Category Archives: Publications

Two creative-critical essays

Both of these are in The Restless Compendium (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) and can be freely downloaded.

So Even the Tree has its Yolk


This creative-critical work draws on the archives of the Pioneer Health Centre, also known as the Peckham Experiment, held at the Wellcome Library. The Centre was established between the wars both to provide the conditions for, and to investigate, health rather than illness. The ways in which personal and group forms of vitality were conceptualized, valorized and put to work allowed poet and writer James Wilkes to think through the link between individual and societal relationships to leisure, work and health. However, the archive also holds many other strands of thinking – esoteric, biological, quasi-anarchist – and the choice of fiction as a form of writing provides a way of holding these dispersive, messy ingredients together – a way of working restlessly with restless materials.

Published open access (free download): click here

The Poetics of Descriptive Experience Sampling


James Wilkes and Holly Pester, both poets, write here about their engagement with the descriptive experience sampling (DES) method, which stemmed from an interdisciplinary encounter with the psychologist Russell Hurlburt, and their experience of being trained as subjects in this technique. This chapter considers how DES can be used in unexpected ways to think through vexed questions in poetics about the relationship between experience and language, and the material ways in which experience might be captured. James and Holly consider the deployment of DES in the context of a poetry reading, which emerges as a space of multiple, distributed and distractable attention.

Published open access (free download): click here.

Torque 2

torque2_8Image: Nathan Jones/Sam Skinner

An anthology of essays and poems exploring the act of reading.


Anna Barham, Charles Bernstein, Tim Etchells, Stephen Fortune, Grace Harrison, Mark Greenwood, N. Katherine Hayles, Liam Jones, Nathan Jones, Alex Leff, Esther Leslie, Claire Potter, Nina Power, Hannah Proctor, Eleanor Rees, Erica Scourti, Sam Skinner, Garrett Stewart, James Wilkes and Soenke Zelhe

Edited by Nathan Jones and Sam Skinner

Produced as part of Torque#2 The Act of Reading 2015

Published by Torque Editions, Liverpool/London, 2015

More information and free download here.

Special Works School


During the First World War, a corner of Kensington Gardens was fenced off from public access and turned into a replica of Flanders, filled with trenches, shell holes, fake trees and decoy tanks. It became the home of the Special Works School, established by the Royal Engineers as a place to teach, display and experiment with new techniques of camouflage. Following the end of the First World War, the Camouflage Park was dismantled – but did it ever really go away?

Heather Ring and I refounded the Special Works School in 2011, as a collective of artists, writers and designers who wanted to engage critically with this secret history. In August 2011 we edited and published a Preliminary Report, which gathered together field observations, speculative proposals, historical images and capsule essays by the collective.

With contributions from: Tom Chivers, Sally Davies, Simon Elvins, Lily Ford, Synnove Fredericks, Alex Haw, The Henningham Family Press, Manu Luksch, Mike Massaro and James Trefor-Jones, Vahakn Matossian, Sophie Nield, Christian Nold, Mark Pilkington, Heather Ring, James Wilkes, Hannah Wood, Patrick Wright, Liam Young.

UPDATE: my contribution, ‘Runners and Risers’, was republished in 3:AM Magazine (without the original photos by Sally Davies)

Conversations After Dark

rooftop carpark sml

Pamphlet published by Sideline Publications in 2010.

This prose poem responds to and takes its name from a tour of the Cambridge night devised by artists Townley and Bradby.

It was part of Nightjar 2009, a series of temporary artworks and encounters between dusk and dawn. Cover image by Julian Hughes. If you’d like a free copy, please email me: