How Forms Live is a collaborative inquiry into form and forms, especially – but not exclusively – as they manifest in writing.

What do we mean when we talk about form in writing? What forms are available to us as readers and writers? Where and how do they live? How to talk about form and the formal – which words to use? Form as genre, as shape, as structure, as device, as duration, as relation, as attitude, ‘as passion’ (Robert Hass), as a ‘pattern of feeling’ (Virginia Woolf)?

One purpose of the project is to explore the different histories of thinking about form, and in particular the movement of the term between the literary and the visual arts.

The other is to develop a new vocabulary to describe what we, as readers, writers and art-makers, experience as ‘formal’: a lexicon of shareable terms that can be put to use, extended, modified or rejected – and in this start different conversations, suggest alternative manners of reading and new ways into writing.