Cris Cheek

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Cris Cheek
Born1955 (age 67–68)
Academic background
EducationLancaster University (PhD)
Academic work
Electronic music
Sub-disciplineMultimodal poetry
InstitutionsDartington College of Arts
Miami University

Cris Cheek (born 1955)[citation needed] is a British multimodal poet and scholar. He began his career working alongside Bill Griffiths and Bob Cobbing at the Poetry Society printshop in London and with the Writers Forum group, who met with regularity on the premises in Earls Court. During that time they co-founded a poetry performance group known as jgjgjgjgjgjgjg . . .(as long as you can say it that's our name) with Lawrence Upton and Clive Fencott. Subsequently, cris collaborated on electronic music improvisations with "bang crash wallop" and released several cassettes through Balsam Flex. In 1981, he was a co-founder of Chisenhale Dance Space.

His music and sound collaborations include Slant (a trio with Philip Jeck and Sianed Jones). His radio program "Music of Madagascar" produced for BBC Radio 3 won a Sony Gold Specialist Award (now Radio Academy Awards) in 1995. He taught performance writing courses at Dartington College of Arts, where he became a research fellow in interdisciplinary text (2000–2002). A large body of interdisciplinary performance writing was produced in collaboration with Kirsten Lavers under the author function Things Not Worth Keeping between 1999 and 2007. In 2005, he became a professor at Miami University in Ohio. He was Altman Fellow in The Humanities Center at Miami University in 2011 and 2012, co-presenting the Networks and Power symposium and a conference on Network Archaeology, from which an issue of the online journal Amodern, co-edited with Nicole Starosielski and Braxton Soderman, was published. From 2017 to 2019 he worked alongside Mack Hagood to develop and produce the inaugural season of the Phantom Power podcast.

Early life[edit]

Cheek was born in Enfield Town, London and educated at Highgate School, graduating in 1972.[1] He worked at the printshop of the Consortium of London Presses in the basement of the Earls Court premises of the National Poetry Centre between 1975 and 1977.[citation needed] He earned a PhD in poetry writing from Lancaster University.[2]


Initially, cris helped Bill Griffiths and Bob Cobbing to produce in-house volumes of Poetry Review under the editorship of Eric Mottram. They became print shop manager in 1977, among a wave of poets in London following the lead of the British Poetry Revival whose poetry integrates spatial, sonic and semantic performative concerns. Early live performance work was in duet with Clive Fencott and then a trio with the addition of Lawrence Upton as "JGJGJJGJG (as long as you can say it that's our name)." They were, on occasion, joined by Bill Griffiths and Jeremy Adler. He ran several small press imprints and edited the short-lived magazine RAWZ. Through work with Jacky Lansley and Fergus Early on their production I Giselle, cheek became involved with X6 Dance Space and then Chisenhale Dance Space. cris later collaborated with Mary Prestidge, Kirstie Simson, Miranda Tufnell and Dennis Greenwood, Patricia Bardi, Michael Clark and Sue MacLennan between 1982 and 1986. In 1987, cheek and Sianed Jones traveled to Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania and Madagascar researching into social forms of music and dance.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Cheek lived in Hackney and Canning Town between 1981 and 1994. Whilst working for dance and performance artists and improvising music groups, he began writing songs with Sianed Jones, performing and recording with Philip Jeck as Slant. Slant released three albums. Jones and Cheek later moved to Lowestoft. He was an active member of poetics e-list communities for the following twenty years. During this time, he taught performance writing at Dartington College of Arts, working alongside Caroline Bergvall as well as many others. cheek also made contemporary vaudeville shows with folk musician Chris Foster that toured to village halls and community centers around England.[3]

While working at the Dartington College of Arts, Cheek began teaching with and subsequently working with Kirsten Lavers to produce a substantial web of projects under the author function Thinks Not Worth Keeping, shortened to TNWK.[citation needed]

cris was in a relationship, subsequently married to Erin E. Edwards and then divorced between 2012 and 2021. cris lived in Cincinnati, before moving to Labastide-Rouairoux in Tarn, southern France in the summer of 2022.[citation needed]


cheek's creative writing works include:

  • a present. London: Bluff Books, 1980
  • Mud. London: London: Spanner/Open Field, 1984
  • Cloud Eyes. London: Microbrigade, 1991
  • Skin upon skin. Lowestoft: CD, Sound & Language, 1996
  • Stranger. Lowestoft: Sound & Language, 1996
  • Songs from Navigation. Hastings: book+CD, Reality Street, 1998
  • the church, the school, the beer. Oxford, Ohio: Critical Documents, 2007
  • part: short life housing. Toronto: The Gig, 2009
  • Pickles & Jams. Buffalo: BlazeVOX, 2017[4]

His works have been published in various magazines, literary miscellanies and anthologies, including:

  • Anthology of Twentieth-Century British and Irish Poetry.Oxford University Press, 2001
  • Other: British and Irish Poetry since 1970. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1999
  • The L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Book. Carbondale: Southern Indiana University, 1984[5]
  • Conductors of Chaos. Picador: London, 1996
  • Floating Capital. Elmwood, Connecticut: Poets & Poets Press, 1991

MC, CD and CD-R[edit]

  • Crayon (NY), Widemouth (Baltimore)
  • Little Magazine (Albany)
  • Balsam Flex (London)

Critical articles[edit]

  • Bob Cobbing’s Performances: of Production and Circulation. Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry, 2012. Canterbury: Gylphi, 2012. Volume 4. Number 2
  • Reading and Writing: the Sites of Performance.
  • Giving Tongue. Assembling Alternatives: Reading Postmodern Poetries Transnationally Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2003
  • Sky Tails: An Encryption of Dispersal. published in Removed for Further Study: The Poetry of Tom Raworth, Toronto: The Gig, 2003
  • Implicit. Additional Apparitions: Poetry, Performance and Site Specificity Sheffield: The Cherry On the Top Press, 2002

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ Howe, William (2006-08-09). "Punk as Poetry: cris cheek and his offset press collaborations" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2006-08-09. Retrieved 2021-02-22.
  2. ^ Sheppard, Robert (2005-09-01). The Poetry of Saying: British Poetry and its Discontents, 1950-2000. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-1-78138-809-9.
  3. ^ "cris cheek: "Reading and Writing: the Sites of Performance" -- HOW2". Retrieved 2021-02-22.
  4. ^ "BlazeVOX [books]". Retrieved 2021-02-22.
  5. ^ "ROBERT HAMPSON". Retrieved 2021-02-22.