Benign artistic trespass as method. This talk was given at post-moot, University of Miami in Ohio in 2010. Here it is published as part of Nowt 04.

"Close to the literal" by Lawrence Upton & John Drever - contribution to an artists' question panel, with three other artists - at James Taylor Gallery London Saturday 6th November 2010 -- no plans to publish the text: most of what was asked had been answered here and there before; though we did touch on some issues that I may now go into, issues I had expected to be asked about in detail.

Rory Stewart's "The places in between; 19 October 2010 - a talk to a study meeting of The Religious Society of Friends -- no plans to publish the text.

Poetry as discomfort a talk to a study group opposiing inter alia the idea of poetry as being a source of comfort and / or guidance. Circulated as a pamphlet later - o.p.

NAMING and CURSING:some live text sound composition. Published by Revista Laboratorio #3. Spring 2010.

The desire to testify [an interview with Chris Goode] February 2010

Collaboration, not just cooperation a talk given at Music Making: Pedagogy and Practice; University of Surrey November 2009

Non-determinist responses - a talk given Institute of Contemporary Arts August 2009 [External link]

self, expression; Centre for Contemporary Music Cultures, Goldsmiths, University of London; February 2009.  No plans to publish the text as much of the content has been absorbed into later texts

looks like art; sounds like music; San Expo Brighton; July 2008. No plans to publish.

Research, Assiduous Dedication and Self-ExpressionTalk given at University of Bedfordshire at Luton in 2007.

Walking, interference in Necessary Steps; Shearsman 2007

WRITING POETRY: an interrupted talk; 2007. Awaiting publication

TALK: Nuttall's "Oscar Christ" Writers Forum November 2006

On Choreographed Utterance edited version published in P-Queue, Buffalo, USA; September 2006; full version published in "a song and a film" by Upton (Veer Publications, 2009

A pedagogical interview February 2006

TALK: Writing CLOSE TO THE LITERAL Goldsmiths, University of London 2005

TALK: Introduction to Alan Sondheim Nottingham Trent University 2004

Holding up conciousness; 2004. Birkbeck Contemporary Poetics Conference: the language & the Design of Poetry, May 7th & 8th, 2004.

A LOT IS POSSIBLE: Sub Voicive Poetry in Words Out Loud: ten essays about poetry readings; edited by Mark Robinson; Stride Books, 2002

ESSAY: hot mazing on time 2004 [External link]

RETROSPECTIVE: Remembering Alaric Sumner 2004 [External link]

TALK, Sub Voicive Poetry: Introduction to Jeff Nuttall 2004 [External link]

TALK: Performing "Textscapes"; talk + performance, Nottingham Trent University; July 2002. No immediate plans to publish.

TALK: Gilbert Adair 2003

MEMOIR: Of Ric Caddel. 2003

Poetry and Dance. 2003

Any language cannot be foreign; West Virginia University, Morgantown, USA; 2003. No plans to publish

Pol Dhu, heading north in Famous Reporter #26 slightly revised 2017

Of Ric Caddel

A LOT IS POSSIBLE: Sub Voicive Poetry in Words Out Loud: ten essays about poetry readings; edited by Mark Robinson; Stride Books, 2002

How accessible and democratic is the net? does it matter to artists? Nottingham Trent University; 2002. No immediate plans to publish.

E-BOOK: My recent multivoice texts


[External link]

Some notes on (my) collaborations

REVIEW: "Red shifts" by Maggie O'Sullivan


Published by Famous Reporter, Australia

June 2001

Stroking the cats


Notation for "Willing suspension of belief" "Willing suspension of disbelief" was Upton's talk at the first e-poetry in Buffalo, 2001 First published Poetics, Canada

On top of the Zyklon heap First published in Masthead edited by Alison Croggon.  2001

Poetry as choreography Sub Voicive Colloquium #5 Birkbeck College; September 2001. Not published as such but the ideas have surfaced elsewhere in Upton's writing

lawrence upton interviews himself

[External link]

December 2000

AUTOBIOGRAPHY: tilting the world

December 2000

words in a hedge

December 2000

[External link]

PERFORMANCE SCORE: a hum for Alaric Sumner


[External link]

Essay: Finding another word for "experimental"


[External link]

Essay: utterance and notation of poetry


Regarding Maggie O'Sullivan's Poetry


Introduction to Bill Griffiths celebrating the memory of Eric Mottram


Co-editing "Word Score Utterance Choreography" given at Unpacking the anthology conference, Edge Hill University College; July 1999. Published as a pamphlet by housepress, Canada.  Now included in Some commentaries on Bob Cobbing (Argotist e books, 2013)

Sub Voicive Poetry introduction to Gilbert Adair


Interpreting the visual in poetry? Kings Talks King's College, London; June 1999. Partially published "Two Concepts of Normalization" by Vaclac Havel in Open Letter, a Canadian Journal of Writing and Theory, Eleventh Series, No. 7: Spring 2003 - Language Graphic

How does one utter that? Sub Voicive Colloquium # 2, Centre for English Studies, London; October 1997. No plans to publish text: this talk was revised and added to for "Interpreting the visual in poetry?" in 1999  

REVIEW of (soma) light song by Bob Cobbing. September 1982. Not being reprinted.

REVIEW of Pattern of Performance by Bob Cobbing. First published April 1980. Afterword 2010. Now included in Some commentaries on Bob Cobbing (Argotist e books, 2013)