Updates from October, 2011 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • AD 000 on 000 Permalink | Reply  

    As one of the chauffeurs for the &Now 2011 festival, I had the opportunity to observe and speak with several of the featured writers. On Friday, Dr. A—this talented writer wishes to remain anonymous—still had not finished his presentation when I picked him up at the airport baggage terminal. Dr. A typed all the way to the hotel, his fingers a veritable blur against the laptop keyboard. He then asked for a last minute pickup so that he could shower and continue to write his presentation, which was due less than two hours later. Although worried about cutting things too close, I fancy myself something of a dragster and so agreed to the almost impossible schedule. Slaloming along Torrey Pines Road in rush hour traffic frayed my nerves, but Dr. A retained his aplomb despite creative weaving and an impromptu U-turn due to a BMW owner’s reluctance to risk his new car on a left. Each time we rounded a corner, Dr. A’s laptop shifted from side to side. Like a pro, he calmly leaned into each curve, the clatter of fingers upon keys never abating. Yes, Dr. A proved himself a veritable James Bond of writers, impervious to threats, never faltering in his goal!

    After careening to a stop in our secret reserved parking space, we exited the car in a rush of limbs, and dashed through several buildings. When we finally skidded to a stop in front of the auditorium, I felt sorely out of breath, but no perspiration marred Dr. A’s noble brow, nor was a stitch out of place on his athletic frame. Needless to say, his presentation proved both professional and highly entertaining. Perhaps we could add a course, LTWR 007, to the creative writing curriculum and lure Dr. A here to teach it.

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    Acting as one of the chauffeurs for the Festival allowed me to meet several wonderful featured writers. One of the feature writers that I met while acting as one of the chauffeurs for the Festival (see my 007 story above) is a talented poet and writer who I call Dr. A, as he wishes to remain anonymous. Although extremely busy, Dr. A took my list of questions with him on his flight, and mailed his answers to me after he returned home. I hope you enjoy his answers and humor as much as I have.

    Q: Are you writing/hoping anyone’s going to read – what’s your relationship to accessibility for larger audiences vs. small nice audiences?
    A: I do not think of audiences with the word “hope” attached, at least in terms of who or what will read the work. I hope to endure and play in the process of writing.

    Q: How do you write for money on a deadline with no inspiration?
    A: I guess one does this–seems strange, really

    Q: Do writers think about demographic as they are writing a novel, in order to make more money?
    A: Who knows? I went to school to develop a complex skill set–to create a path for making work, poetry, etc. Not sure what other writers think.

    Q: Is it easier to get your second piece published than it was to get your first in print?
    A: Who knows? What’s easier? I published two books almost at the same time.

    Q: Does the digital media/internet change or impact your writing?
    A: Yes, as I use many forms of digital media for practical and experimental projects.

    Q: How do you know if you are being cheated out of a decent advance?
    Oh please–this question is strange–not for poets?Maybe– I don’t make poems for $$$

    Q: What do you know now about writing that you wish you knew when you were starting out?
    A. That it is crazy to think about a first book while in grad school–usually those first books are too close to the MFA/PhD arc lame.

    Q: What is the biggest mistake or regret about your career?
    A: The process evolves. I hate this question as I am in my career, not after!

    Q: Tell us about themes you prefer to write about and why you feel its important to address them.
    A: See books–Race (look in the mirror), class (smile in the night), sexuality (get twisted in the sack).

    Q: What advice do you give writers about getting an MFA versus other avenues for finding publishers?
    A: Just make great work and real–if you’re seeking a publisher, now, you must be confident or hardheaded.

    Q: Describe strategies of building communities with writers and other innovators. How are you able to work across disciplines?
    A: Find the smart people. I look in many places.

    Q: As a writer, how much time do ou spend writing vs. promoting what you’ve already written?
    A: I don’t promote my work. I write. I teach. I travel and share.

    Q: How do you feel about collaborative work? Do you do it? Do you rule it out? Collaborative novels or poetry books?
    A: See Black Took Collective

    Q: What is the reality of the publishing industry today?
    A: The sky is blue or gray or black or not.

  • AD 000 on 000 Permalink | Reply  

    I had the privilege of meeting Duriel Harris during the festival. She is an extremely talented poet, and a very nice person. I enjoyed both her presentation, and her conversation, and am very grateful that such a busy lady took the time to answer some questions for our blog. I am also including a question that she answered during our ride to the airport. It concerns how she became a poet.

    Q: For Expert writers – are you writing/hoping anyone’s going to read – what’s your relationship to accessibility for larger audience vs. small nice audience.

    A: I write with an imagined present and future public in mind. In the initial phase I compose without the awareness of an outside audience (anyone other than myself). Returning to the work in revision—re envisioning it—I consider how the work might communicate to and/or create experience for others. I generally imagine someone intelligent and thoughtful, someone willing to enter the space of poetry/language art, someone who wants to encounter other human beings.

    Q: What do you know now about writing that you wish you knew when you were starting out?

    A: I wish I had been aware of the degree to which relationships with other poets mattered for my own edification and for publication.

    Q: Would you share some specific techniques and useful habits to “get your writing going” to get inspiration?

    A: I freewrite quite a bit. I also read work by other writers. I’m most inspired by good/great writing so when courting inspiration I read until I find poems, stanzas, lines, phrases that teach me something, that are unexpected and draw me into a way of thinking/experiencing that I did not anticipate, that take me out of myself and encourage me to reconsider what I know and/or believe about a subject or a mode of being. Sometimes (less often than I should) I go for a walk or bike ride and take in the natural (and not so natural world). I often find inspiration from film so at times I Netflix binge.

    Q: How do you feel about collaborative work? Do you do it? Do you rule it out? Collaborative novels and collaborative poetry books?

    A: Collaboration is exciting. I most often like to collaborate across disciplines though as a poet I would like to collaborate with a fiction writer and/or a nonfiction writer to interrogate and push at/against the boundaries of genre. My most recent collaborations have been with a video artist and a master of traditional Japanese music. Thrilling.

    Q: What do you do to self-promote/market your work?

    A: I tend to share my work publicly to market it. I am also now cultivating an email campaign list and updating interested folk via email blasts. A website is also on the “to do” list. I’m on my 5th web designer/developer, though. I need to really focus on that project soon.

    Q: How do you protect your work, do you copyright it or? How and when?

    A: I tend to register copyright for poems closer to manuscript stage. Music and sound recordings, however, I register as soon as they’re reasonably complete/finished.

    Q: How did you decide to become a poet?

    Answer written down after the fact by April Decker: Said she wanted to be an engineer in college, but had a great deal to work through and get out. She started writing and acting, published some poems in a feminist campus paper and one that centered upon Black issues. When it came time to make a choice, Duriel thought that acting would force her to depend upon others and was difficult because of the race factor, not so much in getting jobs afterwards as in the classes and work at college. She felt that writing would give her more control and freedom of expression.

    Duriel received excellent reviews on her first book, and is happy with her decision to wait, and not publish her Master’s thesis, which she wrote at 23. She stated that she is very happy with this decision, as she feels that her work has benefited from added time and experience. This way, she does not have to worry about early pieces floating around that she might not now want to be part of the public record.

    Duriel stated that she became interested in performance art because there is only so much a poet can do with any given poem–only so many times it can be reworked before it starts to become boring. Although that poem might still hold significance for other readers, Duriel feels that the work must also retain immediacy and significance for its creator.

  • genetanta 000 on 000 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bravado, empathy and tolerance, formal alarm, life for life’s sake, , the new   

    Manifestos-R-Us: The Possibility of Possibility


    Gene Tanta, Vanessa Place, Snežana Žabić, Amy King, Tasha Marren

    I hope my event will change some minds and hearts about the received categories through which we usually experience the new. This event will challenge readers and listeners to reconsider received ideas about our association of the new as the good. Out of this discomfort, I hope empathy and tolerance grow since these practices have never been more needed than now, which of course is forever and in the future. 

The manifesto moment came and went in a blinding flash of bravado just about a century ago. Much given to mimesis, the manifesto wanted to show that not only art for art’s sake was possible, but that life for life’s sake was also possible. Why divide art from life? Who benefits by these divisions of labor? A little later, Walter Benjamin wondered: what is the new without the question of freedom but mere fashion? What kinds of writing become possible after we stop trying to “make it the new”? How do you imagine your freedom?

I want to invite participants to use the has-been manifesto form to tell/show/perform the has-been idea of “make it new”? These brief statements of formal alarm will guide, convince, and convert us to the possibility of possibility in writing today. How can we imagine an affirmative postmodernism in the literary arts? What is your vision for the poetic future or for the future of poetry? How does the tone of the manifesto itself (us versus them) speak to the perpetual crises of form sparked by the death of the agent?

  • vondicher 000 on 000 Permalink | Reply  

    On “we”
    ‎…as space is never homogeneous, people occupying it end up in hierarchical “we”s – this isn’t a manifestation of a mass-mob mentality, but quite the opposite, a sign of difference. Difference between individuals, but also, again, differentiation of groups – such as the “we” of a panel as opposed to the “we” of the audience (and when you walk in an auditorium, you make a decision to opt into one of those groups, and assume the consequences).
    “We” is. The only way to dislocate it is to knowingly mess with it (for instance by sitting in the back of the room even if part of a panel).

    • genetanta 000 on 000 Permalink | Reply

      I think you state the problem quite clearly: participation in the herd is not optional for the social animal. However, the category of “we” is a problem for those whose identities get erased by being included or acculturated as a part of the “we” genre.

      It seems to me that the primal question looking to the future is this one: how to be social (not cynical and selfishly misanthropic because it is so easy) and still have agency?

  • genetanta 000 on 000 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: corporate imagination, dreaming, moral progress, , the possible   

    We is a word that gives you meaning

    Is the possible even still possible today? I don’t even know what you mean! Not as dream, but as practice. To demonstrate the contradictions of Liberal Democratic capitalism, we occupy space and serve as an amplification organ. The beautiful social mess of the People’s Mic permits individual voices to heckle the authority of self expression. We call and respond to the future. We are a high school clique following our leader because she knows how to butter our bread. We are here because we want new words that will set us free from the limits set upon us by corporate imaginations. We is a word that gives our identity a filigree border, without which we don’t even know what you mean. I don’t even know what you mean! We is a word that gives you meaning. Americans with “fuck you” money live in their “fuck you” houses up on the “fuck you” hill. Nonetheless, we may be the most utopian category of all. A blind faith in moral progress is the elephant in every stanza you enter. We question our fashionable obsession with the new because it distracts us from our role in alms-justice. Community is not something you can opt in or out of like some wise barbarian. The commons is inside of you expressing itself through every choice you make or refuse to make. We will not go primitive nor fall through the trapdoor of dreaming. We demand the possible, now!

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    Tags: , publishing, teresa carmody, writing practices   


    My last interview, with Teresa Carmody, was not spontaneous as the others had been. She kindly arranged it with me on Friday of &Now, and when I showed up on Saturday I had a tape recorder ready, because my writing hand and wrist were in pain. Here is a very lightly edited transcription of what she had to say.

    ROSE MIREYA: Well, thank you very much again for taking a few minutes to talk to me. I totally enjoyed your reading. Unfortunately because we get so swamped at UCSD, I hadn’t really heard about it before, but I felt like you were channeling the characters that you were reading, and that just makes me curious about how you go about writing that sort of thing. Can you talk a little bit about your techniques as a writer for characters and stuff?

    TERESA CARMODY: Well, I came to writing thru voice. In other words, it’s been, as I was learning, the point of entry for me as a writer, to learn about what writing might do or text might do was thru voices. And so … this project is a project that I’ve been working on for a very, very, very long time. A very long time. … I say this because it seems that I don’t know what will happen when this book is done. Like I know that I’m more interested, that I’ve become increasingly more interested in narrative, that entry point has not been thru voice, it has been thru oftentimes thru visual imagery. But I think that learning to write takes a really long time, and that oftentimes … it seems that, it seems that some writers, maybe a lot of them … maybe not a lot of them, but enough of them, have whatever projects that they need to write initially to go thru and get out of the way and then they can continue on, thinking about other things. And so, for me, like this project that you heard from today is very—it’s not a memoir but it has a lot of autobiographical—you know, it comes from personal experience. The voices I grew up with.

    R.M.: That’s cool. And do you have any specific technique for recalling those places and making them your own?

    T.C.: No … I think that … sometimes using something, which is not the case in this book, but sometimes using something really arbitrary … can actually help you hone a voice more distinctly. So, it might even be something like using a certain kind of grammatical pattern, or syntax pattern. Or, in … my collection of short stories that came out a few years ago … all of the stories play with voices—starts with a single voice, goes to two, then it’s a polyvocal piece, and they’re kind of monologues, but in the one that has many different voices, one of the layers of editing I did was assign a different vowel sound to each of the characters and go thru and do an edit where I was actually putting … a lot of that vowel sound in, which I then actually ended up taking out some of that—I like, overdid it, and then … did back, but it was like almost as if I saw these things as if you were painting … it’s almost impressionistic, so it’s like you have a figure that’s coming and then maybe you need to put a lot of red, but then maybe the red needs to be covered up. So that’s one of the elements of sound or language that you can do that with …

    R.M.: What is something that’s particularly fun about writing for you?

    T.C.: Already having written. … I’m actually quite serious about that—that, sometimes, the most fun thing is having already done it. … I really like it when you’re at a place in a project where you start seeing all of the little pieces start to connect … there’s little webs that are being made between the kind of imagery, there’s sonic sense that’s happening between different things, and that takes some time to get to in a piece, and so when you get there it “A,” means you’re getting close to being done, which is fun, getting back to my first thing, but that’s just part of the symmetrical delight, or the formal delight, in writing.

    R.M.: If somebody wants to do what you do, with Les Figues, can you talk a little bit about steps they would take to start doing that?

    T.C.: To start actually having a press? Well first of all, I think that … the steps would be figuring out what it is that you want to do, and then trying to articulate a vision, and then coming back a year later after you’ve already started doing it. … I see making a small press as kind of similar to making a piece of writing, where you could have this idea or this dream or this sort of sense, but then once you actually get into the logistics of making it … it’ll start to become increasingly clear what it is that you’re trying to do, as long as you’re reflecting on it. But it’s also really easy to do now. … I mean you can use a POD publisher and make books that way easily. But I think the thing … that we’re really smart about with Les Figues is having a really articulated vision of what we’re trying to do. And again that has been fine-tuned, but coming back to that, over and over again. … And a little bit of insanity. Or a lot of insanity.

    R.M.: Are there certain personality traits that are helpful to have?

    T.C.: No, but just like being willing to work really hard, for no money, and just being a little crazy that way.

    R.M.: So on that note then, what keeps you going to work for little or no money? I’m sure a lot of my classmates would be interested to know. I’m interested.

    T.C.: The thing with Les Figues, when Vanessa Place and Pam Ore and I started it, we didn’t really have a writing community, or the writers that we knew were not necessarily the kind of work that we wanted to be engaged with … or we liked their work fine but … there weren’t the kinds of conversations about writing that we wanted to be having, and we found that it was really—like if you go to a cocktail party … and you say like, “Well what are you trying to do with your writing?” people don’t like to answer that question in the context of a party. And so … we were trying to figure out how could we have conversations about that, and … it’s that very thing of having those kinds of conversations, and building the community. And also just—I mean, I really love the work that we publish, and seeing it go out in the world and seeing people, other people read it and get excited about it. I love that.

    R.M.: Do you think it helps or hampers a writer to have an audience or demographic in mind when creating any kind of work?

    T.C.: I think it depends on the writer, and what kind of writer the writer wants to be in the world. So some people want to …write to a certain audience and be a voice representing that group, and other people are a voice representing that group, but they don’t necessarily have the self awareness, because … you know. But I think that … one should be absolutely free to do whatever it is, and if you start writing something and it makes you upset, then that’s a place to continue writing.

    R.M.: I can see that. You’re hitting something—

    T.C.: Yeah, exactly!

    R.M.: You’re hitting some nerve, some hot spot.

    T.C.: Again, some writers want to be the head of a choir that already sings the response they know is gonna be sung when they hit this note. That’s not the kind of writing I’m interested in. I don’t want to be that kind of writer. But I get it that there’s a place in the world for that kind of writer. … The hard thing is that there is no one way, and there is no one right way. And so it’s all about, how do you deal with that anxiety of not knowing how to be, and not knowing like how long it’s gonna take. … When I started my MFA program in 2000, one of the things I kept saying to myself was that, if you practice something for 30 minutes a day, every day, you will become an expert after 10 years. I don’t know if I have reached expert status, but I definitely have more facility with language and writing than I did 10 years ago, and that’s just because of that practice. Like, whatever talent I had didn’t matter. And I’ve seen that over and over again too, if somebody’s talented and they don’t practice.

    R.M.: I think everybody in college sees that at some point …

    T.C.: But I think there’s a lot of anxiety about … what makes a writer a real writer. And so, you also see a lot of people’s bios—people are like, “I’ve been writing since the age of five!” Well that might be true or not true, but it doesn’t make somebody more or less of a writer. But I think it’s like people try to cling onto this idea of what makes a writer … which is fine, it’s just … know that that’s what you’re doing.

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    Tags: anomaly, carl diehl, creativity, failure, solutions   

    INTERVIEW WITH CARL DIEHL (“Polterzeitgeist”)

    On Thursday of &Now, after watching Carl Diehl’s “Polterzeitgeist” mixed video media presentation, I asked if he could spare a few minutes at some point to chat with me about his work. He graciously met up with me on Friday, 14 Oct. 2011. This is what he had to say, in a conversation that essentially stemmed from the first question I asked him.

    Asked why he addresses the issues or themes that come up in his work, Diehl quickly replied, “I’m fascinated with the subjects, ” and went on to say that he addresses things that he’s curious about and wants to learn more about.

    “Metaphors work well for me,” he continued; they are “a strong way of making sense of things,” for they create spaces where things can make sense. His work involves much research—is driven by research in fact, he said, which “mobilizes” the written parts of the work. This “doesn’t temper the setup” of the work, however; of his video presentations, he said, “It’s not built for maximum coherency.”

    One particular point of interest for Diehl is the “production of obsolescence,” and he challenges the concept of obsolescence in his work, looking at “anomalous ways to re-use technology.” It became clear that Diehl has a thing for “anomaly”—the “wrong” path can often lead to discoveries.

    “It’s important to do things wrong and to make mistakes,” Diehl said, “because that point of failure” is where we see the potential for more and better new solutions than we thought possible before. It is also important to work under many “creative parameters”—deliberately or not—because parameters help create problems, and make us find anomalies, which in turn help inspire solutions. Something he read once struck him, which he summarized as, “Anyone who’s not creating work that could fail is, basically, ‘in the wrong.’”

    Finally I asked him, “How did you get into what you do?” It turned out that from the beginning, Diehl has worked under constraints—parameters set by himself and what equipment is available to him—and benefited from what some would call “failure.” “I wanted to do animation,” he said, “but my camera couldn’t ‘do’ animation. So I [ended up making] videos with friends.” In the process of experimenting with those, he learned what else he could do.

    So maybe we really need to stop freaking out every time something we’re working on goes “wrong,” because it could show us new ways to make it not only right, but better.

  • genetanta 000 on 000 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: commons, Conceptual writing, distraction, fun appropriation techniques   

    I recognize the need for distraction during wartime and Ihope this helps.

    22. Conceptual writing is a distraction.
    1. Fame is a clown.
    19. It is good to be a clown, unless it is bad to be a clown.
    5. We delete the individual.
    19. We need a commons of selves.
    7. You are being distracted from what you are. Stop it.
    5. You must have reliable internet service to be a conceptual poet.
    16. Bluster is not a good solution.
    4. Don’t get hysterical.
    26. Get hysterical.
    3. Do you know of any fun appropriation techniques?
    8. Patriarchy is not a good solution.
    17. Your tone is precision guided expression.
    3. Flatness is the new agency.
    3. This time, it’s personal.
    3. This is a distraction, by any means necessary.

    • Snezana 000 on 000 Permalink | Reply

      Sweet. That does help. Send me your manifesto from the panel when you get a chance.

    • jamespate 000 on 000 Permalink | Reply

      Why is conceptual writing a “distraction”? The implication is that there are types of writing that are not a “distraction.” If so, why is conceptual writing different from these other forms of writing?

      Or are you arguing all types of writing are just a “distraction”? And if so, why read or write at all? “Distraction” itself suggests such things take our attention away from “important” issues…

      To play the devil’s advocate, are your own poems a “distraction”? Why or why not?

      Maybe you should make a list of poems that are a “distraction” and a list of poems that are not, to help clarify what you’re attempting to get at here…

    • genetanta 000 on 000 Permalink | Reply

      Hey, James, thanks for the questions. I’m happy to respond. Conceptual writing is more of a distraction than say traditional lyrical writing because it is the hot new thing. Conceptual writing thinks it has escaped the self (and the tradition of expression) by employing fun appropriation techniques.

      Your second question is harder to field but I’ll try. Aesthetics CAN be a distraction, when it (its maker, reader, critical reception, etc.) assumes it is outside of political space. This is a complex claim because whether a thing is art or propaganda depends on multiple factors such as authorial intentionality, the cultural object in-and-of-itself (however frail such an essential ontology may be), the intention of the reader, the social construction of the moment, the institutional mediation of the moment, the geist or fashion of the moment, and so on and so on. For instance, a painter like Picasso or Bacon may intend to shock his viewer into becoming modern by shattering the figure but instead his viewer may take only aesthetic pleasure in the experience of viewing the artwork.

      This question bedevils formal purists (who demand that writers be allowed “to just make art without thinking about history”) and moralists (who demand “to hold cultural producers responsible through a kind of censorship by ethical consensus”). The best response would have to take into account the various radical horizons in directions such as authorial intentionality, the cultural object in-and-of-itself, the readers’ intentionality, the social, the institutional, and the fashion of the moment, among any other directions one might be able to imagine.

      Whether my work (the imagist ghost sonnets in Unusual Woods or the minimalist sound poems in the abecedarian Pastoral Emergency or my prose poem collection which attempts to resist the use to which the absurd (evacuated of the grotesque and the political) as been put to by fashionable surrealist writers)) is a distraction from what I am or a didactic attempt to draw a line between the wrong and the right side of history must be left up to the say so of the reader.

      As anthology editor, I plan to include work that is both formally innovative and conscious of its ethical position in the moment. I have begun editing two poetry anthologies. Immigrant Poetry: Biography and Innovation gathers the work of first-generation American immigrant poets. Biography After the Fall: Romanian Poetry After 1989 is a bilingual anthology of contemporary Romanian poetry carrying forward my scholarship on the Romanian moment in the European Avant-garde.

      Thanks for your collegial questions. I hope I wasn’t too long-winded.

      • Snezana 000 on 000 Permalink | Reply

        I assumed (and, as my fave corny saying goes, assuming makes an ass out of you and me) that conceptual writing is a literary application of conceptual art (visual) and plunderphonics going back to the 20th century (60s, 70s, 80s…), so not new, though possibly hot. I gotta hit some books.

  • Scott McFarland 000 on 000 Permalink | Reply  

  • corinnegoria 000 on 000 Permalink | Reply  

    Thanks everyone for coming to the Documenting Tomorrow panel yesterday. Here is the link to the narrative site styled after the NY Times: http://www.fromthenonfire.com. We’ll be adding to the narrative over the next few months. Feel free to visit. — Corinne & Russell

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    Tags: &NOW PARIS   

    SATURDAY 5:00-6:20PM “This is not a panel.” 

    TODAY! SATURDAY! 5:00-6:20PM. Room 4004 ATKINSON HALL. “This is not a panel.” Post from your laptops and smartphones in a real-world public space, sitting in blessed silence as you interact with your fellow participant observers via video projector and internet connection… until someone insists on real-world interaction!

    This also is not a panel:

  • genetanta 000 on 000 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Poetry Itentity Form Trouple Reception National Excess Immigrant Aesthetics   

    ImmigrantPoetics: National Excess Theater, Atkinson Hall *SAT. 11:30 AM-12:45 PM

    GeneTanta, Radu Dicher, Chris Tanasescu, Raluca Tanasescu, Larissa (Lars) Heinrich

    This reading event will challengeattendees and participants to move back and forth between the usualpoetry-world binaries of form and identity.

    Radu Dicher studied Physics (BA) and Comparative European Studies (MA) atBabes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, then moved to Budapest for anMA in History at Central European University.

    Gene Tanta (Unusual Woods: BlazeVOX, 2010) lives in Chicago from where hespreads the microbe of the identity crisis called poetry.

    Chris Tanasescu is a Romanian poet, author of four poetry collections andrecipient of the International Library of Poetry Award (2001), and the RonaldGasparic Poetry Prize (1996) among other distinctions.

    Raluca Tanasescu is a Romanian assistantprofessor of English at Tan Tao University (Vietnam) and a translator offiction and poetry from and into English, whose main research interest istravel writing and media.

    Larissa(Lars) Heinrich teaches Chinese Literature and Culture Studies at UCSD, and hasjust completed a translation of an important experimental memoir by the Taiwaneseauthor Qiu Miaojin (1969-1995).

    The program is now up and availableto download on the website at http://andnowfestival.com/program/.

    I hope my event will change someminds and hearts about the received categories through which we usuallyexperience poetry. Poetry experienced between formal innovation andbiographical politics invites its readers and listeners to live in thatuncomfortable liminal space by feeling empathy with and tolerance for theother. This reading event will challenge readers and participants to interactbetween the usual poetry-world binaries of form and identity. Out of thisdiscomfort, I hope empathy and tolerance grow since these practices have neverbeen more needed than now, which of course is forever in thefuture.

    This poetry reading will offer avenue for immigrant poets (however defined) to read their poems and thenbriefly summarize what poetry means to their status as national excess. Usingtolerance as a shock tactic, I want to frame this occasion as a discussionabout both innovative form and about the everyday living that immigrants dobetween languages. On the one hand, my frame assumes that formalexperimentation in/with language does not take place outside of place, history,or the fabric of social interaction. On the other hand, this event will notserve as platform for unchallenged claims to sincere stereotypes and essences.By introducing each reader and allowing for a generous amount of time for discussionafter the readings, I plan to spotlight the space between formal innovation andbiographical politics. How do first-generation hyphenated Americans play withtheir use of the English language in light of their bifurcated identities? Howdo immigrant writers experiment with the English language? Do elements such assound, idioms, and habits of syntax differ for non-native Englishexperimenters? How might those differences be both aesthetical andpolitical?

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    RE: Manifestos-R-Us, Thursday, 3:00

    See: http://thirdfactory.wordpress.com/2011/09/28/attention-span-2011-vanessa-place/

    Third Factory/Notes to Poetry
    art is autonomous

    “Attention Span 2011” by Vanessa Place

    Riccardo Boglione | RITMO D feeling the blanks | gegen | 2009

    In a work of abstract literature Richard Kostelenatz would surely admire, in Ritmo D. Feeling the Blanks, Riccardo Boglione has stripped away every last bit of text from Giovanni Boccaccio’s contentious 14th-century body of 100 novellas, Decameron. All that remains is the rhythm, spacing and punctuation.

    François Fonteneau | L’Ethique du silence. Wittgenstein et Lacan | Seuil | 1999

    D’un côté, une éthique indicible (Wittgenstein), de l’autre, une éthique du mi-dire (Lacan). L’expérience éthique serait-elle liée à l’expérience de la limite dont le silence ferait partie ?

    Marcel Proust, trans. Mark Treharne | The Guermantes Way | Viking | 2004

    After the relative intimacy of the first two volumes of In Search of Lost Time, The Guermantes Way opens up a vast, dazzling landscape of fashionable Parisian life in the late nineteenth century as the narrator enters the brilliant, shallow world of the literary and aristocratic salons.

    Edgar Allen Poe | Poetry and Tales (The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket) | Library of America | 1984

    Poe’s Narrative of A. Gordon Pym seems to me excellent art criticism and prototype for rigorous “non-site” investigations.

    Kenneth Goldsmith and Craig Dworkin, eds. | Against Expression | Northwestern | 2011

    Against Expression, the premier anthology of conceptual writing, presents work that is by turns thoughtful, funny, provocative, and disturbing.

    Marjorie Perloff | Unoriginal Genius | Chicago | 2011

    It is a virtue of Marjorie Perloff’s Unoriginal Genius that it leaves nothing settled. Rather, it provokes new questions that help to unsettle modernism and its artistic aftermath, and itself performs an important arrière-garde re-animation of neglected or taken-for-granted avant-gardes.

    JoAnn Wypijewski | Painting by Numbers: Komar and Melamid’s Scientific Guide to Art | California | 1998

    Wypijewki and Nation art critic Arthur Danto explain well the context of Komar and Melamid’s unique project and chart its odd, zigzag path between comedy and seriousness. . . . An im-portant reference point on the map of late-20th-century taste

    Eric Lott | Love and Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class | Oxford | 1995

    As readers we come to understand for the first time how blackface performance imagined and addressed a national community and we realize the extent to which we still live with this legacy.

    Bruce Fink | The Lacanian Subject | Princeton | 1996

    The Lacanian Subject not only provides an excellent introduction into the fundamental coordinates of Jacques Lacan’s conceptual network; it also proposes original solutions to (or at least clarifications of) some of the crucial dilemmas left open by Lacan’s work.

    Andrea Fraser | Museum Highlights: The Writings of Andrea Fraser | MIT | 2007

    A stunning book—Andrea Fraser turns the art museum inside out, time and again, in her incisive and mercilessly witty deconstructions. A rare combination of committed artistic practice working hand-in-hand with the insights of cultural theory.

    Leo Steinberg | The Sexuality of Christ in Renaissance Art and in Modern Oblivion | Chicago | 1997

    After centuries of repression and censorship, the sexual component in thousands of revered icons of Christ is restored to visibility.

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    a novel by Davis Schneiderman


    “I received my copy of BLANK yesterday, and began reading it last night in bed. I am accustomed to reading a few pages from a book, then turning out the light as soon as I become drowsy. But BLANK was a different experience: I could not put it down until I had read it from cover to cover. And now it is burned in my memory. I feel certain it is a book I will read again and again.” – H. L. Hix, National Book Award poetry finalist
    ART: orginal art by Susan White

    SOUND: original music by Paul D Miller aka DJ Spooky (LISTEN NOW)
    Davis Schneiderman’s 206-page novel, Blank, contains only compelling chapter titles. The story is – as it always has been – up to the reader. White-on-white pyrographic images are by notable artist Susan White. The fine art edition is shrink-wrapped and enclosed in a wooden box that is fully encased in plaster and can be opened with a pull-tab. Once opened, the box cannot be re-encased. Music will be composed and performed by renowned experimental hip hop musician, Paul D Miller aka DJ Spooky. Learn more about Vanuatu Pacifica Project here.

  • Scott McFarland 000 on 000 Permalink | Reply  

    The &NOW AWARDS: The Best Innovative Writing / 2, October 2012, needs your nominations/submissions:


    We have opened nominations and submissions (yes, you can submit your own work, now) between now and Dec. 15, 2011.

    Guidelines (revised): https://www.lakeforest.edu/academics/programs/english/press/andnow/nominations.php
    Submit through Submishmash: http://andnowbooks.submishmash.com/submit

    We need your help, &NOW faithful, in identifying the most innovative and interesting work of the past two years (Sept 2009-Sept 2011)

    The 2012 edition will include work published between Sept 1, 2009 and Sept 1, 2011. Unpublished works cannot be considered.

    Please nominate or submit work here.

    NOMINATE ONLY (paste into text box), or, if need be, just send us an email at andnow@lakeforest.edu. In either case, include:

    Name of writer
    Publication Information: Author, title, publication, and date of publication.
    Contact information for author
    What makes this piece right for &NOW (optional)?

    SUBMIT WORK—YOUR OWN OR OTHERS (if you are a publisher or just a good friend):

    Include all of the above, and a file or URL to the piece.

    Questions?: andnow@lakeforest.edu

  • Scott McFarland 000 on 000 Permalink | Reply  

    “A page turner…Electric.”
    –Alice Notley

    a fabulist memoir by
    Anna Joy Springer


    ART: Original art by Teresa Carmody & Maude Place; Rachel Carns, Aaron Cometbus & Cristy C. Road; Paula Cronin, Shelly Jackson, Kristie Fleming, beldAn Sezen, Annie Sprinkle & Beth Stephens (Love Art Lab), Rhani Remedes, Leon Mostovoy, Tara Jane O’Neil, Miriam Klein Stahl, Cristy C. Road & Aaron Cometbus, Anna Joy Springer

    SOUND: Original music by by Tara Jane O’Neil & Rachel Carns & Anna Joy Springer

    “There is only one Anna Joy Springer. Only one. Her words take me from kitten to monster and back again in a way only she can do. I love this book.”
    – Kathleen Hanna, lead singer of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre

    “How to describe the charm, wit, innocence and energy in AJS’s Red Relic? With intelligence and heart she enlarges a little the things a novel is capable How very lucky I am to have read it!”
    – Carole Maso, author of AVA and Break Every Rule
    “My god this book is beautiful. Each moment. A breath in a forest, a breathing beneath the bark of trees. A way to see that has remained shadowed, in shadows, under shadows, such sentence. each sentence a journey”
    –Doug Rice, author of Blood of Mugwump: A Tiresian Tale of Incest and A Good Cuntboy Is Hard To Find
    “A page-turner, fast and muscular, electric and sometimes “repulsive” (cf Rimbaud’s characterization of women’s writing-to-be as “delicate, repulsive, beautiful.”) Through the typography and collaging, you read a whole page incredibly swiftly, almost as if all at once. The handling of the Sumerian/Babylonian mythological material is superb. And you finally never know, as reader, if you are reading “myth” or autobiography.
    – Alice Notley, author of Disobedience and Reason and Other Women

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    An Interview With Anna Joy Springer by David Hoenigman


    Anna Joy Springer is a prose writer and visual artist who makes grotesques. That is, she creates hybrid texts combining sacred and profane elements in order to prompt intensely embodied conceptual-emotional experiences in readers. Formerly a singer in the Bay Area bands, Blatz, The Gr’ups, and Cypher in the Snow, Anna Joy has toured the United States and Europe being a wild feminist punk performer, and she has also toured with the all-women spoken word extravaganza, Sister Spit. Author of the illustrated novella THE BIRDWISHER (Birds of Lace) and THE VICIOUS RED RELIC, LOVE (Jaded Ibis, forthcoming); she is currently making FEEDING THE DYING, a graphic novel. She received her MFA in Literary Arts from Brown University in 2002, and she is an Assistant Professor of Literature at University of California, San Diego where she truly loves teaching courses in Experimental Writing, Graphic Texts, and Postmodern Feminist Literatures.

  • Scott McFarland 000 on 000 Permalink | Reply  

    &NOW releases the second Plonsker Prize book, from our 2010 winner:
    Galerie de Difformité, by Gretchen E. Henderson

    ISBN-10: 0982315635 / ISBN-13: 978-0982315637

    “What a work! . . . The ‘book’ explodes across distributed platforms and media, with a digitally networked existence that simultaneously builds on and destroys the integrity of the print object.”

    —Johanna Drucker, author of The Century of Artists’ Books and The Alphabetic Labyrinth

    “Galerie de Difformité is a cabinet of curiosities of things deformed, disabled, reformed and enabled. . . . A book that combines the metacriticism of Tristram Shandy with the randomness of a complex video game, Henderson has created a unique work that aims at being extraordinary, arcane, and eminently accessible. A book you won’t forget.”

    —Lennard J. Davis, author of Enforcing Normalcy and Bending Over Backwards: Disability, Dismodernism and Other Difficult Positions

    At $15.00 (or, ahem, less on Amazon) this book is practically free. Once you see the lushly designed inside pages and the historical full-color marbled endpapers, you’ll get behind this fuzzy math.
    Did we mention that this book teaches itself. That’s right, you don’t even have to show up to class. Take a personal day, while your students learn like professionals.
    Need an exam or review copy—? Mention it on your blog?
    Write andnow@lakeforest.edu for a comp. Who loves ya, baby?

    Galerie de Difformité, by Gretchen E. Henderson

  • umbraeverborum 000 on 000 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: amanda gray, author, , jeffrey deshell   

    On Thursday night, two writers published by FC2 kindly allowed me to pester them with questions (and I‘m sure more writers would have done so, had I had the time to stick around longer). Here is what they had to say.


    Why address the issues or themes that come up in your writing?:
    Deshell said that seeming themes arise “just to move the plot along.” I found this insightful; certainly, fiction writers dealing with plots find themselves drawn to certain solutions for moving it along.

    How do you see your body of work? (I.e., a random series, or something more connected?):
    Deshell immediately said, “It’s not random.” He went on to say that “there’s probably a project in” trying to find the connections between his works—but “I’m not the right person to ask,” he said with a laugh. He did say that his works had something in common, however: “things in language that interest me.” When I asked, “Anything in particular,” he replied, “Problems of language,” and “problems of narrative.” “Narrative,” he said, “is always a series of problems.”

    How did you become a writer?:
    “I was a music major first,” Deshell said. “Then I moved on to fiction.” I asked, “Any particular reason?” and he replied, “Well, I wasn’t good at music.”


    Before approaching Amanda Gray, I overheard her saying that she has to “take on a personality” in order to read to an audience; otherwise it would be too scary. I did not doubt it; her reading voice and body language were way different from those of her conversations with the other writers.

    She cheerfully provided me with the following in response to my questions.

    Why address the issues that come up in your writing?:
    The issues in Gray’s writing are “things that are crawling through my brain,” she says. Her writing emerges as a “collage of life”—obsession and other feelings for certain people; current or previous occupations; roles people play. She sometimes changes details about characters—gender, age, location—from those of their inspirations; but, she said, “A kernal of it is always something really basic.” I said it’s weird to me how finished pieces (if they’re finished) spring from those “really basic” things and end up as they do. Gray agreed: “It’s weird to me too.”

    Do you feel that [the work is] detached from you once it’s done?:
    “It’s super-detached.” Gray went on to say that writing is “like a kid when it’s born”—it’s going to grow and develop, but when it’s done growing it’s “out of my hands.” As for when a work is done, she quoted: “A poem is never finished, only abandoned.” (A Google search indicates that the quote is from Paul Valery.) She also recommended that I read Letters to a Young Poet, by Rainer Rilke.

    How do you see your body of work? (I.e., a series of random spasms, or something more connected?):
    Gray had a couple of answers for that. One was that her body of work was a collection of recurring themes, particularly hair and cottage cheese. The other was that a body of work is like her life—“we see life as one life, but with different parts.” One part of it may be spent in school, another in a job, etc.—so it goes with writing.

    How did becoming a writer come about for you?:
    “I was pushed in the right direction by some teachers.” Gray also did an MFA program. However, she then said, “Writing’s always been something I’ve done because I have to.” She went on to say, “The fact that this is even a profession blows my mind.”

    Gray went on to answer another question I had, but didn’t have to ask—namely, how a writer supports herself while writing:
    Gray supports herself with, as she puts it, an “unglamorous” job that pays the bills: she works as a “marketing freelance writer,” writing about various topics (lately, online education). She does this job because that way she doesn’t have to teach or publish—common day jobs for writers which she says she doesn’t really like. Most importantly, it takes pressure off her work. “The best way to work as a writer is with as little pressure as possible,” she said.

    This led me to the last question …

    Do you think writing with the intention to sell compromises the work, or the writer?:
    Some people write in certain, “formulaic” ways because it sells, Gray said. As for herself: “I think it would be weird to make a lot of money. So I don’t.” Overall, she maintains that each writer does what works for him or her: “Whatever works.”

    I’ll be trying to chat up more writers until they’re all gone.

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