Week 1: June 9–15, 2024

AcademicsSummer Writing ProgramSummer Writing Program 2024Week 1: June 9–15, 2024

Reckoning & Future-Memory

In these long seasons of emergencies we mean to recall a futurity in which an economy of shared human flourishing arrives; we intend to think memory as a speculative fiction, to think memory as a reckoning case; to remember the responsibilities of the writer/artist to agitate, and imagine life otherwise; we mean to remember through the image of Indra’s Net, the radical interdependence we are all  caught up within and constituted by; to remember memory as the dreamer does; to think memory as/or beyond the body’s limits; we mean to inhabit the memorial as a social project and urgency:

to remember, and thereby shelter

to imagine shelter, and thereby remember a future

to recall the future for our survival

What will be the language of that future-memory: Cecilia Vicuña’s precarios come to mind as first image of this language of a just-glimpsed futurity, a language that bears the ethical freight of having coming through to the other side of experience, a language resonant with survival: what are other possibilities for a vocabulary to reckon with disaster and survival; as language-workers how can we advance this reckoning and responsibility; and how do we each take our place in this collective task: what texts, gestures, and messages will your work add to the language(s) of the future; how can your writing expand the field.

This search for forms that can carry language into habitable future will inflect our time together; the matter of survival, endurance, and the habitable are ever more urgently pressing in  on both the human, and the more-than-human worlds: as Anne Waldman and Meredith Monk ask in “The Living” that song set against ecocide and extinction “whose sounds, and cries, and metabolic thrum might soon be silenced.” Listen here, now, to remember the future, “the living thread.”

Workshop Faculty for Week 1

CAConrad head shot

Occult Anatomy Inside the Phantasm :: CAConrad

This workshop will explore occult interrelations with our bodies and the natural elements and human-made structures of Naropa’s lush, breathing landscape through the lens of writing with (Soma)tic poetry rituals. The Allen Ginsberg Library holds a particular kind of archive of SWP, but what about the memory of trees outside the library’s window or the songs of rocks and soil? We will listen and write together, holding the connection from the past, moving ever-onward, transmuting and transfiguring the world.

In the spirit of SWP’s 50th birthday, we will also hold a Bibliomancy-Seance with books by former SWP instructors and performers who have passed away, such as Bernadette Mayer, Lorenzo Thomas, Amiri Barka, John Cage, Joanne Kyger, Thich Nhat Hanh, and others. In preparation, all workshop students will listen to at least one selection from the SWP digital archive, where we find many performances and talks, such as Juliana Spahr’s fantastic lecture on Bernadette Mayer’s sonnets, where “Spahr questions the use of traditional forms by women writers as a gesture of resistance and/or subversion.” Please see this link in preparation for class: https://archive.org/details/naropa

Each day during lunch break, all SWP students from all workshops are welcome to meet us on the lawn in front of the Ginsberg Library for a series of open readings. Share your latest poems or your favorite poems by other poets. Let’s infuse the campus with poetry!

CAConrad has worked with the ancient technologies of poetry and ritual since 1975. Their latest book is Listen to the Golden Boomerang Return (Wave Books / UK Penguin 2024). They received the Ruth Lily Poetry Prize, a PEN Josephine Miles Award, a Creative Capital grant, a Pew Fellowship, and a Lambda Award. The Book of Frank is now available in 9 different languages. They exhibit poems as art objects with recent solo shows in Spain and Portugal, and their play The Obituary Show was made into a film in 2022 by the artist Augusto Cascales. Visit them at https://linktr.ee/CAConrad88

Cedar Sigo headshot

A Pulsating Phantom Container :: Cedar Sigo

During this workshop we will explore the space allowed within the prose poem.  I often imagine that its patterns of compression and release force us to take a wide corner and that suddenly our ability to recognize material as content feels incredibly natural, almost like taking an inventory. Does the prose poem promise a dream of hybridity or is it in fact the best form for dispensing with the ghost of narrative? We will investigate this question alongside a battery of texts including both poetics statements as well as prose poems by Alice Notley, Simone White, dg nanouk okpik, Joy Harjo, Pierre Reverdy and Elizabeth Willis. Sometimes calling a piece of writing a ‘prose poem’ because it resembles a short paragraph misses the ‘point of flow’ entirely. Would it matter for a listener to know in advance they are about to hear a prose poem? Our own individual conceptions of the prose poem must emerge and give our voices new tendrils and outright handles. All students will be encouraged to read their weekly assignments aloud. We will also write in class to uncover immediate gateways, always moving toward a constant re-engagement with the poem.

Cedar Sigo is a poet and member of the Suquamish Tribe. He studied writing and poetics at Naropa University. His most recent books are (poetry) All This Time and (lectures) Guard the Mysteries both published by Wave Books in 2021. He received a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artist’s Award in 2022. He is the editor of There You Are: Interviews, Journals & Ephemera by Joanne Kyger. He was an advisory editor with Joy Harjo on When the Light of the World was Subdued Our Songs Came Through: A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry. He teaches in the Low-Residency MFA program at The Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. 

Anselm Berrigan headshot

Why You Get Things Down :: Anselm Berrigan

According to the painter & sculptor Jack Whitten, Franz Kline told him, in the early 1960s, “the minute you step into that studio and pick up that brush, you are a part of art history and you’ll never be lonely.” Given painting and poetry’s longstanding pre-historic friendship, one primal reason to write a poem is to take part in the whole human fabric of poetry that goes back before writing was even a thing. Archives can be records of and from some of that fabric on micro and cosmic scales — archives can also be bought and sold, invented by theft, avoided & or escaped from, and built to be dispersed into the air. We’ll be reading and writing out of and into these possibilities, and maybe deforming them, while keeping pleasure and permission in mind, accompanied by Allen Ginsberg, Harryette Mullen, Kevin Davies, Etel Adnan, Claire Hong, and Francois Villon (trans. Jean Calais), among others.

Anselm Berrigan is a poet, editor, and teacher. His books of poetry include Pregrets, Something for Everybody, Come in Alone, Notes from Irrelevance, and Zero Star Hotel. A new book of poems is coming out this fall from Wave Books — Don’t Forget to Love Me — which collects poems written between 2017 and 2023. He was the poetry editor for The Brooklyn Rail, an arts and culture monthly, from 2008-2023, and directed The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church from 2003-2007 after working there in various other capacities, beginning as a volunteer. Through the subpress poetry collective he has edited and published books by Hoa Nguyen and Steve Carey, among others, and he is currently working on a collected poems manuscript for the legendary Dick Gallup. With his family he has co-edited three volumes of poetry and prose by his father Ted Berrigan. Berrigan was granted an Individual Artists Award from the Foundation of Contemporary Arts in 2017, and has also received awards and residencies from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, The Robert Rauschenberg Residency/Foundation, and The Fund for Poetry. He has hosted weekly reading series over a combined span of ten years for The Zinc Bar, The Poetry Project, and The Brooklyn Rail, and he worked extensively on The Poetry Project’s archive for nearly a decade ahead of its sale to the Library of Congress.
Anselm Berrigan is the author of many books of poetry: Pregrets, (Black Square Editions, 2021), Something for Everybody, (Wave Books, 2018), Come In Alone (Wave Books, May 2016), Primitive State (Edge, 2015), Notes from Irrelevance (Wave Books, 2011), Free Cell (City Lights Books, 2009), Some Notes on My Programming (Edge, 2006), Zero Star Hotel (Edge, 2002), and Integrity and Dramatic Life (Edge, 1999). He is also the editor of What is Poetry? (Just Kidding, I Know You Know): Interviews from the Poetry Project Newsletter (1983–2009) and co-author of two collaborative books: Loading, with visual artist Jonathan Allen (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2013), and Skasers, with poet John Coletti (Flowers & Cream, 2012). He was the poetry editor for The Brooklyn Rail from 2008 through 2023. With Alice Notley and Edmund Berrigan he co-edited The Collected Poems of Ted Berrigan (U. California, 2005) and the Selected Poems of Ted Berrigan (U. California, 2011). More recently, he co-edited Get The Money! Collected Prose of Ted Berrigan (City Lights, 2022) with Notley, Edmund Berrigan, and Nick Sturm. A member of the subpress publishing collective, he has published books by Hoa Nguyen, Steve Carey, Adam DeGraff, and Brendan Lorber.  From 2003-2007 he was Artistic Director of The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church, where he also hosted the Wednesday Night Reading Series for four years. He teaches writing classes at Pratt Institute and Brooklyn College, and was a longtime Co-Chair in Writing at the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts interdisciplinary MFA program. Berrigan was granted an Individual Artists Award from the Foundation of Contemporary Arts in 2017, and was also awarded a 2015 Process Space Residency by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and a Robert Rauschenberg Residency by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation in 2014. He was a New York State Foundation for the Arts fellow in Poetry for 2007, and has received three grants from the Fund for Poetry.
Eileen Myles photo for week one of the summer writing program 2024

Writing, Long & Short :: Eileen Myles

I’m thinking of poems and prose and we’ll mix it up this week and write both though tipped toward poetry. I’ll bring in some bits from Etel Adnan, Juan Rulfo, Dawn Lundy Martin and Brontez Purnell and Marcella Durand. We’re going to think about writers who do both and you’ll write four pieces that week. Come ready with your favorite paper and pen and we’ll also figure out what the archive is and why anybody cares.  Holding things for the future but is there one? Bring a stuffed animal too. How do we write in this blur?

Eileen Myles (b. 1949, they/them) is a poet, novelist and art journalist whose practice of vernacular first-person writing has made them one of the most recognized writers of their generation. Pathetic Literature, which they edited, came out in Fall of ’22. Their newest collection of poems, a “Working Life”, is out now. Their fiction includes Chelsea Girls(1994) which just won France’s Inrockuptibles Prize for best foreign novel, Cool for You (2000), Inferno (a poet’s novel) (2010) and Afterglow(2017). Writing on art was gathered in the volume The Importance of Being Iceland: Travel Essays in Art (2009). Books of poetry include Evolution(2018) and I Must Be Living Twice: New and Selected Poems 1975-2014. Their super-8 road film “The Trip” is on YouTube. They live in New York & in Marfa, TX.

James Brandon lewis playing saxaphone
Ambrose Bye

Node :: James Brandon Lewis & Ambrose Bye

In our week together we will take archiving into the recording studio and see what happens when we start collaborating. Using composition and improvisation we will converse using words and sound and document our success and failure. We will explore the ways one creative spirit can inform another and create something fresh, unique, and timeless. What works and what doesn’t? How important is one’s own aesthetic? What can we learn about our own noise when we start listening to others? We will also examine previous recordings and texts that have paved the way for our endeavors as well as the technology that has aided in the preservation of this process. Together we will capture and release a recording that would never have existed without our node. Musicians and writers of all levels of experience are welcome, there will be very few rules, it’s gonna be fun.


James Brandon Lewis is a critically acclaimed saxophonist, composer, recording artist. The Jesup Wagon, his tenth record was named Album of the Year in 2021 by the Jazz Times and Downbeat Magazine (as well as numerous international jazz magazines). Inspired by the agricultural & educational efforts of inventor George Washington Carver, The Jesup Wagon draws on a rich archive of music including, jazz, gospel, folk-blues and catcalling brass bands. James Brandon Lewis studied music at Howard University, and holds an MFA from CalArts; he leads numerous ensembles and is the Co-Founder of Poetry Music Ensemble Heroes Are Gang Leaders; he collaborates with a range of writers, poets, and artists.


Ambrose Bye is a musician, engineer, and producer living in Mexico City, and is the  co-founder of Fast Speaking Music with Anne Waldman. He has produced over 20 albums and frequently collaborates with poets. Recent productions include “Among the Poetry Stricken” (Clark Coolidge and Thurston Moore) and “Artificial Happiness Button” (Heroes are Gang Leaders).  He has worked and performed at Masnaa and the Ecole de la Literature in Casablanca, Le Maison de Poesie in Paris, the fieEstival Maelstrom in Brussels, the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur, Pathway to Paris at Montreal POP 2015, and Casa Del Lago in Mexico City.  He has also been involved in the recording studio and workshops at the Summer Writing Program at Naropa University since 2009.


Fast Speaking Music


Julia Seko in the Harry Smith Print Shop at the Vandercook #4

Harry Smith Print Shop :: Julia Seko

Julia Seko, letterpress printer, book artist, and proprietor of P.S. Press, is longtime adjunct faculty in the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics where she teaches letterpress studio courses. She co-founded the Book Arts League, a local nonprofit letterpress and book arts organization, and is a central figure in the Harry Smith Printshop at Naropa University.

stone gateway amid green mountain scenery

Dharma Art :: Michelle Naka Pierce

Award winning poet Michelle Naka Pierce is the author of nine titles, including four full-length books: TRI/VIA (Erudite Fangs/PUB LUSH), co-authored with Veronica Corpuz; Beloved Integer (Bootstrap/PUB LUSH); She, A Blueprint (BlazeVOX), with art by Sue Hammond West; and Continuous Frieze Bordering Red (Fordham), awarded the Poets Out Loud Editor’s Prize. Pierce has collaborated with artists, dancers, and filmmakers and performed her work internationally, most recently in the UK, France, and Japan. She founded and directed the Naropa Writing Center and Core Writing Seminars from 2000–2022 and served as the inaugural dean of the Kerouac School from 2011–2015 and as chair in 2016–2017. Her teaching and research interests include avant-garde poetry, hybrid forms, pedagogy, and embodied experiments. Born in Japan, she currently lives in Colorado with the poet Chris Pusateri and Shigin Sensei Michiko Masuda Pierce and is working on an erasure/recovery project surrounding estranged texts/bodies/memories.

stone gateway amid green mountain scenery

MFA Lecture :: TBA

stone gateway amid green mountain scenery

Special Guest :: Norma Cole

Norma Cole is a poet, painter and translator. Her most recent book of poetry, FATE NEWS, appeared in October 2018. Other books of poetry include Win These Posters and Other Unrelated Prizes Inside, Where Shadows Will: Selected Poems 1988—2008, Spinoza in Her Youth and, Actualities, her collaboration with painter Marina Adams. TO BE AT MUSIC: Essays & Talks appeared in 2010. Her translations from the French include Danielle Collobert’s It Then, Collobert’s Journals, Crosscut Universe: Writing on Writing from France (edited and translated by Cole), Jean Daive’s first book, White Decimal, and Daive’s A Woman with Several Lives, which was a finalist in the 32nd Annual Northern California Book Awards. Her awards include the Fund for Poetry, Gertrude Stein Award, the Richardson Award for Non-Fiction Prose and the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation Award for Poetry. Cole has taught at San Francisco State University, University of San Francisco, UC Berkeley, Naropa University, Otis College of Art and Design and others. During winter 2004/05, Cole could be seen inhabiting a 1950s living room as part of her Collective Memory installation during the retrospective Poetry and its Arts: Bay Area Interactions 1954—2004, hosted at the California Historical Society. More recently, she curated a show by Marina Adams at the Cue Arts Foundation in NYC and had a collaboration with Adams in BOMB 114, Winter 2011. For San Francisco Poets Theatre Cole cowrote “Art Colony Survivor” and “Afterglow” with the late Kevin Killian and performed in numerous plays over the years. Her visual work has been shown at New College of California, the Miami University Art Museum, 2nd floor projects and Right Window in San Francisco, and “Way Bay,” an exhibition at the Berkeley Art Museum. She is a curatorial member of the Right Window Collective, San Francisco.

Nick Sturm headshot

Special Guest :: Nick Sturm

Nick Sturm is editor of Early Works by Alice Notley (Fonograf Editions, 2023) and co-editor of Get the Money!: Collected Prose, 1961-1983 by Ted Berrigan (City Lights, 2022). His work has been published at Poetry FoundationThe Brooklyn RailJacket2, Chicago ReviewASAP/JWomen’s Studies, and Post45. His manuscript in progress, Material Directions: Print Cultures of the New York School, concludes with a chapter about the pedagogical-focused publishing community at Naropa and the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics in the 1970s and ’80s. He recently compiled a bibliography of the mimeographed little magazines and books published at The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church, which was published by Among the Neighbors pamphlet series. He teaches at Georgia State University and Emory University. More information about his research, scholarship, and teaching can be found at nicksturm.com.

Julie Carr Performing

Special Guest :: Julia Carr

Julie Carr is the author of ten books of poetry and prose, including Real Life: An Installation (Omindawn 2018), Objects from a Borrowed Confession (Ahsahta, 2017), and Someone Shot my Book (University of Michigan Press, 2018). Earlier books include 100 Notes on Violence (Ahsahta, 2010), RAG (Omnidawn, 2014), and Think Tank (Solid Objects, 2015). She is also the author of the critical study of Victorian poetry, Surface Tension: Ruptural Time and the Poetics of Desire in Late Victorian Poetry (Dalkey Archive, 2014). With Jeffrey Robinson, she is the coeditor of Active Romanticism (University of Alabama Press, 2015). Her co-translation of Leslie Kaplan’s Excess-The Factory was published by Commune Editions in 2018. Her history of populism, eugenics, and spiritualism in the American west entitled Mud, Blood, and Ghosts is forthcoming in the Spring of 2023.


A former NEA fellow, Carr is a professor at the University of Colorado in Boulder. She has collaborated with dance artists K.J. Holmes and Gesel Mason. With Tim Roberts she is the co-founder of Counterpath Press, Counterpath Gallery, and Counterpath Community Garden in Denver.

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Naropa Campuses Closed on Friday, March 15, 2024

Due to adverse weather conditions, all Naropa campuses will be closed Friday, March 15, 2024.  All classes that require a physical presence on campus will be canceled. All online and low-residency programs are to meet as scheduled.

Based on the current weather forecast, the Healing with the Ancestors Talk & Breeze of Simplicity program scheduled for Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday will be held as planned.

Staff that do not work remotely or are scheduled to work on campus, can work remotely. Staff that routinely work remotely are expected to continue to do so.

As a reminder, notifications will be sent by e-mail and the LiveSafe app.  

Regardless of Naropa University’s decision, if you ever believe the weather conditions are unsafe, please contact your supervisor and professors.  Naropa University trusts you to make thoughtful and wise decisions based on the conditions and situation in which you find yourself in.