In addition to our core faculty, the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics invites more than sixty guest faculty members and writers each year, including the Allen Ginsberg Visiting Fellow, the Leslie Scalapino Lecturer in Innovative Poetics, What Where Series, and the Jack Kerouac School Symposium. These events foster an intensely creative environment for students to develop their writing projects in conversation with a community of writers. For more information on faculty/staff/student & alum readings elsewhere, or for more information on our Guest Authors, visit our blog! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter: @KerouacSchool
#1 - University of Wyoming - Laramie
Tuesday, September 18, 2018 - 7:00 p.m.
NU - Naropa - Emma Gomis
CSU - Ft. Collins
DU - Denver
CU - Boulder
UW - Laramie
#2 Naropa University - Boulder
Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - 7:00 p.m. - Reception following
Naropa University- Travis (William) Newbill
CSU - Ft. Collins
DU - Denver
CU - Boulder
UW - Wyoming
Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics hosts writers Kristin Prevallet, Michelle Naka-Pierce, Chris Pusateri, and Ella Longpre at the Low Residency Speaker Reading Event, which will take place in the Nalanda Events Center on the Nalanda Campus (6287 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder) on March 1, 2019, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.
Kristin Prevallet (b. 1966 in Denver) is an American poet and essayist who currently lives and works in New York City. Prevallet studied with Robert Creeley at SUNY Buffalo and has described herself as working in the tradition of William Carlos Williams, Charles Olson and the ongoing stream of American high modernists. In recent years, she has appeared regularly at the Bowery Poetry Club, the venue which defined the New York downtown poetry scene in the late 1990s and early 2000s (decade). In her academic life, she has taught at Bard College, The New School for Social Research, and currently at St. John's University in Queens. She has also lectured and performed frequently at the Jack Kerouac School at Naropa University (formerly The Naropa Institute) in Boulder, Colorado. She is also a literary translator of French, for which she was awarded a 2004 PEN Translation Fund Grant from PEN American Center.
Prevallet is the author of five books of poetry: Everywhere Here and In Brooklyn (A Four Quartets) (Belladonna*, 2012); I, Afterlife: Essay in Mourning Time(Essay Press, 2007); Shadow Evidence Intelligence (Factory School, 2007); Scratch Sides: Poetry Documentation and Image-text Projects (Skanky Possum, 2004); and Perturbation, My Sister (First Intensity Press, 1999).
Michelle Naka Pierce is the author of nine titles, including four full-length books: TRI/VIA co-authored with Veronica Corpuz; Beloved Integer; She, A Blueprint with art by Sue Hammond West; and Continuous Frieze Bordering Red, awarded Fordham’s Poets Out Loud Editor's Prize. Pierce has collaborated with artists, dancers, and filmmakers and performed her work internationally. From 2011–2015, Pierce served as the dean of the Kerouac School; presently, she directs the Naropa Writing Center. Born in Japan, Pierce is currently working on an erasure/recovery project surrounding the body, memory, and “estranged citizenship.”
Chris Pusateri was born in the American Midwest during the year of the Watergate burglary. His most
recent books are Semblence (Dusie, 2013), Common Time (Steerage, 2012), and Anon (BlazeVox,
2008). New work from his manuscript-in-progress, Inter Alia, can be found in recent
issues of Fence, and in the anthology Counter-Desecration: A Glossary for Writing
from Within the Anthopocene (Wesleyan University Press, 2018). He works as a librarian,
teaches in Naropa’s low-residency MFA program, and lives down the road.
Ella Longpre is the author of How to Keep You Alive (Civil Coping Mechanisms 2017), as well as three chapbooks. Her work has appeared in journals, magazines, and anthologies, and has been translated into French. She lives and writes in Denver, where she makes music in the band Giselle and the Willys and is earning her PhD at DU. Ella is nothing without her chosen family and can be found in the woods.
Cecilia Vicuña is a poet, artist, filmmaker and activist. Her work addresses pressing concerns of the modern world, including ecological destruction, human rights, and cultural homogenization. Born and raised in Santiago de Chile, she has been in exile since the early 1970s, after the military coup against elected president Salvador Allende. Vicuña began creating "precarious works" and quipus in the mid 1960s in Chile, as a way of "hearing an ancient silence waiting to be heard." Her multi-dimensional works begin as a poem, an image that morphs into a film, a song, a sculpture, or a collective performance. These ephemeral, site-specific installations in nature, streets, and museums combine ritual and assemblage. She calls this impermanent, participatory work “lo precario” (the precarious): transformative acts that bridge the gap between art and life, the ancestral and the avant-garde. Her paintings of early 1970s de-colonized the art of the conquerors and the "saints" inherited from the Catholic Church, to create irreverent images of the heroes of the revolution. A partial list of museums that have exhibited her work include: The Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; The Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de Santiago; The Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) London; Art in General in NYC; The Whitechapel Art Gallery in London; The Berkeley Art Museum; The Whitney Museum of American Art; and MoMA, The Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Vicuña has published twenty-two art and poetry books, including Kuntur Ko (Tornsound, 2015), Spit Temple: The Selected Performances of Cecilia Vicuña (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2012), Instan (Kelsey Street Press, 2001) and Cloud Net (Art in General, 2000). Her Selected Poems is forthcoming from Kelsey Street Press in 2017. In 2009, she co-edited The Oxford Book of Latin American Poetry: 500 years of Latin American Poetry. She edited ÜL: Four Mapuche Poets in 1997. She was appointed the Messenger Lecturer 2015 at Cornell University, an honor bestowed on authors who contribute to the "evolution of civilization for the special purpose of raising the moral standard of our political, business, and social life." She divides her time between Chile and New York.
Mike Lala is the author of Exit Theater (winner of the 2016 Colorado Prize for Poetry, selected by Tyrone Williams) and several chapbooks, including In the Gun Cabinet (The Atlas Review, 2016) and Twenty-Four Exits: A Closet Drama (Present Tense Pamphlets, the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, 2016). A poet, playwright, and sound artist, Lala has published in outlets including Boston Review, Fence, The Brooklyn Rail, Denver Quarterly, Jubilat, The Awl, the PEN Poetry Series, and VOLT, and presented his work across the United States and Canada, at the 92nd St. Y Unterberg Poetry Center (for Anne Carson's Tenth Muse), The Poetry Project, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and at Pioneer Works' Second Sundays for Contemporary Temporary::Sound Works and Music. Scenes from a new opera called Oedipus in the District (for which Lala was the librettist) recently debuted at The Juilliard School, followed by National Sawdust in Brooklyn. He lives in New York.
angela rawlings is an interdisciplinary artist using languages as dominant exploratory material. Her practice seeks and interrogates relational empathy between bodies—be they human, more-than-human, other-than, non. Meditating on languages as inescapable lenses of human engagement, rawlings’ methods over the past fifteen years have included sensorial poetries, vocal and contact improvisation, theatre of the rural, and conversations with landscapes. rawlings’ books include Wide slumber for lepidopterists (Coach House Books, 2006), o w n (CUE BOOKS, 2015), and si tu (MaMa, 2017). Her libretti include Bodiless (for Gabrielle Herbst, 2014) and Longitude (for Davíð Brynjar Franzson, 2014). rawlings is half the new-music duo Moss Moss Not Moss (with Rebecca Bruton) and the polypoetry duo Völva (with Maja Jantar). She is an LKAS PhD candidate at University of Glasgow where she researches how to perform geochronology in the Anthropocene. rawlings loves in Iceland.
Jonah Mixon-Webster is a poet, sound artist, and educator from Flint, MI. He is a Ph.D. candidate in English Studies at Illinois State University where he is currently writing the dissertation "Stereo(TYPE): A Paracolonial Approach to 21st Century African American and Postcolonial Poetry" A Callaloo Fellow, his poetry and hybrid writing are featured or forthcoming in Muzzle Magazine, Kinfolks: A Journal of Black Expression, Spoon River Poetry Review, Blueshift Journal, Assaracus, Callaloo, Voluble, and the anthology Zombie Variations. Along with jayy dodd and Casey Rocheteau, he is a founding member of the collective CTTNN Club (Can’t Take These Niggas Nowhere).
Born in Chillicothe, Ohio, Juliana Spahr earned a BA in languages and literature from Bard College and a PhD in English from SUNY Buffalo. Spahr’s interests revolve around questions of transformation, language, and ecology. Concerned with politics without being overtly political, Spahr’s work crosses a variety of American landscapes, from the disappearing beaches of Hawaii to the small town of her Appalachian childhood. Following the critical theories mapped out in her book of criticism, Everybody’s Autonomy: Connective Reading and Collective Identity (2001), her own poems have focused on reading as a “communal, democratic, and open process.”In addition to her volume of criticism, Spahr has published eight books of poetry: Nuclear (1994); Response (1996), which won a National Poetry Series Award; Spiderwasp or Literary Criticism (1998); Fuck You-Aloha-I Love You (2001); Things of Each Possible Relation Hashing Against One Another (2003); This Connection of Everyone with Lungs (2005); The Transformation (2007); and Well Then There Now (2011). Spahr has also edited several volumes of essays and poetry, including Writing from the New Coast: Technique (1993); A Poetics of Criticism (1994); American Women Poets in the 21st Century: Where Lyric Meets Language (2002); and Poetry and Pedagogy: the Challenge of the Contemporary (2006). Spahr founded the literary journal Chain and co-edited it from 1993 to 2003 with poet Jena Osman. Chain has since morphed into a small press, which Spahr and Osman co-direct. Spahr won the 2009 O.B. Hardison Jr. Poetry Prize. The prize, presented by the Folger Shakespeare Library, goes to US poets “whose art and teaching demonstrate great imagination and daring.” Spahr has taught at Siena College and at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She is currently an associate professor of English at Mills College.
After visiting Allen Ginsberg fellow Juliana Spahr spent the weekend leading a practicum with creative writing students, she presented a lecture and reading Monday, February 4, 2019, at the Nalanda Events Center at Naropa University.
Her lecture “Literature’s Troubled Relationship with Militancy” detailed her on-going research project tracing ties within Literature publication and notoriety with state power. She explained how many foundations that support literature are extensions of and have ties to state power and that such foundations play an oversized role in literary production, thus, limiting prominent work to a select few, general white with ties to certain academic institutions. Especially with rise of culture wars, production gradually shifted to become more diverse, but remains far from representative. She traced how various social movements such as Black Lives Matter impacted literary production and awards. As a work in progress, she and her colleagues are still looking into various correlations and their impact, yet overall her lecture portrayed the condition of literary production’s diversity.
Her reading mirrored similar qualities that she discussed within her lecture as well, calling out and depicting systemic racism. Her short story detailed an alliance of writers and how they attempt to grapple with and navigate the politics within their discipline. In the first-person narrative, one feels the immediate intensity of the conflicts arising through their discussions and interactions with the external world.
Together, her lecture and reading generated a clear image of the literary landscape as it is today, and the many questions that we as writers ask ourselves on a daily basis.
The Jack Keroac School opened its annual What Where Series on September 11, 2018. Featuring a JKS graduate student, local poet, and visiting writer, the community gathered to listen to provocative work that explored our relationship to absence, grief, and empathy.
Corinne C.j. Dekkers, an MFA Creative Writing and Poetics student at Naropa University opened this year’s What Where Series. Her work captivates us with her contradictions and intimacy, in which the compression and expression of time and space create a vastness of experience. She constantly winds up her poetry to unwind it and rewind it again. She tethers to untether, speaks to unspeak, and thus has the capacity to contain the multitudes to being and nonbeing simultaneously.
Local poet Diana Khoi Nguyen shared from her recent first publication, Of Ghosts. Through her poetry and performance, she immerses the audience with confrontation, contemplations, catharsis, and coping surrounding the grief of familial loss from suicide. Through her multimedia performance, she brings to life the ghosts and memories that haunt us. Opening her reading alongside family videos, she mirrors the language of a film recording, rerecording, repeating, and stuttering to evoke the haunting nature of memory as it is replayed and reckoned with in the present. With loss at its center in time, she moves between the space of innocence and knowing. Within the work, she contains artifacts from her life. As she reads, her voice breaks at parts of erasure, calling immediately to mind the pause and absence. Loss is inescapable in her work, as it is in life, and her poetry calls us to confront memories, questions, and emotions that are often the hardest to understand.
After spending the day workshopping with the Jack Keroac School’s graduate students, Nicolas Gulig read from his most recent publication Orient. In this work, he calls to question the new orientation we have to violence and war afar with the readiness of technology and the news cycle. He attempts to grapple with what it means to feel empathy, grief, and remorse with those who are at the opposite end of the world, and yet on our t.v. sets, they become so intimately close. We feel complicit in the perpetuation of terror and violence, newly aware of our passive gaze. He explores what it means to have this disparity in experience and how we traverse it as global citizens.
Mariko Nagai spent the day at the Jack Keroac School of Disembodied Poetics. Her lecture during the day explored her process of writing from history and the myriad of resources at one’s disposal. She encouraged MFA Students to seek hybrid forms that explored their talents beyond writing. Her own work, Irradiated Cities, is the culmination of years of research on four nuclear atrocities in Japan that combines poetry and photography. . From multiple vantage points, Nagai expresses the intimate experience of catastrophic nuclear war and its lasting effects. Like any trauma, the event lasts long after it has ended, and in this work in particular those close to the epicenter of the nuclear bomb change not only mentally, but physically within their bodies from the effects of radiation. They are unable to escape, and sometimes unable to shed their identity as a survivor, that then alienates them from the future that would rather forget. But we cannot. Nagai’s work urges us to remember and commemorate the innumerable suffering of people caused by moments when humanity is at its worst. We too become complacent, as the displays of suffering are juxtaposed with those of the Americans, the invaders, who committed the atrocities, then mockingly seek to help, study, and gawk. It is too true to turn away. Irradiated Cities transcends nuclear catastrophes and calls us to take a long hard look at our humanity.
Local couple Aby Kaupang and Matthew Cooperman shared their co-written book of poetry NOS (disorder, not otherwise specified) that explores their intimate experience in trying to come to a diagnosis for their sick daughter. No doctors seem to be able to find the answer they so desperately need. They share all the emotions in the process– the anger, confusion, exhaustion, and joy–that come with sleepless nights, constant care-giving, and limitless worries. They mirror the experience in their reading, at times reading in harmony with one another to emphasize their unified experience as parents, and other times reading over one another to express the chaos and disorientation of their daily lives and hospital ritual. They explore what it means to approach a child who does not represent you and who you seem unable to help. And yet with the strength of parental love and perseverance, they find a sustainable harmony.
Naropa University student Andrea Becker shared her journal entries from her study abroad in Bhutan. She opens her work defending the journal as a work worth literary merit and its historical context. It is a form that allows for the widest window into the human soul, as it is unfiltered and unedited. They are some of the keenest documents, allowing for insight into the seemingly banal that culminate to illustrate a vibrant reality. Through her journal, she illustrates her everyday experience of the culture, weaving in descriptions of people, landscapes, and food, and weaves it together with broader musings during her time abroad, such as the widespread nature of pollution. She meditates on her experiences and finds a deep respect for all that she encounters, equating it to a newfound spirituality.
The next What Where Series Event will be October 2, 2018, at 7 P.M. in the Events Center on Naropa University’s Nalanda Campus. Visiting artist Phillip B. Williams, Local Guest Author (TBA), & student (TBA) will join us to read from their current works.
Phillip B. Williams, author of Thief in the Interior, visited the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics on October 2. His lecture during the day gave insightful context to his work within racial discourse of the United States as he positioned it among other writers and artists who are expressing the position of (or lack thereof) the black body in the United States. The formality of his poetry, as in section three of Thief in the Interior comes in a crown sonnet, gives a familiar form to the structural violence he explores. It subverts the anticipated material of the sonnet with something much more personal and urgent. He explores the absence of the gay black body and brings this narrative front and center through lyric yet graphic images rendered by his skillful verse.
Elisa Gabbert was this week’s local visiting writer. She read from her forthcoming publication that explores the process of the writer finding inspiration and writing. Feeling a lack of inspiration, she turned to old journals and used them as a jumping board to discuss the emotions involved with writing that are all too familiar to listening fellow writers. Her reading oscillated from insightful quips that journals enable as they depict the thinking, raw mind and the humorous, relatable notations, such as the importance of having a handsome journal to give the writing within more class. She touches upon the feeling of reencountering past events and people in the present moment, and the process of filling in the gaps where her journal ends and the real world begins. It was a fresh take on the journal, giving the genre a new voice and life.
On October 23, 2018, the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics hosted its final installation of the What Where Series of 2018, including writers Brian Blanchfield, Theory, Jenny Wright, and Wayne.
This evening’s visiting writer Brian Blanchfield read from his collection Proxies: Essays Near Knowing. The series of essays allows the mind to unfold within the page as he explores a topic and allows it to move from the general to the vulnerable. He read in particular On Frottage: xxx, he explores the meaning of the word “frottage” as it pertains to homosexual relations and its inability to fully encapsulate the emotion effect involved in such an intimate moment. As in all his essays, he works from a topic and allows it to unfold into the personal, and in this case divulges into the narrative between two lovers in the midst of the HIV crisis. His work is eloquent and evocative, as each word and phrase carries a weight that builds throughout the entirety of the passage.
Local poet Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint read from two of her most recent works. The End of Peril, the End of Enmity, the End of Strife, a Haven was published just seven months ago, and Zat Lun: A Family History is a work in progress currently being edited by Graywolf Press for forthcoming publication. Her work explored ideas of identity in a world that craves organization and the binary. Sala weaves together the narratives of her various family members, which are grounded by location and conflate the complex nature of identity, culture, and language. She meditates on language and the ways in which her multilingual mind relates to language in a world embedded in colonialism and capitalism. She ends her reading with a poignant statement, that “There is a name for every kind of violence.”
Jenny Wright and Wayne Yandell are MFA Students at Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. Wright recently returned from Argentina and has since been working with ideas of location and identity. She is conflicted with the labels that come adhered as an American traveling abroad in another country under the current tense political climate that can be sensed worldwide. She attempts to reconcile the ideas of self that come prescribed as she journeys abroad. With her travels, she explores the ways in which she changes and perceives the world around her as she shares customs of home with her newfound family. Yandell read accompanied by original visual work scrolling in the background. He opened as the mandatory, professing a disclaimer to the audience that was ironic and meta: offering his apologies in advance and reminding the audience of their participation within their reading and their unnecessary obligatory position to remain. His work that followed was provocative and heightened by his disclaimer, as he delved into a reading that explored facets of legacy and identity within the current state.