w/ Autumn falling close on our heels we gathered at Innisfree Poetry Cafe on the Hill to tune ourselves to the work we do which makes us change our range of community — for the 100K Poets for Change Global Event. As a writing school at a university whose founding tenements is to using writing as process for hard truths crafted & carried through the human projective, how could we not use this as an opportunity to showcase the activism and activity of our students?
BEATS opened up the global event by hosting a series of featured readers from the ranks of the Kerouac School: Swanee MFA’16, Eric Shoemaker MFA’18, Shawnee Hamer MFA’17, Jeffrey Pethybridge, Caleb Worst MFA ’18, & Nathalie MFA ’19
watch (most) of the features on their Facebook channel: https://www.facebook.com/aplaceofurgency/videos/
at 43:00 you’ll catch Wheeler Light BA ’17 introducing the Slam competition which featured eight poets in head-to-head competition. Slammers from Mercury Cafe & Block 1750 as well as JKS’ own Garen Lavender MFA ’17 took the stage to win their own copy of Bombay Gin. Popular votes were close, but there could only be one winner: Marvin Connor.
“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….
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 email@example.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:
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
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
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 proj…ect 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.
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.
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.
NOTES ON SURVIVAL
The past survives only by your will
The individual survives due to questioning
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
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.