SWP interview: Andrea Rexilius & Anne Waldman with Margaret Randall

In collaboration with Essay Press, Anne Waldman and I have invited four guest faculty from this year’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodies Poetics’ Summer Writing Program (June 14-July 11, 2015) to discuss our theme, The Braided River: Activist Rhizome. We are starting the conversation off with an interview with Margaret Randall. The remaining three conversations, with Omar Berrada, Rachel Levitsky, and Fred Moten, will be published in an online chapbook by Essay Press in the fall of 2015. – Andrea Rexilius

Read this discussion HERE.

SWP Artist-in-Residence profile: CA Conrad

CA is the author of many books of poetry, such as Advanced ELVIS Course, Deviant Propulsion, and the Gil Ott Book Award winner, The Book of Frank. He is an editor of Frequency Audio journal and Banjo: Poets Talking. Also, Conrad is the author of several collections of poetry, including Gil Ott Book Award-winner The Book of Frank (2010), Advanced ELVIS Course (2009) and Deviant Propulsion (2006). The City Real & Imagined: Philadelphia Poems (2010) is Conrad’s collaboration with poet Frank Sherlock.    He has edited, with Magdalena Zurawski, Frequency Audio Journal, as well as Banjo: Poets Talking. Conrad has led workshops at the St. Marks Poetry Project and elsewhere.He has been nominated for the 2015 Believer Poetry Award and for the 2015 Lambda Literary Award. CAConrad’s childhood included selling cut flowers along the highway for his mother and helping her shoplift.  He is the author of seven books, the latest is titled ECODEVIANCE: (Soma)tics for the Future Wilderness (Wave Books, 2014).  He is a 2015 Headlands Art Fellow, and has also received fellowships from Lannan Foundation, MacDowell Colony, Banff, Ucross, RADAR, and the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.  He conducts workshops on (Soma)tic Poetry and Ecopoetics.  Visit him online at http://CAConrad.blogspot.com

Course Description:

CA Conrad: “Resurrect Extinct Vibration”

Each student will receive a crystal charged on the roots of the world’s oldest sycamore tree in Western Massachusetts.  The photo of CAConrad was taken standing in front of this quiet, 500-year-old giant, the last remaining member of a forest that used to stretch for hundreds of miles. We will use these supercharged crystals to investigate conversations with the Naropa campus flora and our own bodies and communities at the time of vanishing wildlife.  A video of the sycamore tree can also be seen at this link:  http://somaticpoetrymeditations.blogspot.com. (Soma)tic Poetry Rituals show us how to always see the creative viability in everything around us at all times.  We will discuss the importance of collaboration and explore new ways of collaborating with different artistic disciplines.  See this link for samples:  http://somaticpoetryexercises.blogspot.com.

CA is the author of many books of poetry, such as Advanced ELVIS Course, Deviant Propulsion, and the Gil Ott Book Award winner, The Book of Frank. He is an editor of Frequency Audio journal and Banjo: Poets Talking. Also, Conrad is the author of several collections of poetry, including Gil Ott Book Award-winner The Book of Frank (2010), Advanced ELVIS Course (2009) and Deviant Propulsion (2006). The City Real & Imagined: Philadelphia Poems (2010) is Conrad’s collaboration with poet Frank Sherlock.    He has edited, with Magdalena Zurawski, Frequency Audio Journal, as well as Banjo: Poets Talking. Conrad has led workshops at the St. Marks Poetry Project and elsewhere.He has been nominated for the 2015 Believer Poetry Award and for the 2015 Lambda Literary Award. CAConrad’s childhood included selling cut flowers along the highway for his mother and helping her shoplift.  He is the author of seven books, the latest is titled ECODEVIANCE: (Soma)tics for the Future Wilderness (Wave Books, 2014).  He is a 2015 Headlands Art Fellow, and has also received fellowships from Lannan Foundation, MacDowell Colony, Banff, Ucross, RADAR, and the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.  He conducts workshops on (Soma)tic Poetry and Ecopoetics.  Visit him online at http://CAConrad.blogspot.com

 

From The Book of Frank:

Frank grew crows for hands

it was a difficult childhood

at dinner during prayer

his crows flapped

excited in the name of the Lord

“FRANK! KEEP STILL!” Mother hollered

“did you wash your crows!?

did you wash your FILTHY STINKING CROWS!?”

when Father died

Frank was found straddling him

his crows picking the seven gold fillings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Writing program 2012 Artist-in-Residence Profile: Sherwin Bitsui

Sherwin Bitsui is originally from White Cone, Arizona, on the Navajo Reservation. He is Navajo of the Todich’ii’nii (Bitter Water Clan), born for the Tl’izilani (Many Goats Clan). Currently, he lives in Tucson, Arizona. His first collection of poems, Shapeshift, was published in 2003 by the University of Arizona Press, and his second collection, a book-length poem entitled Flood Song, was published by Copper Canyon Press in October 2009. He holds an A.F.A. from the Institute of American Indian Arts Creative Writing Program and is completing his studies at the University of Arizona. He also works for literacy programs that bring poets and writers into public schools where there are Native American student populations. He is the recipient of the 2000-01 Individual Poet Grant from the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry, the 1999 Truman Capote Creative Writing Fellowship, the 2002 University of Arizona Academy of American Poets Student Poetry Award, a Lannan Foundation Literary Residency Fellowship, and a 2006 Whiting Writers’ Award. Bitsui has published poems inAmerican Poets, The Iowa Review, Frank (Paris), Red Ink, and elsewhere. His poems were also anthologized in Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century, and in From the Fishouse: An Anthology of Poems that Sing, Rhyme, Resound, Syncopate, Alliterate, and Just Plain Sound Great. – See more at:

http://www.fishousepoems.org/?artist=bitsui-sherwin

River

By  Sherwin Bitsui  

 

When we river,

blood fills cracks in bullet shells,

oars become fingers scratching windows into dawn,

and faces are stirred from mounds of mica.

 

I notice the back isn’t as smooth anymore,

      the river crests at the moment of blinking;

its blood vessels stiffen and spear the drenched coat of flies

collecting outside the jaw.

 

 

Night slows here,

      the first breath held back,

clenched like a tight fist in the arroyo under shattered glass.

But we still want to shake the oxygen loose from flypaper,

hack its veins,

divert its course,

          and reveal its broken back,

 the illusion of a broken back.

 

Summer Writing Program (June 14-July 11) Artist-in-Residence Profile: Omar Berrada & Sarah Riggs

Omar Berrada

Omar Berrada is a writer, translator and critic who grew up in Casablanca and lives in Paris. Between 2004 and 2007, he was a producer for French National Radio and hosted La nuit la poésie and Lumières d’août on France Culture. He curated the Tangier International Book Salon in 2008, and hosted talks and conferences at the Centre Pompidou in Paris between 2006 and 2009. He currently directs the library and translation centre at Dar al-Ma’mûn in Marrakesh (www.dam-arts.org). He is a member of Double Change, a French and American association devoted to poetry and translation, and the intercultural arts foundation Tamaas. He recently co-translated into French. Jalal Toufic’s The Withdrawal of Tradition Past a Surpassing Disaster (forthcoming, Les Prairies ordinaires, 2011). Within writing the solitary alif aerial letter     vertical absolute holds itself straight up “Every thing attaches itself to it and it attaches itself to nothing” So the origin of all letters is not one of them “The alif supporting the hamza is a half-letter and the hamza the other half” For that which joins also separates   Fusion without confusion is only show of science. Sarah Riggs

Sarah Riggs is a writer and artist, born in New York where she is now based, after having spent over a decade in Paris. Before directing Six Lives: A Cinepoem, she produced The Tangier 8 at the Cinémathèque de Tanger in Morocco, which was screened at the Berlin Film Festival and the Tate Modern Museum among other international venues. She is the author of five books of poetry in English: Waterwork (Chax, 2007), Chain of Minuscule Decisions in the Form of a Feeling (Reality Street, 2007), 60 Textos (Ugly Duckling, 2010), Autobiography of Envelopes (Burning Deck, 2012), and Pomme & Granite (1913 Press, 2015) which won a 1913 poetry prize. She is the author of the book of essays Word Sightings: Poetry and Visual Media in Stevens, Bishop, & O’Hara (Routledge, 2002), and has translated and co-translated six books of contemporary French poetry into English, including most recently Oscarine Bosquet’s Present Participle (La Presse). She is the director of the international arts organization Tamaas (www.tamaas.org) which has ongoing projects in performance, translation, and artistic collaboration in Morocco and France. She is also a member of bilingual poetry association Double Change (www.doublechange.org).   Love Winter Too Dear Earth take in this fairy breath. Let it seep into the mischievous crannies, the rooks and rocks. What is behind the lily, the foregone conclusion? If we look at the interstices, the common lines between sheets of rain. I wanted to write into your heart but the chambers are closed. What freedom in the rain when memory is for sale? What response to give a fairy? We manage, nonetheless, a raucous cheer with the Daily Show, a tempestuous cloud of letters. Even with pomegranate molasses to soften the duck: we cannot change, the most we can do is see.

Reed Bye Retiring from the Jack Kerouac School

 

It is with deep sadness that I announce that our beloved Reed Bye is retiring from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics and Naropa University. Reed has been at Naropa since 1975: teaching in the mid-80s and then serving as Core faculty since 1996, following his PhD from the University of Colorado, Boulder. An invaluable part of this community, Reed has helped to shape our programs and curriculum, served as chair of Writing and Poetics for 7 years, worked with countless students, and continued to bring his love of contemplative education into the classroom throughout his time at Naropa, having practiced Shambhala Buddhist meditation for many years. To write of all Reed’s contributions and accomplishments would be difficult, but his most recent publications are Catching On (Monkey Puzzle Press), a cd of original songs Broke Even (Fast Speaking Music), and Join the Planets: New and Selected Poems (United Artists Books). Currently, he is working on a prosodic study of the poetry of Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and William Carlos Williams.

Anne Waldman writes: “I met Reed at a reading in Boulder thru Jack Collom. His reading was beautiful, he was wearing shorts. He was a poet, a roofer, and tree pruner & trimmer. He was strong, gentle, intelligent. He had been in the merchant marines, seen India, and other parts. He was a reader of poetry, and as it turned out, an evolving Buddhist. Our first date was a Chogyam Trungpa talk. In one poem, it says dharma was my dowry to him. He was part of the community early on. He had a profound way of delving into texts: I think of his dedication to Blake, something I know Allen wanted to see studied here. Allen admired his calm tremendously. I saw Reed as a lineage holder of what I imagine was something practiced at the original Nalanda University…gentle & experiential & scholarly wisdom that comes from genuine heart connection to the work. His particular method of teaching—his wisdom and patience—will be profoundly missed. So many former students I encounter speak of Reed’s dedication and commitment and how he has helped so many in their lives—not just as students of writing and literature. His own poetry has a wonderful care & magic.”

Reed takes every opportunity to be involved in the JKS community; you’ll always see him at our events and student readings, enthusiastic about the positive movement happening in JKS. His love of and dedication to JKS are apparent in the care he has put into all that he has accomplished at Naropa. To say that he will be missed is an understatement. He is a valued community member, generous colleague, dedicated teacher and mentor, and dear dear friend. While we hope that he will return to teach from time to time, please join me in celebrating his lustrous career at Naropa and wish him well as he moves toward his next journey.

Thank you for all your considered and heart-felt work, Reed. We love you deeply.

I leave you with a poem from Reed’s Catching On:

Nobody knows—

That’s all it amounts to

A plain case with small wounds

—the air burns

A vestige of vanity

 

Grows in rings—the year

Somehow narrows—snow and rain

Drop and flake

Only you know the degree of devotion

needed

Check out the Summer Writing Program on Facebook

The Summer Writing Program is a four-week-long convocation of students, poets, fiction writers, scholars, translators, performance artists, activists, Buddhist teachers, musicians, printers, editors and others working in small press publishing. Programming includes workshops, lectures, panels, readings, special events, and more.

In dialogue with renowned practitioners, students engage in the composition of poetry, prose fiction, cross-genre possibilities, inter-arts, translation and writing for performance. Participants work in daily contact with some of the most accomplished and notoriously provocative writers of our time, meeting individually and in small groups, so that both beginning and experienced writers find equal challenge in the program.

To find out more information about the program and RSVP to the Facebook Event, click here.

Shane Jimenez on the Unknown Words Podcast

JKS alum Shane Jimenez was recently interviewed and one of his stories was dramatized for the Unknown Words podcast. You can listen to it here. Congrats, Shane!

 

 

 

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