A direction out there – readwalking (with) Thoreau

A pocket size book

bringing together a prepared text, a text score and two essays by Michael Hampton and Vicky Smith



describes a simultaneous act of reading and walking: reading as walking, of walking  as reading, of reading a text about walking, step by step, putting one foot in front of the other, each word calling the next, following one’s instinct or senses, as one is going along a reading path, as Thoreau writes, always going west, sauntering, readwalking as if one’s life depended on it…

Emmanuelle Waeckerlé’s score lifts the materiality of the text out of its ordinary fusion with the flows of meaning and rumination. Read-walking Thoreau, even in one’s own mind, has the salutary effect of an acupuncture of the spacetime of reading. Cécile Malaspina

Thoreau’s elegant writing pulls the reader back into the original essay and Waeckerlé’s own selection can divert the readwalker from their chosen instructions. This is not a failure, but rather the very essence of readwalking. The text is like a trail, something to follow but also to add to, stray from, or otherwise alter. Levi Sherman

A reading path

Walking, Henry David Thoreau’s transcendental lecture/essay (1851), has become after pruning, conceptual poetry with an accompanying score for reading, walking, speaking, singing, playing. A reading path leads through Thoreau’s words, keeping a trace of the original text  as the visible root of my rewilding; this mise en abyme reveals endless potential paths.

An insightful and considered review by Levi Sherman on artistsbooksreview.com here


Recording as part of an improvised reading ensemble with Iris Colomb, Ed Shipsey, Emmanuelle Waeckerle, and Florence Uniacke on a cold winter’s night around a kitchen table in Lewisham in February 2022.

A direction out there – readwalking (with) Thoreau is available here

Produced with financial support from UCA research fund.

Shortlisted in the Sound Walk September Awards 2021. Read Pruning Thoreau written for the occasion here.