Alaric SUMNER (Great Britain)
Alaric Sumner (1952, South Africa – 2000, St. Ives, Cornwall, England) – poet, performer, editor. In 1974, he graduated from East 15 Acting School, where he underwent a course of acting. Later, he majored in theatre studies (MA) at the University of Leeds (Leeds), and worked on the doctorate dissertation on new technologies at the University of Warwick (Warwick). He was very active in the sphere of experimental literature bringing visual, sound, and action elements into his productions. The range of Sumner’s conceptual studies, besides his interest in the generation process and construction techniques of concepts of sexuality and writing (and also their interconnection), went beyond the text boundaries. In a number of productions created jointly with artists (such as S. Blow, R. McDermott and others) and musicians he tried to create multilayered (synthesized) pieces involving various performers and manipulation of technological environments; among them are the following productions: Unspeakable Room (Battersea Arts Centre, Tate Gallery St. Ives, Dartington College of Arts, London), Voices for 9 (The Royal Court, London) and others. Sumner is the author of several poetry books and brochures, including: Songs of Nonsense and Experiment (Zimmer Zimmer Press, 1976), Rhythm to Intending (Spectacular Diseases, 1994), Lurid Technology and the Hedonist Calculator (Lobby Press, 1994), Waves on Porthmeor Beach (Words worth language arts, 1995), Aberrations of mirrors, Lenses sight (RWC, 1998), Bucking Curtains (Mainstream Poetry Pamphlets, 2000) and others. He has frequently had his works published in various literary magazines, literary miscellanies, catalogues, and also in anthologies, recently in: Word Score Utterance Choreography in verbal and visual poetry (London: Writers Forum, 1998), My King of Angel: I.M. William Burroughs (London: Stride, 1998), Language alive (Lowestoft: Sound and Language, 2000) and others. Among his publications concerning the issues of theory and practice in contemporary literature and art are the interviews with C. Reedy, J.M. Smith in the magazine PAJ 61 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999), B. Cobbing and L. Upton in Riding the Meridian (issue 2, vol.1), C. Reedy in Performance Research (Routledge, 2000) and theoretical articles on actional forms of creative activities, including articles in Linguistik International (Peter Lang Verlag, 2000). Sumner’s fruitful long-term editing activities widely praised: “He is positively an editor, not just one who gets the material out, but one who seeks out the work that he wants, is ready to learn about new work and who is sympathetic in the extreme to the maker and her/his text” (L. Upton). For several years he worked as an editor for the publishing house “Zimmer Zimmer Press,” and as an editor and publisher for the “Words worth language arts” magazine which is devoted to the issues of experimental literature. He was a member of the Editorial Board of the “Masthead Literary Arts” magazine, a guest editor (later member of the Editorial Board) of the “Riding the Meridian” magazine, a guest editor of the “PAJ 61” magazine (section “Writings & Performance”). From 1998, he worked as a guest lecturer at the Dartington College of Arts. Alaric Sumner died suddenly in March, 2000 in St. Ives, Cornwall, Great Britain.