In the summer semester of 2015 I was asked to devise and teach a vocational course on working in the literary industry at the Georg-August-Universität in Germany, and was granted that rare thing: complete and utter creative license.
I devised the course around the organisation and management of a reading. The wonderful poet JL Williams agreed to come and be our guinea pig (thank you Jennifer!), and gave a fantastic cross-disciplinary evening reading at the Nörgelbuff bar, as well as doing flash mob-type readings across the university campus. I booked the author, but the rest was up to the students: they chose and liaised with the venue, decided upon the event format, wrote and sent out the press release – etc, etc.
There were a few particularly wonderful moments: the sold out reading in Nörgelbuff (and that for poetry in a foreign language!); the surreal flash mob reading in the ladies’ toilets on campus; the moment when one student told me she’d decided to complete a masters in arts management as a result of the course (score!), or when the department’s course co-ordinator said that they’d make the course an annual fixture of the curriculum; or reading Jennifer’s blog piece about the event afterwards. Best of all, however, was having the chance – together with the students – to curate a reading which crossed boundaries, bringing everything from translation via filmpoems through to perfume into the performance space.