Wednesday, April 24, 2013


I thought, "What a great title, to combine phallic with fallacies." Of course, it has been thought of.

What a great website and group, though!

More notes about animals

Derrida's "The Animal That Therefore I Am"

difficult cognative qualities of humans and non-humans

cognative ethology: study of animals' minds

Nature fakers debate

poetic thoughts of animals

otherness, strangeness, difference




asymetrical power relationships

inhumanism: privileges the animal over the human

make a joke at the expense of the pathetic fallacy

Notes about animals

Virginia Wolff's Flush as hybrid

Anthropocentrisim under phallocentricism

Carrie Rohman, Stalking the Subject

TS Eliot, and human superiority

human/animal, humanimal, animal/human

Derrida's heterogeneous multiplicity

controlling animal bodies in the Victorian age, via zoos, dog fancy

coevolution of human-dog, to get away from domestication model of dominance

Ulysses--dogs without owners
Waste Land--dog on corpse

shifting of gender roles and hierarchies in Modernist times

Bildungsroman: The novel of education

Bildung as humanist project, a project of self-cultivation

Animal narrative traditions
Victorian animal autobiography
"Feminine" sentimentality

Flush as allegory of the woman writer

Unwelt: organiism's perception of the world
Jakob Von Uexküll: Foray Into Worlds of Animals

Another summer project

omission and art for art-o-vend

Topeka Projects

fragments of:

Topeka Zoo
domestic violence suspects released

Monday, April 22, 2013

A student asks about diversity

Diversity is complex to me, as the root of the word comes from "divert," while the meaning means the opposite--to combine different elements of something.

Riffing off of Washburn University Diversity Initiative's definition: When it comes to diversity in people, I think of sensitivity first. We are each different, come from different cultures, background, beliefs, and we should each be sensitive to that fact. Along with the sensitivity, we should also agree that no one has the perfect definition of what diversity means. For example, gender identity would not be included in any definitions from fifty years ago, as the culture-at-large was not sensitive to such ideas. In general, if there is a definition I could add to diversity, it is the sensitivity to how people identify themselves, as well as not pushing definitions of identity onto others. However, the nice thing about diversity is that we are all Washburn students--diverse and complex.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Adorno quote

"History has left its residue in punctuation marks, and it is history, far more than meaning or grammatical function, that looks out at us, rigidified and trembling slightly, from every mark of punctuation." —Theodor Adorno

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Flarf and Conceptual Poetry

I spent an hour and a half preparing my Flarf and Conceptual Writing presentation. Assembled books, handouts, etc. Also had a hands-on part. I've used Katie Degentesh's The Anger Scale and Kenneth Goldsmith's Traffic as examples. Students read these without any prior information about these forms. Lots of great debate over "Is this real writing?"

Monday, April 8, 2013

Punctuation as Patriarchy

My first ideas: Punctuation stops the reader, forces closures, measures, enforces rules. Think of Elements of Style. Think of what is enforced in elementary schools.

I'm looking through these books, for examining the idea of punctuation as Patriarchy:

Alice Notley's The Descent of Allete
Gertrude Stein's "Patriarchal Poetry"
Gertrude Stein's "On Punctuation"
Kenneth Goldsmith's "Gertrude Stein's Punctuation"
M.B. Parkes' Pause and Effect: An Introduction to the History of Punctuation in the West
Jennifer DeVere's Punctuation: Art, Politics, and Play
Theodor Adorno's "Punctuation Marks"
Dorothy Richardson's "About Punctuation": "But in the slow, attentive reading demanded by unpunctuated texts, the faculty of hearing has its chance, is enhanced until the text speaks itself."


"A question is a question, anybody can know that a question is a  question and so why add to it the question mark when it is already  there when the question is already there in the writing. Therefore I
never could bring myself to use a question mark, I always found it positively  revolting, and now very few do use it." --Gertrude Stein

"Is a question a feminized form of the statement?" --Rachel Zucker

Sunday, April 7, 2013


Reading Amy King in Topeka

Marvel 70th Anniversary Trading Cards

Punctuation as Patriarchy

Documentation and Conceptual Collage

It's been on my mind, the idea of conceptual collage, appropriation as representation, etc. and what draws me to approaching projects with these forms. Really, I've documentated all my life--since I was four, picking up a camera, cutting out words from magazines, etc. When I was in trouble, I had to copy the dictionary, including the phonetics. Kenneth Goldsmith would love this!

Sometimes I take facebook discussions of poets and repost them. I've been caught, asked to remove them. (Sorry, A.B.!) I feel bad--I don't want to violate privacy or force such conversations to be Google-searchable. My conflict is with documentation of such conversations, that these did happen between the poets of the now, that these lists can help others, etc. If I kept these in files only, they could be lost, damaged, or--upon the event of my death--never found.

Ultimately, my other mother has survived another bout with lymphoma. She is still in the hosptial. 2013: The Year of the Hospital. As she is my mother's partner, my sister and I are the last survivors of that side of the family. How will this be documented? I've explored through poetry: see Denver Quarterly, Indiana Review.

I can't connect why I feel the urgency to capture, then send back, these histories, herstories, and such. I see a scholar 100 years from now asking about us Kansas poets. What will happen if they do a Google search and find some Dennis who was a poetic-historian, and have a major breakthrough in research?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Friday, April 5, 2013

Paul Gauguin quote

"the future city -- to be built -- of which poetry would be the commanding gesture -- music the atmosphere -- painting the marvelous decoration"

   -- Shaping by A.B.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Next Big Thing

So I need to give credit to both Eric McHenry and Tasha Haas, as they both asked me to do this. However, I do not feel like I could find/ask anyone new to do this. :)

*Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing*
What is your working title of your book?
My Secret Wars of 1984

Where did the idea come from for the book?
From a poem I wrote, in which there was a space between 1983 and 1985. I realized 1984 is a pivotal, tumultuous year for me.

What genre does your book fall under?
Conceptual collage poetry

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Me: Joshua Marie Wilkinson
My mother: Amy King
Lyn Hejinian: herself
bell hooks: herself
John Carlin: Joe Harrington
Ronald Reagan: Billy Collins

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
In its entirety, My Secret Wars of 1984 is an alphabetized 366-sentence conceptual poetry-memoir collage, using texts from the year 1984 (Lyn Hejinian, Ronald Johnson, bell hooks, Marvel Comics, Dungeons & Dragons, President Reagan, etc.) with sentences of my own—within the context of political and personal struggles of that time (my mother coming out in the midst of living in a Catholic neighborhood, etc.).

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
366 sentences.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Any of the top ten of the New York Times Bestsellers List.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Joe Harrington, Lyn Hejinian, and Ronald Johnson.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
The cover has artwork by a famous comic book artist.

Monday, April 1, 2013

New projects

I have almost completed Topeka cento. The first draft is done, but I'm hoping Tod Marshall will come through for me. He is the last major Topeka poet left.

Also, as of yesterday, I have Amy King's permission to use her book I Want to Make You Safe for my next project. I truly admire her work, both on and outside of the page. She and Ana are inspirations--which is why the next project is autobiographical. As I am reading her work around Topeka, maybe aloud even, it serves as a site for social change. Look at Amy's own work in these areas. Maybe this is the catalyst for the project?

It starts with mapping out Topeka, and mapping out the Table of Contents. I am coping things out of the book. I would love to get my hands on some Topeka maps outside of the web. Maybe there are maps that conentrate on the areas I want to write in?