Week 2: June 17–22, 2024

AcademicsSummer Writing ProgramSummer Writing Program 2024Week 2: June 17–22, 2024

Ruins: Ceremony & Speculation

Framed by the ever-increasing damage to the biosphere, and forces of war and genocide, the world is haunted ruins; and it’s there on that terror-ground we find ourselves troubled by questions: how precisely can writing address this era of ruined realities of persons, animals, spirits and cities; what are the songs and ceremonies that could give access to an “equal music,” a music that does justice to the world at the brink, the person pressed to the edge of all living, the disappearance of almost innumerable species; what are the rituals & ceremonies that have sustained creativity and poesis from the beginning of culture as a material practice; what ceremonies are called for now, and which are the ones that will open to living formations and reconstruction. Nancy Spero’s “Dance is the First Language,” leaps to mind as a vibrant example recalling that the body itself is ceremonial, that forms of public gathering are also forms of ceremony.

We’ll try and tap into the time of ceremony as the form of time in which the archaic and the contemporary fuse, or align, or intersect, or collide; and we’ll write from that zone instantiated by repetition, shared concentration, and ritual action. We’ll meditate on the possible and the open fields of futurity; we’ll think through speculative lenses as disciplines of writing the antithesis reality, rather than writing under endless war. “Where life is precious life is precious,” Ruth Wilson Gilmore argues in a perfect tautology of counter-reality to the ruination that follows from the regime of Capital’s “organized abandonment” of too many communities. “Where life is precious life is precious” is a simple and absolute formula of circular reasoning, and we intend to invoke  the logic of the circle, that first language of ceremony: joining hands––

Workshop Faculty for Week 2

Distinguished Professor of Poetics Anne Waldman

Meditations in An Emergency: Negative Ions, Dharma Gaze & Charnel Ground :: Anne Waldman

Borrowing the title from Frank O’Hara’s famous book,  and O’Hara’s great elan and kinetic power, our Meditations will be a week to explore some of the ideas and practices borrowed from tantric Buddhist philosophy  which is one of the backdrops for the founding of our half century Naropa University, a wild experiment of arts and mind & psychology & curative therapies & ancient languages,  set in the Rockies and  close to the Continental Divide, summoning both East and West to its alignment.  Dante, Shakespeare, James Joyce and Gertrude Stein have been taught here. Poets from both coasts and around the country and world have found a special atmosphere in this auspicious generative environment. We gather here to re-group and continue.  And honor all the traditions that push the breath to poetry, the breath you can hear so distinctly in heart / mind / imagination on the AV Kerouac School Archive––you can hear  it miraculously has transmission–– push the button,  start up one more time!   The secret whispered lineages of poetry & poetics and an ethics of generosity for humanity. The living thread. This is an emergency. We are needed as poets, artists, thinkers, activists to turn the wheel one more time.

“And while I’m here I’ll do the work,  and what’s the work/ To ease the pain of living, everything else,  drunken dumbshow!”  – Allen Ginsberg, “Memory Gardens”

We will read texts by meditative artists and writers such as John Cage, Leslie Scalapino, Diane di Prima, John Giorno, Joanne Kyger,  Gary Snyder, Jack Kerouac,  Meredith Monk, we will chant poetry sutras. We will keep a meditative Day Book, and create a collective sutra (dialogues of enlightenment), and look into the great Zen masters of haiku and haibun, and  consider the dohas of Milarepa and the  ancient songs of the monks and nuns of the Theragatha & Therigatha, some of civilizations oldest poetry including Enheduanna, the great wisdom poet and  priestess of Mesopotomia. 

We will decipher perhaps what makes impermanence and the  charnel ground such an inspiration for poetry.  The Romantics, the Surrealists , the  Modernists, Post-moderns beam in, and we will   also look at the amazing poetry communities  that have flourished here, with roots in the New American Poetry  radical experimental lineages: Black Arts;  Language Poetry, Documentary Poetics, Somatic Poeisis, Performance,  and Infrastructure Poetics to make it real, in communal space.  

This  “Meditations” workshop will delve into some of the studies and meditations of what I call the  Dharma Gaze that has been a substantive poetic “thread” throughout my years as a poet and  Buddhist student. We will begin each day with some sitting meditation.  We will visit the Maitri Rooms. We will also collaborate  and make a recording  in the recording studio.  And find our way in the maelstrom  and also get lost in our work. Lots of it. We will dedicate the merit of our discoveries together.

The precarity of our existence––our work, our loves, our lives, our artistic and activist practices  and the life of everything that breathes––is a  further goad.  I am reminded of a dharma texts admonishing “Don’t tarry! Don’t tarry!” It is a rallying cry for a civilization on the brink of tragic collapse, its denizens threatened with  endless war, nuke death and genocide, immeasurable suffering, already upon us. We might take the bodhisattva vow for doing no harm and finding poetry in ourselves and everywhere in the world that helps wake the world up to itself.  We are being summoned.

Anne Waldman: Triple Aries April 2, 1945. Father John fought Nazis in WW 2 in Germany, mother  Frances LeFevre Sikelianos  Waldman who spent a  decade  in Greece in the  Delphi Ideal  community of Greek poet Angelo Sikelianos,  was living alone on Macdougal Street, Greenwich Village, NYC, husband at war in Germany,  went to husband’s  in-laws in New Jersey where grandfather Waldemann was glassblower at Wheatons’s Glass factory, for birth, then back to New York City  “bohemian” Village.  Anne sat on great singer Lead Belly’s knee as baby. She grew up with books of poetry, first poetry reading at Izzy Youngs  Folklore Center, feel in love with jazz with jazz and  progressive politics.  Blake, Rimbaud.  Steve Lacy in her extended family. Started writing seriously as teenager with Beat generation and New York School out her door. Jonathan Cott her best friend. College education of literature, performance, loved Blake, Romantics, Psychology studies, but more engaged with reach  of world literatures, oral world epics,  litany, chant,  trance,  shamanism,  entheogens. Modernists, Gertrude Stein, Mina Loy, Franz Fanon, James Baldwin, open form New American Poetry of Beats and New York School and Black Mountain- O’Hara, Ginsberg,  Amiri Baraka, Burroughs, Kyger, Olson, Robert Duncan, Bob Dylan.  Was a decade’s working founder then Director of The Poetry Project in 1968 at the historic Dutch Reformed St Mark’s Church-the-Bowery home to poets, dancers artists, filmmakers, painters, activists. AW has always championed the bringing of poetry as well as protest into public space. Co-founded the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics program at Naropa Institute  in Boulder, Colorado  on the spine of the North American continent,  with Allen Ginsberg, and  with  Diane di Prima in advice early years.  A student of Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, and sawet lama Jadtral, Rinpoche, Waldman is grateful for the wisdom teachings of the Tibetan Buddhist lineages. Waldman continues to work during summers as Artistic Director of the Summer Writing Program, and guardian of its Audio/Video Literary Archive.  She was arrested at Rocky Flats with Daniel Ellsberg and Allen Ginsberg in the 1970s, reading poems that challenged deliveries of plutonium for the manufacturing of pits for nuclear warheads. She was part of protests during the Viet Nam War and at the Chicago Seven trail. And all the current doings of counter-cultural intervention in subsequent times, Occupy Wall Street. She works with the Rizoma collective in Mexico City.  Author of over 60 volumes of poetry, poetics and anthologies including the 1000 page epic The Iovis Trilogy: Colors in The Mechanism of Concealment (Coffee House Press) which won the Pen Center Literary Prize for Poetry. Penguin has published her books over many years, including Trickster Feminism, Manatee/Humanity and Marriage: A Sentence.  Her album SCIAMACHY was released in 2020 by Fast Speaking Music and the Levy-Gorvy Gallery in NYC, which Patti Smith has called “Exquisitely potent. A psychic shield for our times.” Recent: an anthology: NEW WEATHERS, Poetics from the Naropa Archive (with Emma Gomis), Nightboat 2023, Bard, Kinetic, Coffee House 2023, forthcoming: Mesopotopia 2024, Penguin.  New album EKAJATi in the works.  Opera BLACK LODGE Waldman created the libretto for, with music by composer David T. Little  had its  premiere  at Opera Philadelphia Oct 1 & 2, 2022.   

Dawn Lundy Martin photo for week two of the summer writing program 2024

Writing Poetries of Resistance: Resisting the Information Overload :: Dawn Lundy Martin

There is a certain perversity in knowing. The disciplinary apparatuses of the state have taken forms of
which we are newly aware. They watch and document under the auspices of providing safety for citizens. We, in turn, provide almost everyone with excess access to what we do, who we believe ourselves to be, and what we think. Is counter documentation possible? What does it mean to attempt to speak against power? What narratives, forms, languages, gestures, and means toward performance can help us create future selves liberated from the overabundance of record? In this course, we will work toward uncovering the effects of surveillance and AI on writing and imagine strategies for refusing those effects. Together we will generate anti-dossiers that resist totality and information accumulation (secret or other).

Dawn Lundy Martin is the Toi Derricotte Endowed Chair of African American Poetry at the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of several books and chapbooks including: A Gathering of Matter / A Matter of Gathering, selected by Carl Phillips for the Cave Canem Prize; DISCIPLINE which was selected by Fanny Howe for the Nightboat Books Poetry Prize and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; Candy , a limited edition letterpress chapbook The Main Cause of the Exodus; and The Morning Hou r, selected by C.D. Wright for the 2003 Poetry Society of America’s National Chapbook Fellowship. Life in a Box is a Pretty Life was published by Nightboat Books in 2015 and won the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Poetry. Her latest collection, Good Stock / Strange Blood won the prestigious Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Her essays can be found in The New Yorker , Harper’s Magazine , n+1 , The Believer , Ploughshares , The Chicago Review ,boundary 2 , and Best American Essays 2019 . She is currently at work on a memoir. 

In 2016, Martin co-founded, with poet Terrance Hayes, the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics (CAAPP) at the University of Pittsburgh. She serves as the center’s Director. A creative think tank for African American and African diasporic poetry and poetics, CAAPP brings together a diversity of poets, writers, scholars, artists, and community members who are thinking through black poetics as a field that investigates the contemporary moment as it is impacted by historical artistic and social repressions and their respondent social justice movements. 

With Vivien Labaton, Martin also co-edited The Fire This Time: Young Activists and the New Feminism(Anchor Books, 2004), which uses a gender lens to describe and theorize young activist work in the U.S. She is the co-founder of the Third Wave Foundation (New York), which was for 15 years the only young activist feminist organization in the U.S. Martin continues her activist work in collaboration with foundations and activist organizations to research and strategize about protecting the lives and freedoms of women and girls. Using intersectional lenses that bring together feminism with racial justice and LGBTQ rights, Martin works to provide analytical frameworks that assist philanthropic organizations in strategic philanthropy to level the playing field and animate social justice reforms. 

Martin’s current creative-scholarly work operates at the intersecting fields of experimental poetics, video installation, and performance. Letters to the Future: BLACK WOMEN / Radical WRITING , co-edited with Erica Hunt, was published in 2018 by Kore Press. Her video installation work has been featured at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. In 2016 she was awarded an Investing in Professional Artists Grant from the Pittsburgh Foundation and the Heinz Endowments. Martin has also written a libretto for a video installation opera, titled “Good Stock on the Dimension Floor,” featured in the 2014 Whitney Biennial, and collaborated with architect Mitch McEwen on Detroit Opera House, a conceptual architecture project. She is the recipient of a 2018 NEA grant for Creative Writing. With Ronaldo V. Wilson and Duriel E. Harris, she is also a co-founder of the Black Took Collective, an experimental performance art/poetry group of three. 

Carolina Ebied Headshot

:: Carolina Ebeid

Carolina Ebeid is a multimedia poet. Her first book You Ask Me to Talk About the Interior was published by Noemi Press as part of the Akrilica Series, and selected as one of ten best debuts of 2016 by Poets & Writers. Dauerwunder, a chapbook about finding the voice of ancestors within the digital glitch has just been released by Albion Books. Her work has been supported by the Stadler Center for Poetry at Bucknell University, Bread Loaf, CantoMundo, the NEA, as well as a residency fellowship from the Lannan Foundation. A longtime editor, she currently edits poetry at The Rumpus, as well as the multimedia zine Visible Binary. Carolina grew up in West New York, New Jersey in a Cuban and Palestinian family. She currently serves as the Bonderman Visiting Assistant Professor at Brown University where she teaches poetry and video-art. 

Andrea Abi-Karam photo for week two of the summer writing program 2024

:: Andrea Abi-Karam

Andrea Abi-Karam is a trans, arab-american punk poet-performer cyborg. They are the author of EXTRATRANSMISSION, and with Kay Gabriel, they co-edited We Want It All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics. Their second book, Villainy reimagines militant collectivity in the wake of the Ghost Ship Fire and the Muslim Ban. They are currently working on a poet’s novel.

Danielle Vogel 3/4 profile

Writing Ceremony: Rituals in Visionary Poetics :: Danielle Vogel

Ceremonies are sacred observance. They are containers woven through ritual within which we make contact with the liminal. In these revolutionary times, we need ceremony more than ever. Ceremonies of celebration, mourning, transmutation, mystery. How can a poem as an extended ceremonial field of a body serve as a site of radical transformation and sacred observance? How can languaging create contact zones with seen and unseen worlds? How might the alphabet act as a divinatory and devotional tool? How can the writing workshop be transmuted into a coven of care? Drawing on her private well of oracular and divinatory practices, poet, artist, herbalist, and ceremonialist Danielle Vogel has designed a sequence of “writing ceremonies” curated for those seeking to deepen their foundational skills in ceremonial arts and visionary poetic practices. In the company of poet-guides such as Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, M. NourbeSe Philip, Hoa Nguyen, Alice Notley, angela rawlings and Cecilia Vicuña, we will develop our own ceremonial forms. We will cast circles, set intentions, build altars, practice protection and ritual safety, explore ritual objects and ceremonial tools, delve into the physic Clairs, engage in interspecies, elemental, and ancestral communication, dream divination, scrying, and more. Students are invited to arrive with a project, question, place, event or history they wish to hold ceremonially. They may arrive with a ritual practice in place or simply a calling to listen to their own intuitive cores in new and profound ways.

Danielle Vogel is a poet and interdisciplinary artist working at the intersections of queer and feminist ecologies, somatics, and ceremony. She is the author of the hybrid poetry collections A Library of Light (Wesleyan University Press 2024), Edges & Fray (Wesleyan University Press 2020), The Way a Line Hallucinates Its Own Linearity (Red Hen Press 2020), and Between Grammars (Noemi Press 2015). Her installations and site-responsive works have been displayed at RISD Museum, among other art venues, and adaptations of her work have been performed at such places as Carnegie Hall in New York and the Tjarnarbíó Theater in Reykjavík, Iceland. Vogel is committed to an embodied, ceremonial approach to poetics and relies heavily on field research, cross-disciplinary studies, and archives of all kinds. Her installations and site-responsive works—or “ceremonies for language”—are often extensions of her manuscripts and tend to the living archives of memory shared between bodies, languages, and landscapes. She earned a PhD in literature and creative writing from the University of Denver and an MFA in creative writing and poetics from Naropa University. She is currently associate professor at Wesleyan University where she teaches workshops in experimental poetics, investigative and documentary poetics, ecopoetics, hybrid forms, memory and memoir, the lyric essay, and composing across the arts. She lives in the Connecticut River Valley where she also runs a private practice as an herbalist and flower essence practitioner.

silhouette in orange landscape

:: Roger Reeves

Roger Reeves is the author of Best Barbarian (W.W. Norton & Co., 2022), a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Tracy K. Smith called it “a revelation and a form of reparation.” His debut collection is King Me (Copper Canyon Press, 2013), a Library Journal  Best Poetry Book of the year, and winner of the Larry Levis Reading Prize, the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award, and a John C. Zacharis First Book Award. His next book is Dark Days: Fugitive Essays to be published by Graywolf in August 2023. His poems have appeared in journals such as Poetry, Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, Boston Review, and Tin House, among others. He was awarded a 2013 NEA Fellowship, Ruth Lilly Fellowship by the Poetry Foundation in 2008, a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, two Bread Loaf Scholarships, an Alberta H. Walker Scholarship from the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, two Cave Canem Fellowships and a Whiting Award. 

Asked by Ru Freeman in the Huffington Post if he felt there was a particular universality in his work, Reeves responded, “No, I don’t believe my work is particularly universal. I don’t agree or believe in the universal. Many critics have argued this point so I will only say this: often, when we use the term universal, we secretly and not-so secretly mean white and white cultural epistemes. That’s why I resist the term.”

He earned a B.A. in English from Morehouse College, an M.A. in English from Texas A & M University, an MFA from the James A. Michener Center for Creative Writing at the University of Texas at Austin, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is currently a fellow at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute and an associate professor of English and creative writing at the University of Texas at Austin.

silhouette in orange landscape

Dharma Arts :: TBA

silhouette in orange landscape

MFA Lecture :: Stella Corso

Stella Corso is the author of the poetry collections Green Knife (Rescue Press, 2023) and TANTRUM (Rescue Press, 2017), selected by Douglas Kearney for the Black Box Prize, along with the chapbooks Taboo Vivant (blush lit, 2022) and Wind & the Augur (Sixth Finch, 2021). She is a founding member of the Connecticut River Valley Poets’ Theater (CRVPT) and the current Managing Editor of Denver Quarterly and FIVES.

silhouette in orange landscape

Special Guests :: TBA

Ambrose Bye in front of canvas

Harry Smith Recording Studio

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



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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.