Category Archives: Poetry is News

Jack Collom / in memorial / in celebration / in community

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“I paused as the surrounding darkness
only made the incredible light   even more
various & glorious, there, up the stairs
& through the great glittering gate.”
— Jack Collom, from “A Sled in the Ozarks”

Jack Collom many things to many…and to the
mountains & birds he brought his many friends to…
we thank you in that chorus of  discovery…

We were in touch before Naropa  & the Jack Kerouac School of
Disembodied Poetics coalesced, landing in Boulder, and lucky we were that Jack Collom  was there on the other end to greet us, and join the great experiment of contemplative eco-poetics  and “crazy wisdom” lineages…
He was The Poet  Guide of the negative ions of the magnificent
spine of the continent and he was editing the magazine “the” and already in touch with poets everywhere.
He was with us at Naropa during our New Weathers themed
program and passed on as the Summer Writing Program ended.  His last reading on this earth during our opening week.
Keep yodeling into the goat void of becoming, dear Jack!
You are missed & remembered….
Anne Waldman

People of Jack

What to say about the beginning of our memorial except with the pure and simple presence of a doe and her twin fawns? The Performing Arts Center was teeming with people as every seat filled to capacity, the walls too, and even the hallway out into the pavilion. Everyone who could afford a good view of the stage could see a handsomely framed copy of his visage, shadow-boxed feathers one is sure to have seen by his writing table, and a heaping basket of “weeds” (russian sage, black-eyed susans, sunflowers, cattails, other thrush and fuss, etc) lovingly collected by his wife, Jennifer Heath.

Jack was further honored by readings and music from two of his children,  Chris and Sierra, children and adults who he has taught, poets he worked with, everyone a testimony to his epithet as ‘The Great Collaborator’.

Jovan Mayes, poet laureate of Aurora made an announcement with Val Wheeler and her students about a permanent tribute to Jack honoring his love for nature and habitats of winged-wild things (possibly a tree with bench?). If you are interested in learning more and/or becoming involved, please e-mail jackcollomtribute@gmail.com.

And of course there was yodeling by Josepha Conrad and Ken Bernstein, closed the evening for us getting the room of 200+ to yodel en suite in Jack’s spirit.

The Collaborative Poems:

written during the reception by all those who love, admired and who were loved and admired in return

I. Exquisite Corpse

The first line is always the hardest to write                                                   and the last is no picnic either                                                                        Picnics are my grandmother’s temple                                                               She always loved candy before lunch

II. I remember…

Jack                                                                                                                                   telling our class that                                                                                                       we were “too serious                                                                                                       for our own good” &                                                                                                   yodeled instructions

I remember after the ceremony at Naropa                                                      as we gathered for refreshments                                                                       and shared thoughts on Jack,                                                                                       I saw a woman from across                                                                                      the crowd, among the hubbub                                                                               she dropped her tray of food                                                                                       and drink.                                                                                                                             And as the crowd passed over                                                                                  her puddle of splattered                                                                                            purple juice.                                                                                                                   Each shoe tracking with it,                                                                                             a tiny sticky imprint of                                                                                                     the juice.                                                                                                                       forever-part of it immortal                                                                                             on their soles.                                                                                                                           As Jack stays, a                                                                                                               small imprint on us.                                                                                                     Forever.

I remember when the light sat                                                                                   so low it almost                                                                                                                 shook its shadow

I remember being proud                                                                                                   all the time                                                                                                                             to be American                                                                                                                       to be alive

I remember                                                                                                                  Jack’s poems                                                                                                                 everyone of them                                                                                                                 all at once.

I remember playing the                                                                                      “dictionary” game                                                                                                           where you get points                                                                                                     for the most liked                                                                                               definition without                                                                                                         regard for truth.

III. Q / A

Where’s my wallet?                                                                                                    Why do you search for it?                                                                                                 I lost it in the self I want back                                                                          Where shall I go now?                                                                                                    To the land between yesterday and tomorrow                                           What is Jack Collom’s favorite mollusk?                                                             Molly, of course.They visit every 32nd Thursday                                     What are the names of the members of Cheap Trick?             Nonsense, Enlightenment, Death, Togetherness… in so many words. What is the dove on the roof saying / so lonely and so often?           “Let it be, y’all. Or don’t” Then / it flew off…                                                         With all the money and                                                                                           feathers! / Now what?                                                                                                     a silver Chevrolet star, shooting to                                                                             Alamosa                                                                                                                             Mimosa                                                                                                                                 On a silver-backed / what?                                                                                               A silver sliver of star- / light. What else? (not a question)                         What happens when we die?                                                                                   We float up into the sky                                                                                         What do the sunflowers / gossip about?                                                                 Bees’ feet,                                                                                                                               Jack’s light                                                                                                                   Endless Acrostics under the soil

IV. Jack-rostic

J     upiter fan, we give

A     ll our love

C     oming home to make a turnip tart

K     abul is not so far

C     onsidering the fact that heaven’s / right here

O     ddly out of / whatever was / not, when however / it was / poetry … he laughs…  he laughs

L     ikely to let you rattle on, even as you blush…

L     oving lasting in a blue ocean of infinity

O     r just

M     uddy dust stars

Anne Waldman receives Lifetime Achievement Award in the American Book Awards!

Jack Kerouac School Founder, acclaimed author, and distinguished educator Anne Waldman has been presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award in the Thirty-Sixth Annual
American book Awards! As always, we are incredibly honored to have such an amazing woman not just in our school, but in our presence.

Anne Waldman from New York City’s Greenwich Village is a celebrated poet, performer, professor, editor and cultural activist , a former director and founder of The Poetry project at St Marks’s Church In-the- Bowery and co-founder with Allen Ginsberg of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University, in Boulder, Colorado where she is a Distinguished Professor of Poetics and Artistic Director of The Summer Writing Program. Although a generation younger, Allen Ginsberg often referred to Anne Waldman as his “spiritual wife” and she has been designated a “countercultural giant” by Publisher’s Weekly. She is the author of over forty books of poetry, including the book-length hybrid narrative poem Manatee/Humanity ( Penguin Poets 2009), and the feminist 1,000 page epic The Iovis Trilogy: Colors in the Mechanism of Concealment (Coffee House 2011)which is the winner of the 2012 PEN Center USA Award for Poetry. Her books of essays include Vow to Poetry, and Outrider. Other recent poetry books include Gossamurmur, (Penguin Poets 2013). Jaguar Harmonics (Post-Apollo Press 2014) and Cross Worlds: Transcultural Poetics (Coffee House 2014), co-edited with Laura Wright. Her forthcoming book is Voice’s Daughter of A Heart Yet To Be Born, 2016. She is known for her magnetizing public performances and frequently collaborates with musicians and dancers, including Meredith Monk, Thurston Moore and her son Ambrose Bye. Waldman is the recipient of the Shelley Memorial Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship (2013-14) and is a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets. She has recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Before Columbus Foundation, 2015. She has presented her work in festivals all over the world, most recently in India, Morocco, Italy, Finland, Germany and France.
Her extensive Archive resides at the Hatcher Graduate Library at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her website is http//www.annewaldman.org.

POETIC MANIFESTO IN TWO PARTS

By Heather Sweeney

Part I

THE ENDANGERED POETRY ACT

The U.S.E.P.A. was established in 2014 through feral action and by encouraging the establishment of untamed poets and programs. The 2014 E.P.A. provides conservation of poetry upon which threatened poets, writers, visionaries, renegades, dissidents, and radicals depend.

The Act:

  • Prohibits unauthorized sale, deportation, or degradation of poetry
  • Provides poetry the authority to acquire space and territory
  • Authorizes assessment of violations and established karmic penalties for violating the laws
  • Protects an imperiled species of poems and/or the poem may live as wildlife
  • Ensures, as a result of industrial and economic development, concern and conservation
  • Safeguards the poem that steals or borrows from other poems and documents
  • Enshrines the volume of the poem
  • Conserves the vibration of the poem
  • Reserves the right of poets and artists to live within fragments
  • Defends the unholy real within the poem
  • Preserves the right of poetry to exist in public space
  • Grants sanctuary for the erased and for erasures
  • Grants space for the bone, tooth and tusk

Poems that back down are not protected under this law.

Poems that enclose themselves are not protected under this law.

Poems that are unmoving mammoths are not protected.

Poems with fake auras are not protected.

Poems that hide behind their own shit are not protected.

For example, misogynisitic poems that hide behind the fact that they are writing a poem are not protected.

This is a real document.

Part II

NOTES ON SURVIVAL

The past survives only by your will

The individual survives due to questioning

Beauty survives

Poetry survives because of hunger

Poetry survives because it is “the original religion of mankind” (Novalis)

Humanity survives but has its leakages

Religion survives because it keeps failure alive

Reincarnation survives due to patterns

Morality survives to justify murder

Prism

Consciousness survives because of birds

Consumption survives due to comparisons

The Media Circus survives due to the invention of fear

Repetition survives because of ancestral longing

A spectrum of birds

Disobedience survives because it is the great equalizer

Justice survives but only in small doses

Art survives because of the carnival in your eyes

The universe exists but I am tethered to earth by a large rope moving beyond the clouds and into the ethers
—————————————————————————————————
Heather Sweeney is an MFA candidate in the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University. She has been published in Dusie, Cutbank, Shampoo and canwehaveourballback?. When she is not in Boulder, she lives in San Diego with her husband and beloved dog, Dexter.