Week Three Workshops & Faculty
Lineages, Histories, Archives and Beyond: Roots, Elders, Maps
The Kerouac School is celebrating its 40th year, and this week will focus on some of the dynamic histories of persons and poetic literary movements of the past decades that have inspired and been held by the pedagogy at Naropa’s Poetics. The New American Poetry and Black Arts were triggers for a greater range of open form, “non-closure” poetries, cut-ups, sundry hybrid forms, OuLiPo considerations, Language strategies, activist poetics, collaboration, translation, visual arts and jazz input. We will engage a scholarly look at some of the “scene” of the last decades.
Clark Coolidge: The Burroughs Zone
An exploration of the life and works of William Seward Burroughs, one of the strongest voices in our literature. Dealing with all his major books, from Junky and Naked Lunch to The Soft Machine, the Wild Boys, The Red Night Trilogy, Book of Dreams and Last Words, with special emphasis on his cut-up breakthrough and strategies, radical transformations of narrative and the extreme poetry of fragmentation. Ride with Bill Lee the Exterminator and the Nova Mob, The Insect Trust, Hassan i Sabbah and the Heavy Metal Kid through the gasoline crack of history. Follow Kim Carson from the red-lit cities to the old western lands. Here is your ticket to Interzone and Beyond. Rare Recordings.
Clark Coolidge is the author of more than forty books of poetry and other, including Space, solution passage, The Crystal Text, At Egypt, Now It’s Jazz: Writings on Kerouac & The Sounds, The Act of Providence and most recently 88 Sonnets and A Book Beginning What And Ending Away. In 2011, he edited a collection of Philip Guston’s writings and talks for University of California Press. Initially a drummer, he was a member of David Meltzer’s Serpent Power in 1967 and Mix group in 1993-1994. Currently he has returned to active drumming in duos with Thurston Moore and the on-going free jazz band Ouroboros.
Renee Gladman: Topography of Prose
In this workshop, we will traverse a long line of “immersive texts,” moving through the past sixty years of innovative prose practice. Through close readings of work by Samuel Beckett, Gertrude Stein, Marguerite Duras, Wanda Coleman, Dawn Raffel, Diane Williams, Tisa Bryant, Miranda Mellis, Amina Cain, and through examinations of our own practices and intentions within prose, we will advance a topographical understanding of the form, one that sees and writes into convergences of lines, loops, craters, and other contours of the page. Some guiding questions: How do we read the surface of a prose text? How do we use silence and the fragment? How do we rid a text of silence? How do we put a text into motion or bring it to a standstill? How does the production of characters or a body in time and place assist us in our thinking? How do we think through narrative? What gets mapped?
Renee Gladman is the author of eight books, including the Ravicka novels Event Factory, The Ravickians, and Ana Patova Crosses a Bridge. She is the publisher of Leon Works and lives in Providence, RI, where she works and teaches at the intersections of architecture, narrative, and line drawing.
Jen Hofer: Impossibility as Teacher
Erín Moure writes: “Though I am a translator, I always affirm that translation is impossible. This appears to be, but is not, an unsustainable situation. It is, rather, creative.” Possibility nestles within impossibility: in translation practice, in writing practice, in political practice, in the daily rituals of moving through this difficult and troubled (we might say “impossible”) world. What might shift if we welcome impossibility as our teacher rather than our foil, our catalyst rather than our paralysis? We will use our time and space together to explore questions of how to inhabit potential, inspiration, and radicality in contexts of difficulty, and to experiment with methods for embodying possibility in structures of impossibility. Our adventures will include reading and listening together, practicing encounters with impossibility through translation and writing exercises, and locating sites of impossibility in our own processes and reconfiguring them through the honing of collective attention. All writers and makers are welcome in this workshop, regardless of experience with translation.
Jen Hofer is a Los Angeles-based poet, translator, social justice interpreter, teacher, knitter, book-maker, public letter-writer, urban cyclist, and co-founder of the language justice and literary experimentation collaborative Antena. Her recent translations include the homemade chapbook En las maravillas/In Wonder (Libros Antena/Antena Books, 2012); Ivory Black, a translation of Myriam Moscona’s Negro marfil (Les Figues Press, 2011, winner of translation prizes from the Academy of American Poets and PEN); and two books by Dolores Dorantes (Counterpath Press and Kenning Editions, 2008). Her most recent books are the handmade chapbooks Front Page News (Little Red Leaves (Textile Series), 2013), we do not see what we do not see (DIY edition, 2013), and Shroud (collaboration with Jill Magi, for An Inventory of Al-Mutanabbi Street, 2013), and a series of anti-war-manifesto poems titled one (Palm Press, 2009). Her poems, essays and translations are forthcoming from Dusie Books, Kenning Editions, Litmus Press, and Ugly Duckling Presse. Her installations and durational performance work are currently/recently on view at The Blaffer Museum in Houston, TX (with Antena) and at the Center for Land Use Interpretation in Wendover, UT. She teaches bookmaking, poetics, and translation at CalArts and at Otis College.
Jade Lascelles: Leaden Roots: Letterpress Printing as an Archival Act
In the process of printing, of metal biting ink into a page, there is an undeniable notion of preservation. Unlike the more intangible digital realm we often work in today, the letterpress shop is a space of creating the palpable, of flirting with the physicality in an object of writing. Through chapbooks, broadsides, and other book-type artifacts, letterpress printing has been an integral part of archiving the history of writers, thinkers, and artists. This week, we will gather in the print shop to learn basic printing techniques and collaboratively produce a letterpress project which honors an important figure in the Kerouac School’s lineage. This will not be just an act of archiving but also a conversation on the ways we may continue to grow our roots as communities and writers in lasting ways. Ways which bite deeply like the pieces of lead type we shall work with.
Jade Lascelles is a poet, letterpress printer, editor, unabashed literary nerd, and proud alumna of the Jack Kerouac School. After a lengthy migration period, she now makes her home in Boulder, Colorado, where she teaches writing and literature and serves as the assistant to the Harry Smith Print Shop at Naropa University. Her writing has been featured in publications such as Bombay Gin, Gesture, and Periodical. Her power animal is a goat.
Tracie Morris: Circular Lines and “The Idea of Ancestry”: A workshop on Embodying Lineages
In this workshop, we’ll consider the concept of inspiration that *isn’t* self-generated. How do we embrace the reality that our art is not totally our own? How do we work with the idea that we wouldn’t be “here” if it weren’t for others? Other artists, persons, sentient beings and other created objects make us part of communities. We reflect and contribute to these concentric communities in our creations and through ourselves. Embodying the performance study theory of “twice behaved behaviors,” we will recall/play with/generate art that can contribute to the world on our own terms *through* the appreciation of the contributions of others.
We will generate new work from conventional and avant-garde sources and present our works in progress at the end of the week to the Naropa community. Some of the people we will focus on will be historical figures, contemporary avant-garde performers, and family members. The pieces that we create will not be only text-based but will also be sonic and body-based. Be sure to wear loose, comfortable clothing every day of the workshop and to bring water with you. We’ll make sounds, write, and move in order to “free up” some new work in progress.
Tracie Morris is a poet who has worked extensively as a sound poet, bandleader, actor and multimedia performer. Her sound installations have been presented at the Whitney Biennial, MoMA, Ronald Feldman Gallery, The Silent Barn, The Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, The Drawing Center, The Gramsci Monument with Thomas Hirshhorn for the DIA Foundation, and other galleries. She also leads her own eponymous band and is lead singer for Elliott Sharp’s group, Terraplane. Tracie is the recipient of numerous awards for poetry and performance and has contributed to, and been written about in, several anthologies of literary criticism. Her most recent poetry collection, Rhyme Scheme, includes a sound poetry CD. She is currently working on two books about the philosopher J.L. Austin and Black vernacular, a creative project on Ira Aldridge, and recently completed tracks on 4am Always, a new recording with Terraplane, She holds an MFA in Poetry from Hunter College, has studied classical British acting technique extensively at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, and holds a PhD in Performance Studies from New York University. She is Professor and Coordinator of Performance & Performance Studies at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York.
Laura Mullen: T(w)omb: Midwives in the Archives
What’s to come finds (or makes) its origins in what’s gone but not forgotten. In this course, we’ll celebrate history by opening its implications, inviting out the ghosts who might most nourish our own work and strapping ourselves briefly into their bloody or blank places. Hybrid genre work is encouraged, but it’s really your choice—writing, in whatever form, imagined as something like a series of interventions, invocations, chalk outlines and uneasy supplications, working our hands deep in the slick of the already said in order to turn time (on). Errata as prologue, memorials made of ephemera, some ardent scholarship and irreverent reenactments and whatever else it takes—we’ll try it. The past is always pregnant: a little labor helps the future out.
Laura Mullen is the author of seven books: Enduring Freedom: A Little Book of Mechanical Brides, The Surface, After I Was Dead, Subject, Dark Archive, The Tales of Horror, and Murmur. Recognitions for her poetry include Ironwood’s Stanford Prize, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and a Rona Jaffe Award, among other honors. Her work has been widely anthologized and is included in Postmodern American Poetry, and American Hybrid (Norton), and I’ll Drown My Book: Conceptual Writing by Women (Les Figues).
Hoa Nguyen: I as Correspondent
“It is a human universe and I / is a correspondent” – Ted Berrigan
Taking cues from Jack Spicer, Charles Olson, Alice Notley and others, we will explore “I” as correspondent – how to, as Joanne Kyger says “Get ‘me’ out of the way.” We will examine samples from elder and contemporary poets and employ various writing strategies including collage, Oulipo techniques, rhetorical strategies, and more.
Born in the Mekong Delta and raised in the Washington, D.C. area, Hoa Nguyen studied Poetics at New College of California in San Francisco. With the poet Dale Smith, Nguyen founded Skanky Possum, a poetry journal and book imprint in Austin, TX where they lived for 14 years. The author of eight books and chapbooks, she currently lives in Toronto where she teaches poetics in a private workshop and at Ryerson University. Wave Books published her third full-length collection of poems, As Long As Trees Last, in September 2012. A gathering of her early uncollected poems, Red Juice, will be released by Wave Books in September 2014.
Khadijah Queen: Narrative (Re)Invention
In this class, we will consider a global history of the personal-political narrative, particularly in the context of self-determination and survival. The body and the homeland as sites of contention in the narratives of enslaved people, first-person accounts of war, imprisonment, genocide, persecution, and other traumas will be discussed alongside innovative contemporary approaches to similar subjects mostly in poetry, but also prose, visual art, and film. We will look at the works of Harriet Jacobs, Solomon Northup, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Waŋbdí Tháŋka (Jerome Big Eagle), Paul Célan, Kim Hak-sun, Kara Walker, Marina Abramovic, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Kate Bornstein, Shahrnush Parsipur, Duriel Harris, dg nanouk okpik, and others. A comprehensive understanding of diverse (re)telling as part of complicating the human narrative across history and geography is the aim. Recommended pre-class viewing: Fugitive Pieces (2007), Women Without Men (2009, directed by Shirin Neshat), Albert Nobbs (2011) and 12 Years a Slave (directed by Steve McQueen, 2013). Students should be prepared to consider their own creative and/or personal lineage(s) via in-class exercises and performance.
Khadijah Queen is the author of Conduit (Black Goat/Akashic Books 2008) and Black Peculiar, which won the 2010 Noemi Press book award for poetry and was a finalist for the Gatewood Prize at Switchback Books. Individual poems appear in Best American Nonrequired Reading, jubilat, Aufgabe, Fire and Ink: A Social Action Anthology and many others. Prose appears in Memoir, Rattle, Cutthroat, and forthcoming in The Force of What’s Possible (Nightboat 2014). Her drawings, performance, video and sound art has been presented at the Seattle Art Museum, Le Flash Atlanta, the Tao Gallery in Mumbai, India as part of Miko Kuro’s Midnight Tea project, and elsewhere. She currently works as an editor, is raising a teenager, and since 2008 has curated the multi-genre reading series Courting Risk.
Stacy Szymaszek: Mind Phenomena
In this class, we’ll trace a dynamic poetic lineage of the Zen conception of language itself as phenomena. We’ll focus on the work of Philip Whalen and Leslie Scalapino, with a look to some of the classical Japanese texts that influenced each of them, such as The Tale of Genji. We’ll also read the works of some of the present day receivers of this lineage of “mind phenomena” – or, as Scalapino said in her introduction to Whalen’s Collected Poems, “the mind creating self, and simulation of history, the inside and the outside together.” As close readers, we’ll enact the process of our own contemplation in the pursuance of a new framework that brings everything together, “having it all occurring at the same time, as a way of apprehending what it is.” You will be encouraged to think about writing, and to write, as discovery of time and event, allowing your texts “to ‘fall’ as in movement, as if a waterfall.” (LS).
Born in Milwaukee, WI, Stacy Szymaszek is the author of the book-length collections Emptied of All Ships (2005) and Hyperglossia (2009). Some of her published chapbooks are Pasolini Poems (2005) Orizaba: A Voyage with Hart Crane (2008), Stacy S.: Autoportraits (2008), from Hart Island (2009) and austerity measures (2012). She is the founder and Editor of GAM, which ran for 6 issues (2003-2008). From 1999-2005, she worked at Woodland Pattern Book Center, before moving to New York City where she is the current Director of The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church. She served as a mentor in the Queer/Art/Mentorship program from 2011-2013.
Lewis Warsh: Remembering the Present
The characters in our stories all live double lives, just like we do, shifting from past to present, negotiating the border between external and internal worlds. Let’s look closely into the present, using memories, daydreams, distractions, observations, secrets and fantasies as our raw material, and explore how we can translate all the details of the moment into fiction. We’ll tap into the writing of Anna Kavan, Paul Bowles, Clarice Lispector, and Lydia Davis, among others. Much of class time will be spent reading our work and discussing our on going projects as fiction writers.
Lewis Warsh’s most recent books are One Foot Out the Door: Collected Stories, A Place in the Sun, Inseparable: Poems 1995-2005, and The Origin of the World. He is editor and publisher of United Artists Books and teaches in the MFA program at Long Island University, Brooklyn.
Matvei Yankelevich: Fragments and Fugitive Traditions: Writing for No One
Our working group will commune with writing that sentences itself to infamy, obscurity, untranslatability, poetry that tests the boundaries of the printed word or leaves the page entirely to exist—ephemerally or physically—in the world outside the book. We will read poets in isolation (political, cultural, linguistic), poets who wrote “for the desk drawer,” in the margins of culture, language, or sanity: Ivan Blatny, Alfred Starr Hamilton, Daniil Kharms, Vsevolod Nekrasov, Lev Rubinstein, David Schubert, Alexander Vvedensky. Through our own practice and in discussions of the readings, we will try to answer some hard questions about the nature of writing, the relation between the medium of the notebook and the technology of the book, and the ideological constraints of Literature: Can a private language exist? What are the systems and technologies that administer or dictate writing? Can a fragment keep its autonomy from the whole? How does one write from outside the prevailing culture, against the grain?
Matvei Yankelevich is the author of the poetry collection Alpha Donut (United Artists) and the novella-in-fragments Boris by the Sea (Octopus), and the translator of Today I Wrote Nothing: The Selected Writings of Daniil Kharms (Overlook/Ardis). He is one of the founding editors of Ugly Duckling Presse, where he edits and designs books, and curates the Eastern European Poets Series. He has taught at Columbia University’s School of the Arts, Long Island University, Colorado College, and Hunter College. He is a member of the Writing Faculty at the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College.