Category Archives: Summer Writing Program

the Ultimate review / New Weathers / Evaporation

Oh my people, oh my people.

I write to you calm and weary from the transcendent storm of SWP. In this second half of our time, we witnessed endless refractions of light in the form of performance—bright practices of refusal transmitted through our friends and teachers. Knowledge as refuge, as Giovanni Singleton would say. I know you are tired, but stay with me here. I’ve found the connective tissue between these refractions—an alchemical algorithm for shelter, community, and the transition of anger into poetry.

Anne Waldman’s Lecture, “Gimme Shelter” / photo slide by Caroline Swanson, Assistant to the [SWP] Creative Director
It begins with faith. Moving lightly in fugitive fashion, Erik Ehn restored my convictions. “We can’t transcend ourselves without a sense of faith. Faith is living out of our control, which is a realistic state. When we are out of control, we need help.” Thus, interdependence forms from faith—faith in poetry, faith in healing, and faith in others. Protection takes hold.

Sanctuary then occurs when we realize our responsibility to others. Layli Long Soldier commented on the Lakota people’s gesture towards the innate responsibilities we have in our relationships. From her we learned to keep the sound of our lineage alive so others may rely on us—to contain and preserve.

In this space of humanistic bond, time slows down. We are able to heal. Julie Patton tells us to “Stop. Look. Listen. Make a space for grief.” This is how we begin transition—anger transmutes in stillness (Ronaldo Wilson’s sexual revenge on James Comey comes to mind). The alchemical process of poetics meeting oppression within community is in full force. The shelter creates a restorative delay, and new work is born.

Ronaldo Wilson & class, colloquium offering

There were so many openings. It felt as if hundreds of blessings hit me at once. We were granted beatific visions from Steven Taylor’s resurrections of Blake.  Julie Patton and Janice Lowe dropped us into rivers of elegant, profound music. The little moments linger too—the confusion, hilarity, loneliness. The dancing. I am grateful, loudly and quietly. As we disperse from our pocket of angels, I remember (one of) Anne Waldman’s incantations, given to us during her panel: “minds never come from nothing, or go to nothing.” In this nature, the SWP spirit survives through all of our work, the good work.

Jeff Pethybridge, & Anne Waldman, ‘the long thank you’

Thank you SWP Warriors. Thank you faculty and staff. Thank you students. I hope my passion fuel yours. Your homework is to keep going, and repeat after me: I love you.

 

Yours,

Gabriella Reamer

Faculty Liaison

 

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

Jack Kerouac School @ AWP

 

Photos by Anisah Ali, Garen Lavender, Swanee, Erika Hodges

My mother bites her nails, and I am not like her. I am the skin around her. —  How Ginsberg can I bed? — I am here and you are here but we are nowhere to be found. — Looked at the map unfolded on his lap. “Empire of ideas.” — I want to tell you I am coming. Please don’t Super Nova yet. — If learn is synonymous with teach, how is student not synonymous with teacher? — Remember who owned the land we now occupy.

These are all lines from the Student & Alumni reading on Saturday afternoon. Their voices on the foreground to the exhibit hall hum, the culmination of four days worth of book mongering, poetry-promoting, free-speech protesting, heritage, vigil and vigor. 

It was an inspiring long weekend, which began with our first visitor to our table of the weekend, Alice Notley, garbed in a white scarf with sky-blue owls on it. Between her and other old friends to bright, new faces inquiring to our graduate programs we had such visitors as to make us full on Community. And what we brought to give away, we gave it all– issues 41 & 42 of Bombay Gin, select broadsides and anthologies, ex libris stickers, and other sweet swag. 

And although everything happened at once, and we were sad not to see you all, Summer Writing Program is right around the corner to reunite our tribe of Bodhisattvas. 

SWP Guest Faculty Named one of 2015 National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35”

Azareen Van Der Vliet Oloomi, an alum and Guest Faculty of the Summer Writing Program, was named one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35.” You can read more in The Obsever and at the National Book Foundation site.

Here’s a Q&A with all the 2015 Honorees:

Summer Writing Program Faculty’s Work-in-Progress

Check out this astonishing excerpt from Danielle Vogel’s EDGES & FRAY––her current work-in-progress–– http://entropymag.org/the-birds-archivists-of-debris/
Danielle will be on Faculty during Week 3 of Summer Writing Program 2016 at Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics

Other Faculty include:

Renee Gladman
Tisa Bryant
Julie Carr
Corrine Fitzpatrick
Gloria Frym
Laird Hunt
Steven Taylor
Margaret Randall
and Colin Frazer in the Printshop

Crafting Space & Silence – An Essay from 2016 SWP Faculty

Check out this essay from Orlando White, who will join us as Faculty during Week 2 (June 19–June 25) of this year’s Summer Writing Program.

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/harriet/2015/11/functional-white-crafting-space-silence/

Other Faculty that week will include:

Sherwin Bitsui, Joan Kane, Jena Osman, Srikanth Reddy, Cedar Sigo,  Eleni Sikelianos, Roberto Tejada  and Dorothy Wang