Week One // Hive Mind
From the vernaculars of social media to the transformative possibilities of artistic exchange, we’ll explore density, migration, diversity within collectivities, and networks of connections. Where do we find our imaginational selves amid all the swarming discourses? The life of the mind is distraction, is speed, the rhizome is our form of feeling now, but we also feel the curse of our “media selves,” mediated along and through the networks of capital. How do we work with these materials, their particular densities, and the situations out of which they emerge? And the call to be a “citizen” therein?
Yet to swarm also means to leave the home and form a new body. We know nearly all these movements, migrations, and displacements are not undertaken in liberty, but rather are forced by war, by famine, and economic immiseration, and by political repression; in 2014, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reckoned more than forty-six million people––the internally displaced, the stateless, refugees, and other asylum seekers––under its concern, and this year has only seen this swarming of human persons intensify. Refusing absolutely the reactionary discourses that further insist on false borders, and the identities that they reify, how can we build a sufficient welcome through writing? How can writing lead us to that new body?
We’ll yet ask the original questions: where are your dreams, and where do you live in your poetry, as we write towards what Will Alexander has called “the life of euphoric solar trees.”
Will Alexander // On Imaginal Fertility
This course will commence sans the superimposition of texts thronged with discussion and in-class writing exercise designed to fertilize and wake the imagination thereby freeing its power from the gravid forces of consensus entrainment.When each person is born, the universe is tilted at such angle so as to tendency towards, say, up or down, heat or cold, with each tendency extending toward reading habits, our cultural exchange, and they eventually seep into our writing. This course will attempt to evolve these predilections into written work capable of organic foray into the world.
Will Alexander works in multiple genres, including poetry, novels, essays, and philosophy, as well as music and visual arts. His praxis of language is not unlike the Mayan numerical world, where each letter of the alphabet spontaneously engages in non-limit, which opens all fields for exploration: art, physics, botany, history, astronomy, architecture, and poetics. Alexander’s books include Asia and Haiti, The Sri Lankan Loxodrome, Compression and Purity, Sunrise In Armageddon, Towards The Primeval Lightning Field, and others. He lives in Los Angeles.
Samiya Bashir // Restorative Alchemies: Humanity on trial in digital space
Inexhaustible violence of -ism and image.We’ll consider the power of poem-making to metabolize aggression out of our bodies, to reclaim and restore humanity, and more. We’ll explore an alchemical poem-making toward transmutation of experience, insight, and approach—collaboratively and individually—toward resolution of swarming aggressions into light, into recognition, into direction, into sustenance. We’ll come with all we carry. We’ll leave with new poems, new maps, new seeds.
Samiya Bashir’s books of poetry, Field Theories(forthcoming), Gospel, and Where the Apple Falls, and anthologies, including Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social & Political Black Literature & Art, exist. Sometimes she makes poems of dirt. Sometimes zeros and ones. Sometimes variously rendered text. Sometimes light. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with a magic cat who shares her obsessions with trees and blackbirds and occasionally crashes her classes and poetry salons at Reed College. // Samiya Bashir
Anne Boyer // Hive-Mind/Never-Mind
In this workshop, we will think, talk, and write about extinction, overreaction, immunity, allergy, resilience, refusal, honey vs. vinegar, violability, burned maps, counter-logistics, failed air, false choice, glamour threats, memory, metabolism, mortality, palliation, prosthetics, cloaking, the used, the used-up, the worn, the worn-out, infancy, ruins, second-thoughts, and what use does a baby have for a dollar bill?
Anne Boyer is a poet who lives in Kansas City. Her most recent book is Garments Against Women. // Anne Boyer
Rikki Ducornet // Sparking The Mind
In his necessary and beautiful The Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard speaks of the spaces that allow us “to recall flashes of daydreams that illuminate the synthesis of immemorial and recollected . . . where memory and imagination remain associated, each one working for their mutual deepening.” Our object will be to create such a space in which the wellspring of the imagination will be energized and released, sparking fiction’s boundless and luminous forms.
Rikki Ducornet is the author of nine novels, three collections of short fiction, two books of essays, and five books of poetry. She has received both a Lannan Literary Fellowship and the Lannan Literary Award For Fiction. She is an artist and has illustrated books by Jorge Luis Borges, Robert Coover, Forrest Gander, Joanna Howard, Anne Waldman, and others. Her artwork is held in the permanent collections of the Museo de la Solidaridad Salvador Allende, Santiago, Chile;The McMaster University Museum, Ontario, Canada; and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris. // Rikki Ducornet
Ruby Kapka // Lo-Fi Letterpress
Over the course of four days, students will be introduced to the basics of letterpress typesetting and printing. Techniques for setting handset type, printing on a letterpress proofing press, experimenting with other lo-fi methods of creating imagery using the presses, and a simple binding method will be explored. Ruby will share philosophies of traditional and nontraditional practices of letterpress, spontaneous design on-press, and experimental imagery ideation processes. It will be so fun.
Ruby Kapkareceived a BFA from the Oregon College of Art and Craft with a concentration in Book Arts. She runs NSFW Presse, a Risograph print and design shop, out of her bedroom in Brooklyn, NY, where she produces art prints, artist books, and ephemera. She is the letterpress manager and printer for Swayspace, and recently retired from her beloved position as production manager of Ugly Duckling Presse.
Ruth Ellen Kocher & Megan Kaminski // Radical Lyrics: Dismantling, Revising, and Re-visioning the Lyric
In the tradition of lyric poetry, including myriad incarnations of innovative lyric, anti- lyric, post-lyric, etc., poets have used a variety of strategies for constructing relations of a self to the world and to a world of words.We’ll explore possibilities for radical re-vision and trans-form-ation, possibilities that destabilize race, class, and gender privileges attached to the lyric self.We’ll also explore the self of crises as a self of demonstration that can be enacted, encountered, and traversed by resisting appropriative strategies.
Ruth Ellen Kocher is the author of seven books of poetry, most recently Third Voice, Ending in Planes,Goodbye Lyric:The Gigans and Lovely Gun,anddomina Un/ blued, winner of the 2014 PEN/Open Book Award. She lives in Erie, Colorado, and teaches poetry, poetics, and literature at the University of Colorado–Boulder.
Megan Kaminskiis the author of Deep City and Desiring Map, as well as nine chapbooks of poetry. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas, where she curates the Taproom Poetry Series and is an assistant professor in the graduate Creative Writing Program at the University of Kansas. // Megan Kaminski
J. Michael Martinez // At the Edge of Sight: Contemporary Decolonial Poetics
In Black Skin, White Masks, Frantz Fanon writes, “Race begins at the skin.” If Fanon is correct, what does it mean to see this skin begin “race”? Exploring this relationshipof racial visibility and poetics in contemporary verse, we’ll ask: what is hidden by design, and what is obscured by cultural blindness; how is the ethnic body visualized as familiar and disruptive; how might the ethnic body interrogate the visual regimes that define it as such? Through the study of the poetics of Craig Santos Perez, Sueyeun Juliette Lee, and Roberto Tejada, alongside recent visual theory, the course aspires to reveal, review, and revise the poetic remains organizing the obscured relationship between race and sight.
J. Michael Martinez received the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets for his first book, Heredities. His latest, In the Garden of the Bridehouse, is available from the University of Arizona Press. He is poetry editor of NOEMI Press and his writings are anthologized in Ahsahta Press’ The Arcadia Project: North American Postmodern Pastoral, Rescue Press’ The New Census: 40 American Poets, and Counterpath Press’ Angels of the Americlypse: New Latin@ Writing. // J. Michael Martinez
Anne Tardos // Our Internettedness
This internettedness, this reciprocal symbiosis, partnership, partisanship, this fusion. Focusing on the poet’s work, exploring the mirror-like nature of the mind, and how this relates to creative practice. Dealing with external and internal influences on poetic language and structure. To discuss, write, and experiment, expanding on our internettedness.
Anne Tardos is the author of nine books of poetry and several multimedia performance works. Among her recent books of poetry are NINE, Both Poems, I Am You, and The Dik-dik’s Solitude. She is the editor of Jackson Mac Low’s The Complete Light Poems, 154 Forties, and Thing of Beauty. A Fellow in Poetry from the New York Foundation for the Arts, Tardos lives in New York. // Anne Tardos
Lewis Warsh // Road to Excess
If you sail too close to the horizon, you might fall over the edge and disappear—it’s also possible you might discover a place where no one has ever been. This fiction workshop will test the limits of the self as subject matter and explore what happens when you write through the eyes of another.Writing assignments will point towards the variousness of characters and the multiple points of view that can appear in a work of fiction. We will discuss our ongoing projects, read our stories to one another, and look at the work of Roberto Bolaño, Anna Kavan, Lucia Berlin, Clarice Lispector, Dale Herd, and Emmanuel Bove, among others.
Lewis Warsh’s most recent books include Alien Abduction, One Foot Out the Door: Collected Stories, A Place in the Sun, and Inseparable: Poems 1995–2005. Mimeo Mimeo #7 was devoted to his poetry, fiction, and collages, and to a bibliography of his work as a writer and publisher. He is editor and publisher of United Artists Books and teaches in the MFA program in creative writing at Long Island University (Brooklyn).
Simone White // Fecundity/Contraction /Redistribution
Let’s say the above are three models or possibilities for poetic activity as art or sociality: the operation of allowing oneself to be the literal ground for outgrowing practices, self consciously or un-; the operation of remaining steadfast in precision, which gives the appearance of singularity (I would argue it is a form of energy compression and combustion); the operation of amplifying worldwide certain internally discovered possibilities as potentially groundbreaking.We’ll consider the work of Robert Duncan, Claudia Rankine, Jace Clayton (DJ /rupture), explore the attitudes and outcomes of poetry in terms of these possibilities, by way of reading and discussion and writing in response /thinking through.
Simone White is the author of the poetry collections Of Being Dispersed, Unrest, and House Envy of All the World. She is program director at The Poetry Project and lives in Brooklyn, NY.
// Special Guest
Bill McKibben is a writer and activist, and has been described as “America’s most important environmentalist.” He’s written more than a dozen books including The End of Nature, which was published in 1989 and is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change. He is a founder of 350.org, the first planet-wide, grassroots climate change movement, which has organized twenty thousand rallies around the world in every country save North Korea, spearheaded the resistance to the Keystone Pipeline, and launched the fast-growing fossil fuel divestment movement. He is the Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2013 he received both the Gandhi Prize,and theThomas Merton Prize, and in 2014 he was awarded the Right Livelihood Prize, sometimes called the “alternative Nobel.” //Bill McKibben
// Dharma Arts
Reed Bye’s most recent publications are Fire for Thought,What’s This, Catching On, and Join the Planets: New and Selected Poems. He’s also recently released a CD of original songs called Broke Even. He has just retired after nineteen years on the core faculty of the Jack Kerouac School at Naropa University, where he taught poetry writing workshops and courses in classic and contemporary literary studies and contemplative poetics. He continues to teach in the new Kerouac School Low-Residency MFA.
Week Two // Grids, Maps & Constellations
From ley lines tracking sites of power, to cognitive maps detailing our inmost cartographies, and constellations mapping images of stars, we’re always searching for new ways to represent known territories and the undiscovered country we’re writing towards. This week we’ll explore and think about what guides are available for the poem, the novel, and the anti-memoir in the twenty-first century, and where our writing will take us. We will consider the poem, the novel, the narration, the allegory, the anti-memoir. We will consider documentary practices of research and investigation, and discuss notions of “place” and “architecture," survival, and language, and translation as the necessary crossing. Language and ritual as vision, as a tool into our cultural heritages. We will consider translation, cross-cultural work, the founding of programs and schools, and the struggle for common ground. This week will also include a special focus on Native American writing, community, and activist commitments: a crucial nexus.
Orlando White // Toward A Modern Indigenous Poetics
In this workshop, students will read contemporary Native American poetry and interpret their use of language and poetics. And explore how indigenous thought and writing inform and resist American standards of literary aesthetics. Students will also think and write from a space, as Acoma poet, Simon Ortiz says, “[Where the word] is part of the complete voice of a person,” to meditate on and reimagine the wholeness of self through language.
Orlando White is the author of Bone Light and LETTERRS. Originally from Tółikan, Arizona, he is Diné of the Naaneesht’ézhiTábaahí and born for theNaakai Diné’e. His work has appeared in The Kenyon Review, Omnidawn Poetry Feature Blog, Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics, and elsewhere. He is the recipient of a Lannan Foundation Residency and Bread Loaf John Ciardi Fellowship. He teaches at Diné College and in the low-residency MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. // Orlando White
Joan Naviyuk Kane // Poems from the periphery: place & non-performance
This workshop will encourage participants to read and discuss texts and generate new work in the context of the memories, symbols, and languages that poetry allows us to retain and reframe. Some of the issues we’ll consider are: how do you keep from writing vulgar poems about culturally specific places? How do places, relationships, and communities live on through poems? Do they? Do we simply imagine survival?
Joan Naviyuk Kane is the author of The Cormorant Hunter’s Wife, Hyperboreal, and The Straits, for which she has received the Whiting Writer’s Award, the Donald Hall Prize in Poetry, and an American Book Award. Kane graduated from Harvard College and Columbia’s School of the Arts. Inupiaq with family from King Island and Mary’s Igloo, she raises her sons in Anchorage and is MFA faculty at the Institute of American Indian Arts.
Cedar Sigo // Isn’t Poetry the Dream of Weapons?
The impossible is easy to reach/Who knows the way out of the labyrinth?/These are not rhetorical questions. —Philip Lamantia
I have always loved hearing several takes on the same voice. How do different bodies negotiate the simultaneity enacted in the work of Charles Olson, Barbara Guest, or Fred Moten? How does our personal take on their phrasing serve as a trigger to our practice? In this course, we will absorb the lives and acoustics of several poets in order to uncover ways of accessing our own signature cut to the line. I often want to be ripped out of whichever measure my voice has come to rest in. We will use various exercises and open forms to achieve this, employing natural ways of brooking our voice until it steers off the page into an endlessly available vision.
Cedar Sigo was raised on the Suquamish Reservation in the Pacific Northwest and studied at The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa Institute. He is the author of eight books and pamphlets of poetry, including Language Arts, Stranger in Town, Expensive Magic, and two editions of Selected Writings. He has blogged for SFMOMA, The Poetry Foundation, and City Lights Books. He has taught at St. Mary’s College and University Press Books. He lives in San Francisco.
Jena Osman & AmzeEmmons // The Trick of Proximity
We will work with a range of poetic experiments that combine text and image. We will respond to prompts and constraints to collect, detect, and catalog images. We'll then explore the art of captions: how does text change our collected images? What are the powers of besidedness, of the paratactic? Some assignments might ask you to take photographs and transfer them into a document, so a device with a camera is recommended (though not required).
Jena Osman’s books of poems include Corporate Relations, Public Figures, The Network, An Essay in Asterisks, and The Character. She co-edited the literary arts journal Chain with Juliana Spahr for twelve years. She teaches in the MFA Creative Writing Program at Temple University. // Jena Osman
Amze Emmons is a multidisciplinary artist with a background in drawing and printmaking. His images evoke a sense of magical/minimal realism inspired by architectural illustration, comic books, cartoon language, information graphics, news footage, consumer packaging, and instruction manuals. He teaches printmaking and Visual Studies at the Tyler School of Art. // Amze Emmons
Srikanth Reddy // Cartographies of Erasure
In this week-long workshop seminar, we’ll investigate alternative methods of mapping a literary cosmology. Reading Ronald Johnson’s Radi Os as a cartographical “key” to John Milton’s Paradise Lost, we’ll study how Johnson’s erasure method opens up new paradigms for imagining and negotiating literary space in your own work. Please read Book I of Paradise Lost and Book I of Radi Os before the first day of class, so we can hit the ground running!
Srikanth Reddy is the author of two books of poetry–Facts for Visitors and Voyager–both published by the University of California Press. A book of criticism, Changing Subjects: Digressions in Modern American Poetry, was published by Oxford University Press in 2012. He has received fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Capital Foundation, among others. Reddy is currently an Associate Professor of English at the University of Chicago.
Julia Seko // Lines of symmetry: Building texts into the architecture of the book
Set your text into lines of type, searching for the nodes to link with other texts. With this framework, we begin to define the spaces in our book. We’ll discuss choices in typography, image making, materials, and structure, exploring together until we find our way to the finished work.
Julia Seko is a letterpress printer, book artist, and instructor of letterpress printing and book arts for more than twenty years. She is adjunct faculty at Naropa University, where she helped set up the letterpress studio, and her letterpress work is in university and private collections. Julia also co-founded the Book Arts League, a nonprofit letterpress and book arts organization.
Dorothy Wang // Amiri Baraka and Ed Dorn: Rethinking Poetic Genealogies
Amiri Baraka and Ed Dorn were linked by aesthetic and political sympathies. Baraka published Dorn’s first book in 1961. The period of their most intense friendship, 1959–1965, occurred amidst various poetic movements. Even after Baraka had broken from the downtown NYC scene, the two continued to share political and poetic views. Yet their critical reception has been divergent. Baraka remains a “difficult” figure that continues to trouble the whiteness and liberalism of the poetic avant-garde.
Dorothy Wang is an Associate Professor in American Studies and a Faculty Affiliate in the Department of English at Williams College. She is the author of Thinking Its Presence: Form, Race, and Subjectivity in Contemporary Asian American Poetry. In March 2015, she co-curated the online symposium "Race and the Poetic Avant-Garde" in Boston Review.
Eleni Sikelianos // Doc Po Re-map
“Poetry can extend the document,” wrote Muriel Rukeyser. In this workshop, we will forage around in various kinds of records—personal, historical, obfuscated, outed, in the legal record or the infraordinary quotidian, and look for "'that small remaining quantity' after so much has been used or sold" (Renée Green, “Survival: Ruminations of Archival Lacunae”); that is, what needs to be poetry-known, seeking ways to constellate it on the page. Authors we’ll look to for inspiration might include Simon Ortiz, Muriel Rukeyser, Charles Reznikoff, NourbeSe Philip, RaúlZurita, and Layli Long Soldier.
Eleni Sikelianos is the author of seven books of poetry and two hybrid memoirs (The Book of Jon and You Animal Machine). Forthcoming is Make Yourself Happy. Awards include two National Endowment for the Arts Awards, a Fulbright, Seeger Fellowship, and the National Poetry Series. Her work has been translated into a dozen languages, and she frequently collaborates with musicians, filmmakers, and visual artists. A graduate of the Jack Kerouac School, Sikelianos has taught poetry in public schools, homeless shelters, and prisons, and currently teaches at the University of Denver.
Roberto Tejada // Counting the Uncounted (Language as Monument)
Death tolls across the globe and at home tell of persons who perish seeking asylum from wartime or economic injustice while others fall victim to incidents of political terror, gun rampages, killings by law-enforcement officers, domestic violence, or institutional neglect. The struggle of poetic inquiry is to make personhood meaningful from multiple perspectives, in choral subjectivity, and to rethink the ethics of counting the uncounted, the disenfranchised, and the abandoned by history.
Roberto Tejadais the author of poetry collections Full Foreground, Exposition Park, Mirrors for Gold, and Todo en el ahora (translated into Spanish by Alfonso D’Aquino, Gabriel Bernal Granados, and Omar Pérez). His publications on art history include National Camera: Photography and Mexico’s Image Environment, and A Ver: Celia Alvarez Muñoz, as well as essays on Graciela Iturbide, Pablo Helguera, and Luis Gispert, among other contemporary U.S. and Latino American artists.
Sherwin Bitsui // Aligning Structures in Ecopoetics
Ecopoetry incorporates aspects of ecology into poetic practice. In particular, through both content and form, ecopoetry often examines the relationship between built and natural environments. In this experimental workshop, students will explore the idea of “eco-architecture” as it applies to a poem’s form and shape. The workshop will especially consider how an attentive experience of place and space affects our sense of that place, and explore how that sense can be recreated in poetry.
Sherwin Bitsui is the author of the poetry collections Shapeshiftand Flood Song. He is Diné of the Deer Springs Bitter Water People, and is born for theManygoats People. He grew up on the Navajo Reservation in White Cone, Arizona. His honors include the 2011 Lannan Literary Fellowship, a Native Arts & Culture Foundation Fellowship for Literature, a PEN Open Book Award, an American Book Award, and a Whiting Writers Award.
// Special Guests
Joy Harjo is an internationally known poet, writer, performer, and saxophone player of the Mvskoke/Creek Nation. She is the author of eight collections of poetry including the most recent Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, and the memoir Crazy Brave, as well as the collection of essays and interviews Soul Talk, Song Language. Her many writing awards include the 2015 Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets for proven mastery in the art of poetry; a Guggenheim Fellowship; the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts; the Rasmuson United States Artist Fellowship; and the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. She is Professor of English and American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Jennifer Elise Foerster is the author ofLeaving Tulsa, published by the University of Arizona Press in 2013. A member of the Mvskoke Nation, Jennifer is an alumna of the Institute of American Indian Arts and the Vermont College of the Fine Arts. She has received a Lannan Foundation Writing Residency Fellowship, was a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University, and is currently pursuing her PhD at the University of Denver. // Jennifer Elise Foerster
// Dharma Arts
Giovannina Jobson is an ordained minister in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition (Upadhyaya) and a graduate of the MA Religious studies Program in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism and Contemplative Religions. Trained by Trungpa Rinpoche, Giovannina is a Dharma artist, social artist, and mindfulness instructor. Giovannina has been a practicing Buddhist for over forty years and is also a Shambhala Training director for Shambhala International. At Naropashe teaches Buddhist Studies courses as well as courses that focus on artistic expression inspired by the lives of renowned mystics from many traditions.
Week Three // Science & Sanity
The title comes from Count Alfred Korzybski’s book on linguistics that William Burroughs so admired. Here we are looking at the current madness of our world in its miasmic egotistical Anthroposenicdecline. How do we witness and respond as writers and thinkers? How may writers transmute and call attention to the dystopia? Powerful political and business elites find it in their interest to deny scientific truths and basic facts, blocking progressive policy and action. Climate change threatens to destabilize life everywhere, and perhaps fascistic states will follow. We already have ecological panic, and the New Weathers are scary. We will think about how communities can work together with a sense of the new science that speaks of the connections of the brain, and the material history we’re living and making: the Anthropocene––nothing not affected or afflicted by the meddling hand of homo sapiens. We will look at issues of economic and racial injustice. We will think through ideas of truth and reconciliation, and the job of creative word-workers who want to shift the frequency of our troubling dystopia.
Margaret Randall // Writing Science & Sanity
Government agencies control our every move, word, and action. And those once applauded as whistleblowers are now imprisoned or exiled. Seriously? Can our words find their place in the chorus of survival and creativity? We will present, read, and critique poetry related—from whatever angle—to the problem.
For twenty-three years,Margaret Randall lived in Mexico, Cuba, and Nicaragua. From 1962 to 1969, she edited EL CORNO EMPLUMADO / THE PLUMED HORN, a bilingual quarterly publishing some of the best work of the sixties. Upon coming home in 1984, the government ordered her deported, claiming her writing to be subversive. She won her case in 1989. Her most recent poetry collection is About Little Charlie Lindbergh. // Margaret Randall
Laird Hunt // Histories: a fiction workshop
Historical figures like Herodotus, Hannibal, Billy the Kid, and Calamity Jane have all served as energy nodes around which writers have built significant works of prose. In this workshop, we will take inspiration from texts like Michael Ondaatje's Coming Through Slaughter, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, and W.G.Sebald'sThe Emigrants as part of an exploration of that prose which, if we can kick awake that poor overworked pearl, posits the historical as its grain of sand.
Laird Hunt is the author of, among others, the novels Kind One, Neverhome,and forthcoming next year from Little, Brown, The Evening Road.
Renee Gladman // Compression and Decay
This workshop revolves around a series of questions. Among them: what would it mean for us as writers and thinkers to regard language as geography, as place traveled through, inhabited, as land nurtured, damaged, transformed? And how can we use this expanded view of language to invoke the places of ourimaginations, dreams, or experience? Through in-class reading and writing exercises, we’ll explore the effects of composing next to and within ruins, secret geographies, and invisible cities.
Renee Gladman is an artist and writer preoccupied with lines, crossings, thresholds, geographies, and syntaxes as they play out in the interstices of poetry and fiction. Author of seven works of prose, and one collection of poetry,new titles are forthcoming this year from Solid Objects Press and Wave Books. A 2014–15 fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, she lives in Providence, Rhode Island, with the poet-ceramicist Danielle Vogel.
Danielle Vogel // Hidden Histories / Ceremonies for the Silenced
Through a series of immersive writing experiments and ceremonies, we will compose works that speak for and from the silenced spaces in our private, public, and ecological histories.We will work to uncover—and possibly heal—areas of historical numbness. We will explore language’s relation to preservation and the dynamic bonds between representation and reparation. Together, as we craft grammars of dissent and reclamation, we will assemble what has long been absent, unspoken.
Danielle Vogel is an artist and cross-genre writer. She is the author of Between Grammars and the artist book Narrative & Nest. Her visual works and public ceremonies for language have been exhibited most recently at RISD Museum, The Nordic House in Reykjavík, Iceland, Temple University, Pace University, and The University of Washington at Bothell. A graduate of the Jack Kerouac School, she teaches writing and book arts at Wesleyan University.
Julie Carr // The Face of the Other: Epistolary Form
“The face is present in its refusal to be contained,” writes EmmanelLevinas. Beginning with a viewing of Marina Abramovic’s “The Artist is Present,” we will consider self and other in their ethical relation. We will read work that presents address as its central project. Thinking of “other” in intimate and political contexts, we will write letters to people real, imagined, dead and living, letters addressed to corporations, governments, and objects. Come prepared to move.
Julie Carr is the author of six books of poetry, including 100 Notes on Violence, RAG, and Think Tank. She is also the author of Surface Tension: RupturalTime and the Poetics of Desire in Late Victorian Poetry. Essay Press recently released a chapbook of prose, “The Silence that Fills the Future.” Objects from a Borrowed Confession (prose) is forthcoming from Ahsahta press in 2016. Carr is the co-founder of Counterpath Press and Counterpath Gallery. // Julie Carr
Gloria Frym // Prose Paradise
We’ll play in the fields of Baudelaire’s toujourspoète, mêmeen prose, corresponding with other fearless prose practitioners. All that isn’t sung—or the sentence—is our current paradise. We may read narratives and tales and write one paragraph or two dozen. We may look at canvas, typographic constraint, unjustified, ungenrified prose. With all due respect and justice. When they find us, we’ll be sweet and fierce, nimble and quick, our politic our home.
Gloria Frym is a poet and prose writer. Her most recent book of prose is The True Patriot (Spuyten Duyvil, 2015). She is the author of short story collections—Distance No Object (City Lights Books), and How I Learned (Coffee House Press)—as well as many volumes of poetry, including The Stage Stop MotelandMind Over Matter.Her book Homeless at Home received an American Book Award. She chairs and teaches in the MFA in Writing Program at California College of the Arts in San Francisco.
Corrine Fitzpatrick // Cut Common Time: All Deep Things Are Song
For this class, we will look to a selection of poems, Robert Duncan’s Toward An Open Universe, Anne Boyer’s recentessays, andDodie Bellamy’s When the Sick Rule the World, while we contemplate poetry’s unique ability to simultaneously describe and emulate the irregular time signatures of life’s profound experiences (the standstill of grief; the blur of infatuation; the freeze frame of trauma). Each student will focus on composing one long poem over the week.
Corrine Fitzpatrick is a poet and art critic based in NYC and California. She wore many hats for the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church from 2004–13, and has covered contemporary queer and feminist art for artforum.com and other publications since 2010. She holds an MFA from Bard College, is a lecturer for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Low-Residency MFA Program, and is a Visiting Critic for Columbia University’s Graduate School of Art.
Steven Taylor // Songworks
We discuss various genres of song, drawing upon the Smithsonian Folkways Anthology of American Folk Music. By day two we are a band. Everyone develops a song. By the end of the week, we have a set list. Maybe we put on a show. Maybe we do some recording. No experience preferred, I mean, required.
Steven Taylor collaborated on songs with Allen Ginsberg for twenty years. He is a Fug. His book,False Prophet: Field Notes from the Punk Underground,was published in 2003 by Wesleyan University Press. In 2014, his score for Douglas Dunn + Dancers’ Aubade was nominated for a Bessie Award for Best Sound Design. He has taught annually at the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance at Wesleyan University since the program was founded in 2010.
Colin Frazer // Word as Thing
Unlike spoken language, words printed on paper are "things" and live quite different lives. This workshop will interrogate the meaning of thingness in the context of the printed word. Participants will learn the fundamentals of letterpress printing while considering and activating the life of the printed object in relation to language
Colin Frazer is a typographer, artist, and founder of the design studio The Service Bureau. tSB produces projects spanning publication design, type design, website and exhibition design, writing, curation, and pedagogy. His artwork resides in collections including SFMOMA, and the Walker Art Center has had recent solo exhibitions in the U.S., Belgium, and Morocco. He has taught widely, including positions at RISD, Colorado College, CalArts, Gothenburg University, Penland, and The University of Texas-Austin. //Colin Frazer // The Service Bureau
Tisa Bryant // Transform Encounter
“We have no other experience of living than through encounters,” writes Lyn Hejinian. “We have no other use for language than to have them.” In this class,we will extend ourselves toward what we know and don’t know about the differences—spiritual, physical, racial, lingual, and gender— of the Other and of another, beyond surfaces and soundbites, for sharp and vulnerable writing. Our tools: memory, curiosity, fear, empathy, ignorance, the six senses. Goal: Risk.Destination: “a meeting place and a realm of confusion.” Requirements: An open hand. A closed eye. A willingness not to be right but to be real.
Tisa Bryant is the author of Unexplained Presence (Leon Works, 2007), a collection of essays on myth-making and black presences in film, literature, and visual art, and co-editor and publisher of The Encyclopedia Project. Her work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Mandorla, Body Forms: On Queerness and the Essay, the Reanimation Library's Word Processor series,and in Letters to the Future: An Anthology of Experimental Writing by Black Women, among others. She is currently working on a novel, The Curator. Bryant teaches in the MFA Creative Writing Program at the California Institute of the Arts.
// Special Guest
Richard Tuttle is an American post-minimalist artist known for his small, subtle intimate works. His art makes use of scale and line. His works span a range of media including sculpture, painting, drawing, printmaking, artist’s books, furniture, and installations. He lives and works in New York City, Abiquiú, New Mexico, and Mount Desert, Maine. // Richard Tuttle
// Dharma Arts
Robert Spellman has practiced and taught Buddhist meditation for forty years. He was director of Dorje Khyung Dzong, a rural retreat center, and Karma Dzong, an urban meditation center in Boulder, Colorado. He has worked as a painter, graphic designer, illustrator, piano re-builder, and musician. His work is exhibited nationally and internationally, and appears in numerous publications. He teaches in the Visual Arts, MFA Theater, and Religious Studies programs at Naropa University. He is also co-founder of Mountain Water, an artist’s retreat in the wilds of southern Colorado. // Robert Spellman
Week Four // Labyrinths of Community, Labyrinths of Performance
Indra’s net is an image of the world as an infinitely interconnected and multidimensional reality, and out of this complexity we’ll push the boundaries as readers, writers, and singers. The larynx is essential. We come out of isolation, yearning to communicate. We will move through changes: evolve and morph, experiment in writing; we’ll nurture and refine our tones and modal structures with our ears tuned to a heightenedmelopoeia. We will keep going; we are a webwork of artists with an alternative survival plan; we may yet believe: “When the mode of the music changes the walls of the city shake.”
We come out of isolation, yearning to communicate with original ideas, seekingdiscourse: we write all night on our screens and read all day, we make videos or turn on the recording machines, and mix the results. We find our communities and spaces in the interstices of our imaginations, we find or found new performancevenues, magazines,zines, archives, print-shops, above all: we abdicate the doldrums! Aas one of our heroes, Harry Smith, who lived on this campus several years, said:“I am grateful to have lived to the world changed by music.”
Valentina Desideri & Christian Hawkey // Decolonizing Gestures
In 1933 the ground-breaking feminist and working physician Charlotte Wolff was arrested and briefly detained by the Nazis for dressing as a man; she fled to London (via Paris) and went on to publish two astonishing studies of chirology and gesture. The seminar is inspired by this radical healer. We will be developing modes of reading and modes of gesturing that expand and inform a writing and healing practice, with healing defined as a process by which we seek to touch or map different scales of different processes.
Valentina Desideri is an Amsterdam-based artist. She trained in contemporary dance at the Laban Centre in London (2003–2006) and later on did her MA in Fine Arts at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam (2011–13). She does Fake Therapy and Political Therapy, she co-organises Performing Arts Forum in France, she speculates in writing with Prof. Stefano Harney, she engages in Poethical Readings with Prof. Denise Ferreira da Silva, she reads and writes. // Fake Therapy
Christian Hawkey has written two full-length poetry collections, four chapbooks, and the cross-genre book Ventrakl (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2010). A new book, Sonne from Ort, a bi-lingual collaborative erasure made with the German poet Uljana Wolf, was recently published(kookbooksVerlag, Berlin, 2013). He translates contemporary German poetry, and with the German poet Uljana Wolf he translates the Austrian writer IlseAichinger. He lives in Berlin and Brooklyn, and he directs the MFA in Writing at Pratt Institute.
Junior Burke // Lyrics to Music
We will look at the relationship of lyrics to poetry: how they converge and how they are different. We will determine the most effective ways words can be fused with musical compositions. Further, we will acquaint ourselves with the American lyrical canon and identify ways that our current writing can be applied to the demands of that form. We’ll likely write a song or two.
Junior Burke is a lyricist, dramatist, and prose writer. His songs have received a Cable Ace Award, an RIAA certified Gold Record, and the John W.Schmid Award for Best New Work. Soft Trumpet, Slow Guitar, for which he provided book and lyrics, is being developed by Gary Cordice, artistic director of2B Scene Theatre for a UK production. His fiction was included in Litscapes: Collected US Writings from 2015. He is an Associate Professor at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics.
Julie Ezelle Patton & Paul Van Curen // If You Can Imagine It Must Be Reel
A line goes for a walk: Lets follow it out the door. ABC daring til we go on sheets. Chances are: Improvisation forms “condensaytion.” Space is the Place: scoring hear-say. Place is the Space: recording creation(s). Mourning has broke kin: Poetry existed before humans or the “Woe-rld.”
Julie Ezelle Patton’s work is all over creation. She is a Pisces, flying without a net on stage and other planes, “making do” with time and site specific materials—whatever the moment calls. Julie’s work has been anthologized in What I Say, Kindergarde, ((eco (lang)(uage(reader)), and I’ll Drown My Book:Conceptual Writing by Women, B's (Tender Buttons Press), Writing With Crooked Ink (Belladonna), & F (Field Books), are forthcoming. She has taught poetics at New York University, Case Western Reserve University, Naropa University, and the SchulefürDichtung (Vienna, Austria).
Paul Van Curen, a protégé of the late Bill DeArango, is a primarily improvising guitarist/composer who plays with Cloud Flowers, featuring drummer James HartIII and Julie Patton; and Swing Set Car Hood with instrumentalist Valerie Corrigan (among other artists). He is a co-founder of Let it Bee Ark Hives in Cleveland, Ohio.
Eileen Myles // Love Me 2 Times
The exciting thought for this week will be us looking at passages from longer works in poetry and prose—and then reading poems derived from them. Like Karen Weiser’s Or, the Ambiguities from Melville’s Pierre, and Erica Kaufman’s poemsinstant Classics derived from Milton’s Paradise Lost (which I have never read. Have you?). We’ll look at M. NourbeSe Philip's Zong, an anti-narrative poetic lament related to an official account of the massacre of 150 African slaves. The question is how does one text derive from the other, what was the incentive, how do we experience the result. I’ll make a reader of bits from the texts below but get these books & read them. And—each of you bring something to glean from and we’ll grapple with it all week. We’ll be doing a lot of talking, and thinking about how this act of letting something rub off really consciously (& even morally) results in the surprising & jagged and new. Perhaps even terrible.
Eileen Myles is the author of nineteen books including I Must Be Living Twice: New & Selected Poems and a re-issue of Chelsea Girls, both out fromEcco/Harper Collins in 2015. She is a recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship in nonfiction, an Andy Warhol/Creative Capital art writers’ grant, three Lambda Book Awards, a Shelly Prize from The Poetry Society of America, a poetry award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, she was named to the Slate/Whiting Second Novel List, and in 2015 she received The Clark Prize for Excellence in Arts Writing. She is a Professor Emeritus at University of California–San Diego where she directed the writing program and she now teaches at New York University and Naropa University. // Eileen Myles
CAConrad // The Aventurine Manifold Ritual: (Soma)tic Ritual & the Strength of Poetry
Each morning the workshop becomes a ritual to recover poetry’s better questions for our living. We want the best poems because we want the best opportunity to have the clearest lens to see all the way inside. Aventurine is a natural fit for the poet. We will take no one and nothing for granted and will see and honor the vibrational presence around us wherever we write in Naropa as testing ground for the rest of the world.
CAConrad’s childhood included selling cut flowers along the highway for his mother and helping her shoplift. He is the author of eight books of poetry and essays, the latest,ECODEVIANCE: (Soma)tics for the Future Wilderness, is the winner of the 2015 Believer Magazine Book Award. He is a 2015 Headlands Art Fellow, and has also received fellowships from Lannan Foundation, MacDowell Colony, Banff, Ucross, RADAR, and the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. He conducts workshops on (Soma)tic Poetry and Ecopoetics. // CAConrad
TC Tolbert // Glossolalia’s God
Compositional Improvisation is a fully embodied practice of composing in the moment, individually and collaboratively. If attention is action, how do we live? Let us arrive and practice wholly arriving. Attend to the sound of surrender. How the body may go on and come off. Let us reach for each other/intend to encounter mystery. What will not dance, when it is ready? The root of attention is attendere, literally “to stretch toward.”
TC Tolbert often identifies as a trans and genderqueer feminist, collaborator, dancer, and poet but really s/he’s just a human in love with humans doing human things. The author of Gephyromania(Ahsahta Press, 2014) and three chapbooks, TC is also co-editor (along with Trace Peterson) of Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics (Nightboat Books, 2013). His favorite thing in the world is Compositional Improvisation, which is another way of saying being alive. // TC Tolbert
Thurston Moore // Rock n Roll Consciousness
We will look at the early ‘70s poetry of Bill Knott vis-à-vis Richard Hell and Tom Verlaine as they founded the premier NYC punk rock group Television. With this context, we will start a band (or bands!) and either find a gig or do-it-ourselves.
Thurston Moore moved at age nineteen in 1977 to NYC to play punk rock and write poetry. He founded Sonic Youth in 1980. Currently he performs as a solo artist. He has published his writing as well as others on his imprints Ecstatic Peace Library and Flowers & Cream. His most recent book Stereo Sanctityis a compendium of all his lyric writing up until 2015 as well as an overview of his poetry. // Thurston Moore
Charles Alexander // Elegant Punk Printing
We will print three broadsides in multiple colors from handset type & polymer plates, then engage in guerrilla adornment through splatter painting, rubber stamping, and stencil brushing, moving quickly in the service of Poetry! Not everyone can print at the same time, so we will also learn two techniques for pamphlet sewing/binding of small books, and engage in studies and discussion of means of survival for literary presses.
Charles Alexander is a poet, artist, and director of Chax Press. His collections include Pushing Water, Certain Slants, Near or Random Acts, Hopeful Buildings, Arc of Light/Dark Matter, and eleven chapbooks from various presses. Poet & Designer in Residence at the University of Houston-Victoria, where he directs the MFA Creative Writing Program and manages the UHV Center for the Arts. He is a 2016 faculty member of U.S. Poets in Mexico. // Chax Press
Anne Waldman // Jewels In The Lotus: form is emptiness, emptiness is form
We will consider dharma poetics, investigate our monkey minds, and feed hungry imaginations relative to a poetics of synchronicity. Experiments with translation, Zaum, OuLiPo, lucid dream, shamanic texts, mantra, and the PrajnaParamita Sutra. Get our body, speech, and minds together. Enter a bardic/bardo labyrinth of wonder. Write into the light of our dark inner skulls. Consider our Buddha Family neurosis and wisdom in the Maitri Rooms. We will meditate, collaborate, intervene, vocalize, record, and publish our concerns.
Anne Waldman is a poet, performer, professor, editor, and cultural activist, and the co-founder, with Allen Ginsberg, of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University. She is a former director of The Poetry Project, which she helped found in 1966. Her most recent book is Voice’s Daughter of a Heart Yet To Be Born. Waldman is the recipient of the Shelley Memorial Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and is a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets. She is a frequent collaborator with poets, dancers, musicians, and visual artists. // Anne Waldman
Thomas Sayers Ellis & Janice Lowe // The Image Wrapped in Rhythm, The Rhythm Wrapped in Meaning
An exploration of the many dimensions––music and meaning, accidents and aims, of metaphor and the ways, in which, a complete creative surrendering (also known as "not knowing") can lead to surprises in form, thinking, improvisation, and artistic growth. The craft of listening and impulse response in both movement (the body) and writing (the page) will be a major emphasis as we explore the reservoir of orchestras, bands, noise, and perform-a-forms within us. All tradition welcome as we cultivate a wild balance between the mouth and the mind!
Poet and photographer Thomas Sayers Ellis is the author of The Maverick Room and Skin, Inc.: Identity Repair Poems. Poems have recently appeared in The Paris Review, Poetry, Tin House and the Best American Poetry 2015. Last year, he was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, and Heroes Are Gang Leaders, the band of poets and musicians he co-founded, released The Avant-Age Garde I AMs of the GalLuxury and Highest Engines Near/Near Higher Engineers. TSE is a Visiting Writer at The Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
Janice Lowe is a New York City–based composer and poet and co-founder of the Darkroom Collective. She is composer and librettist of the opera Dusky Alice. She has created original music for play, and is the librettist of Little Bird Loose, a song cycle collaboration with composer Nils Olaf Dolven. Her music-text collaborations have been performed at numerous venues. Leaving CLE, poems of nomadic dispersal, was published by Miami University Press in 2016. She is part of the Heroes Are Gang Leaders collective.
Pauline Oliverosis a composer and improviser. Recent compositions include The Mystery Beyond Matter, 2014 commissioned by Quiet Music Ensemble Cork, Ireland. Concerto for Bass Drum and Ensemble, commissioned by International Contemporary Ensemble, and performed in New York at Lincoln Center in August 2013. Her work has been recognized by many awards, including the William Schuman Lifetime Achievement Award, the GigaHertz Award,and the John Cage Award. Oliveros is the founder of DeepListening®. Through her DeepListening practice, she has facilitated numerous workshops and intensives throughout the world leading to collaborations across many disciplines. // Pauline Oliveros
Claudia La Rocco is the author of The Best Most Useless Dressand petit cadeau, and the editor-curator of Danspace Project’s PLATFORM 2015: Dancers, Buildings and People in the Streets. Her collaborators include the choreographer Michelle Ellsworth, the performance company Findlay//Sandsmark, and the musician/composer Phillip Greenlief, with whom she created animals & giraffes. She is On the Boards’ writer-in-residence, and has been presented by The Kitchen, The Walker Art Center, The Whitney Museum of American Art, et al.
Clark Coolidge is the author of more than forty books of poetry and other, including Space, Solution Passage, The Crystal Text, At Egypt, Now It’s Jazz: Writings on Kerouac & The Sounds, The Act of Providence and most recently 88 Sonnets, and A Book Beginning What And Ending Away. His Selected Poems 1962–1985 is forthcoming in 2016 from Station Hill Press. He is a drummer and with Thurston Moore, he released the album Tiny People Having a Meeting. He also drums with the free jazz band Ouroboros.
& Heroes Are Gang Leaders:
Margaret Morris is a vocalist and improvisor who integrates her backgrounds in classical operatic and extended vocal techniques. In 2013 she co-founded NYC based women’s choral and improvisation a capella ensemble LushTongue with Onome. Margaret was featured in The Exponential experimental album Encuentro with Ben Perkins and Brian Murray.
Randall Horton is the recipient of the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award, the Bea González Poetry Award, and most recently a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in Literature. Randall is a Cave Canem Fellow, a member of the Affrilachian Poets, and an Associate Professor of English at the University of New Haven. His most recent books include the poetry collection Pitch Dark Anarchyand Hook: A Memoir.
Ailish Hopper is the author ofDark~Sky Society and chapbook Bird in the Head, selected by Jean Valentine for the Center for Book Arts Prize. Her poemsand essays on race, art, and literature can be found in Boston Review, The Volta, and the anthology A Sense of Regard: Essays on Poetry and Race. She teaches at Goucher College.
HeruShabaka-ra(Ryan T. Frazier) is a musician, writer, and physicist based in Philadelphia. His band Sirius JuJu cites as its influences and methods, the mathematics of Thelonious Monk and Eric Dolphy, along with those of Wu Tang Clan and MF Doom, which are set in a rhythmic and free cosmic sound vision. He is a member of the Sun Ra Arkestra, and has taught music at Oakland Public Conservatory of Music, in Oakland, California, as well as in Philadelphia correctional institutions.
Devin Brahja Waldman's Quartet is a Montreal/New York–based jazz conspiracy dedicated to the transmutation of swing and timeless soul. Since 2008, the BWQ has played for audiences throughout the Northeast and at festivals such as Suoni per ilPopolo and the Montreal International Jazz Festival. BWQ is also known to travel the countryside in a fifteen-foot cargo van named “Wolfy,” playing in schools, chapels, and barns. Their most recent release is a new two-disc album set, Cosmic Brahjas and Closer to the Tones. // Devin Brahja Waldman
// Dharma Arts
Judith Lief is a Buddhist teacher and author. She was a close student of Naropa’s founder ChögyamTrungpa Rinpoche and is the editor of many of his publications. She has a long association with Naropa, as a teacher, board member, and former president, beginning in 1974 with a job in the maintenance department.