Sunday, February 27, 2011


Despite the hostile corporate takeovers that have led to layoffs, mergers, and bad news -- the plague that has swept thru just about every locality in this country--there is something still alive in the newspaper trade (and it ain't my laid-off grandpa). It is what comes from the hard work of editors such as B.T. Shaw, who, rather miraculously, is the POETRY editor of the Oregon daily The Oregonian. And a talented poet I might add. I sent her some poems awhile back, after both of us read with Rachel Zolf for the Tangent Series, and this weekend she featured a poem from Hospitalogy. I've grown to understand how hard-working B.T. is in holding down the fort and providing a space for new poetry in a daily paper. My thanks to B.T. and the rest of the poetry staff for printing the piece and also providing it online--do look at past contributors' work, diverse work from poets in the Northwest and beyond.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Video of Hedreen Gallery Reading & Talk

Wow, my deepest thanks to Summer Robinson, curator, poet, and owner of the landmark Pilot Books in Seattle, for shooting this video of the reading and talk I gave for Seattle University's Free Lunch Series (curated by Will Owen). The poems: one each from Occultations and Hospitalogy, both in conversation with two writers I admire greatly: Robert Kocik (his work on commoning) and Laura Elrick (her video poem Stalk). The reading and talk was for the anniversary of the Seattle General Strike. The video is beautiful and makes my work palatable! If you perchance are blowing thru Seattle, go to Pilot Books. You'll be amazed, drooling, and leave with weird little poetry books.


Here's another link to the Seattle University Hedreen Gallery reading & talk I gave as part of Hedreen's Free Lunch Series, audio upload and hosting courtesy of Greg Bem, a poet whose work I really admire, now in Seattle, and prior, a member of The New Philadelphia Poets. Many thanks to Will Owen & Co. for the curation, to The Hedreen curators Whitney Ford and Jessica Powers, to Summer Robinson of Pilot Books who taped the event, and to those who turned out and participated. 

The discussion was really productive for me. In fact, it helped solidify my conviction, given the interest and suggestions, to send out a call for ideas soon about forming a coalition of laboring poets/poetry curators and others, committed to labor organizing in some way--whether thru organizing the workplace, or less intensely, attending a labor institute workshop or participating in the many other labor-oriented micro-communities in poetry & poetics. Not sure yet, but that's what the call would be for--to see what interest there might be and to hear ideas from folks.

Regardless, it was a generative discussion among friends new and old. Next week Robert Mittenthal and Nico Vassilakis, two incredible people/poets, will be reading and hosting a discussion. I'm hearing they'll be running thru a work in 4 acts. Susan Schulz will also be in town for a reading and talk. If I weren't headed to SF I'd certainly go. So look out for these and future Free Lunch events.

I should add this was my first reading/talk since my mom's death in October. And so it meant a lot to me to have folks in the room--my friends--who really embraced the afternoon, welcoming me with such warmth as we arrived.

Rally for the Working Class: if in or around Seattle/Olympia...

Come to the Saturday rally in solidarity with the state workers of Wisconsin

Come join unions and coalition partners this Saturday (Feb. 26th) at noon at Tivoli Fountain at the Capitol in Olympia.  Look for your UFE colleagues at the north side of the fountain and WEAR RED to show solidarity with our union brothers and sisters in Wisconsin!
Laura Goldstein on the amazing Gaze by Marthe Reed over at Black Radish Blog. Please visit, read, and read.

Challenging Categories & Movement of Mind, But Grief: Akilah Oliver

The exploration of grief--as choking, as being rendered silent by death, "the body as holder of a terrorizing silence" as a sort of default space. "What happens when there is no public space for grief?" she asks in a book that's influenced so many of us, A Toast in the House of Friends. I've come back to it recently, in my own paradoxical and contradictory grieving gestures this year. And again at PennSound, these sound files, including the Segue recordings I quote from above, registering this conversation just now in relation to her friends and family, who I am at moment thinking about. Hear  here.

Michael Cross @ The Disinhibitor

Thank you, Michael, for the kind remarks -- the recollections of moments during last weekend's reading for SPT. Agreed that it was awesome. It certainly was refueling for me. A reminder to check out the broadsides at SPT. Each made by a guest artist, the proceeds (so inexpensive given the labor that goes into making them) going towards SPT programming.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Akilah Oliver

Very sad to hear that Akilah Oliver, an amazing poet, not to mention everything else she has been for so many friends, has died. Rachel Levitsky has posted some remarks and links to Oliver's work on Coffee House Press's site. Here.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Postscript: Movement, Somatics, Writing--

[POSTSCRIPT regarding links narrating the symposium: another intense entry from Bhanu Kapil is here. I'm drawn to her question, or the problem, of "knowledge-based" somatic practices. Power & power. & assertion. & place. 29 degrees & 1 ft of snow on the ground... off to class, a term I use & dislike intensely. On the "transgressive" body & somatic practices/bodywork. & Writing. In some ways redundant these terms we use. In other ways immeshed in conflict, contorting the presence of human touch. To archive like that. Why do we do it? To testify trans-port has colonial roots, perhaps... Re Rob's gorgeous proposition: My organelles, I can feel them, the breath truncated when transported by another's intimate gesture of "here" - mitochondrial DNA deletion. My body is on the outside of my body. Always living on borrowed social time. Is this becoming in constant meditation? A kind of knowledge? To have written this, also redundant, deadened too. In both senses...]

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Somatics, Movement, and Writing Symposium...

The only downside to being in SF this weekend was missing the Somatics, Movement, and Writing Symposium in MI, put together, I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) by Petra Kuppers and the organizing team listed below -- who helped the workshop participants and performance folks during the weekend. I would imagine several others were involved in organizing various parts of the weekend. This poesis, given a multiple media/performance background, an interest in the politics and poetics of the corporeal, and engagement in post-abelism, that is really close to my heart (for lack of a better way to say it at moment).

Given how far away I am, I would have had a difficult time getting out there even if. Because I've been hoping for the time/money to fly to MI anyhow: simply, I miss my dad a lot and would really like to see him.

I'm just thrilled the symposium happened. I remember Petra announcing it during my last visit to the Bay, during our Nonsite commons discussion. And I wait enthusiastically for the post-symposium reflections to start flowing. A couple have already emerged on the web. Some wonderful photos taken by Thom are up at Wild Horses of Fire. Many are of Brenda Iijima's dance/movement workshop/performance, the same event Bhanu Kapil dreams from, and writes about, over on her blog. The combo of photos and dream journal piece by Kapil give me a small sense of how f-ing amazing Brenda's piece was/is. Darn.

So, if you have some reflections on the weekend that you don't plan on putting anyplace like your blog or in a journal, just comments, notes, or what-have-you, I'd love to hear them. Live vicariously thru you. So feel free to post here or email backchannel. Here's to hoping the symposium occurs next year!

Conference Team:
Amy Sara Carroll, Assistant Professor of English and American Culture (Latina/o Studies), UM
Clare Croft, Postdoctoral Fellow, Society of Fellows, Assistant Professor of Dance, UM
Thom Donovan, poet and essayist, co-editor of ON: Contemporary Practice and the weblog Wild Horses Of Fire
Kate Elswit, Andrew W. Mellon Fellow (Drama/Dance), Stanford University
Bhanu Kapil, Assistant Professor, Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, Naropa University (Cross-Genre Narrative and Poetics)
Jina Kim, PhD student, English/Women?s Studies, UM (Visual Culture)
Petra Kuppers, Associate Professor of English, UM (Performance Studies)
Eleni Stecopoulos, poet, writer, educator, curator of the Poetics of Healing project at the Poetry Center, San Francisco State University

Monday, February 21, 2011

SPT Audio File, from Occultations

For anyone interested, here's the audio composition I composed for SPT; it was one of two I performed during the evening, layered by live reading. It's a google-docs downloadable file, compatible with i-tunes (it is an i-tunes file).  An old file name accompanies it, so to hear "modular arterial cacophony walling 1" click "download" on the file named "BelladonnaLiveReadingNew." One of the channels--whispered leaked CIA documents outlining torture of detainees--was played for the release of the book, back when I first began composing this sound piece, the reading sponsored then by The Belladonna Series in New York. Thus the old file name. Specs on this piece (4:50), now finished, beyond that channel, are:

Channel 1: whispered leaked Bybee Memorandum, 2008 (courtesy of WikiLeaks)
Channel 2: Sine-Function re-composition of Brun's I Told You So (a work based on this piece that I re-composed using different software)
Channel 3: Sine-Function computer composition, "Wave," David Wolach 2010-11.
Channel 4: Recorded excerpts, "modular arterial cacophony," from Occultations

Ideal way to listen is volume on max, with earphones, reading parts of the book's section of the same title. The live reading includes taking up the walling stress position (examples found in Appendix M, CIA Interrogations Manual) for the duration. Enjoy.

Porous the Borders in the Bay: SPT, Nonsite, Motels

Deep gratitude to the kind, talented and gracious Samantha Giles, and to the rest of the SPT folks for setting up a crazy-energizing (for me) reading with Laura Elrick and Lara Durback on Friday night. Michael Cross needs mention too, facilitating two in an ongoing series of beautiful broadsides, the latest one of Laura Elrick's work, letterpressed by Rich Owens. Wow, it was great to hear Laura's work in-progress. She performed a steady stream of prosodic, intense and at times intensely funny poems-of-a-cycle, each feeling like the hurried or rushed "voice in the head" part way between "pre-linguistic" para-logic (internalized impressions of things, people, systems) driven as much by sound and word-play as anything else AND the more formally subtle performative speech-act. Thus I take the work to be enacting that interest, stated in her SPT bio, of lately exploring the relationships between social time and utterance. That "inner speech" Keith Waldrop writes in relation to Stein's pre-occupations (Intro to Useful Knowledge, New Directions) is here as much coerced or inscribed by false consciousness, hence traced from imprinting political systems as it is echoes of other associative conversations one has in the head, imbued with present-tense experience, the output forming trace or shadow of that live-wiring filtered and perhaps interrupted by monetized time, a poetic speaking of what will have just passed, its affect that of opening up possibilities, to paraphrase Taylor Brady in relation to Michael Cross's work, disclosing prosodic parameters for what has not yet been foreclosed

Lara's work was also amazingly refreshing: deeply performative and procedural, Durback following up on her WONDERFUL Zine Chapbook, played a recording of her poetic, truncated, funny and also horrifying experiences with a personal history with clothing, the politics and economics of what and how we wear, and this was underlayed by livve short thought-bursts, one after the other, each testifying to one of those thought-but-not-said-publicly moments--read by Durback from a stack of blue post-its, each of which she stuck to all manner of surfaces in the room, after and as she read from them. So the ephemeral, the honest, the political, and the found, all intermingle here in a way that's arrestingly direct and narrative. Sort of a no bullshit get off our asses and do kind of beauty to the performative work that I loved, and that complimented Elrick's work so conspicuously.

This work and mine--a sort of love letter to The Book of Frank and a sort of note to CA Conrad of thanks for existing (my notes towards my essay-review on Frank) can be found in David Brazil & Sara Larsen's latest issue Try Magazine. So many thanks to David for putting the issue together, which also features some awesome work from Cedar Sigo, David Buuck & Juliana Spahr, Stephanie Young (on Weiner's The Fast !!!!), Jason Morris, Dana Ward, and several others. And my apologies to David for falling ill the night Elizabeth Williamson and I were to have dinner with him.

Was also great to see old friends and meet new folks. Great, for instance, to see fellow Black Radish Books author Carrie Hunter, whose fantastic procedural-lyrical The Incompossible is coming out soon through the press. Was so good to see Tanya Hollis, who carted E and I around all night in the rain!


The next afternoon Laura, Lara and I met up with other Nonsite Collective participants for a discussion about Nonsite's collaboration and residency with SF Camerawork, "Common/Use." (See Nonsite Collective dot org or the archives here for a description of the 4-month residency bringing writers and photographers together to explore and intervene in the privatization of our public spaces and commons-forming practices.) This was, I think,  a really generative discussion that first caught the three of us up to speed on what the collaboration has been doing as of late and what it's planning (a documentary/investigative poetry-photography walk being planned by Ariel Goldberg and an exploration-intervention of the Sit/Lie Ordinance recently passed in SF led by Tonya Hollis and others -- both sound incredibly necessary and mutually complimentary). From getting caught up to speed we all discussed the productive challenges the residency has posed: how Nonsite, a self-organizing pedagogical collective, tran-slocal and non-hierarchical, imminently collapsible and in many was a come-as-you-are nonsite in itself, how can we now produce work that interfaces more directly with activist communities, the public, and do so in relation to deadlines, to the hyper-visual problematics of the photographic artistic? That doesn't problematically frame or archive, i.e., use or appropriate, living communities who are involved in reclaiming public space? The productive problems of forming a commons curriculum and "installation" in the gallery -- that tension between atopia and installation, commoning and commodity, aesthetics and the archival/curatorial -- was discussed, with core questions such as how we as collectively "starburst" (to quote Laura Elrick) can be most salubrious, and most helpful towards particular communities organized to maximize the visibility of their production--activists, unionists on the picket line, for example--ended up taking on a central conversational role.

All of this occurred within the gallery itself, and as folks came and went, arrived to see our work and to see some of the other fantastic collaborations, such as Dodie Bellamy's, on display as part of the larger Camerawork show "As Yet Untitled," it was clear that our meeting doubled as itself an installation. And has in the past in more active/self-reflective ways, with Jen Benka and others sitting down with the public at the common table and asking visitors to write down their thoughts in relation to specific questions, as well towards developing "common terms" lined along one wall as headers ("private," "use," "boundary" e.g.) - the participants then sticking their notecard responses to the wall under the corresponding header.

My sincere thanks toTanya again, to David Buuck, Taylor Brady, Rob Halpern, and several others who invited us to participate in this meeting/discussion. I came away feeling overwhelmed by how much the Collective has managed to do, how many productive experiments have been, or will be, tried. One question that came up was where Nonsite was as a collective now, more generally, now with so many new participants, with such activity lately, etc. A great question that I don't have any particular answer for other than the above and the below re-post of a note I wrote about Nonsite last year. Due to the localism of any on-site art installation, which this is to some degree, I did come away with some concern about the worries folks had about having to "produce" "visible results," whether, for example, that felt sense of pressure would temporarily unhinge the very careful considerations that I witnessed right then and there, and have been a part of the last couple years--the carefully considered commitment to trans-local, cross-disciplinary radical pedagogy, for lack of a better set of terms, where we have always produced a great deal, but have done so as radical, non-recapitulating compliment to established forms of art and protest (aesthetics), forms/movements/groups that are already afoot and in need of our help and that we are thus already involved in. That is, Nonsite, for me, among several other things, has been a no-place of imminent critique, or a place of counter-boundary and interrogation of already established discourses that we, as individuals, are already a part of (to support established forms, under convivial conditions, means to critique them too). The work I've been a part of so far has been a deeply-thought set of reflections, or have felt anyway like reflective and aesthetically-driven curricular explorations unearthing further possibilities, such that I slow down, interrogate my own preconceived notions, activities, and commitments, temporarily suspending all of those discursively, in order to deepen some of those notions, activities, and commitments, and to torque or even let go of others. I feel like that is still very alive here, and that the residency applies pressure to us in this regard in ways that are, again, generative. So I also think we need not worry whether we produce too little--as Chris Daniels mentioned there, he's been so radically changed and astonished by the production that Nonsite has generated and is laden with use-value for him, that change in him being maybe not easily visible, but extant.

Speaking of whom, before I re-post my thoughts regarding Nonsite (how I've worked with and come to participate in Nonsite), I must say that one of the highlights of my visit was spending the afternoon with Chris, talking over a bite about his work on a new chapbook press, one that is currently working on some more beautiful poems by David Brazil and others. Really great to see him--as always. And as always I left the Bay wanting somehow to teleport back and forth, wishing the DOD would just sell that technology to a corporate giant already.... From the blog last year:

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 absolutelypopulated, 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, thatovercome, 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 forhospitals and hotels (Hospitalogy, which is ongoing), and the other ended up asOccultations, 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 late 2007 (or early 08) 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'scollective 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. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

See You In The Bay Area: SPT Reading W/Laura Elrick & Lara Durback; Nonsite Residency Discussion

From the SPT website. Many thanks to Samantha Giles and SPT for the invite. Very much looking forward to reading with two fantastic poets. Hope to see you there!

At the Borders: Wolach, Elrick and Durback

Please join us for At the Borders: Intersections of Politics and Practice
with readings and discussions by David Wolach and Laura Elrick
with special guest Lara Durback
at Macky Hall, CCA Oakland, 5212 Broadway
entrance: $8-10/members FREE__________________________________

David Wolach is editor of Wheelhouse Magazine & Press and an active participant in Nonsite Collective. Wolach’s first full-length poetry collection, Occultations, has just been published by Black Radish Books. Other books include the multi-media transliteration plus chapbook, Prefab Eulogies Volume 1: Nothings Houses (BlazeVox [books], 2010), the full-length Hospitalogy (chapbook forth. from Scantily Clad Press, 2011), and book alter(ed) (Ungovernable Press, 2009). A former union organizer and performing artist out of New York, Wolach’s work often begins as site-specific and interactive performance and ends up as shaped, written language. Recent work appears in Jacket, Augfabe, Try Magazine, No Tell Motel, and Little Red Leaves. Wolach is professor of text arts, poetics, and aesthetics at The Evergreen State College, co-curating the PRESS text arts & radical politics series there, and is visiting professor in Bard College’s Workshop In Language & Thinking. He’s currently touring with his Olympia-based experimental performance ensemble, performing Kenneth Gaburo’s opus Maledetto alongside original cross-media work from the eight full-time members.
Laura Elrick’s latest project is a book-length poem, as yet untitled, that explores the relationship between speed (social time) and utterance; translations and affective condensations occur in the tiny caverns between the compulsion toward language and the patrolling of intelligible expressive registers. She also recently coordinated Blocks Away, a psychogeography of Lower Manhattan, some documentation of
which will be displayed in The Skybridge Art and Sound Space at The New School in Spring 2011. Previous work includes the video/poem Stalk (“part dystopian urban cartography, part spatial-poetic intervention”), as well a set of 5 audio pieces for doubled-voice. She has also written two books of poetry: Fantasies in Permeable Structures (Factory School 2005) and sKincerity (Krupskaya 2003), and an essay “Poetry, Ecology, and the Reappropriation of Lived Space,” which can be found in the Eco Language Reader (2010) and online at The Brooklyn Rail. She currently teaches at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.
Lara Durback is a notebook writer, using handwriting primarily, and that means walking around and writing. Public transportation is a big part of that city writing. You can find recent work with and without handwriting in WORK, Try, There Journal, etc. Also look for her work on Deep She is also a letterpress printer, and manages the Book Art studio at Mills College. She has recently finished printing the book Picture Cameras with Ariel Goldberg using only repurposed materials (NoNo Press).

And also, please join us the following afternoon for:

NONSITE || "Common/Use" discussion with Laura Elrick & Lara Durback

Please join the Nonsite Collective for an open discussion with visiting poets and activists David Wolach and Laura Elrick, who will be in the Camerawork gallery with other Nonsite members for a loosely-structured conversation about the commons, part of Nonsite's ongoing residency "Common/Use".

Saturday Feb 19th, 1-3pm, in the SF Camerawork gallery
657 Mission St, 2nd floor, San Francisco

David and Laura will also be reading on Friday the 18th at Small Press Traffic.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Georgia Prison Strike Petition

Urgent Solidarity: Prisoner Activist Facing Violent Retaliation

Support Shawn Whatley! Stop all retaliations against Georgia prison strike activists!

Read online:

In the aftermath of the historic prison strike in Georgia, inmate activists are facing systematic violence and repression. On December 9, inmates across six Georgia prisons staged a week-long strike to demand an end to endemic human rights abuses, arbitrary violence, slave-like labor conditions, profiteering and corruption, inadequate food and medical care, among other abuses. On January 12, 2011 inmate activist Shawn Whatley was handcuffed by prison guards as his cell was searched for a contraband cell phone. When he briefly spoke to his mother, Shawn reported he had been put in solitary confinement and was severely beaten, suffering broken bones and facial injuries. He was then transferred from Telfair State Prison to Ware State Prison. At least 37 other inmates were already missing and transferred to other prisons, Shawn reported. Shawn explained that he was targeted, in part, for his communications with outside support groups, which included an extensive interview with recorded shortly before his beating. This physical brutality and retaliation by the Georgia State Department of Corrections is their response to the historic prisoner strike last month, which they characterized as a “riot.” However, despite provocations, the strike was a completely non-violent mass civil disobedience. Prisoners simply stayed in their cells, refusing to participate in the regular routine of forced labor.

Urgent Action Needed!

We must demand justice for Shawn Whatley and other Georgia State prisoners who are being targeted and brutalized for exposing their inhumane conditions and standing up for their most basic human rights. Please immediately make phone calls and send emails and/or letters to Department of Corrections Commissioner Brian Owens, as well as Georgia’s new Governor Nathan Deal (contact info listed below), demanding “Hands off Shawn Whatley.” Also, help spread the word by re-posting this solidarity appeal on blogs, emails lists, social media, etc. If you are part of an organization, send letters and make calls in the name of your group. Please send copies of protest letters to For more information, contact Socialist Alternative at (206) 526-7185or

SAMPLE Protest Letter:

To: Georgia Corrections Commissioner Brain Owen
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal

I want to express my concern and my condemnation for the brutal attack by Telfair state prison guards on January 12, 2011 on Georgia State prisoner Shawn Whatley.

It has become clear that this incident is just one among numerous unjust and retaliatory acts of violence by the Georgia State Corrections authorities against inmates in response to their just and historic strike for basic human rights.

I urge an immediate end to violence and retaliations against prisoners who participated in the strike. Until there is a clear public acknowledgement of unjust abuses already made and a commitment to end them, I commit to spread the word and take action against the injustice in your prisons.

The violence and abuse by the Georgia state penal system will not be hidden from family, friends, people of conscience, or social justice activists. We are demanding an immediate end to the persecution of Shawn Whatley, and for those responsible to be brought to justice. We demand the same for allGeorgia State prisoners who have been brutalized for standing up for the most basic human rights.

The world is watching you!


Register Your Protest to:

Brian Owens, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Corrections

Call: 478-992-5258 (This is the number for Owens’ administrative assistant Peggy Chapman. Urge her to give him the message.)

Call: 478-992-5367 (This is the Office of the Ombudsman, which is the official channel for raising concerns over prisoner treatment)

Nathan Deal, Governor of Georgia

Call: 404-656-1776

Send the Governor a letter online by clicking here.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Action: AWP Walking Poem - Belladonna Books

SAYING IT: A Walking Poem Against Censorship Friday, Feb 4th from 4 to 6pm in Washington DC

JOIN US for a march & speak-out against the silencing of voices that want & need to be heard and a celebration of voices, of our voices, of your voices. 4PM GATHER outside Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, meet on corner of Connecticut Ave/Woodley Road NW. Bring signs, texts, images, costumes! MARCH on Connecticut Ave to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Monument at M Street NW for SPEAK-OUT, reading, breaking of silences.

Belladonna* Collaborative for more info contact: or visit Belladonna* at Table X, AWP