Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Please join us for an evening of poetic work.  Please spread the word. Free to the public.

(click on the image to enlarge & to email it / print it out)

This poetry event, coordinated by Kaia Sand and Jules Boykoff, will feature several poets, including David Buuck, Jen Benka, Evergreen alumnus Rob Halpern, Carol Mirakove, Frank Sherlock, CA Conrad, Jonathan Skinner, as well as a host of Portland-area writers. 
Where: Sea Change Gallery, 625 NW Everett Street, Portland When: Friday, October 2, 2009 / 9:30pm
The artists at Econvergence are working within a long tradition that presupposes art to have use value beyond itself, as contiguous with, complementary to, and at times critical of, dominant forms of left political protest.

For a full schedule of events during Econvergence, please visit their website here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Figured I'd forward this. Since last time we sat in front of the fire and stroked each other's hairs and talked about "SDS," we were talking about.... what was it?  Yes, the military SPYING on them, hoping to make future arrests that way.  Well here's an old (and I mean first-wave, not "years...")) SDS-er out of Germany (who we all know are much more dangerous) who was, if the facts hold up, told "no more travel to the U.S. for you" this week by the U.S. government beccause he was a left dissident in the 60s. Different organizations with the same acronym, but similar left political ideologies, both forming, of course, as part of the civil rights movement, especially the black civil rights movement. This, below, from someone who'd passed the email on to me:

KD Wolff will NOT be speaking at Rutgers on Tuesday, nor taking part in other scholarly venues in the U.S. this week, because he was detained Friday at JFK upon arrival, his valid visa was revoked, and he was deported back to Germany. This seems to be (though he was indeed given no reason) because in 1969 he was head of the West German Socialist Student Federation (SDS) and then co-founder of the Black Panther Solidarity Committee. He has traveled regularly to the U.S. in the intervening decades under a B1, B2 visa. He has always constituted himself as a particular admirer of the U.S. Continuing his civic engagement, he is now best known as an award-winning publisher of definitive editions of the works of major as well as overlooked German authors (for which he was awarded membership in P.E.N.) and a cultural leader in Frankfurt a.M. and in Germany more broadly. 

The German Historical Association, Vassar College, and other institutions who likewise invited Mr. Wolff to come speak this week will be lodging some form of protest, and I hope Rutgers to join this protest in some formal fashion. In the meantime, I want to let you know that this talk will not take place.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


David Buuck auctions off Brandon Brown's "Dessert Storm" by Stephanie Young.
                         above: david buuck auctions off the gulf war

David Buuck Reads @ Evergreen

Tuesday Oct 6, 2009

7pm - Library Underground*

David Buuck is author of The Shunt (Palm Press, 2009), and several multi-genre booklets. He was contributing editor at Artweek (2003-2009) and co-founder and co-editor of Tripwire, a poetics journal (1998-2004).  He is founder of BARGE, the Bay Area Research Group in Enviro-aesthetics. His performances, readings, and installations have been shown throughout throughout the United States.   Buuck currently teaches writing and is a freelance editor and critic.

For BARGE Updates, click here.

*This is a PRESS Event, Co-Sponsored by Slightly West, Wheelhouse Magazine & Press, and The Evergreen State College.


David Buuck's reading / performance night is also made possible by ECONVERGENCE, a weekend of discussions & actions dedicated to social, economic, and environmental justice. Several artists, including Buuck, will be giving & performing work.  The conference is in downtown Portland.  Please come.  For your sake.  For ours.  

Kaia Sand & Jules Boykoff have organized the poetry events.  Of particular note:






Frank Sherlock & CA Conrad's PACE.  

Saturday, Oct 3rd.  

What is PACE?  From NONSITE COLLECTIVE's website:

PACE as poetics is a function of poet-activist community extension. It began thousands of years ago. It begins again and again as poets engage in guerrilla street actions, sharing with strangers in public space. These acts are “guerrilla” simply because these encounters have become unconventional methods of poetic exchange. Practitioners operate outside of the larger structures of universities, reading series, and publishing houses that function as museums of poetry. If it is to be seen as resistance today, the enemy is Mediated Life, the alienation assurance company that has flooded the culture with fraudulent policies that promise smiles through spending. 

Just as Pierre Joris refers to a nomad poetics as a hit & run war machine, PACE employs these strategies using improvised tools most suited for each situation.

                                                      The unflat

                              world somehow continues

                                                   to operate on

                                    a modular grid 

      Its architects

           are limited to reactionary

      responses despite their dominant claims 

It is not a group of member-poets to be nominated and/or expelled by committee, but a rhizomatic process that nominates and expels continually, when community extension starts and stops. At once inside and outside. States within a state. An Asger Jorn knot, appearing as “a devil's street map”, experienced with a consistency despite twisted turns. 

The poem's potential as a lo-fi economic production is what makes it an attractive form for generative community extension. While McKenzie Wark warns that “art finds itself recruited into the prototyping of fascinating consumables”, it's true that poetry is the least commodifiable of art forms. A certain  American talk-poet believes this is so because poetry is like gay marriage... no one knows what it really is. That's fine. The culturally fatigued could use a little sorcery.  

The old social order operates in secret locations and tyrannical states with almost no press (Press? What press?) since the days of '99. There are opportunities to communicate between Miami Models and Minneapolis Eights in creative ways, with human interactions that remain free of commercial interruption. There are poems, discussions, and drifts of random encounters that exist as a co-created experience.  

Friday, September 25, 2009

Get yr Occultations for Free - This Weekend Only

A big thank you to Reb Livingston et al. @ No Tell Motel for featuring my work from two books--Occultations (Black Radish Books, forth. 2010) and Prefab Eulogies (BlazeVOX, forth 2009).  If yr interested in checking out this week's feature, the cycle is now complete as of today, and up thru the weekend here.

Also a huge thanks to Robin-Tremblay McGaw and editors at XPoetics, who have featured poems from Occultations, Prefab Eulogies, & Hospitalogy (Scantily Clad Press, forth. 2009).  I gave Robin a hell of a time with formatting & blogger, so do send her a shout out.  Maybe not for featuring my work, but for featuring some really great content out of the left-poetry/arts&c world, especially real-time accounts of happenings in the Bay area.   The poems can be found here. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2009



Please come to the ECONOVERGENCE POLITICAL POETRY EVENT (Friday Oct 2, 9:30pm, Sea Change Gallery), part of the amazing ECONVERGENCE - a conference coordinated by artists and activists in and around the Northwest, dedicated to having dynamic discussions & coordinating political actions on urgent social, economic, and environmental justice issues. Kaia Sand & Jules Boykoff have coordinated the poetry events, which culminate in this reading/event.  

I'll post the full schedule as soon as I get my hands on it. Many good panels & events from Oct 2-5, including Frank Sherlock CA Conrad's PACE.  So, should be quite a weekend.

On Oct 6th, that Tuesday evening (7pm), David Buuck & others (official announcement coming soon) will read at Evergreen.  A PRESS event, sponsored by Slightly West, Wheelhouse Magazine & Press, and The Evergreen State College. 


Monday, September 21, 2009

Received, Eviscerated

Got some goodies in the mail today.  

But first, Wheelhouse's new favorite blog-poster (I feel like we should call attention to one each week, now that I'm writing this): fantastic poet Tonya Foster, who is currently blogging for Harriet.  The sheer musicality of the couple entries so far should make this blog sing to you.  But the pressing sociopolitical questions, much of them revolving around Foster's poetical, political, and other lives in New Orleans pre- and post- Katrina, these enrich and inform the headlong and wide-ranging poetic explorations Foster is making.  Foster's also interested in the possibility of real dialog on her Harriet blog.  Reflecting her interest in the commons, she's calling for this blog to be as much as an online place can be, a commons.  So, if you have time & interest, wrestle with some of the ideas, claims, images, etc., that are, and will be, occupying this space.

Books received: 

--Jules Boykoff, Hegemonic Love Potion (Factory School)
--K. Lorraine Graham, Terminal Humming (Edge Books)
--Mark Wallace, Felonies of Illusion (Edge Books)
--Jessica Baron, The Best Word for the Job of Mourning (BlazeVOX)
--Michael Leong, e.s.p (Silenced Press)

Just received Leong's book.  Looks very pretty, & I like his poetry quite a bit.  But will have to wait to write about it.  Or, I could write about it and then read it?  Just finished Boykoff's Hegemonic Love Potion and Graham's Terminal Humming, both of which I am in love with. These are EXTRAORDINARY books that, were I you, I'd buy instead of eating tonight.  Since I'm writing on them in conjunction with David Buuck's The Shunt RIGHT NOW (well, as of a few minutes ago, and for the next couple weeks), I'll wait to post anything but HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.  Looking forward to cracking open Wallace's latest, which this time promises to torque lyric.  As an expert "torquer" (this, despite how it sounds, is meant as compliment, as Wallace's Temporary Worker Rides a Subway is one the books that is forever stuck in my head like a diaper pin), quite literally looking forward--book's across the room, under smaller of 2 cats.  As for Baron's work, I wrote a blurb on it.  So, I guess I'll reproduce it here (from BlazeVOX's website):

Words, says Beckett, are underlined with silence. Baron urgently impels us to perform an archeology of "mourning," and in so doing, to mourn with, for, and against the word, to rehearse the absence of any singular vocabulary that will do the work needed. To mourn is to act, and with Mallarmean strophic bursts, subtle clefts of negative space followed by litanies and lists and dissolving gestures and anxious searchings, the act is the appearance of its opposite, stillness. And here, in Baron's work, we sense that no matter the gesture, all is potentially excess, or inertness, in the job of addressing the terrible-ineffable. Via such careful maneuvers, Baron's The Best Word for the Job of Mourning turns reader into worker. We are both witness to and actors in the rehearsal of mourning, wherein page by page, each itself a day or an hour or a lifetime, words, or, for Beckett, memories, "are killing."  

The Best Word for the Job of Mourning complicates any understanding the reader may have of new lyricism: "Hold on to...small seemingly...lines I cultivate disappearing" follows “There’s something I’m supposed to be saying,” calling into question the distinction between the said and the written, the tonality of the upper register and the drumbeat of the colloquial, within the context of eulogy. The Best Word is falling houses and waterlogged instruments, submerged sound and wet score, air filling lungs for a last time in a struggle to empty all but the word: "Here's a clue: Information has become too scarce." With the self-conscious music of lamentation as script-fragment, we are compelled to act out in its double sense, repeatedly, the search for the right word. Countless dead and what, Baron implies, could possibly be a vocabulary of such catastrophic and idiotic loss? Language has failed us, yet we must go on. If we are a "we," we will find the space between us to be vast enough to cause a graven silence. In so few words, Baron gives us the dialectic of inner and outer, personal and sociopolitical, a poetics of disavowal, disavowal of language via language, wrapped up in a faith in the ritual of rehearsal, where by beginning again and again, the lost thing just might return, transfigured, perhaps so much that it is unrecognizable, but returned to us nonetheless. This is a quietly eviscerating, astonishingly unsilenced debut from a poet who deserves our immediate, and careful attention.

Featured at No Tell Motel This Week

The wonderful Reb Livingston is featuring 5 cycles of poems this week at No Tell Motel, 1 cycle per day.  All but the last from "modular arterial cacophony," a section of a forthcoming book Occultations - Black Radish Books 2009.

Thanks much to Reb & No Tell Motel editors.  Hope you enjoy.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Chapbooks Forthcoming

(at right: cover of Felino Soriano's forthcoming chapbook, Particular Parallels of an Isolated Attention (Wheelhouse Press, 2009).  Cover design: David Wolach & Gianna D'Emilio.

If you haven't gotten a chance to read Thom Donovan's new chapbook, Make Believe (post below), I urge you to put it on yr booklist.  Donovan's work constructs itself around and through various films, including Guy Ben-Ner's Berkley's Island, a short that, as with much of Ben-Ner's work, explores with humor and horror the domestic life's unresolvable tensions, and through the constructed lens of the domestic, trains these tensions outward.  Both Donovan's use of the domesticated stanza--lines that are of nearly equal length on the page while rubbing up against their own disjunctive (violent) metaphors, as well as the metaphors themselves (turning the eye of the camera back on itself--"O our unwitting linoleum" and "holes" and "dissolving"), set themselves up as both ekphrastic response and beyond ekphrasis. These are circuitous (inverted? refractive?) responses to the strange, horrifying, and funny interruptions in Berkley's Island.  Donovan's "unwitting linoleum" dissolves at the moment the outside world fractures the insular set of Ben-Ner's house, his island, as a rock inexplicably comes through his window--was it thrown? (Edward Said's famously symbolic gesture, taken as a terrorist act, of throwing a rock at a tank during the 2003 Israeli incursion comes to mind here), or did the rock hurl itself from noplace?  Did it materialize in mid-flight as such a solid metaphor that it could shatter a thin outer layer of glass and interrupt the equally radical act of play?  

Do check out Donovan's work, as very soon new chapbooks will pile up on your virtual desktop, and then what will you do?  I'm happy to announce that Wheelhouse will be soon throwing at you new chapbooks from Uche Nduka, Stan Apps, Elizabeth Kate Switaj, Laura Carter, Ed Baker, and Felino Soriano, among others a little bit later down the road.  

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Reviews, poetics

(image from book alter(ed), part 2)

Just found out about a nice review of my chapbook, book alter (ed) that the journal GHOTI published some time ago.  Feel like an ass for not having acknowledged, or seen it, it until now. Thanks - belatedly.  

Poet & editor Kathrin Schaeppi also gave the book a lovely write-up, which I reproduce here. Again, thanks--belatedly.

“book alter(ed)” is available as a .pdf download from ungovernable press. The cover image “Ash” by Wolach is a palimpsest: a text on drought overlays the image “The Firebombing of Tokyo.” This layering sets the tone for a poetics that “shift(s) from things to shifts that are shifted.” 

“Part one” is called riverfire. Each phrase dives through linguistic depths touching the real, touching paradox. 

“Water Burns. Often a finger is a vessel punctured as it moves through guarded waters.” 
[ :] 
“As if driving into, there were not guards for the rails. The bone cries, then marrow. As if our shapes exhausted shape.” 

This writing arouses a mixed emotion somewhere between a sensual elusiveness and solid ache. Lyrics clash against the “thingness” of shit and vomit. The drive and power of juxtaposition and the slippage between and across, fire the pituitary gland. 

Each page in “part two” is supported by a visual image and contains three collage-like stanzas. Here the frottage continues where for example, “—you settled in the slightest tension” rubs against “—I was not paid.” 

Without a doubt this is a sensitive and superbly crafted (chap)book. 

  ---Kathrin Schaeppi, author of Cancer Mon Amour

Oh, and meanwhile, while I'm on the subject of me, here's part of the intro to Hospitalogy (chapbook forthcoming from Scantily Clad Press, autumn 2009), which in an older post I said I was too sick and too tired to muster as conversation into the valences of confession viz. the doctor-patient discourse.   This draft is older--an expanded, shall I say, more developed, version will come out as part of the book.


All poems in Hospitalogy were written in hospitals or hotels.  Sickness (sometimes) necessitates hospitals, and sometimes (for the insured), hospital stays.  And hospital stays often necessitate (for the insured) a temporary hotel/motel life.    My partner and I have, over the past couple years, alternated, at times for long stretches, between the hotel/motel room and the hospital bed.

Both complexes, on the whole, are places of liquidation.  Numbers and letters take on the double and triple coding of what is meant to be the simple sign for a referent – a one to one match, as it were.  Alphanumeric strings serve as the identities of this body, the body-book, its component parts as well as the shape of its quasi-gestalt.  There are patient codes, bar-coded keys, test order numbers, guest logs, room numbers, telephones that require one to press extra digits in order to “dial out.”  And names.  Modified by clinical ascriptions, often in shorthand.  The reduction of the multiple subject to the person, then the person into a number is born of the need for precise and quick reference, certainly, but also of overcapacity--in both landscapes, volume is high and (in most cases) compensation for the workers whose care you are in is very low. 

The logic of necessity, however, needs be mined.  In no other service micro-economy than the hospital does the becoming subject yield so immediately and so thoroughly to normative discourses: data, but also, paradoxically (and explored here as a way to rethink it, to reimagine its use value for contemporary poetries), confession.  For the conversation between doctor and patient is not dialogic, nor from the viewpoint of the patient, is it diagnostic; rather, the patient responding to clinical questions is a kind of confession, its poetry a kind of erotics.  I explore the erotics of clinical discourse most directly in the book’s last section, “Guests,” where the roles, personae, and systems of power of the doctor and patient, or nurse and patient, intertwine, mingle, in a sense fuck their way out of their own use-values into a sphere of confessed exchange.

For every poetics of disablement, there is a disablement of poetry.  A muting by constriction using the logic of the pharmacy (in its older, literal sense).   Where writing begins, poetry often ends, and here the written is explored as assumed catastrophe captured (and thus also occulted) via knowledge-forms (clinical and other language games).  What does the murmur and the silence that underlines clinical confession and confinement sound like?  I come back to this question throughout the book, but most directly in part one (“Visitors”) and part two (“Depreciable Assets”), where in part two, the politics of the body as well as the politics of the hospital industrial complex are more directly approached, the scope (or in any case the lens) widened. In this latter part, television catastrophe—specifically the unfolding of the racially motivated destruction of lives as response to Hurricane Katrina, alongside the occupation of Iraq—come in and out of focus, for while writing this part of the book, these catastrophes were coming in and out of focus for me in real time, coming through in muted and alternately raw ways via the television’s (often barely vibrating) window pane.  

It is through similar (mediating) vehicles that Nonsite Collective (with which I have become engaged), and Rob Halpern’s thick, “cosmetic” lyric (to use C.J. Martin’s term from his “An Open Letter,” ON, No. 2) tries to approach Katrina and other occulted disasters, and so here again this work, as time went on, situated itself as conversation with Nonsite and Halpern’s Disaster Suites.  How we see, or rather how we negotiate what we do not—at times are not allowed to—see, differs substantially from new lyricism, I think partly because the contexts out of which the poetry emerges differ substantially.  And yet, the poetics overlaps substantially.  Why?  Halpern’s work, the lyric of both now and “impossibly” a de-militarized future, stand as the de-coded messages set to self-destruct (“noise” and “racket” as two terms employed by Schoenberg’s critics to counter the composer’s claim that his suites counted as “music” come to mind when thinking about the lyrics of both Disaster Suites and the Medical Industrial Complex). Hospitology treats confession with not so dissimilar questions, yet employs poetic forms related (lyric and confession share what, if not Voice ordinarily understood?), but only so.  Subject multiple, voice the sublation by which a fractured, indeed “liquidated” individual “scrounges” (to use K. Lorraine Grahm’s term) or eavesdrops for the occulted sounds and silences of that very liquidation (call it counter-intelligence), how, if at all, can we matter?  In what sense can the confessional poem of the “submerged being” (Baldwin) do the work of performing sociopolitical surgery, not curative, but exploratory, as an accompaniment to established forms of protest?  This is, in part, a question of the reader’s re-entry post-poetic trauma slash anesthetic.  Which is to ask a seemingly obvious (or nonsensical, depending on one’s preferred epistemological framework) question of where the poem (body) is located.  Surely it isn’t located here, on the page.  Then, where?  Place and confession, once deeply complicated, become interesting zero-points of departure for discussions about why poetry (embodied) might have anything whatsoever to do with matters of social and economic justice – where here the background assumption is that they do.

Hospitalogy hopes to work through these questions, pinpointing its critique from the self-dissolving standpoint of reimagining confession within the hospital complex.   Here quasi-lyric as letter (a letter form that has yet to be recognized as such) is how I begin.

So, Hospitalogy is a book of place, but also non-place, or place of imagining, hence activity.  It is time-specific and in conversation, at points critical, of a poetics of patiency, specifically Rob Halpern’s, and so deeply indebted to his poetry and poetics. Hospitalogy is as close to atopic, therefore, as I think any of my poems have come, often in “infinite conversation” (Blanchot) with Halpern’s reimagining lyric cum social relationships, which involves a sustained conversation with Oppen and his work, which is often very much a critique of Whitman’s employment of lyric (e.g., in Drum Taps), and so is therefore in conversation with Whitman’s work itself.  My essaying of Halpern’s deeply important poetry and poetics here takes on a somewhat elegiac mode, as opposed to critiquing/questioning counterfactually and from within any value poetry, including lyric, might have for matters of social and economic justice, as I do with a “companion” book of poems, Occultations (forth. 2010). 

Despite certain conversational specificities (locales, poetic tropes, etc), there is necessarily detour that goes with the movement from one psychogeography to the other, from one cycle of poems to another, as these are (ironically) ambulatory poems indebted to the modes and methods employed by poets such as Jules Boykoff, Kaia Sand, Kristin Prevallet, and Catherine Taylor.  I tried to be captured by these grid lines in the shifting and, as it would turn out during the handwriting of these poems (initially as letters to friends and my partner), the ambiguous use of pronouns and modifiers, tones, metrics, and quasi-lyrics.  The line (and its accordant breaks) used me to sharpen and/or flatten this ambiguity, both aurally and visually, I think. 

Perhaps the anonymity one enjoys anywhere, but hotels in particular, is the implicit self-sameness of moving through space with having some destination in mind.  It fucks up the temporal order, objectifies time, and so we often think much will impress itself on us, imbue our masks with more detail.  The paradox of the hospital stay – the sort of derive one can take the time to go on while yet forced into this particular ecosystem (and here Halpern’s poetics of patiency, specifically here the subject giving oneself over to another within the context of the medical industrial complex, is a problematic that sets itself up over and again in these poems), it brings out strangeness and also the overvaluation of perceived solipsism, and/or agency  -  what Blanchot refers to as the idea of a “unitary being.” 

A few of the poems are co-written in an overt sense, i.e., were worked out by myself and another via correspondence, then me shaping that correspondence into a poem.  These are indicated as author credits.  However, other poems paraphrase, riff, and sometimes quote books that I brought with me during my times away.  I’ve included these titles at the end of this book. 

DW, 3/25/09, Olympia 


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Advancing Feminist Poetics & Activism - Belladonna Series Sept 24-5

An amazing convergence of discussions put together by Belladonna.  I'm in WA and am thinking of flying back to NY for this.  So, if you're in the Northeast, really: think about going to the Advancing Feminist Poetics & Activism Gatherings.  After thinking about it, go.  Click jpeg to the right to enlarge the image & see the schedule.  Free to  the public, but advance registration needed.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Books Forthcoming

I'm oddly thrilled to announce the imminent publication of two books, each of which represents a constellation of preoccupations: the written as dross, eulogy, or shaped data of poetry (an anarchist poetics of sorts that starts with Whitman's "I am the multitudes" and goes from there); and the medical industrial complex irrupting as and interrupted by body, confession - the doctor-patient discourse as confessional.  

I've written on the latter set of preoccupations in another post.  That Scantily Clad Press is willing to pick up the chapbook Hospitalogy (a full-length collection of the same name is a project I promised myself I'd finish this autumn) is a testament to their willingness to take on experiments (confession, lyric) that could, at first blush, seem very tired.  So, thanks to Andrew Lundwall et al. for their patience (pun intended?).

The former preoccupation is related to, in a sense a meta-poetics of, the book I am finishing right now for Black Radish Books, Occultations. 

Goeffrey Gatza & BlazeVox [books] has picked up my Prefab Eulogies for a release of sometime late fall to mid winter of 2009.  Prefab Eulogies, I dare say takes on conceptual poetry while in some ways recapitulates it.  It's a project that I've been working on for almost 4 years, and is deeply multi-media, work that is performative and collaborative, employing (beyond the book), polyvocal recording, video, and live gesture.  

Geoffrey Gatza is truly outstanding.  He's been wonderful to work with - I thank him for his incredible editorial support in shaping the book such that the damn thing looks a lot better than when it first landed in his lap.  Which is to say that, aside from helping me with what is often mediocre upon first draft, he's somehow helped me put into book form what started out, and for 2 years remained, a live performance.  So, the translational aspect of this process has been fun, generative, challenging.  

Now begins the process of setting up readings/performances at venues throughout the year (something I very much enjoy) and figuring out how or why to plug my own work (something I dislike in a sort of mundane way).  I'll be reading, thanks to Jules Boykoff & Kaia Sand, at The Tangent's Econovergence Conference offsite reading (post coming in a few days on the Econovergence Conference itself).   Meantime, for more info on Prefab Eulogies, the book & the larger project, here are the websites: 1) Prefab Eulogies 2) Post-Avant Power Point Inc.

I'll write a post in the near future concerning two other book projects.  One of these is Black Radish Books, the new poetry-artist book collective that will begin releasing its first in a series of full-length, beautifully designed books of innovative poetry, this December. 

Meantime: if you have a reading series and are looking to fill a space, contact me.  I might even bring my music box collection.  And meantime meantime, here's a poem from Prefab Eulogies.

{eulogy for scrape}

after linh dinh

missing c voweling to play cf side

board air bag you can bet your $$ you

don’t have or export letters sending

post-haste, and if outsource then aleatory

emoticon, and if air left, bag of prepackaged

economic parlance your macros on, desk you

bashful top then pillow me zoned for backpage pleasure hunt

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Military/Police Spy on Evergreen/Olympia Anti-War Protesters

Well, I suppose the fear mongers and the conspiracy theorists are so nuts they've gotten themselves on television.  Like the birthers, it seems, our claims over the past year that police in both Olympia and on Evergreen's campus have continually trampled the rights of anti-war protesters (and artists), and that higher administration officials at the college have been complicit in our mistreatment--we've been so high pitched that the Military, the FBI, Homeland Security, Immigration, national media outlets, and, yes, Amy Goodman, have all taken notice.  I suppose if you speak loud enough... Wait, no, it turns out that there is shock, dismay, and resulting silence in the face of a stark reality, one that surprises (and thus is taken as "newsworthy") only those who haven't protested, say, in the past twenty years: we've been blacklisted, spied on, and more! Good thing my last name is hard to spell.

While I was teaching in New York, anti-war protesters, including members of the Evergreen community, found out, through a freedom of information act request, that "John Jacob" isn't a member of SDS.  No, he's a military spy.  Remember when I wrote an open letter to the Olympia community (see below) in reference to student protests and political theater?  Many faculty thereafter responded, the vast majority echoing my sentiments, though with much more grace and eloquence.  A few kind of sucked.  To remind you of those responses, here are some: 

 "The street theater of May 13 clearly disturbed some people enough to call the campus police. There were enough calls that the campus police were compelled to write to the campus about it. Calling the campus police, I assume, was not done frivolously or lightly."

--Nancy Koppelman, member of the faculty

"As so many of you rattle on (cue the music, we could all sing along) with all your clever arguments about rights and political theater and witch hunts and talking horses and police states, I'm having a very hard time finding any moral center to the conversation."

--John McClain, Evergreen administrator

Freedom of expression along with free speech and individual rights guaranteed by the constitution is something we all value. My officers are extremely sensitive to these issues on our campus. We show a great deal of care and patience in this area to make sure we don’t violate these rights."

--Police Chief Ed Sorger

I'm going to keep this short because there's nothing more that I can write that isn't covered by Amy Goodman and the AP (links below).  Suffice it to say that, Nancy: I'd be curious if you were or are curious about who called campus police.  I don't hold your position that it is safe "to assume" that such calls aren't "frivolous" or worse.  And John, you can take your moral center and shove it.  Please wait for me to cue the music; I'll make sure to make "clever arguments" about "police states" and "talking horses" while you insert hole A back into hole B, from whence the sheer vacuity originated.  And Ed: I now understand what you mean by taking constitutional rights seriously.  Thank you for the clarification.