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Launch of Archive of the Now

A whole new audience is about to join the iPod generation, next week, when free downloads of contemporary, strictly “non-mainstream“ British poetry will be available online.

Poets are also invited to nominate other artists, whose work they recommend, or their own work for inclusion on the not-for-profit site, The Archive of the Now, funded by Brunel University, in Uxbridge, West London.

The Archive of the Now, part of the Brunel Centre for Contemporary Writing, based at the Brunel University's School of Arts, will be launched at a free, open event with readings by emerging and established experimental poets, at the Jerwood Space, in London, next week [November 9].

The Archive currently consists of recordings by 65 authors, sometimes at poetry readings and performances at venues above central London pubs, capturing the live atmosphere, so what may be wanting in acoustics, is made up for in ambience.

“I'm trying to take a snapshot of the innovative work being done today,“ explained Andrea Brady, director the Archive of the Now, who arranges for recordings to be made, “and let the work speak for itself. As the site expands, I intend to include moving images and part of actual performances.“

Not only is Brady aiming to capture the moment but she hopes to bring “the late Modernist tradition“ to a wider audience. “When you hear a poet read their work themselves, a lot of meanings become clearer, than when they are written on the page. It will provide access to so-called 'difficult poetry.'“

Philadelphia-born Brady, 32, is herself a published poet and runs the avante garde Barque Press, a small publishing house which encourages new writers, with Keston Sutherland.

Her own creative background is a mixture of being at the cutting edge of contemporary writing and traditional, ivory-towered academia. After studying English at Columbia University, New York, she went onto Cambridge where she completed an MPhil in Renaissance English Literature and her doctorate.

She is a prolific writer in both fields and, most recently, the author of English Funerary Elegy in the Seventeenth Century (Palgrave Macmillan, June 2006). She teaches both Shakespeare and contemporary literary theory at Brunel.

“So much exciting poetry being written today goes under the radar of the few, big poetry presses,“ she continues. “Its use of language, politics and performance might not fit what is traditionally recognised as poetry. By using the internet, you can convey that diversity to a much wider world. And, who knows, the site might even encourage the readers to become writers.“ /Ends