Category Archives: Staff and Faculty News

How To Keep You Alive / Ella Longpre MFA ’15 first book release!

 

 

As one walked upon the scene for the release party staged at Innisfree for Ella Longpre’s  How to Keep You Alive (HTKYA-press-release), one saw a throng of people wearing glittery multi-colored party hats, greeting each other like family. Moving among them was Ella herself, garbed in white showing those who had gathered how to use the projector set and headphones, gesturing toward the photos playing on a white sheet pinned to the red-brick wall. Images displayed, “existing with a technicality and only with great effort” to shut out the chatter and grind of the surrounding din, listening to her voice, “like a floating dream, waiting for a symbol to occur”.

 

Among the ephemera of the evening were also pages of the text, hanging on the walls, as it was originally intended to exist, hanging as curtains to the many shelves of poetry living behind them.

 

And it is the collective experience of these particles of a work larger than a body or a house, but, “the demonstration of time as a mentor” working to give a synesthesia of experience. A performance that you don’t need so much as an ordering of holes, filled perforations. Listening to Ella, one has a sense of poetry that is more than Poetry, but “alchemical as the sun’s light changes your fluid”. One part nostalgia-stripped Camelot, another part slope to the window of a ventricle; wholly knit tissue-screen; a technology of windows dreaming of what can keep us alive.

 

The evening was opened up by Brian, owner of Innisfree who knows Ella well as employer-friend-ally-comrade. In his many words of praise and appreciation for her knowledge and skill as only a book-loving barista can possess, he said, “I hope when she writes her taxes that she will write ‘Poet'”. The essence of his words led us to an elevation of her character as one who takes her path with a cultivated fortitude and humble virtuosity.

 

When Ella took the stage for some choice readings of the book, it became clear the power a book can have as evidence of survival. That “a mirror adds a negative room to a room”; that negative space is of a dangerous, waking lie. Violence itself is a lie and, “ecstasy means leaving our stain on a room, nervous system of a house”. So if the writing itself exposes the mirror, then her reading was a dream-window and everyone in the room a lucid dreamer.

 

And if Innisfree is a house (which it is to all those who find sanctuary there), then there is no doubt Ella Longpre released her first book in a place of home.

 

If you want to get yourself a copy, pick one up at Innisfree, or snag one of the 5 left in stock on Amazon.

 

~~The Hungry Ghost~~

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

Joanne Kyger / in memorial / in celebration / in community

Exercise: pick up a rock. Not any rock, but an ordinary rock. or stone. The more ordinary, the better the transmission.

This was a writing exercise shared from the ’93 journal of Laird Hunt (ever faithful to this thing we call archive) the year he attended one of Joanne Kyger’s SWP workshops.

Two days later we went walking and saw a bird’s nest convex on the ground. Inside was nothing but a bed of soft cottonwood where an avian friend had left the impression of their egg. We pickled it up and continued down the riparian path, over the bridge where a friend was waiting.

He had a collection of things: fruit & cheese, tobacco he was smoking out of a fine pipe, books, and a small, perfectly round speckled rock. When I showed him the nest I’d found, he promptly placed the rock inside. It rolled down, exactly where the egg had sat. `

And thus, a simple, ordinary rock became a simulacra, an infinity of mineral hatching.

 

calligraphic Tara by Phillip Whalen

The evening began with an invocation & prayer from the Tibetan Book of the Dead led by Giovinnina Jobson & Anne Waldman.

post-memorial, Naropa University transition shrine

Archival collage of photos & poetry as well as a film excerpt of her last visit where she talked about Eco-Etho Poetics, were a loving, haunting reminder of the magnetic cool of her voice.

Sixteen tributes to her life manifested in many forms: poems by Joanne they loved, or poems which captured the very essence of Joanne, poems tied to specific memories of Joanne. Others shared work they had written for Joanne as with Jack Collom and his poem “Kyger, Kyger / burning bright”.  And there were songs by Reed Bye accompanied by Ambrose Bye on guitar & Maya Dorn sang a song about love in the digital age which had reduced Joanne to giggles on their last visit.

Bobbie Louise Hawkins read the first story she had ever written & shared w/ Joanne who confirmed it was indeed a story, giving her the encouragement to continue. Later, Joanne would be the first person to invite Bobbie Louise to read publicly.

We were honored by the presence of Donald Guravich, Joanne’s husband, whom she first met at Naropa.

printed in the Harry Smith Printshop

Following the reception we all got a taste of Bolinas, picked up our copies of the beautiful broadside designed and produced by Print-shop Master Julia Seko & Jade Lascelles, printshop assistant.

It was the span of such close kin-ship with friends from California, Naropa, Germany & beyond, that brought her closer to those of us who have only the experience of periphery interactions & lineage. In this way Joanne’s passing on has only heightened the key-stone transmissions of her being: Always give things the dignity of their name. ‘When’ & ‘Where’ is more interesting than ‘What am I’. Do not take for granted the fact that we will have histories.

Margaret Bryant, who attended Joanne’s workshop in 2015 gave us permission to share her poem “Dear Joanne” with you as she continues to write with Joanne on her shoulder.

So thinking back to earlier this week & the stone which became an egg, I know Joanne was with us in this moment. Ordinary, but so not ordinary. It happened instantaneously between us, this reckoning & alchemy of life-forms. It was June 20th, 2017 on the banks of the Boulder Creek.

~Swanee, Administrative Coordinator

Mid-Summer’s Day / New Weathers’ / Review

Summer Writing Program, Review

of Week 1 & 2

 

 

I write to you, a day past midsummer and a day past mid summer-writing program. The anthropocene continues with a heavy geological and social current. Resisting, delaying, we do the good work—learning and writing and loving—along with these rising temperatures. At SWP, we’ve already experienced with all senses the vast counter-patterns these “New Weathers” have subsequently rippled into with poetics and discussion. Last week, Roger Reeves cited Adrienne Rich in her poem “Dreamwood” when discussing how to dismantle the New Weathers of our time: “…poetry isn’t a revolution but a way of knowing why it must come.” And so, as our bubble of deep thinkers meditate on the skeleton of our country, we have all also created—and witnessed—deconstructions, realms of defiance and prediction, and open pockets of awareness for the healing to come through. We have learned from Brenda Coultas how to document our local manifestations of decay in poetry. Azareen Oloomi encouraged us to “read widely and with vigor.” Eileen Myles told the secret to taking care of ourselves is (sometimes) getting a dog. And always, in the gifted eye of each of us, there is the knowing of watching a poet as they work—Mairead, Jeffery, or Anne weaving fibrous tapestries of SWP magic behind a humble curtain—that gives us the wisdom of generosity and dedication—helping us communally return what has been given to us as writers. In other words, we are becoming meteorologists.

Increasingly we are hearing the cutting truth revealed by our teachers—that these Weathers are not actually New. C.A. Conrad spoke to this on his panel: “Things have been fucked up for a long time.” Following up on his own threads of heart-mind activism, Conrad noted that political atrocities against the gay community have not only been happening for too long, but are also on the rise—with over 300 anti-gay and lesbian laws passed in 2017 so far. “Everybody needs to be an activist, and simultaneously creative,” Conrad said as pens flew across the pages in the windy, high vibrational PAC.

There is a lot to be grateful for. Hope is rising up and we become lighter with knowledge and nourishing poetry. Your homework is to tell the people around you that you love them, stay in the now and the unknown, and read to wake up, my dear SWP warriors. Write to wake others.

 

—Gabriella Reamer, Faculty Liaison

Photos by SWP New Weathers assistants & Director: Erika Hodges, Shawnie Hamer, Garen-Lavender Whitmore, Swanee, & Jeff Pethybridge

ATTN- HIRING!!!:

Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics is looking for an Assistant or Associate Professor – Creative Writing and Poetics!

Minimum Qualifications:
* MFA or PhD in Creative Writing or Literature.
* College-level teaching in creative writing and literary studies.
* One published book of innovative prose.
* Experience in teaching diverse innovative fiction, creative nonfiction, literature, and poetics.
* Computer skills, including Microsoft Office.
* Strong interpersonal and communication skills.
* An understanding of the dynamics of privilege and oppression, and the impact these have on equity, access, and opportunity in higher education/the workplace.
* Commitment to co-create an inclusive community and actively participate in related professional development, including openness to feedback and ongoing self-examination.

from-03-04-cataloghttps://workforcenow.adp.com/jobs/apply/posting.html…

Honoring Bill Berkson

Bill Berkson 1939-2016

 
Bill Berkson passed away yesterday morning, June 16th 2016. He was born August 30, 1939. He was 76 years old. His bibliography of printed work surpasses his age and there are many honorariums under his name from 1959 to 2010. His work has been translated into French, Russian, Hungarian, Dutch, Czechoslovakian, Romanian, Italian, German and Spanish. He is a beloved aspect of the Kerouac School where he was a regular lecturing guest. As we feel the first ripples of his passing, we would like to share his poem,

Clearing the Air:

Simply that you say one thing or another
might give one pause to contradict,
but making it so doesn’t denote your purpose.

You are a lamb, a hayrick, a hat trick, an abutment,
something like an old cartoon, or something that carries
mixed things over unmixed roads–I like that,

I see the way the weight’s set down,
or lots of them, each equal to the other,
and each just as carefully too.

The land sprawls any which way, the buildings sidle,
warp, and that’s useful, good–it keeps them up.
Haven’t you seen how solidity’s a kind of unleashing

of self-containment, pure interaction, and each distance covered
pure, purposeful on the surface? You say: Surely one thing denies its opposite? But this

is an abyss. Knowing, caring, pleasing:
these things exist (what a trio to posses!)
and it is more than you or I can do to argue otherwise.

Issue 3 of Something on Paper

In celebration of National Poetry Month, the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics presents Something on Paper, an online literary / multimedia poetics journal.

The third issue has dropped and features lectures by Lisa Jarnot and Dorothy Wang; interviews with Kevin Killian and Laura McCullough; a round table discussion on Sewing is Writing is Body is Sewing with Elena Berriolo, Jan Johnson, Jill Magi, and Rachel May; investigations by Teresa Carmody, Jill Darling, Richard Froude, Miranda Mellis, Jai Arun Ravine, Andrea Rexilius, and Matt Wedlock; as well as cover art by Liz Acosta. And so much more!

Please visit the site today! www.somethingonpaper.org

The Sage by Liz Acosta
Much appreciation to our editorial board and the innumerable JKS / Naropa students, faculty, staff, and alumni, who contributed reviews, articles, interviews, transcriptions, tech support, event support, website design, video recording and closed captioning, etc.

Thank you for supporting the journal!