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“Is this the way the universe works? (555 Verses / 77 Verses)”, 2023


This is a performative book containing performative tanrenga poems to be read out loud. A tanrenga poem looks like a tanka, a five-lined Japanese poetry form but it isn’t. It’s a conversation between a three-line haiku-like poem and a two-line poem written by another writer in response, in this case British artist-curator Gavin Wade and poet Paul Conneally.

77 Verses (Is this the way the universe works?) is a collection of such conversations written in and of and out of the woods in Drenthe.

(555 Verses) is a collection of such conversations written in and out of Twitter from 2017–2023.

555 Verses: of plants from Triangle Garden, Birmingham.
The plants are outstanding examples of adaptation strategies in response to changes in environmental conditions including many cacti and succulents and bananas.

77 Verses: of plants and rocks from the wood in Bronneger (NL).
These include pines and oaks and hunabeds (prehistoric megalithic funerary monuments).

Try reading each verse out loud twice, and listen for the rhythms and cuts. Hear them and connect with the wood, the people who wrote them. Their lives. The past and the present. The future too.