Monday, May 31, 2010

News Report on Attack on Gaza Aid Fleet: Protest info Soon

"News Middle East"

Israel attacks Gaza aid fleet

Al Jazeera's report on board the Mavi Marmara before communications were cut

Israeli forces have attacked a flotilla of aid-carrying ships aiming to break the country's siege on Gaza.

Up to 16 people were killed and dozens injured when troops stormed the Freedom Flotilla early on Monday, the Israeli Army Radio said.

The flotilla was attacked in international waters, 65km off the Gaza coast.

Footage from the flotilla's lead vessel, the Mavi Marmara, showed armed Israeli soldiers boarding the ship and helicopters flying overhead.

Al Jazeera's Jamal Elshayyal, on board the Mavi Marmara, said Israeli troops had used live ammunition during the operation.

The Israeli Army Radio said soldiers opened fire "after confronting those on board carrying sharp objects".

Free Gaza Movement, the organisers of the flotilla, however, said the troops opened fire as soon as they stormed the ships.

They also said the ships were now being towed to the Israeli town of Haifa, instead of Ashdod to avoid waiting journalists.

Earlier, the Israeli navy had contacted the captain of the Mavi Marmara, asking him to identify himself and say where the ship was headed.

Shortly after, two Israeli naval vessels had flanked the flotilla on either side, but at a distance.

Organizers of the flotilla carrying 10,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid then diverted their ships and slowed down to avoid a confrontation during the night.

They also issued all passengers life jackets and asked them to remain below deck.

Al Jazeera’s Ayman Mohyeldin, reporting from Jerusalem, said the Israeli action was surprising.

"All the images being shown from the activists on board those ships show clearly that they were civilians and peaceful in nature, with medical supplies on board. So it will surprise many in the international community to learn what could have possibly led to this type of confrontation," he said.

Meanwhile, Israeli police have been put on a heightened state of alert across the country to prevent any civil disturbances.


Condemnation has been quick to pour in after the Israeli action.

Thousands of Turkish protesters tried to storm the Israeli consulate in Istanbul soon after the news of the operation broke. The protesters shouted "Damn Israel" as police blocked them.

Turkey is also reported to have summoned the Israeli ambassador to lodge a protest.

"(The interception on the convoy) is unacceptable ... Israel will have to endure the consequences of this behavior," the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.

Ismail Haniya, the Hamas leader in Gaza, has also dubbed the Israeli action as "barbaric".

Hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists, including a Nobel laureate and several European legislators, were with the flotilla, aiming to reach Gaza in defiance of an Israeli embargo.

But Israel had said it would not allow the flotilla to reach the Gaza Strip and vowed to stop the six ships from reaching the coastal Palestinian territory.

The flotilla had set sail from a port in Cyprus on Sunday and aimed to reach Gaza by Monday morning.

Israel said the boats were embarking on "an act of provocation" against the Israeli military, rather than providing aid, and that it had issued warrants to prohibit their entrance to Gaza.

It asserted that the flotilla would be breaking international law by landing in Gaza, a claim the organizers rejected.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Leslie Scalapino passed away yesterday. I didn't know her like people I know did, but her writing (how could it not?) inspired me to write--and to act. For those of you unfamiliar with her work, or more likely, who want to reconnect with it as I did, visit Charles Bernstein's blog. There, you can also find a note from her family on where to send condolences and/or charitable donations. 

Friday, May 28, 2010

Conrad's (Soma)tic Poetry Exercise No. 41

Wow, I'm touched, and so is Elizabeth Williamson, that CA Conrad dedicated his new (Soma)tic poetry exercise to us. Brings me back to his visit, how he so lovingly worked with the students in making (Soma)tic #39 collaboratively, carefully taking down everyone's names who contributed to that particular workshop's exercise. That giving as an insatiable desire to live and thus to live in a world better than this one, for "us." This (Soma)tic speaks to the urgency of each breath, every key stroke, that almost Talumdic insistence that the stakes are high always. I love this:

Suicides irritate me the most, I wish I could take their unwanted leftovers, stupid fucking idiot suicides as though life isn't short enough. Chew this world, it's incredibly delicious. Fuck you for not paying attention.

and its rawness makes me wonder why we don't have more sex on air planes instead of talking about it, especially during long flights. And makes me wonder why it is that poetry which takes itself to have use--and that articulates itself with a little outrage--in whatever form, perhaps as form (say, as illegibility in the face of all that is so ridiculously and dangerously legible in this world) is so often branded as dystopian. Adorno's negative dialectics, to get wonkery, isn't called "negative" because it's pessimistic--just remember, he played jazz piano at late night parties for hours, till the sun rose and everyone was tired of it except him. Next time you read Aesthetic Theory, remember he was a terrible, yet committed doodler. When I think of people who love this world deeply, Conrad is among them. How many stewards of the clouds were there on that flight? 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

PRESS EVENT: May 27 @ 8pm, David Abel & Chris Daniels

David Abel and Chris Daniels are in the middle of a marathon: their goal is to perform 100 poetry readings together without exhausting their friendship or the medium. Come find out what their newest work--and their obsessive collaboration--is all about.  

Where: Sem II A1105 
When: 8pm, Thursday May 27 

Poet, editor, and multidisciplinary artist David Abel moved to Portland in 1997, after tenures in New York City and Albuquerque (where he maintained the Bridge Bookshop, and Passages Bookshop & Gallery, respectively). A founding member of the Spare Room reading series (, now in its ninth year, he is the author of numerous chapbooks and artist’s books, most recently Commonly (airfoil),While You Were In (disposable books), and Twenty- (Crane’s Bill Books). In recent years, he has undertaken collaborative projects with poets, filmmakers, composers, theater troupes, and visual artists in Portland and elsewhere. The publisher of the Envelope broadside series, he is also copublisher with Sam Lohmann of airfoil chapbooks.

The perfervidly anti-capitalist, godless, internationalist son of well-known language-artist maestro David DanielsChris Daniels was born in NYC in 1956. He dropped out of high school to become a dishwasher and never bothered with college. He worked as a cook and played electric bass guitar for many years. In 1980, he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he still lives and, until very recently, sold his labor at a terrible loss. For reasons still unclear to him, he passed the GED and received a high school diploma in 1996. His books of translation include The Collected Poems of Alberto Caeiro by Fernando Pessoa and The Collected Poems of Álvaro de Campos by Fernando Pessoa, vol. 2 (both published by Shearsman Books; vol. 1 of Campos is forthcoming); On the Shining Screen of the Eyelids by Josely Vianna Baptista (Manifest Press); and an ongoing, fascicular anthology of Lusophone poetry, self-published and -distributed as exceedingly modest chapbooks. A chapbook of his own poetry, porous, nomadic, has just been published by airfoil.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Back Work Thanks

So busy lately, with end of semester, health downturn, and with personal things that are, well, personal, I haven't had the chance to catch up on correspondence, Wheelhouse, critical writing projects, etc. Never mind poetry. But.

Stay tuned for info regarding our last PRESS Literary-Politics Series event of the academic year, a reading/discussion by David Abel & Chris Daniels. Both will be reading at Evergreen on May 27, 8pm. Next year starts up with visits by Rachel Zolf and Eleni Stecopolous, and I'm hoping, too, that Maryrose Larkin will be able join us for a fall 2010 event. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Meantime, if in or around Olympia WA on May 27, do make room on yr schedule for Chris and David. Flier will be uploaded here in the next day or so.

Two quick notes of thanks: to the folks at New Pages who listed a review copy of Occultations as New & Noteworthy in their latest issue; and to Anne Gorrick, The Cadmium Text Series, and everyone who is building the 20th annual Subterranean Poetry Festival - for inviting me to be one of the readers for this landmark event. Upstate NY needs to be given more poetic street cred. Countless hot poets in them there woods.

I'll soon be posting here my schedule of upcoming readings, as I'm now trying to pull said schedule together with Occultations about to be officially released (next week). So, stay tuned. Meantime, the Subterranean Poetry Festival should be great fun. The lineup includes several poets I greatly admire, and to think the artist list is still being worked on. Here's the current info:

August 28, 2010
20th Annual Subterranean Poetry Festival
with Cara Benson, Steve Cotten, Geof Huth, Maryrose Larkin with Eric Matchett, Lori Anderson Moseman, Richard Rizzi, Wayne Montecalvo, R. Dionysius Whiteurs and David Wolach (additional artists TBA)

Monday, May 17, 2010


Just got back from reading for the Spare Room series (sample poems by authors on their site), curated by the Spare Room Collective. Many thanks to David Abel, Maryrose Larkin, Sam Lohmann and all the Spare Roomies for the invite, the lovely dinner before the reading, and for the opportunity to commune for a bit. More on Cara Benson's amazing reading for our PRESS Series in another post. Meantime, I had the pleasure of reading with Cara, as well as Jen Coleman, yesterday, and both, employing such different poetic-performative strategies, kicked ass. I love Jen's reading, her poetry--I've read with her three times now, and I can't get used to her work. It's always on the move, yet always careful in its political-playfulness, the hard-hitting almost allegorical poems. Last night she read a new work allegorizing the depressing and outrageously typical/predictable disaster of the deep ocean oil spill & attempted capping of the quote end quote leak. An amazing work that allowed me at once to get some relief from and be viscerally reminded of the depressing, seemingly forever-news coverage of this disaster. As Jen explains, "this is a long poem; it could go on forever." Cara's reading was just as powerful, but very different: her polysemic poems, like organelles of an organismic collection, (made),  are given breath on top of breath--some kind of other oxygen--as performed. Playing with sound, using breath and gutteral moans and song one loses oneself in the language, gets pulled into a presence or immediacy with Cara as she inhabits the poetry. Something other happens here, and one is inarticulate immediately after. Or perhaps long after. 

So, it was great to read with the two, to meet some of the Spare Roomies and other poets who showed. Great to see Kaia Sand, Allison Cobb, and Rodney Koeneke, and former students who came by. I read a bit from Occultations, which--to shamelessly self-promote for a moment,Eileen Tabios just gave some very kind words to on her blog (she was sent a review copy for Galatea Resurrects and she kindly read the book before listing it). Also read a piece from Prefab Eulogies and another couple from in-progress work--Hopsitalogy poems and a poets theater piece for "2-4 flossing voices." Anyway, a really nice time. Thanks all for yr warm company.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Reliquarium / SPT fundraiser

From Robin Tremblay-McGaw of XPoetics & many other things. Do support SPT. How could you not when they've procured, for mutual benefit, a tear-stained handkerchief by Lemony Snicket? 

On Saturday, May 22nd, SPT is about to host a new, mysterious and exciting event:  It's called Reliquarium and will feature an auction of reliquary objects representing the artistic DNA of the smart and famous. You'll be able to bid on UNIQUE items such as:
  • a hat worn by JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE
  • eyeglasses worn by JONATHAN LETHEM
  • a tear-stained handkerchief by LEMONY SNICKET
  • original corrected galley proof of All the Whiskey in Heaven by CHARLES BERNSTEIN
  • a dream journal by JULIANA SPAHR
  • a skydiving outfit worn by BHANU KAPIL
  • a shadow box of used pill bottles by DONNA DE LA PERRIERE
  • a handwritten journal filled in at his grandmother's house by ANSELM BERRIGAN
  • Leg pendant from Catedral Metropolitana de la Asuncia de Mara in Mexico City worn around after FRANK SHERLOCK's 2007 emergency knee surgery, due to meningitis
  • the totally un-authenticated upper third molar tooth of GERTRUDE STEIN 

 The Reliquarium will take place Saturday, May 22nd at the:
Graduate Writing Studio
195 deHaro Street
San Francisco, CA 94107 US
The entrance fee of $20 includes beverages and nibbles graciously provided by Thirsty Bear Brewing Company.
Do you live too far away to make the event? Is your social calendar already full? You can STILL help keep SPT afloat. As a board member , part of my job is to help bring in the bacon or the tofurkey. This means I need to raise some money. So I'm writing to ask you to buy a ticket or to make a contribution in any amount. Can you help? It is easy. Just visit PAYPAL at and make a secure and easy contribution. First, you'll need to take one minute to set up a securePayPal account if you don't already have one. Then, log into your paypal account and select the "send money" tab and put in the "TO" recipient field and make a contribution in any amount. To indicate that you are contributing based on this email, you can include "RTM" in the note field.
No contribution is too small. Really!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

New Titles @ No Tell Motel

I was alerted yesterday that the always amazing Reb Livingston plugged my forth. book (at printers now), Occultations, over at the No Tell Motel blog. Listed along with other contributors to (one of my favorite journals...) No Tell Motel, I'm again reminded just how hard-working an editor and poet Reb is. Wheelhouse needs do more for past contributors. Well, without further ado--beyond a huge thanks to Reb--is the list over at the blog. Great company. Didn't know till now that Steven Karl has a new book out, and from a press I very much admire too! Very cool. Of the titles I've only thus far read the fantastic, and I mean REALLY fantastic Elements by Deborah Poe, who is due out my way (Northwestern edge of the U.S. and formerly her way) for readings sometime this June. Enjoy. 

New Titles by No Tell Poets

The French Exit by Elisa Gabbert (Birds, LLC)

The Trees Around by Chris Tonelli (Birds, LLC)

Elements by Deborah Poe (Stockport Flats)

Occultations by David Wolach (Black Radish Books)

Up Jump The Boogie by John Murillo (Cypher Books)

These Indicium Tales by Lance Phillips (Ahsahta Press)

LA Liminal by Becca Klaver (Kore Press)

(Ir)Rational Animals by Steven Karl (Flying Guillotine Press)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Make Believe Reviewed, Talk Now Online &

Thom Donovan's Make Believe, from Wheelhouse Press (2009) and Juliet Cook's Tongue Like a Stinger (2009) have been reviewed by Julie Ewald in  the new issue of Galatea Resurrects (No. 14). Thanks much to Ewald and to Eileen Tabios for featuring the work. Of course I'm excited about this, not just because we published the book, but because I think both Make Believe and Tongue Like a Stinger deserve critical attention no matter. Glad GR and Ewald thought likewise. Great reviews, so do read it!

And this is a good place to remind readers that Wheelhouse's new chapbook, Tracers by Uche Nduka, is hot off the presses (or hot off the, er, html encoding?).  This book will kick yr ass too. Read it as freely downloadable e-book at Wheelhouse.


The course/program I'm teaching at The Evergreen State College on performative poetries (guerilla poetry, poets theater) and the politics of language has just gone live with a web journal devoted to individual and collaborative work.  As content goes online, check it out. 


Rodrigo Toscano's super solid "to become super solid" (video poem) here. From the new press of Latino writing, Breach. 


William Owen & Pilot Books have now uploaded excerpts of the talk Reg Johanson and I gave for Big Belt Talkie Series / Poetry @ Pilot in March Small Press Fest. The talk is catalogued alongside others as a growing archive of commissioned poets talks & readings. They team up again for another Big Pelt Talkie Series event, this time hosting wonderful poets Sam Lohmann, Chris Daniels, and David Abel. Abel is headed to Evergreen for a PRESS Event (reading & workshop) later this month.  Do try to make these talks if in or around Seattle--the discussions afterwards are really dynamic, thorough, & not "Q&A" style as one might find with so many readings or panel discussions. Here's the invite:

Chris Daniels & David Abel & Sam Lohmann
219 broadway ave e (upstairs)
Big Pelt Talkies are a series of readings and commissioned essays by poets. No villiage explainers.
Now in three phases.
Videodocs of Reg Johanson & David Wolach blogspotted: HERE

Monday, May 3, 2010

Nonsite Collective on Harriet Blog

In the past several years--since suddenly falling ill--I've been a buried bone. Collectivity and gathering had been (what?) intuitive for me, collaboration and organizing isomorphic to "this body" and/or "David's identity," my life in New York absolutely populated, from working as labor organizer to navigating thru the narrow arteries of traverse that New York City alone poses as challenge to any commuter.  

This was initially difficult, this drastic shift in my adaptability to physical environments shaped by a dominant cultural formation. Not long after the first of several bodily changes occurred, it became clear that too often, even in disability rights circles, our failure to "keep up" with our shaped environments was/is thought of as a shift in bodily capability that needs be dealt with, such that despite activism demanding greater access services/rights, the underlying discourse negatively articulates itself viz. "what the body can do," putting the onus of adaptability too much on those for whom access is denied by not fully acknowledging the underlying inequities effecting all of us, regardless of level of mobility: of the disappearing commons, the fact of who gets to have a say in urban planning, in how we gather, and why private interests get to decide what counts as a "habitable" environment (let alone a beneficial one), etc.  

My initial timidity (or disorientation?) combined with the limits public and private spaces puts on us led me to what ostensibly counted as a house-bound life.  House-bound at least in contrast to an earlier bodily existence. I've since learned to get around differently. But especially a few years ago, the house-bound life, of course, meant rather severe changes in the way I socialized, especially given the far-flung nature of many of my friendships. This narrative plays out ten times a minute in this country alone as politicos play roulette with what counts as "health" and what counts as "care." 

It's Thom Donovan's recent Harriet post on Nonsite Collective that has gotten me thinking here about "disability" and somatic practices again, wherein Thom describes the trajectory of Nonsite thru collecting comments from those active in it (a call to which I came late, hence feel badly for having failed to contribute something as I'd promised). I'm thinking specifically of Amber DiPietra's comments, as well as her amazing initial contributions to the Aesthetics of Somatic Practices curriculum, and all the work that came before and after it: Thom's talk on a poetics of disability, the Collective's work on a poetics of patiency, and Robert Kocik's hooking those discussions up to systemic problems of the disappearing commons, omitted social services (omitted by capitalism), and ultimately translating nonsites (systems of metaphors or narratives serving to apprehend or map occulted phenomena, such as lacks or holes or omissions) into sites--habitable spaces/structures that nourish, that overcome, that fill extant voids.  DiPietra recalls, that early on, after moving to SF and getting involved with Nonsite:

I also felt my disability being erased because I found that I was trying to emulate an avant-garde poetics (which had not existed so much on the coast I came from) and in that poetics, there was less room for the “I”, for a body’s history, for emotion around that history. 

And that as she injected those feelings into Nonsite discussions (at first as blog entry), there was not only room for them, but action and lively discussion, a self-organizing pedagogy for which she was as responsible in sustaining as anyone else:

Then, one day I took a chance and wrote a blog post about this ambivalence I was feeling on the Nonsite Collective’s blog. I felt as though I were doing something risky and perhaps, not very refined. These were scary folks. They weren’t from the South (the opposite ended up being true), they were more intellectual than I and thus, had gone past the need to talk about the body (that wasn’t the case) ...But in fact, my blog post was met with an amazing response—and Nonsite events on disability began to unfold...

Though I am a participant of Nonisite Collective from afar, and though I feel I owe a huge amount of my thinking/feeling the world to friends active in Nonsite, I re-post Amber's comments not simply as a way to cheer us on, or to redouble Thom's already excellent write-up. It's rather to mention that though I am a Nonsite participant, my small contributions have been wholly online or in my own classrooms--I've never been to a general meeting or had an in-person Nonsite discussion (outside of many, wonderfully generative informal discussions with Thom and Rob, Eleni and others, far too late at night). My trip to SF in July will be my first, my reading and talk for Nonsite my first, and so my participation has been on the very outskirts of the Collective, or would be, were the collective not actually living up to what its baseline aims are at moment, that self-organizing pedagogy/set of investigations. So, this re-post is to extend Thom's collection of remarks by mentioning that it was this particular set of conversations--those around somatic practices/disability rights/poetics thereof--that saved me from myself, got me first plugged in to Nonsite discussions, that got me involved, and that ultimately got me re-thinking/feeling what the body can do. 

It was at the time of my move to the West Coast from NY that I began teaching as visiting professor in Bard College's Language & Thinking Program each summer, which got me in touch, and facilitated friendships with, Thom Donovan, Eleni Stecopolous, and Rob Halpern, all of whom were active in Nonsite Collective, a collective with which I'd developed a keen interest a year or so before while doing some writing on Robert Kocik's Overcoming Fitness. I was at that time working on two manuscripts, one a book of poems written in hospitals and hotels and written for hospitals and hotels (Hospitalogy, which is ongoing), and the other ended up as Occultations, which had its Belladonna Series/Thom Donvan-curated release party as my first full-length poetry book in New York back in mid-April, and which is at the printers now for its official print run.  This work is deeply informed by Amber's work, and by follow-up work from those Thom mentions in his post.  My performative work before falling ill was very body-centric, very much interested in gendering and owning, and yet that work seems quite distant to me now as I recall how generative (how really intensely moving) those Nonsite discussions were. My (then) eavesdropping on the conversations that were playing out helped me re-feel a poetics, and I describe this at the end of Occutations as a sort of essay/set of notes (which I'll post in part in another blog entry as continuation/response to what I see as connection between Amber's Nonsite entry on somatic practices and some of the newer posts on commoning - can this body-as-shorn predicament be, consensually at least, a commons?). 

Since 2007 I've incorporated Nonsite's resources into my classroom fairly consistently. It doesn't hurt that there are to be had on the website several documents and other resources related to key questions in contemporary poetry and poetics-as-connected to social justice. More than that, though, the very self-organizing pedagogy that Thom and Amber talk about over at Harriet, it's deeply realized, continues to help model for me different ways to "gather differently," as Thom puts it, to: 

explore different platforms and social milieus in which poets can collaborate, converse, and connate. 

Thom adds: 

If this returns us to many projects deferred and abandoned by radical social movements ongoing since the 30s, that is because the desire has not gone away to embody a form of assembly that reflects radical content.

As I wrote recently in an essay for Jacket Magazine, I don't think it does return us, precisely, to the radical social movements that have helped inform Nonsite Collective's collective practices, from Situationsist cross-disciplinary political interventionism to Freirean anti-banking pedagogy, but in the classroom, as elsewhere, the desire to assemble differently is certainly there, manifesting as response to managerial trends in education, increased corporatization hostile to any experimentation that doesn't garner dollar producing attention. Nonsite's work, incorporated back into the institution (which is essentially what I am doing when I teach, not to mention the many other participants who move rather freely between the classroom and Nonsite's events) helps highlight how radically restrictive a lot of institutional pedagogical practices are, how, for example, even at a place such as Evergreen (where I teach), a school known for its radical co-learning (even popular educational) models, we need push ourselves to go further in cross-disciplinary research; we can, and should, push ourselves outside of the morbid professionalization inherent in how schools, say, get funded. We should (and at Evergreen I can) do so while still bringing to our re-narrations, our explorations outside of given domains, our different assemblages, a rigor and intentionality necessary to know what we are asking and how to listen for it.  Thom asks:

Is gathering a form of poesis—a form of active making?

Not necessarily, is my provisional answer--there is a premium in this culture on spectatorship. There is no sense, tho, in which one can participate in Nonsite Collective and be a spectator. The organizational pedagogy necessitates gathering as a commoning, which is an active making, and so every curricular discussion that spiders out in my classroom (our classroom) is an emergent instantiation of a constantly becoming (a radically dialectical) Nonsite Collective, its making and remaking, fashioning and refashioning. From CA Conrad coming to our classroom and building with us a new (soma)tic to 25 of us wrestling with what else Kocik's commons site for "sorely missed" social services might include (architecturally, structurally, and then again, poetically), there is something substantial, not simply semantic, about the claim that Nonsite has no central locus of activity. As long as this work recursively flows back into the refashioning of the Collective's draft proposal and its attendant makers, which is to say, into further avenues of collaboration, in echo of Halpern's "no work in isolation!" 

So I'm extremely happy to see that Thom's put together a series of reflections on Nonsite Collective, where it's been and where it might be going (or can go). From both the classroom to (contiguously) the development of a poetics, Nonsite Collective has en-abled me in ways I can't fully apprehend, despite being able to state that what I appreciate most, perhaps, is precisely that which Amber speaks of--this desire to actively move from site to nonsite back into site, i.e., to make use of without using. Metaphor here is not terminal, but rather takes physical form when possible, thus Thom's mention of re-imagining poetry as not for itself, but "for us," I take to be a claim about the poem itself as part of a commons, a crucial site of activation for us who assemble, forming (and taking responsibility as) an aesthetic ecosystem--where aesthetic embodies the political-social-ethical practices of constructing/narrating some future(s) contra catastrophe.