As the hustle and bustle of the beginning of another busy year at Hurtwood begins, what better time to introduce you to our very own Poet in Residence, Rosy Carrick (that’s DOCTOR Carrick to mere mortals like you and me).
Having been a core member of vibrant poetry scenes in Brighton and London for nearly 15 years, Rosy really knows her stuff when it comes to the spoken word. She was the compere of Brighton’s primo spoken word event, ‘Hammer & Tongue’ for many years, and, since then, has overseen the south coast’s innovative and somewhat rowdy annual ‘Poets vs. MCs’ slam event, compered the poetry stage at Glastonbury, and curated the spoken word stage at Port Eliot Festival. She is a published poet, a doctor of Russian poetry with a special interest in the incendiary work of Vladimir Mayakovsky (of whom she has composed her own very well-regarded translations), an emergent theatrical talent (her award-winning one-person time travel show, ‘Passionate Machine’, is about to go to Australia, before returning for a UK tour), and a self-confessed bodybuilding obsessive (ask about this one at your peril). In other words, she’s exactly the sort of person who will fit in to the weird and wonderful world of Hurtwood.
What about Rosy in her own words? We met briefly over the Summer, both about to head to Skunk Anansie’s skull-vibratingly loud live show at the Dome in Brighton…
Hi Rosy! What’s going on with you at the moment?
Hello! Um, I’m eating peanut butter on toast and drinking a giant cup of tea at the moment – so a pretty exciting day for me!
Okay – the biggest – and possibly stupidest – question… What is poetry for?
Eek. Well – I first started to write poetry quite young – as a seven year-old child – and back then (and into my teens) writing poetry meant trying to get something out of me and onto paper – into something tangible. So I guess it was quite cathartic – and stayed that way for many years. Now I think more about what I want to do to the people who experience my writing, rather than what the writing of something will do to me, if that makes sense? The poetry I like the most is that which, by its very existence, disrupts the ideas and attitudes I take for granted, in language and in the world more broadly. The kind that makes you think: what the hell just happened there?! I like the idea that poetry is a hammer, not a mirror.
Sounds about right, having seen some of your readings. What's been your most exciting or defining experience as a writer?
Performing my poetry at Glastonbury for the first time back in 2003 was really exciting! Although probably the proudest moment of my writing career in general was getting the first copy of my Mayakovsky book Volodya through the post. I carried it around with me everywhere for ages like it was my baby – it was my first book and I was so proud of it! And finding out about the awards I won for my play Passionate Machine was AMAZING. I was like: BOOM – DROP THE MIC, ROSY - YOU ARE THE BEST! (Yes that’s right – I say that kind of thing to myself out loud… but it alternates with feelings of crippling self-doubt and despair so I reckon it all evens out!)
You mentioned your show 'Passionate Machine'. That seems like a bit of departure from poetry. How did you get into theatre?
A jolly good question – and I actually have no idea! Passionate Machine is my first play – I had had this idea for a longer form piece of writing rolling around my head for a couple of years but had wanted to get my PhD out of the way before making a start on it. I knew it would be about time travel films and Mayakovsky, but I didn’t know quite how it would emerge. I love video editing and wanted to use a lot of that, so I knew it would be live, but I really didn’t want it to end up being me next to a screen giving a lecture. So I got in touch with an extraordinarily talented director/theatre-maker called Katie Bonna, and she worked with me to structure and stage it as a theatre piece. So there we are – kind of by accident really!
Which performers, or performances, have made a really big impact on you recently?
I saw this really amazing play in Edinburgh last year but I can’t remember what it’s called, who it’s by, or who performed it. You know the one? But some poets I love are Hannah Silva and Keston Sutherland. Also Ross Sutherland (not related!) is an incredible writer.
Got any exciting plans for the future?
Well, as you have so accurately said, I am bodybuilding-obsessed, and I am currently researching a new project called Musclebound, which focuses on the eroticised torture of professional bodybuilders in mainstream Hollywood movies of the 80s and 90s (Conan, He-Man, Rambo, etc etc…) As you can imagine it’s going to be VERY SEXY, and possibly quite niche! I’m also in the midst of planning a Patrick Swayze-themed immersive theatrical club night which will take place in Brighton on Nov 9th. Come along!
What do you want from the Hurtwood writers this year?
Well the theme for this year is 'Innovation and Play' – and the aim is to get out of some of the individual writing style ruts it’s easy to get stuck in, and also to develop a whole new skillset for generating ideas and taking them into unexpected places. Anyone can take part, whether you’ve got experience at writing or not, and we’re basically just going to throw some literary spaghetti at the proverbial wall and see what sticks!
Having worked with Hurtwood since 2013, Rosy knows the ropes, but she is not the sort of creative who plays to the crowd and does what’s expected – where’s the fun in that? No. In the years that Rosy has been working with the creatives, the energetic wordsmiths, and the tortured poetic souls here at Hurtwood, we’ve seen brain-bending time travel experiments, Trump-baiting political satire, book defacing, rap mashups, dream-inspired cutups and experimental theatre pieces. It’s quite a lot to pack in to her occasional workshops throughout the year, so the humble folk at Muse thought we would give you the lowdown on what Rosy’s cooking up for you all this year, and how you can get involved.
This year, she’ll be trying something a little different. Rosy will be running occasional workshops throughout the year, on Thursday afternoons, cajoling and sharpening the skills of all you budding writers into an anthology of Muse poetry, which will be ready for print and purchase before the end of the year. We will also be taking a busload to Rosy’s live show in London in November (email sam.turton if you want your name on the list – first come, first served!), as well as preparing for the amphitheatre’s first ever spoken word event in the summer term.
Needless to say, we’re jolly excited about all of this here at Muse – see you all there!
Rosy will be running workshops on Thursday afternoons from 3-5pm, and Enigma sessions from 5-6pm, also on Thursdays. Check Muse and the English sharepoint page for more details. Put the dates on your phones!
London trip to see ‘Passionate Machine’ – Nov 28