Mr Rowan Evans

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Personal profile

Rowan Evans is a poet, composer and sound artist who studied at Cambridge University (BA, Hons) and the University of Bristol (MA). His chapbook publications include The Last Verses of Beccán (Guillemot Press, 2019) which won the Michael Marks Award for Poetry 2019, freak red (Projective Industries, 2015) and cante jondo mixtape (If a Leaf Falls Press, 2017). He received an Eric Gregory Award in 2015 and a selection of his work appears in Penguin Modern Poets 7: These Hard and Shining Things (Penguin, 2018). Rowan is co-editor of Moot Press, where he co-curates the Anathema reading series. He is artistic co-director of the interdisciplinary performance company Fen, with whom he was a Creative Fellow at the UCL Institute for Advanced Studies, 2019-20.

Research interests

Ancient Tongues & Hybrid Texts: Radical Encounters with the Early Medieval in Modern & Contemporary Poetic Practice 

This practice-based PhD explores how late modernist and contemporary poetry enacts encounters with the early medieval languages and literature of the British Isles, via translation, form-oriented response and other linguistically hybrid methods. It examines poets and text-based artists from the late 1960s to the present including Caroline Bergvall, Bill Griffiths and Maggie O’Sullivan, with a specific focus on the modernist and experimental tradition. Experimental poetry creates openings in which ancient language encounters can take place, which in turn bring important and historically-layered degrees of otherness to the discourses of eco-criticism and literary geography. ‘Hybridity’ is used as a suggestive and provocative term, referring to interlingual practice, interdisciplinary approaches and interactions with the more-than-human, to construct radically combinative ways of thinking, writing and performing. My poetic and performance practice draw primarily on poetry, sagas and cycles written in Old English, Old Norse and Old Irish, with an emphasis on animism; birds, plants and naming; women's poetry and mythology; charms, spells and magic; runic inscription; transhistoric re-voicing and mask poetics. The orientation of our contemporary culture to the early medieval past has become increasingly and urgently relevant. This research seeks to respond to an increase in English nationalism, fascism and their weaponization of early medieval language and mythology, and to make a critical case for positively reclaiming these materials as a basis for pluralistic, radical and collaborative art-making. 

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