Sunday, November 30, 2008

fun syllabus by Lisa Jarnot (check out her poems)

Pattern Poetry
Spring 2009

Suggested Readings:

An Anthology of Concrete Poetry. Ed. Emmett Williams, Something Else Press, 1967.

Pattern Poetry. Ed. Dick Higgins.

Concrete Poetry: A World View. Ed. Mary Ellen Solt.

Jan 18 Phonetic Patterns: transcribe one of your poems using International Phonetic Alphabet, color code the patterns and create a visual work out of the result (a painting, rug, sweater, etc. Read excerpts of Mary Carruthers The Craft of Thought: Meditation, Rhetoric, and the Making of Images, 400-1200.

Jan 25 Simple Scaffolds: Acrostics, Telestics, and Mesostics.

Feb 1 Early Western Pattern Poetry: Greek and English Eggs and Altars, including George Herbert’s The Temple. Assignment: Compose a poem sequence that is a house or a sanctuary.

Feb 8 Viewing Day: Visit to the Metropolitan Museum: Egyptian Hieroglyphs, Cuneiform, Islamic Rugs. Make your own language. Take the pattern of a Persian rug and use it as the formula for a poem. Suggested reading: The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry by Ernest Fenollosa.

Feb 15 Eastern Pattern Poetry: the Wife-of-a-Chinese-Court-Official-Composes-a-40,000-Direction-Invective-Poem. Write a pattern poem/maze that can be read in multiple directions. (See also Raymond Queneau's “One Hundred Thousand Billion Sonnets”).

Feb 22 Rebuses, magic spells, and lapidary inscriptions. Read excerpts of the Greek Anthology.

Mar 1 Mathematical Poems: An Overview of Oulipo. The 20 Consonant Poem.

Mar 8 Musical Patterns: The Cancrizan. Compose a cancrizan and perform it w/ voice and/or instruments.

Mar 15 Ian Hamilton Finlay’s Poor. Old. Tired. Horse., Little Sparta.

Mar 22 Works by B. P Nichol, Hannah Wiener, Ward Tietz, and Bill Luoma’s Swoon Rocket and other poems.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sonoma State University's award-winning literary magazine, ZAUM, is looking for student artists to submit their work for our upcoming thirteenth issue. ZAUM is a very unique magazine in that it is produced solely by SSU students. Not only is ZAUM a vehicle for Sonoma State students' artistic expression, the magazine publishes work from students around the world! By combining the creative dynamic of students in the community with that of national and international students, ZAUM consistently presents diverse and unique work in an accessible medium.

ZAUM is named for the symbolic language created by Russian Futurist poets. Its meaning—that which exists above and beyond rational thought—represents the standard of excellence to which we aspire. Therefore, we seek to publish the works of student artists who are eager to push the limits of their art, and take a few risks with us!

Please urge any Undergraduate or Graduate students who are interested to send copies of their prose, poetry, or visual art (to include black & white photography) to be considered for our publication. Feel free to check out our website at for further details. All selections to be considered for publication in ZAUM 13 must be received no later that November 15, 2008.

Monday, July 14, 2008

job / course at cal

Recruiting Student Teachers for June Jordan's Poetry for the People

The Poetry for the People Program (P4P) at UC Berkeley, founded by the
late poet/essayist June Jordan, is in its seventeenth year. June Jordan
founded the program with a vision of artistic and personal empowerment for

Our an annual large class is offered in the Spring semester. The program
has two main components:

1.teaching the work of poets of color in their historical political
contexts, both in and outside the US

2.workshopping student poems weekly, according to a rigorous set of
guidelines developed by June, herself.

The course is taught by Student Teacher Poets or STPs. This group is
generally made up mostly of undergraduates, but has often included some
graduates, graduate students and non-students. The majority of STPs
have taken the large P4P class, but others begin with an interest in
teaching and go directly to the STP class. The STPs take a practicum
class that begins in the Fall and continues throughout the year.

In addition to leading or co-leading a section of 7-12 students in the
Spring, the STPs are responsible for choosing the majority of the
readings for the large Spring class, developing the bulk of the
lectures, and coordinating the final student recital, editing an
anthology, and doing outreach visits to schools and community centers
throughout the year. STPs also workshop each other's poetry.

The director facilitates the STP group throughout the year, and
supervises their work, and the program coordinator takes care of program
logistics. The director also sets the tone of the large class, delivers
several lectures, and supports the STPs in their teaching and

The political and aesthetic groundings of the course come from June
Jordan's own work--reflecting the tradition of women writers of color
needing to bear witness to oppression, to speak what has been silenced,
to speak truth to power, and to offer alternative visions of what the
world can be. In this tradition, the personal is political, students
are encouraged to give voice in their poetry to the most painful and
difficult places in their lives, and to speak about the most difficult
challenges in the world around us.

Due to the personally, politically, and academically intense nature of
the course, the experience of P4P is powerful for all, and can be
consuming for some, particularly younger students who are finding their
poetic voice for the first time. Among the STP group, every year is
different, depending on the personalities involved, but there is a
tradition of healthy (and sometimes unhealthy!) conflict, as the group
of STPs endeavor to take political and artistic leadership in the
course. STPs have the opportunity for profound personal growth as they
confront the power dynamics, leadership challenges and significant
responsibilities of teaching.

P4P director Aya de Leon is recruiting additional STPs. These
individuals may be undergraduate or graduate students at other campuses,
or anyone with a strong commitment to writing and teaching poetry.

The STP course meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4-6PM throughout the
year, and the P4P "big class" meets from 3-7PM in the Spring. STPs need
to be available for all three classes, for registered students, this is
a 12-unit load over two semesters.

The STP course meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4-6PM throughout the
year, and the P4P "big class" meets from 3-7PM in the Spring. STPs need
to be available for all three classes, plus homework and occasional
outside meetings. For registered students, this is a 12-unit load over
two semesters.

These positions are not paid, but we can offer college credit to everyone.

How to get college credit for these classes:

*enroll via UC Berkeley in the courses (both undergraduate & grad programs)

*cross register from Mills College (both undergraduate & MFA)

*enroll via Berkeley City College (open to all & affordable!)

*enroll via UCB extension (open to all; a bit more costly)

*Student teach as an independent study at your college or university (grad
or undergrad)

*Student teach as an independent study or field study placement with your
low residency MFA program

All are invited to apply!

For info contact P4P Director Aya de Leon: adeleon@berkeley. edu

P4P Program History

After a decade of teaching at the university level and after a few years
of joining the faculty at UC Berkeley, Professor June Jordan, one of the
most published African American writers in history, founded, designed,
cultivated and directed an unprecedented academic course and artistic
movement: Poetry for the People.

Professor Jordan wrote, however, that "I did not wake up one morning
ablaze with a coherent vision of Poetry for the People! The natural
intermingling of my ideas and my observations as an educator, a poet, and
the African-American daughter of poorly documented immigrants did not lead
me to any limiting ideological perspectives or resolve. Poetry for the
People is the arduous and happy outcome of practical, day-by-day,
classroom failure and success."

In 1989, June Jordan began teaching in the African American Studies and
Women's Studies Departments. She soon undertook the presentation of
African American Poetry and Contemporary Women's Poetry. With both
courses, she ensured that student writings occupied equal space and time,
along with established poets, such as James Weldon Johnson or Adrienne
Eventually, she decided to offer something called "Poetry for the People."
So she raised funds from the African American Studies Department, the Dean
of Interdisciplinary Studies, and the Department of English.

Her dream and vision was realized in 1991 when Professor Jordan officially
established Poetry for the People. During its first semester, and every
semester thereafter, the course attracted students from Freshmen to
graduate students in their last year at Boalt Law School, men, women,
African Americans, Asian Americans, Latino Americans, Arab Americans,
Anglo Americans, gay, lesbian, straight, abled, disabled who could take
this course in poetry without any prior writing experience.

June Jordan crafted Poetry for the People with three guiding principles in

1.That students will not take themselves seriously unless we who teach
them, honor and respect them in every practical way that we can.

2.That words can change the world and save our lives.

3.That poetry is the highest art and the most exacting service devoted to
our most serious, and our most imaginative, deployment of verbs and nouns
on behalf of whatever and whoever we cherish.

Professor Jordan's vision for the reading and writing of poetry stands out
from other university poetry courses. In an interview with the Daily
Californian on November 19, 1998, Professor Jordan stated that the goal of
Poetry for the People "is to make audible the inaudible, and visible the

Then, after the success of the third semester of the program, a core of
young poets wanted to make P4P a way of life. As a result, Professor
Jordan decided to try and institute a course called "The Teaching and
Writing of Poetry." Interested students would work closely with her and
then they, in turn, would become teachers of other students. This practice
continues today as undergraduates and graduate students are trained by the
director to facilitate groups, lecture on various topics, and assume
positions of leadership.

African American Studies 158A (fall) and 158B (spring) serve as this
teaching practicum for STPs in the process of preparing to student teach
the main introductory spring class, African American Studies 156AC, known
as "The Big Class." The students in these courses conduct extensive
research into the poetic traditions under consideration for the Big Class.
Each student is required to give an in-class presentation on an assigned
poetic tradition, in addition to an intensive examination of pedagogical
issues. Much of the time in the spring is spent discussing teaching
strategies, exploring solutions to pedagogical issues, and coordinating
projects. The STPs also form and facilitate a poetry-writing group under
the Director's leadership and complete all the assignments the students in
the general class are given, in addition to certain specific exercises in
poetic craftsmanship. This group of STPs also provides personnel for the
various outreach programs and is encouraged to perform at community events
and readings in the Bay Area.

The success of P4P is evidenced by the dozens of poetry programs across
the country that are led by former P4P students and whose designs are
based on the program. In 1995, after Professor Jordan and several of her
students published June Jordan's Poetry for the People: A Revolutionary
Blueprint through Routledge Press, hundreds of organizations throughout
the country have adopted this blueprint not only as a reference but a
guiding principle in their own poetry workshops and programs. Moreover,
numerous former P4P students have been anthologized, published, and
celebrated with prizes.

Thus, from its humble beginnings of around 15-20 students in 1991, to its
height of over 130 student enrollment, the once-tenuous experiment of
Poetry for the People has emerged a cultural institution on the UC
Berkeley campus that has engendered dialogue and created connections
across every conceivable line.

Professor Jordan has said, "Poetry has been falsely viewed as a province
for privileged folks and for the extremely gifted. [But] poetry derives
from an oral tradition throughout the world. It comes from the people and
needs to be given back to the people."

Today, Poetry for the People is a fully accredited, three course sequence
of classes wherein students present their work in an on-campus public
poetry reading every semester and self-produce and then publish a
professional anthology of their poems. In keeping with the university's
goal of public education, Professor June Jordan expanded this program to
many different Bay Area locations: Berkeley High School, Dublin Women's
Prison, Glide Memorial Church, Mission Cultural Center, and Yerba Buena
Center for the Arts.

Every poetry reading she helped organize was a standing room only affair —
in mammoth campus spaces such as the Life Valley Science Building Lecture
Halls, Lewis Hall, and Wheeler Auditorium.

In 2001, Professor June Jordan went on leave. However, given the student
demand for the course and the popularity of the program, she was asked to
name a successor. Selected by Professor Jordan, Junichi P. Semitsu
directed the program until 2005. In 2005-06 P4P alum, Maiana Minahal was
director. In fall 2006, the African American Studies department appointed
community artist and activist Aya de Leon as director, and her appointment
continues into its third year.

Aya de Leon continues in Jordan's tradition of reaching beyond university
walls, developing programming at Berkeley High, B-Tech (Berkeley High's
alternative/ continuation school), Oakland Unified, Berkeley City College,
Epic Arts, La Pena Cultural Center, and Richmond's Leadership Public
School, as well as reaching out to Mills College, SF State, Foothill
College, and other Bay Area schools to recruit students.

The Program has continued to bring countless "hot shot poets" to campus
for readings to P4P students and the general public: Adrienne Rich,
Ntozake Shange, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Joy Harjo, Sandra Cisneros, Juan
Felipe Herrera, Bei Dao, Janice Mirikitani, Ruth Forman (a former P4P
student), Marilyn Chin, Haas Mroue, Martin Espada, Cornelius Eady, Lorna
Dee Cervantes, E. Ethelbert Miller, Sekou Sundiata, Kevin Young, Dennis
Kim, Leroy Quintana, Li-Young Lee, Naomi Shihab Nye, Francisco Alarcon,
Sara Miles, Donna Masini, Luis Rodriguez, Tyehimba Jess, Mohja Khaf — to
name a few.

The current ever-evolving syllabus continues to extend to new cultural
areas for further, broadening research and eventual curricular inclusion.
Designed to constitute a one-semester crash course of world literacy in
poems, the syllabus typically focuses on three distinct American cultures,
which often rotate year after year. Our Spring 2008 semester focused on
the poetry of African Americans, Arab and Arab Americans, Latina/os,
Xicana/os, and the intersecting trajectories of these three groups in the
United States and the Americas.

Professor Jordan passed away in June 2002. Thanks to her vision and the
commitments of the African American Studies Department, UC Berkeley's
Dean's office, and the sustained efforts of subsequent directors and
student teachers to continue her legacy, the African American Studies
156AC course remains strong and alive. Indeed, the class continues to
build a legacy as one of the most visible, vibrant, and energetic
communities on the Berkeley campus, in continuing Dr. Martin Luther King's
wish of a beloved community.

Aya de Leon
Director, June Jordan's Poetry for the People
African American Studies Department
UC Berkeley

Friday, July 4, 2008

a relentlessly local FL publication, but one nevertheless...

Deadline: Midnight, August 1, 2008.

FloriDaDa is seeking submissions to represent the current state of poetry in, and inspired by, Florida. We're seeking unusual or experimental poetry related to this subject.
We hope to publish FloriDaDa with Rock Press as a book-length paperback in the fall of 2008. Funds are quite limited for this project, so a waiver of permission fees would be appreciated. We intend for this to be the first volume in an occasional series of collections that will give respected poets a chance to lead the way for writers and readers involved with Florida as a creative crucible.
There will be four categories for submissions:
1. Natives (poets actually born here)
2. Transplants (poets who moved here)
3. Passing Through (visitors or people who once lived here who have written poetry about Florida)
4. Snow Bards (part-time residents)
Send up to 5 poems in a single word document to
Put your name and email address on every piece.
In the subject heading of the email, state the category you are submitting to, which means either Native, Transplant, Passing Through, or Snow Bards
In the body of the email, include a bio of no more than 100 words.
Please also sign the attached document and send it to:
Richard Ryal, P.O. Box 770925, Coral Springs, FL 33077-0925
In signing the attached document, you warrant that you are the sole owner of the rights granted and that your material does not infringe upon the copyrights or other rights of anyone. If you do not control these rights, we ask that you submit another piece to which you possess sole rights.

Laura McDermott and Richard Ryal
co-editors FloriDaDa Rock Press, Fall 2008

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Open Submissions for The Versus Anthology

Versus is a collection of works based on the theme of pitting
iconic characters or forces against one another (for example,
“Jesus VS Thor” or “Adolph Hitler VS Grendel”). Versus is edited
by Josh Woods and is set for release in the spring of 2009 by
Press 53 ( ). Versus already includes a great
host of writers, such as Pinckney Benedict, Michael Kimball,
Margaret McMullan, John McNally, Kyle Minor, Andrew Scott, Curtis
Smith, Susan Woodring, and many others, but we have held a few
spots open in order to give everyone interested the opportunity
to join this anthology, so here is that opportunity.

We’re looking mostly for short fiction of around 1,000-1,500
words, but Versus is open to longer works as well as poetry,
creative non-fiction, short screenplays, flash fiction, graphic
novel pages, and even hybrid genres. Submissions can be
previously published elsewhere as long as the writer has, or can
obtain, (re)publication rights. Simultaneous and multiple
submissions are allowed, but due to the volume of submissions, we
will be unable to communicate about individual manuscripts other
than to indicate that they are accepted or rejected. We will not
respond prior to the submission deadline.

The deadline for all submissions is June 1, 2008.

Please send submissions by email attachment in Microsoft Word
compatible format or as Adobe PDF to versusanthology(at)

(replace (at) with @)

or submit by mail with SASE to:

Versus Anthology
Faner Hall 2390, MC 4503
SIU Carbondale
1000 Faner Hall
Carbondale, IL 62901

Cover letter is optional, but please include your name and email
address on each page of the manuscript. For these few remaining
spots in Versus, we are setting our focus on new, emerging, and
innovative writers. For further details on what a Versus piece
is, or even for the option of getting assigned a set of
characters for your Versus piece, please visit

Friday, May 2, 2008

Do you love to weave words together?

Were you and/or one or both of your birth parents born in another country?

Do you live in the United States or Canada now?

Are you 13-19 years old?

If you answered yes to ALL of the questions above, YOU qualify to enter the 2008 Fire Escape Writing Contests! Submit an original, unpublished poem or story that reflects some of the joys and struggles of growing up between two cultures in America. The Fire Escape will only consider one poem and story per person, so send your best work. (If you like writing non-fiction, too, check out the Fire Escape's Write-a-Review Contest.)


Poetry (up to three poems)

Short Fiction (up to 800 words)


First Prize: $40

Second Prize: $25

Third Prize: $10

How to submit an entry:

* Paste your poem or story into an e-mail message and send it to contests -at - I will not open attachments.

* Proofread thoroughly and keep your presentation simple. Entries with spelling, grammar or punctuation errors and funky characters/fonts may be disqualified without notice. (There were lots of these this year!) Do not include any clip art, images, or photos with your entry. Words only, please. Fiction longer than 1000 words will not be considered.

* Include your name, age, and e-mail address in your e-mail. Also include your countr(ies) of origin. You and/or ONE of your birth parents must have been born outside North America. If you were born in Puerto Rico and are now living in one of the states or Canadian provinces, you qualify.

* Current U.S. or Canadian residents only please, and previous winners are not eligible.

* To qualify, your entry must be received between September 1, 2007 and June 1, 2008.

REPEAT: you must be an immigrant or internationally adopted teen (or a teen with one immigrant parent) currently living in the United States or Canada.

NOTE: Failure to follow all of the contest guidelines will disqualify your entry.

Winning Poems and Stories will be published on the Fire Escape. Winners will be notified by June 30th. If you do not hear from us by June 30th, you can assume that your entry was NOT a winner. Prizes must be claimed by September 1, 2008. Please note that editorial or any other personal comments will not be provided for contest submissions. The Fire Escape reserves the right to award no prizes if no entry meets the judge's standards.

The Fire Escape seeks the following permissions from young authors: permission to publish your work on the web site, and permission to include your work in online archives after publication. Authors retain the copyright to their work. Once selected, winners must send their school information and a mailing address so that the Fire Escape can validate the entry and send the prize.
Fairy Tale Review is accepting submissions to its fifth issue, The Aquamarine Issue, from
April 15 through September 15, 2008. We welcome all previously unpublished fiction,
poetry, drama, non-fiction, etcetera, informed by the fairy-tale tradition.

Past contributors include Sarah Hannah (to whom our most recent issue, The Violet Issue is
dedicated), Aimee Bender, Donna Tartt, Mary Caponegro, Rikki Ducornet, Joyelle
McSweeney, Lydia Millet, Kim Addonizio, Lucy Corin, and Kiki Smith.

Please see our submission guidelinesfor
more details.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

On Monday, May 5th, 2008 at the Medicine Show Theater on 52nd Street, NYC, Factory School requests your presence for a pre-Publication Book Party for Charles Bernstein and Ben Yarmolinsky's Blind Witness: Three American Operas, due out in August.

For more information about this event, please click here:

For more information about Blind Witness, and to pre-order a copy, please click here:


If you are unable to attend Monday's event, we hope you will join us online for an important announcement regarding the future of Factory School and its work in the community. We are planning a significant relaunch of our organization, its purpose and orientation. This change will be visible on our website on Monday, May 5th, when we will unveil a 2.0 upgrade to our site. To this end, we are seeking collaborators, projects, and support for our work.

Since 2000, Factory School has sponsored online galleries, an audio archive of poetry readings, as well as resources for teachers and teachers of writing--all this in addition to our books. Hundreds of thousands of visitors have made use of these materials. Since our books are our only source of income, we are pleading with the community to help us continue our work by purchasing one or more of our books. These purchases will allow us to continue to publish books while continuing to expand our organizational infrastructure.

While we will be making a more significant announcement on Monday, May 5th, here is a preview of what our priorities will be in the coming years:


--Free University of New York Press: a new academic press without the university.
--Publication Club: social networking site allows younger writers to meet each other and develop editorial identity, social and real capital.
--Series based publishing: Developing projects for extant book series (Heretical Texts, PS3577, Public Intermedia, Southpaw Culture).
--Working collaboratively not as aesthetic judges, seeking alternatives to the social-subcultural engine that drives micro communities of taste.
--Development of books for use in courses, not the other way around.


--"Community Handbook" resource development project: teaching materials, student-generated learning modules.
--Textbook recycling program.
--Reclaiming for public use educational content pilfered from the public domain by private corporations.


--Community-based problem solving and future planning.
--Design studio and workshop.
--Curriculum and learning program development.
--Organizational feedback strategies, research methods and practice.


--Interactive websites for all new Factory School books.
--Beginning research and planning phases for independent urban college.
--Think tank and policy-paper laboratory to counter-act regressive trends in American politics and culture.


Please click on the link below to order a book or make a donation using Paypal. If you would rather send us money, please send an email to INFO "@" FACTORYSCHOOL ORG to make arrangements.
*Please post, forward, blog, etc.*

The deadline for regular and scholarship applications to the 2008 Napa Valley Writers' Conference is May 22 (not a postmark deadline!). This year's conference begins Sunday, July 27 and ends Friday, August 1. Faculty in fiction are Ron Carlson, Lan Samantha Chang, Ehud Havazalet, and Ann Packer; in poetry, Mark Doty, Nick Flynn, Brenda Hillman, and Claudia Rankine. Novelist Paul Lisicky is a special guest.

Scholarships are based on merit and need and are intended to bring to the conference serious and talented writers who would not otherwise be able to attend. Most scholarships are partial, defraying the cost of tuition; two full scholarships, the Richard Lemon Scholarship in poetry and the Rosselli-DeFilippis Scholarship in Fiction, are awarded to writers of color. Full details are available on our website,, where you can also learn about our workshops, our community housing program and our faculty.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

My Paper, My Land
A postcard show will be held to coincide with the IAPMA Congress in
Burnie, Tasmania. Works should reflect where you come from and contain
at least 80% paper. The size should be around 10 x 15 cm and works
should be sent through the mail, preferably with a postage stamp and
postmark to Gail Stiffe, 11 Keltie Street Glen Iris, Victoria 3146,
The works will be exhibited in Creative Paper's Gallery for one month
including the congress time and will be for sale for $A20 each
unframed. The funds raised will be shared equally between Papermakers
of Victoria, Creative Paper, the IAPMA support fund and the Papermaking
Village in the Philippines and unsold works will remain the property of
Creative Paper Tasmania. All works will be documented on a website to
be announced. Works can be sent any time between now and 1 March 2009,
there is no limit to the number of entries anyone can send. Please
indicate on your card if you do NOT wish it to be displayed on the
website. Contact for more information.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Writing Resource Center is beginning our yearly hiring process for new SWAs. Applications are available in the WRC and are due by 5 pm on Monday, April 28. I'm writing to ask that you inform your students of this opportunity. If there are any students you feel would be particularly good additions to the WRC staff, please personally encourage them to apply.

We have a unique challenge/opportunity in our hiring for next year, as five of our current SWAs are graduating in May and another will be leaving after next fall. That means that we need to hire at least five new SWAs. With so many openings, we want to do everything possible to have a high number of qualified applicants to choose from. This need also gives us a great opportunity to hire a group of SWAs with diverse backgrounds. With that in mind, we'd like to have quality applicants from each of the divisions. So, again, if you know anyone who seems like a particularly good candidate, please encourage them to apply. Thank you.

Happenings in the NYT

Happenings Are Happening Again
Single Page
Yahoo! Buzz

Published: April 13, 2008

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J. Emilio Flores for The New York Times
Rob Hooks digs dirt in the vicinity of Watts Towers (background) in Los Angeles as part of a re-enactment of “Trading Dirt” by Allan Kaprow.

Enlarge This Image

Courtesy of the Getty Research Institute
Allan Kaprow in 1964.
IT’S hard to know what Allan Kaprow, the artist who gave us Happenings in the 1960s as a way to escape the confines of museums, would have thought of his current retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. In some ways it’s even harder to imagine what he would have made of the re-creation of his historic work “Trading Dirt” at Watts Towers here, the first in an ambitious program of reinventions tied to the show.

Kaprow, who died in 2006, began “Trading Dirt” in 1983, long after he had largely abandoned his flashy Happenings in favor of more intimate pieces he called Activities. This one involved offering a bucket of dirt to someone in exchange for theirs. He traded soil from his garden for what he called “heavy-duty Buddhist dirt” from the Zen Center of San Diego, where he was studying.

Then he traded that for “dog dirt” from friends: soil that the artist Eleanor Antin and her husband, the poet David Antin, dug from a spot in front of their house, where they had buried Hayden, their beloved German shepherd.

Anecdotes accompanied the trades, which took place every now and then for nearly three years. And that was it, a rather uneventful series of events that Mr. Kaprow later served up in the form of a story captured on videotape. In much the way that John Cage’s music made space for noise and silence, Mr. Kaprow’s meandering narrative made room for dirt and gossip, and long interludes in between.

So when Rosie Lee Hooks, director of the Watts Towers Arts Center, decided to make a film version of “Trading Dirt,” she was deliberately adding another layer of meaning. Her idea was to trade buckets of dirt with a handful of artists who live in Watts and are linked to the center, filming the exchanges to make a 30-minute piece for the government-access Channel 35.

She plans to open her film with 1950s footage of Simon Rodia — the self-taught artist who in a herculean effort built Watts Towers out of scrap metal and found objects — carrying a pail toward his monument. The closing shot will show Ms. Hooks shoveling dirt from a bucket, post trade, into the ground beneath the soaring towers.

“This is a chance for us to give Watts a different image,” Ms. Hooks said on a late March morning at the site. “When you hear about Watts, you hear about riots and welfare. But this community also has loving families who want the best for their children, and an amazing artistic community.”

By 9 a.m. that day Ms. Hooks had dug up the first bucket of dirt from the grounds of Watts Towers. Her adult son Rob had helped. “We had no idea how hard the dirt was,” she said. Then, with the film cameras trained on her, she carried the bucket down the street toward some neighbors who knew Mr. Rodia to make her first trade.

But before she reached their house, the director called out. “Let’s take that again.” So Ms. Hooks, who has a theater background and some film acting credits, walked the block again, pail in hand. After three takes, they called it a wrap.

“This is very interesting,” said the artist Suzanne Lacy, a onetime student of Kaprow who watched the filming. “They’re doing two things at once, the piece and the documentation of the piece. We are witnessing the witnessing of an experience. This is very L.A.”

It was arguably not very Kaprow. Interested in the immediacy of experience (his retrospective is aptly titled “Art as Life”), he rarely made work for the sake of film or video. And although he liked to work from basic scenarios or “scores,” he welcomed spontaneity throughout. “There’s no doubt this film is more structured than Allan’s work,” Ms. Lacy said.

Which raises questions that Kaprow himself increasingly confronted as he aged. What does it mean to restage a Happening, revisiting an event that was meant to be very Zen and present tense? Does the artist’s original intention even matter? And, when it comes to exhibitions, what is the best way to sustain the legacy of an artist obsessed with the everyday and ephemeral, an artist who once compared putting “lifelike art” in a museum to “making love in a cemetery”?

For the Museum of Contemporary Art here, the only United States stop for a show that originated in Munich, one strategy for dealing with such issues has been to encourage visitor participation, both in the exhibition, running through June 30, and at the various off-site events. Its curator, Philipp Kaiser, has not only imported paintings, videos and more from the European show but has also invited a handful of Los Angeles artists to reinvent some of Kaprow’s early interactive installations, called Environments.

One of those artists, Barbara T. Smith, created a new version of Kaprow’s popular “Push and Pull: A Furniture Comedy for Hans Hofmann” from 1963 by setting up a living room’s worth of furniture, from chairs to tables to bookcases, all painted blue. Visitors can move the furniture, creating blue scuff marks on the floor.

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Julian Wasser
Kaprow’s 1967 “Fluids” is being restaged as part of the show.
At the center of the exhibition is another interactive piece, created by Ms. Lacy, the architect Michael Rotondi and the media producer Peter Kirby. Wooden chairs form a circle on a large pad of dirt, with a phone booth in one corner and the Kaprow video of “Trading Dirt” in another. Every Saturday Kaprow’s friends are scheduled to come, sit and record their experiences with his work for an audio archive.

At other times, anyone can enter the booth and dial (213) 455-2926 to record personal memories of Kaprow. (You can also call in from home.) Called “Trade Talk,” in a nod to “Trading Dirt,” this work is more tribute than re-creation. When the space is active, Mr. Kaiser describes it as “a living archive”; when it’s not, he regards it as a symbolic “void” at the center of the museum.

As Ms. Lacy sees it: “The conundrum of Allan’s work is how to move it into the museum, which was so fraught for him. I wanted to capture the part of Allan’s work that was the most significant to him and the most ephemeral. And that is the experience of his work as it becomes part of, and lives on in, someone else’s memory.”

The museum’s education department has organized a full program of Kaprow “reinventions” at sites ranging from local art schools to places overseen by community centers, like Watts Towers. With financing from the Getty Foundation, the museum has lined up 29 different institutions as partners in organizing 32 events (or nonevents) through June. Details are posted at

On Tuesday, for example, a group of University of Southern California students will reinvent “Drag” from 1984 by dragging concrete blocks around campus. Following Kaprow’s score, when you meet someone you know, you must switch to carrying the block. The next time you meet someone you know, you switch to pushing it. And then back to dragging, and so on.

On Wednesday the Hammer Museum will enact “Museum Portraits,” an unrealized activity that Kaprow developed for the Hamburger Kunsthalle in 1977. He proposed that museum employees move their desk chairs to the street for an hour, exposing the “backstage” of the museum and perhaps revealing the way a chair can serve as a portrait of the sitter. “Van Gogh understood this very well,” he wrote, “when he painted ‘portraits’ of himself and Gauguin by depicting their respective chairs: one, crude, the other, elegant.”

Some of Kaprow’s most famous pieces will also be reconceived. Starting on April 22, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions will present his breakthrough 1959 “18 Happenings in 6 Parts.” And several institutions — including the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Getty Center — will be recreating Kaprow’s 1967 work “Fluids,” starting on April 25. Each will build a large roomlike structure out of 50-pound bricks of ice and then let it melt.

“Kaprow had such a huge impact on Los Angeles, and ties to so many institutions here,” said Aandrea Stang, the Museum of Contemporary Art’s education program manager. “It was exciting to see how many groups wanted to be involved.”

Although he began his career and his Happenings in New York, Mr. Kaprow’s first retrospective was in 1967 at the Pasadena Art Museum, which helped organize a multisite production of “Fluids” across the greater Los Angeles area. Two years later he joined the faculty at the California Institute of the Arts before becoming a mainstay at the University of California, San Diego.

He taught at CalArts at the same time as the conceptual artist John Baldessari, which inspired the one-liner that while all of Mr. Baldessari’s students went on to become art stars, Kaprow’s went on to become social workers. “Or Zen Buddhists or chiropractors,” said Ms. Lacy, who shared a Zen teacher with Kaprow.

Kaprow was also close to the artist Paul McCarthy, who is doing his own, more private performances at unannounced times. The museum says he is planning a version of “Spit” from 1985, using a Q-tip and his own saliva to clean the car owned by Jeremy Strick, the museum’s director. (Saliva was a favorite medium of Kaprow, who had students lick their arms and watch the saliva dry and put ice to great use.)

For Ms. Lacy much of Kaprow’s work has social or political potential, even if he personally avoided that kind of content. Not only does his work bring people together, but it also uses the stuff of real life. There’s just one step, she said, from a Kaprow activity that involves brushing your teeth to a feminist performance that includes ironing clothes.

“That’s one reason the Watts film is so interesting,” Ms. Lacy said of Ms. Hooks’s project. “They seem to be using Allan’s work as a vehicle for political reasons.”

“You could look at their film and say it’s nothing Allan would have done himself, but I think he would have talked about it and thought about it. I don’t think he would have judged it.”

As for Ms. Hooks, she said she found some of her exchanges of dirt fascinating, even at the material level. The dirt offered by the sculptor Kenzi Shiokava was really rich, she said, complete with insects. “And we got some really wonderful conversation and stories, comedy and history.”

“This kind of work requires a lot of trust,” she said. “People could have been suspicious: What are you talking about, trading a bucket of dirt? But they were all so open.”

She plans to finish the film next month in the hopes that the museum will screen it before the end of its show. In the meantime she’s keeping the bucket of dirt.

“I’m going to ride the bucket around in my car until we finish shooting,” she said. “We still have to get some B-roll and wraparound stuff.”
Natasha Trethewey
will read and discuss her work April 17th 7:00 p.m. at Traditions
Hall on the University of South Florida Tampa campus. The 2007
Pulitzer Prize winner
accepted the award for her third poetry collection, Native Guard
published in 2006. It contains her poems about black Union soldiers
who guarded a fort off the coast of Mississippi during the U. S.
Civil War.

Her first work,
Work, was selected by Rita Dove to receive
the inaugural 1999 Cave
Canem  poetry prize for the best first book by an African
American poet and also received the 2001 Lillian Smith Award for
Poetry and the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize.
Her second work, Bellocq’s Ophelia (2002) received the 2003
Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize. She is the
recipient of the prestigious Bunting fellowship from the Radcliffe
Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.

Born in Gulfport,
Mississippi, Trethewey holds a B.A. in English from the University of
Georgia, an M.A. in English and Creative Writing from Hollins
University, and an M.F. A. in poetry from the University of
Massachusetts. She is the Phillis Wheatley Distinguished Chair, and
professor of poetry at Emory University

This event is
sponsored by the USF Humanities Institute, the departments of English
and Women’s Studies, and USF Women in Leadership and Philanthropy.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Poetic Meetup Featuring:

Orlando Poetry Group presents:
Every Third Wednesday@ Austin’s
Martha Marinara is an associate professor of English at the University of Central Florida where she teaches rhetoric, First-year writing, and creative writing. She currently directs the Information Fluency Program, a university initiative. Marinara has written two textbooks—Writing Outside the Lines (2000) and Choices: A Handbook for Writers (2008), and published articles in College Composition and Communication and The Journal of Basic Writing. She writes and publishes poetry and fiction, and her work has appeared most recently in Massachusetts Review, Xavier Review, FEMSPEC, Estuary, Lesbian Fiction Quarterly, White Pelican Review, and Alembic. In 2000, she won the Central Florida United Arts Award for Poetry. Street Angel, her first published novel, was released in October 2006 and was a finalist for ForeWord Magazine’s Best GLBT Novel Award for 2006.
Wednesday April 16, 8:30pm

Austin’s Coffee and Film
929 W Fairbanks Ave
Winter Park, Florida

The Wonderful Martha Marinara
Followed by an Open Mic

Hosted by Chaz Yorick’s Open Words ,& Russ Golata
For directions or comments e-mail me at
Or phone me at 407-403-5814
Or AUSTIN’S at 407-975-3364

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Just a note that we will not be meeting during BACC days. For those of you who are not "BACCing," I hope you will consider:

-- reading some of the authors I have recommended to you throughout the term, hopefully in a pleasant place with a notebook handy
-- reviewing or otherwise creatively or critically responding to the BACC presentations

sharing the results here, on this blog, or elsewhere!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Introduction to Non-fiction Publishing featuring John Byram and Amy Gorelick of the University Press of Florida
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
2:00 pm
Cook Hall Conference Room

Amy Gorelick, Senior Acquisitions Editor, and John Byram, Editor-in-Chief, will discuss the basics of getting your work published; submitting a proposal, when to submit a full manuscript, the review process, the production process, marketing and selling works of non-fiction, and things to avoid when working with a publisher. A question and answer period will follow the brief presentation, with an opportunity to meet and discuss your own work in detail with Ms. Gorelick.

The University Press of Florida, established in 1945, is the largest publisher in Florida and the second largest university press in the Southeast.

UPF's mission is to serve all universities in the SUS system: to answer questions, offer advice, and possibly publish your work.
A mail art show at Urban Community School in Cleveland, Ohio, USA.
Third and fourth level students are curating their own mail art show
and `artist's exchange'. Not only will the children learn about the
various ways that a theme can be artistically interpreted, they will
learn how to organize and hang an a show of their own, and will learn
about geography through the tracking of various entries. They will
send back their work in exchange for the work received.

The theme for all work should be centered on the theme of "habitat".
What is YOUR habitat like?

Entries can be in any media. Size should be kept at 8"X10" or
smaller. Remember to include your name and address.

No fees, no jury, no returns. All creative responses are welcome, but
please keep in mind that they must be school appropriate to be

In order to guarantee display entries must arrive no later than May
16th, 2008.

For more information please email:

Send entries to:
Mary Green, CAS
Art Department
Urban Community School
4909 Lorain Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44102

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Jack Kerouac Writer in Residence Project presents:
The 2008 Central Florida Book & Music Festival
Friday and Saturday, March 28th and 29th

Friday, March 28th, be part of the scene at Uptown Altamonte
Eddie Rose Waterfront Amphitheater at Cranes Roost Park and enjoy a
FREE live concert featuring the David Amram Jazz Quartet, 7:00pm until 9:00pm,
and special guest Ben Alba, author of Inventing Late Night.

Venue Information:
Eddie Rose Waterfront
Amphitheater at Cranes Roost Park
247 Cranes Roost Blvd.
Altamonte Springs, FL 32701

Saturday, March 29th, re-live the NYC of the 1950s with a 12:00, noon, luncheon. Seating begins at 11:00AM and show begins at noon. Admission cost is $30 which includes lunch and play.

Southern Winds Theatre presents: An Evening with Jack Kerouac - End of the Roadwritten by Steve A. Rowell and David A. McElroy. Directed by Marylin McGinnis. Rowell and McElroy bring Kerouac's brilliant, yet tortured life to the stage in this demonstrative one-man show. McElroy, portraying Kerouac takes "the spotlight" that illuminates Jack's life as the road experience it was, and how he only wanted to observe and write those observations.

After the play: A performance commemorating the 1st ever Jazz Poetry
Concert of 1957 by David Amram and Jack Kerouac - re-created by the David
Amram Jazz Quartet.

Venue Information:
Holiday Inn Altamonte Springs
For tickets order online at Southern Winds Theater site or RSVP to this email or just show up at the last minute

For information regarding any of these events contact

For even more information
But Wait There's More!!! UCF Events

Monday the 31st - Library room 511, 2:00 PM
Roundtable about Kerouac and the Beats to be hosted by the Library.
David will read from his book on the Beats and discuss the significance
of the 50th anniversary of Dharma Bums.

Tuesday the 1st - Library room 223, 7:00 PM
Screening of Pull My Daisy, the short film narrated by Jack Kerouac and
scored by David Amram with a short presentation about the making of the
film and a Q/A session.

Thursday the 3rd - Reflection Pond, tentatively scheduled for 7:00 PM
An Evening Affair with music...David would like to use this time to
improvise with music students...also plan to ask Sigma Tau Delta if they
want to read selections of Kerouac's works with David's accompaniment.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

2 Events on Campus Having to Do with Class

Should you already be finished with your midterms:

Beyond the Souvenir Shop
Lecture by Christopher Olszewski

Sainer Pavillion
Wednesday March 19, 2008
7 p.m.

Christopher Olszewski is an active member of the Chippewa of Mnjikaning First Nation, his work is from the creative visual language of the Northern Woodland people. Rooted in western painting traditions, as well as being trained in the modernist/postmodernist philosophy of art. Olszewski is fascinated with the ancient Native American world and how it interacts with current times. His paintings develop the Native American image "beyond the “Souvenir Shop” and depict actual people struggling with the encroachment of the dominant contemporary culture. Juxtaposing images of United States currency, automotive brands, and professional sports logos with images of Native Americans in ordinary settings the artist develops a consciousness of a thriving culture beyond the caricature. Olszewski's paintings weave an intricate line between propaganda and advertising with an emphasis on the abuse of the word LIBERTY.

You've seen the posters around campus, but what's most germane to this course is the way he is turning commerce -- particularly quasi-language -- into art for a political end.

Then, too, there's my reading at 6 pm in the WRC with visiting poet Linda Russo! I'll be reading from my chapbooks (they are free online!!!), Linda will be reading from MIRTH, her excellent new book from Chax Press.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Some Ways to Find Markets for Your Writing

There are thousands of listings of litary journals, commercial magazines that include creative writing, eZines, etc., including Poets & Writers classifieds (, AWP Chronicle, Writer's, Artist's, Poet's Market, Writer's Digest, etc. etc. But how to use? How to decide?

1) By content.
Identify your subject, and who is likely to be interested in publishing creative writing on that subject. Is it Feminist? Serbian? Formal? Visual? Look for publications which specialize in publishing creative writing on the same theme, or look for publications with special theme issues, or look for publications which publish all sorts of content on a theme who occasionally publish pieces of creative writing on that theme.

2) Write "to" the publication / CFW.
Maybe you don't have anything ready to send, but are seeking some writing prompts. Why not look at what publications are asking for, and attempt to deliver it? For example, here are calls for work for anthologies (generally more prestigious credits than periodical publication) from the most recent classifieds:

(BLANK) BEGINS at conception. Seeking essays for an anthology about female experiences with reproduction. All perspectives welcome: infertility, pregnancy, adoption, abortion, parenthood, deciding to remain child-free, etc. Target audience is anyone looking for a broader perspective on reproductive choices. Send queries and submissions to

THE POWER of the Center, a Wising Up Press anthology. In a time of troubling polarization, we invite submissions on how we have used social centrality to promote inclusion and change. Essays/memoirs personal experience, thoughtful and emotionally evocative. less than 4,000 words. B&W photographs/artwork: less than 5. Deadline: June 1. E-mail to Guidelines:

and another

Say it Loud: Poems about James Brown. Edited by: Mary E. Weems, and Michael Oatman.

We grew up on James Brown’s Hit Me! When he danced every young Black man wanted to move, groove and look like him. Mr. Brown wasn’t called the hardest workingman in show business because he wasn’t. Experiencing a James Brown show was like getting your favourite soul food twice, plus dessert. His songs, like black power fists you could be proud of and move to at the same time. When Mr. Brown sang make it funky we sweated even in the wintertime. Losing him was like losing somebody in our family. This is a shout out for poems about the impact James Brown had on our lives. Poems that will help people remember, honour, and celebrate his legacy. Don’t be left in a cold sweat, send us your old and new James Brown poems today.

Submission Guidelines: 3-5 Unpublished and/or published poems with acknowledgement included. No longer than 73 lines Deadline: April 30, 2008 (Receipt not postmark) Send hard copies along with a Word Document and short bio on a CD to: Dr. Mary E. Weems / Education Department / John Carroll University / 20700 North Park Blvd. / University Hts., Ohio 44118 / Send via e-mail attachment (Word Documents Only) to:, and

3) Track writers: where writers you admire or writers whose style or subject matter may be similar to yours are publishing. Use these publications to track down other writers as well as the publications.
You read a work by a younger contemporary writer you admire. Google the name or do another search to find a bio which lists credits, such as "published in blah, blah magazine, the journal of blah, and the annual best of blah anthology 2007." Then look at blah, blah magazine. Look at the work of the author that they chose. Read any editorial statement (with a grain of salt -- read it alongside what seems to be chosen in practice, and compare it to the statements). Read the other works published in the publication.

Variation: read a book published by a writer you admire, etc. Read other writers published by the press, but also look at the acknowledgements page. Are you familiar with the journals which have published the writer you admire? Look them up.

4) Track publications. If you have the "best genre work year" anthologies, take a look at the list of publications contributing to the anthology. Are you familiar with them? Look at the link list for online journals, especially for journals that keep appearing on list after list. Look at the bios in a publication you admire. Are there are publications that appear in one or more contributor's credits? Look it up!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Katrina Bang is ready to consider sending a work she was unable to circulate for comment (color reproduction concerns) for publication, and asked for recommendations of places.

Due to the content, which is visual and written both, I recommend it be submitted as art.

She might consider feminist journals. While the response time is longer, the audience is very responsive.

13th Moon, on the web at, edited in the past by Judith Johnson and Marilyn Hacker (look 'em up!), from SUNY Albany (Johnson is now emeritus from there, I think?)

Calyx,; note how, in the submissions guidelines, submissions of art (rather than poetry) are almost always open!

Kalliope is a really nice feminist journal of longstanding edited out of Florida!
Since we haven't had the opportunity to discuss this during workshop, but SHOULD take the time, I want to mention that I *NEVER* endorse entering *ANY* writing contest which charges a fee. Ideosyncratically, I do occasionally enter the National Poetry Series and similar book prizes. If you read this... ask in workshop!

More soon, including visual poetry journals...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Summer Programs

David Belew asked that I compile a list of Summer programs in creative writing. These are of two sorts: colonies/conferences and academic programs.

Based on reports of the writing colony experience I have not had, I would recommend programs unless or until winning a fellowship, scholarship, or otherwise subsidized stay at a colony, such as Breadloaf, where hierarchies of paying vs. non-paying writers often develop.

The Poetry Society of America keeps an excellent list of links:


Iowa Summer Writing Festival


Summer Literary Seminars in St. Petersburg, Russia, and in Kenya (don't know if Kenya is the place to be this summer -- though maybe it is? --)

New School for Social Research:
Some More Info:
The Summer Writers Colony at the New School grants six credits. Students participate in daily workshops with established poets and fiction writers, as well as literary salons and discussions with renowned visiting writers, sessions with magazine and book editors, readings, a literary walking tour, and a practicum in fine-art book printing. The SWC runs from June 2 through June 20, 2008.

This summer’s visiting writers include novelist Russell Banks, discussing his book The Reserve; Bruce Coville discussing Into the Land of the Unicorns, Skull of Truth, My Teacher Flunked the Planet and the picture book Romeo and Juliet; 2007 National Book Award finalist Lydia Davis discussing Varieties of Disturbance; New York Times Notable Book author Honor Moore discussing The Bishop’s Daughter; celebrated essayist Philip Lopate discussing Getting Personal; National Book Critics Circle finalist poet Major Jackson discussing Hoops; and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon.

The workshop faculty includes Deborah Brodie, Douglas Martin, Madge McKeithen, Sharon Mesmer, Kathleen Ossip and John Reed.

To ask questions, contact Luis Jaramillo, Associate Chair of the Writing Program at or 212-229-5611, extension 2346

Then there are also continuing education courses in creative writing, such as those at New School for Social Research, Naropa, Columbia University, UCLA Extension. These are year round (not summer only) and occasionally online or for graduate or undergraduate credit:

Boston University has a summer term with creative writing courses.
So does Harvard, however many of these are not workshops led by published writers: google the faculty.

The Kenyon Review has one at Kenyon in Ohio:

Antioch's in Ohio is only a week:

(there are lots of them which are just week-long intensives with lots of exercises, for example Wesleyan (CT), Aspen (CO), etc.)

Week Six

Thursday, March 6, 2008

PoW! #2

In any case, there's another campus event ALSO related to writing, in a sense, in Sainer March 18 (that's a Tuesday -- THE Tuesday before the next chapbook collective meeting).

Tuesday • Mar 18, 4 pm (note that this conflicts with class; I would prefer you attend class, but... spread the word...)
The Power of Women in Media, Communications & Entertainment

Carol Flint, TV producer (ER) (alumna)
Cathy Guisewite, syndicated cartoonist “Cathy”
Leslie Glass, journalist, playwright, and novelist
Susan Burns (moderator), editor, Biz941 (alumna)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Monday, March 3, 2008


forms and some word games are considered to be "machines for making poems" -- essentially the opposite of dada

yet, here are some online generators -- halfway between madlibs and the music related repetitive forms (canzone, sestina; villanelle; pantoum west, ballad) forms, perhaps

of artist statements (more personal, reflexive than a manifesto, of course)
here's mine

Work of Meta-Art in the Age of Generative Reproduction (rip off of Benjamin)

The matrix creates, the corporation permeates. In the material reality, art objects are resurrections of the iterations of the matrix -- a matrix that uses the corporation as an organism to enmesh ideas, patterns, and emotions. With the rationalization of the electronic environment, the matrix is superseding a point where it will be free from the corporation to consume immersions into the contortions of the delphic reality. Work of Meta-Art in the Age of Generative Reproduction contains 10 minimal flash engines (also refered to as "memes") that enable the user to make superfluous audio/visual compositions.

measuring chains, constructing realities
putting into place forms
a matrix of illusion and disillusion
a strange attracting force
so that a seduced reality will be able to spontaneously feed on it


Catherine Daly's work investigates the nuances of modulations through the use of slow motion and close-ups which emphasize the Generative nature of digital media. Daly explores abstract and real scenery as motifs to describe the idea of hyper-real reality. Using fake loops, vectors, and interactive images as patterns, Daly creates meditative environments which suggest the expansion of culture...
<-- Obligatory ascii sig. Repeat until desired cyborg effect is achieved. -->

/u[0]{)]|]]-] -------------/u/u!@#$%^~!@#$%^&*()) __++_)(*&^%$--------/u/u!@#$%^~!@#$ %^&*())__++_)(*&^%$--------/u/u!@#$ %^~!@#$%^&*())__+, etc., etc.

<-- End obligatory ascii sig. -->

of poems

of gothic poems

Sunday, March 2, 2008


March 10, 2008 3:00 AM : The Audacity of Desperation: a call for work
Deadline March 10, 2008
Exhibition dates: April 4- May 11 at the Indy Media Center in Urbana, Il.
and in Los Angeles: TBA
Organized by Sarah Ross and Jessica Lawless

The Audacity of Desperation: a call for work
Deadline March 10, 2008
Exhibition dates: April 4- May 11 at the Indy Media Center in Urbana, Il.
and in Los Angeles: TBA
Organized by Sarah Ross and Jessica Lawless

The Audacity of Desperation is an art exhibition, political action, and on-going dialogue.
We are currently seeking distributable artworks addressing the topic of "desperation." In
November 2008 something is going to change. The worst president ever will finally be
voted out of the Whitehouse. But, as the infamous writing on the wall reads, IF VOTING
CHANGED ANYTHING THEY'D MAKE IT ILLEGAL. Works should exist in multiples with the
intention to be freely distributed to audiences. Media can include, but is not at all limited
to: posters, stickers, stencils, zines, stamps- ink and postage - buttons, CD's/DVD's,
postcards, t-shirts and manifestos.

Please send submissions, questions or inquires to:
We prefer digital submissions. The file size does not need to reflect your final piece.
For more information:

If it is not possible to send a digital reproduction, send your submission to:
Desperation submission
C/o jessica lawless
7523 1/2 Lexington Ave.
West Hollywood, CA 90046

Both electronic and material submissions should include:
* Your Name
* e-mail address
* Materials and dimensions
Submissions Due: March 10

Please forward widely

For a later week...

Lipo: First and Second Manifestos
Francois Le Lionnais

In defining "Potential Literature," Francois Le Lionnais questions the assumption that art is the product of a singular "inspired" vision. By contrast, the Oulipian aesthetic foregrounds the constraints implicit in all works of art, opening up new means of creation and a way of reclaiming works of the past through a form of "literary prosthesis."

First Manifesto

Let's open a dictionary to the words "Potential Literature." We find absolutely nothing. Annoying lacuna. What follows is intended, if not to impose a definition, at least to propose a few remarks, simple hors d'oeuvres meant to assuage the impatience of the starving multitudes until the arrival of the main dish, which will be prepared by people more worthy than myself.

Do you remember the polemic that accompanied the invention of language? Mystification, puerile fantasy, degeneration of the race and decline of the State, treason against Nature, attack on affectivity, criminal neglect of inspiration; language was accused of everything (without, of course, using language) at that time.

And the creation of writing, and grammar--do you think that that happened without a fight? The truth is that the Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns is permanent. It began with Zinjanthropus (a million seven hundred and fifty thousand years ago) and will end only with humanity--or perhaps the mutants who succeed us will take up the cause. A Quarrel, by the way, very badly named. Those who are called the Ancients are often the stuffy old descendants of those who in their own day were Moderns; and the latter, if they came back among us, would in many cases take sides with the innovators and renounce their all too faithful imitators.

Potential literature only represents a new rising of the sap in this debate.

Every literary work begins with an inspiration (at least that's what its author suggests) which must accommodate itself as well as possible to a series of constraints and procedures that fit inside each other like Chinese boxes. Constraints of vocabulary and grammar, constraints of the novel (divisions into chapters, etc.) or of classical tragedy (rule of the three unities), constraints of general versification, constraints of fixed forms (as in the case of the rondeau or the sonnet), etc.

Must one adhere to the old tricks of the trade and obstinately refuse to imagine new possibilities? The partisans of the status quo don't hesitate to answer in the affirmative. Their conviction rests less on reasoned reflection than on force of habit and the impressive series of masterpieces (and also, alas, pieces less masterly) which has been obtained according to the present rules and regulations. The opponents of the invention of language must have argued thus, sensitive as they were to the beauty of shrieks, the expressiveness of sighs, and sidelong glances (and we are certainly not asking lovers to renounce all of this).

Should humanity lie back and be satisfied to watch new thoughts make ancient verses? We don't believe that it should. That which certain writers have introduced with talent (even with genius) in their work, some only occasionally (the forging of new words), other with predilection (counterrhymes), others with insistence but in only one direction (Lettrism) the Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle (Oulipo) intends to do systematically and scientifically, if need be through recourse to machines that process information.

In the research which the Oulipo proposes to undertake, one may distinguish two principal tendencies, oriented respectively toward Analysis and Synthesis. The analytic tendency investigates works from the past in order to find possibilities that often exceed those their authors had anticipated. This, for example, is the case of the cento, which might be reinvigorated, it seems to me, by a few considerations taken from Markov's chain theory.

The synthetic tendency is more ambitious: it constitutes the essential vocation of the Oulipo. It's a question of developing new possibilities unknown to our predecessors. This is the case, for example, of the Cent Mille Milliards de poèmes or the Boolian haikus.

Mathematics--particularly the abstract structures of contemporary mathematics--proposes thousands of possibilities for exploration, both algebraically (recourse to new laws of composition) and topologically (considerations of textual contiguity, openness and closure). We're also thinking of anaglyphic poems, texts that are transformable by projection, etc. Other forays may be imagined, notably into the area of special vocabulary (crows, foxes, dolphins; Algol computer language, etc.). It would take a long article to enumerate the possibilities now foreseen (and in certain cases already sketched out).

It's not easy to discern beforehand, examining only the seed, the taste of a new fruit. Let's take the case of alphabetical constraint. In literature it can result in the acrostic, which has produced truly staggering works (still, Villon and, well before him, the psalmist and author of the Lamentations attributed to Jeremiah . . . ); in painting it resulted in Herbin, and a good thing too; in music the fugue on the name B.A.C.H.--there we have a respectable piece of work. How could the inventors of the alphabet have imagined all of that?

To conclude, Anoulipism is devoted to discovery, Sythoulipism to invention. From the one to the other there exist many subtle channels.

A word at the end for the benefit of those particularly grave people who condemn without consideration and without appeal all work wherein is manifested any propensity for pleasantry.

When they are the work of poets, entertainments, pranks, and hoaxes still fall within the domain of poetry. Potential literature remains thus the most serious thing in the world. Q.E.D.

Second Manifesto

I am working for people who are primarily intelligent, rather than serious.
--P. Feval

Poetry is a simple art where everything resides in the execution. Such is the fundamental rule that governs both the critical and the creative activities of the Oulipo. From this point of view, the Second Manifesto does not intend to modify the principles that presided over the creation of our Association (these principles having been sketched out in the First Manifesto), but rather to amplify and strengthen them. It must however be remarked that, with increasing ardor (mixed with some anxiety), we have envisioned in the last few years a new orientation in our research. It consists in the following:

The overwhelming majority of Oulipian works thus far produced inscribe themselves in a SYNTACTIC structurElist perspective (I beg the reader not to confuse this word--created expressly for this Manifesto--with structurAlist, a term that many of us consider with circumspection).

Indeed, the creative effort in these works is principally brought to bear on the formal aspects of literature: alphabetical, consonantal, vocalic, syllabic, phonetic, graphic, prosodic, rhymic, rhythmic, and numerical constraints, structures, or programs. On the other hand, semantic aspects were not dealt with, meaning having been left to the discretion of each author and excluded from our structural preoccupations.

It seemed desirable to take a step forward, to try to broach the question of semantics and to try to tame concepts, ideas, images, feelings, and emotions. The task is arduous, bold, and (precisely because of this) worthy of consideration. If Jean Lescure's history of the Oulipo portrayed us as we are (and as we were), the ambition described above portrays us as we should be.

The activity of the Oulipo and the mission it has entrusted to itself raise the problem of the efficacy and the viability of artificial (and, more generally, artistic) literary structures.

The efficacy of a structure--that is, the extent to which it helps a writer--depends primarily on the degree of difficulty imposed by rules that are more or less constraining.

Most writers and readers feel (or pretend to feel) that extremely constraining structures such as the acrostic, spoonerisms, the lipogram, the palindrome, or the holorhyme (to cite only these five) are mere examples of acrobatics and deserve nothing more than a wry grin, since they could never help to engender truly valid works of art. Never? Indeed. People are a little too quick to sneer at acrobatics. Breaking a record in one of these extremely constraining structures can in itself serve to justify the work; the emotion that derives from its semantic aspect constitutes a value which should certainly not be overlooked, but which remains nonetheless secondary.

At the other extreme there's the refusal of all constraint, shriek-literature or eructative literature. This tendency has its gems, and the members of the Oulipo are by no means the least fervent of its admirers . . . during those moments, of course, not devoted to their priestly duties.

Between these two poles exists a whole range of more or less constraining structures which have been the object of numerous experiments since the invention of language. The Oulipo holds very strongly to the conviction that one might envision many, many more of these.

Even when a writer accords the principal importance to the message he intends to deliver (that is, what a text and its translation have in common), he cannot be wholly insensitive to the structures he uses, and it is not at random that he chooses one form rather than another: the (wonderful) thirteen foot verse rather than the alexandrine, the mingling or separation of genres, etc. Only mildly constraining, these traditional structures offer him a fairly broad choice. That which remains to be seen is whether the Oulipo can create new structures, hardly more and hardly less constraining than traditional ones, and how to go about it. On ancient (or new) thoughts, the poet would be able to make new verses.

But can an artificial structure be viable? Does it have the slightest chance to take root in the cultural tissue of a society and to produce leaf, flower, and fruit? Enthusiastic modernists are convinced of it; diehard traditionalists are persuaded of the contrary. And there we have it, arisen from its ashes: a modern form of the old Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns.

One may compare this problem--mutatis mutandis--to that of the laboratory synthesis of living matter. That no one has ever succeeded in doing this doesn't prove a priori that it's impossible. The remarkable success of present biochemical syntheses allows room for hope, but nonetheless fails to indicate convincingly that we will be able to fabricate living beings in the very near future. Further discussion of this point would seem otiose. The Oulipo has preferred to put its shoulder to the wheel, recognizing furthermore that the elaboration of artificial literary structures would seem to be infinitely less complicated and less difficult than the creation of life.

Such, in essence, is our project. And perhaps I may be permitted to allude to an apparently (but only apparently) modest foundation: the Institute for Literary Prosthesis.

Who has not felt, in reading a text--whatever its quality--the need to improve it through a little judicious retouching? No work is invulnerable to this. The whole of world literature ought to become the object of numerous and discerningly conceived prostheses. Let me offer two examples, both bilingual.

An anecdote embellishes the first. Alexandre Dumas père was paying assiduous but vain court to a very beautiful woman who was, alas, both married and virtuous. When she asked him to write a word in her album, he wrote--felicitously enriching Shakespeare--"Tibi or not to be."

In the second example, I may be excused for calling on personal memories. More than a half century ago, filled with wonder by the poems of John Keats, I was dawdling in the Jardin des Plantes. Stopping in front of the monkey cage, I couldn't help but cry (causing thus not a little astonishment to passersby): "Un singe de beauté est un jouet pour l'hiver!"*

Wasn't Lautréamont approaching this ideal when he wrote: Plagiarism is necessary. Progress implies it. It embraces an author's words, uses his expressions, rejects false ideas, and replaces them with true ideas.

And this brings me to the question of plagiarism. Occasionally, we discover that a structure we believed to be entirely new had in fact already been discovered or invented in the past, sometimes even in a distant past. We make it a point of honor to recognize such a state of things in qualifying the text in question as "plagiarism by anticipation." Thus justice is done, and each is rewarded according to his merit.

One may ask what would happen if the Oulipo suddenly ceased to exist. In the short run, people might regret it. In the long run, everything would return to normal, humanity eventually discovering, after much groping and fumbling about, that which the Oulipo has endeavored to promote consciously. There would result however in the fate of civilization a certain delay which we feel it our duty to attenuate.

* This is a bilingual homophonic translation of the first line of Keats's Endymion: "A thing of beauty is a joy for ever." Le Lionnais's ejaculation can be literally (if nonhomophonically) translated as: "A beautiful monkey is a toy for winter." Excerpted from Oulipo edited and translated by Warren F. Motte, Jr.

Warren F. Motte's Oulipo: A Primer of Potential Literature

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Patrice Nganang

On Saturday, March 8th, in Mildred Sainer Auditorium, Patrice Nganang, will give a talk on the personal and collective politics of African writing: “The Library of Njoya: The Dream from which I Write”

The talk is free and open to the public; a reception will follow.

In addition, there will be two forums where students can meet and speak with Nganang:

First, an open session at the Four Winds on Friday March 7, from 3-5:30 for students who want to talk to Nganang—in English, French or German—about his work, African literature, graduate study in comparative literature, etc.

Second, a lunch & roundtable on Saturday March 8. Seating will be limited at this; if students want to attend, they need to contact Agne Milukaite or Marilee Pray ( for details.

More information about Nganang follows.


Patrice Nganang is a fascinating, powerful and provocative writer, academic & speaker. Originally from Cameroon (he left Cameroon in the wake of the protests in the early 1990s that came close to toppling the regime of Paul Biya), he holds a doctorate from the University of Frankfurt (Germany) and is currently on the faculty of SUNY Stonybrook (in comparative literature). He is a young and prolific author (he has published 3 novels to date, collections of poetry, short stories and novellas, as well as works of literary criticism on topics ranging from contemporary theater (a comparative study of Brecht and Soyinka) to African film. He has been awarded two prestigious French literary prizes, the Prix Marguerite Yourcenar in 2001 and the Grand Prix de la litt?rature de l’Afrique noire in 2002, both for his novel “Temps de chien” (which I translated as “Dog Days”).

His work is very political and inspiring. His fiction touches on issues ranging from the social manifestations of political oppression in Cameroon to the silenced history of the Bamileke genocide that followed Cameroon’s independence. Because he is most interested in creating a space for silenced voices to be heard, he weaves stories that are compelling, poignant and vibrant with humor. His essays are very political – whether challenging the passivity of African elites in the face of political violence or the self-important attitude of literary critics who judge African literature. This winter he traveled to The Hague to witness the trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor.

Nganang will be on the New College campus for 3 days, holding discussions and roundtables with students, and capping off his visit with a public talk on Saturday.

Monday, February 25, 2008


At the request of several students interested in DIY / small press
publishing, or just interested in seeing and talking about issues in
and around chapbooks, I have reserved

CFA 211, 6 - 8 p.m., the following evenings:

Tues. 2/26 -- recent online and print chapbooks
Tues. 3/18 -- collaboration, layout, and the work
Tues. 4/22 -- production and distribution

chapbooks are not just for writers!

those interested in portfolio-making for graduate applications,
producing ephemera to sell or provide free at shows / performances, or
thinking about works in series will be as surprised and pleased as
those needing practice with .pdf distilling and printing / xeroxing two
sided copies

All best,
Catherine Daly
writer in residence

Mail Art

Call of works to "MailArt Planetary Failure" exhibition. in the
Federal Fluminense University, Niteroi - Rio de Janeiro.

With the theme "Planetary Failure" we will expose mailart artworks
from all over the world during the III State Environment Conference
of Rio de Janeiro.

The exhibition will be in a digital panel on the mainly Campus of
this named University.

Artworks must be mailed with artist and country name to planetary @ till March 12/2008.

The picture must have resolution of 300dpi and no more of 800x600
pixels in jpg format.
Originals artwork also can be send but not mandatory to:
Lucy Manso Dutra
Rua Assis Brasil, 194/507
Copacabana - Rio de Janeiro - RJ

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

upcoming lectures

“Women Artists Through the Ages:" Hannah Hoch, Sonia Delaunay & Romaine Brooks

Monday March 3, 2008

3:30 to 5:00 pm

Ringling Library Education Building, Room 1003


New College Art History students will present short lectures on women artists. These lectures were originally prepared as papers for Professor Cris Hasssold's course "An 'Other’ Story: Women Artists through the Ages." This lecture series is free and open to the public. However, seating is limited so please call for reservations (941) 359-5700 "1" ext. 2701 or 2702.

Hannah Hoch is a German DaDa collage artist; many of her collages survived World War II because she buried them in her garden.

Sonia Delaunay (from wikipedia) collaborated with poet Blaise Cendrars in 1912. She illustrated his poem La Prose du Transsibérien et de La Petite Jehanne de France (“The Prose of the Trans-Siberian and of Little Jehanne of France”) about a journey on the Trans-Siberian Railway, by creating a 2m long accordion type of book. Using simultaneous design principles the book merged text and design.

Romaine Brooks (from wikipedia) experimented with automatic drawing in the 1930s, drawings of humans, angels, demons, animals, and monsters, all formed out of continuous curved lines. She said that when she started a line she didn't know where it would go, and that the drawings "evolve[d] from the subconscious ... [w]ithout premeditation."

“Women Artists Through the Ages:" Florine Stettheimer, Claude Cahun & Leonor Fini

Monday March 10, 2008

3:30 to 5:00 pm

Ringling Library Education Building, Room 1003


New College Art History students will present short lectures on women artists. These lectures were originally prepared as papers for Professor Cris Hasssold's course "An 'Other’ Story: Women Artists through the Ages."

Claude Cahun is arguably the most important forgotten female french surrealist poet. I have a back burner project to translate her works into French and publish a bilingual edition. Here is a link:

claude cahun


Week Three

Week Three

Introduction of DaDa cabaret

The roots of DaDa, especially the DaDa of the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich, Switzerland, during World War I (not the 80s band named after the famed cabaret), are a response to the violence of war. The manifesto idea of the futurists was adopted to anti-violence, rather than the aesthetics of technology and violence. The DaDa cabaret will be introduced, and participants will prepare their contributions to a “new” DaDa cabaret.

Emmy Hennings and diseuse (poetry recitation); Hugo Ball

Tristan Tzara

Jean/Hans Arp and Sophie Tauber (cross-arts)

Picabia and Duchamp

Collage and Film

DaDa Manifesti

By Hugo Ball

By Tristan Tzara

By Tristan Tzara

See also Princeton Encyclopedia, "DaDa," pps. 268-270.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Week Two

Participants, having written or described in writing their “moments of truth” or “recipes” for a futurist Sintisi or Banquet, will present them for discussion. They will also distribute copies of written works for discussion next week.

Introduction of Russian Futurism, Constructivism, Zaum, Prouns, and of manifesti

See Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, "Constructivism," p. 237, and, in "Russian Poetry," the paragraph ending p. 1109 and beginning p. 1110.

In the New College Library, see Vladamir Mayakovsky, The Bedbug and Selected Poetry, PG3476.M3 A24 1970. There are two copies!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Friday, February 8, 2008

where to send work

There is a list, run by Alison Joseph, a professor of creative writing at SIU - Carbondale, called CRWOPPS. One flaw is that it includes a great many opportunities which are contests with entry fees -- I don't advise entering them. However, here are fee-free recent posts. It is a yahoo group, and so can be joined there.

We are pleased and excited to announce the first annual Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest, for writers under the age of thirty. Alice Hoffman will be the final judge. Submissions will be accepted February 1st-February 15th, with the winner announced in late spring. Submissions must be 1200 words or less. There is no entry fee. (go to this address to enter story)

The Kenyon Review will publish the winning short story, and the author will be awarded a scholarship to attend the 2008 Writers Workshop, June 14th to the 21st, in beautiful Gambier, Ohio.


Writers must 30 years of age or younger at the time of submission.

Stories must be no more 1200 words in length.

Please do not simultaneously submit your contest entry to another magazine or contest.

The submissions link will be active February 1st to February 15th. All work must be submitted through our electronic system. We cannot accept paper submissions. Go to for story entry

Winners will be announced in the late spring. You will receive an e-mail notifying you of any decisions regarding your work.

The final judge will be Alice Hoffman, acclaimed author of The Skylight Confessions.




Eligibility: Only undergraduates enrolled full-time in American and Canadian universities and colleges for the academic year 2007-2008 are eligible for the prize. This Prize has always encouraged submissions from students with an Asian background, but we want to make it clear that we encourage students of all races and backgrounds to enter.

Submissions of no more than 7500 words should be typed on paper 8? by 11 and be accompanied by proof of the participant's current undergraduate enrollment and a permanent address, phone number and email address. No electronic submissions accepted. No other entry form is required. Manuscripts will not be returned.

Evidence of current enrollment: a xeroxed copy of a grade transcript, a class schedule or receipt of payment of tuition showing your full-time status for either fall '07 or spring '08 semesters will do. The name of the institution and its address must be clear. Please indicate the name of the department of your major field of study.

The 2008 winner will receive $1,000.

Inquiries may be directed to: jjwest(at) (replace (at) with @)

Submission to this Prize assumes the right of Stony Brook to publish the winning story on its Web site. Stony Brook reserves the right not to award the Prize.

DEADLINE: Submissions must be postmarked by

March 1, 2008.

The winner and runners-up will be contacted in June 2008, at which time the contest results will be posted and the winning story published on the Fiction Prize Web site:

Submissions should be sent to:






STONY BROOK, NY 11794-5350


Please tell your students to consider submitting poetry, fiction, creative

nonfiction, drama, b&w photography, or mixed-genre work to the North Central

Review. The staff gives each submission at least two close readings, the journal
is beautifully produced, and contributors are given two copies.

Submissions can be sent as Word attachments to nccreview(at) (replace (at) with @)

Both the

e-mail message and the attachments should include full contact information with
an .edu e-mail address to indicate student status.

Or hard copies can be submitted to NC Review, CM#235, North Central College, 30
N. Brainard Street, Naperville, IL 60540.

For more information, see


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Week One

What is an art movement? How does critique relate to creativity? Is writing an art? What is a workshop?

Scene Nights, Dinners, and Manifesti

Futurism was a movement in Italy associated with the rise of Mussolini, and separately in Russia associated with the Revolution. The poet Marinetti published the Futurist manifesto in 1909.

Futurist Manifesto

Required text from The Futurist Cookbook.

The Italian Futurist Sintisi and Banquets will be introduced in this first class, and then participants will discuss their contributions to a “new” Sintisi / Banquet “dinner theatre” for the following week.

See also, in the Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, "Futurism," pps. 445-448.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Course Description

This themed multigenre writing workshop offers critique of participant work as well as survey and practice of a number of interrelated art-making theories and techniques used by writers worldwide from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present. Exemplar movements will include the political cabarets in Continental Europe between the wars there; the surrealists; the Beats; Fluxus. These international artists had a broad influence on contemporary literary writing. By
reading texts and performance transcripts, making text collages and writing, by planning contributions to cabarets, balls, and happenings, this course will introduce writing practices by applying differing aesthetics to many genres of writing.