Kristen Kreider




here is my life … growing … passing … shaping … shifting … here is my poetics … fleeting … making … doing … reading … a poetics of place and performance … thinking … acting … stressing … avoiding … a poetics of connection – … engaging … delving … worrying … conjoining … (and the wanting of it) … arguing … sculpting … finding … imaging … a poetics of word, page & site … running … wondering … lamenting … jubilating … a poetics of smell, taste & touch … dreaming … sensing… idealising … concretising … a poetics of seeing … silencing … scaling … projecting … crossing … ; listening … voicing … syncopating … living … lying … a poetics of the here and now … breathing … communicating … hiding … seeming … likewise of else and where … timing … moving … syntaxing … verbalising … what do you do in your ‘spare’ time? … grinding … dreaming … seeing … scavenging … what do you do in your sleep?

I am in a very lucky position. Now and for the last three years I have been able to dedicate myself to developing a theory and a practice for my writing in relation to fine art and architecture. In this sense, my ‘everyday life’ is my practice. Reading. Writing. Researching. Learning. Making. My days are spent thus, and happily so.

The poetics I strive for is connective and interdisciplinary. I seek to challenge myself, criss-crossing boundaries into unknown realms (and back again …) At times, this means my writing is ‘swallowed up’; almost disappearing. Into image, sound, material, site. Other times, the writing would appear to do the same to these other aspects of my practice. My endeavour is, ultimately, to remain balanced, as a poet, in this web – this nexus – this matrix. I describe my poetics as extensive.

My environment is contingent. I write for and to those who listen. A particular situation, site, event or gift can direct my writing toward different people and communities. Now, for example, I am writing to you. Other times I write/perform for an academic community. Other times family. Sometimes friends. Often I send messages to total strangers: what is called, in certain circles, a ‘general public.’ I like to think that my community has a broad, if not many, bases and that I am as active in this – in ‘my’ – community as much as I participate (that is, share) with/in it. Such community, therefore, exists in that tenuous link: in the ‘with’ that I establish in and through participation. A chance encounter or event can lead to yet another link. And so on …

(But at times, tiredness, fear or just plain agoraphobia can lead me back to my desk, my room and my self: a seemingly ‘safe,’ if tenuous, position to shift into … And this, I suppose, is another – less public – writing environment. An intimate one that I share, both physically and emotionally, primarily with my partner: closest collaborator and strongest supporter.)

I have had the financial support of an academic institution, for which I shall be forever grateful and indebted. Emotional and intellectual support comes from my supervisors, other instructors, and my peers, including friends from college, people I have met since moving to London and individuals I have met through art, architecture and writing events, such as this very writing group. Due to my ‘interdisciplinary’ status, at times I feel that my time and my attention are dispersed. Do I attend this or that opening? Reading? Lecture? Conference? Party? Stay in the library like a good PhD student? Or run and hide from it all in a cottage in West Clare to nurse a dream of sea-side living with no one and nothing but sky and waves and not that infernal honking and shouting outside my window when the street gets bottlenecked and the drivers go mad!

Can one exist without an audience? Can one write in anonymity? Can one reconcile a public and private language/site for writing? Can one be political without being oppositional? Can one be ‘safe’ without being exclusive? Can one be experimental and still remain ‘safe’? Can one cultivate community without fixing discourse? Can one write to live?

As for direction, I’ve heard it said

  if you engage in travel, you will arrive …*

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