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

Alumni Publishes Paper

We had the pleasure of hearing from Matthew Pincus, now a PhD candidate at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He writes:

“It feels like it has been so long since Naropa even though it has only been a couple years. This Spring I was able to publish an article on Leslie Marmon Silko titled “Bewitched Policies of Resistance: America’s Legacy of Unknown Soldiers in Leslie Marmon Silko’s Storyteller” in a peer-reviewed journal called Transmodernity. It was a special issue of the journal that focused on Indigenous Knowledges and Indigenous Sites of Memory. The journal is open-access, and I was among other international scholars presenting on research about Indigenous cultures from South, Central and North America. It was incredible to have my work featured in this journal, and certainly the work I did at Naropa started this research and encouraged me to continue my work at UL-Lafayette.”

Congratulations on the publication Matthew!

Here’s the abstract:

Abstract Storyteller (1981) by Leslie Marmon Silko is a unique hybridized text of Laguna Myths centered on topics of Laguna Pueblo Citizens, and more generally Indigenous Southwestern Americans. “Tony’s Story,” “Uncle Tony’s Goat,” and “A Geronimo Story” are three tales where characters are agents of political resistance against injustices enacted by the American Military and law enforcement over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Each story subverts the dominant “white” narrative of American politics and history through use of traditional Laguna Pueblo values linked to the inseparable geographical terrain they call home. In “Tony’s Story,” the protagonist and his friend enact a revenge narrative on a racist cop who abuses his power, thus commenting on modern-day police brutality. A cop is killed, and rain at the end of the story acts as an emergent symbol of freedom creating an age of peace against the violence that has patrolled its borders. “Uncle Tony’s Goat,” about a billy goat who refuses to be penned in, acts as a metaphorical bridge to “A Geronimo Story,” where historical Apache chief, Geronimo, also a mythical folk legend in American culture, escapes and evades the American military. Geronimo was originally captured and imprisoned by American colonial militaristic forces, but in Silko’s reimagining he is an elusive figure only known to the cavalry by name. In these stories, characters become free to interact and commune with the land, and sites of invasion and theft from the indigenous become sites of reverence and remembrance.

Click here for the full article!

In-Person w/ Basma Alsharif: Alternative Cinema

Monday, February 27 at 7 PM – 9:30 PM

After History / Post Palestine
A selection of short films by Artist/Filmmaker Basma Alsharif that explore Palestine’s political history through visceral landscapes reflecting on the human condition and the future beyond history.
Total Program = approximately 80 minutes
[please see event discussion for individual synopses]
http://www.internationalfilmseries.com/first_person_cinema/

Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics and the University of Colorado Film Studies Program were honored to host Basma Alsharif for the In-Person: Alternative Cinema event on Monday, February 27, 2017 on the Naropa University Arapahoe Campus in the Performing Art Center, 2130 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder, CO at 7:00 p.m.

Basma Alsharif is an Artist/Filmmaker born in Kuwait to Palestinian parents, raised between France and the US. Since receiving a Master of Fine Arts in 2007 from the University of Illinois at Chicago, she developed her practice nomadically between Chicago, Cairo, Beirut, Sharjah, Amman, the Gaza Strip and Paris.

Basma Alsharif’s work centers on the human condition in relation to shifting geopolitical landscapes and natural environments. Interested in what cannot ever be proven or explained, she uses photography, film, video, sound, language and performance to reveal the fallibility of our perception and of history. Engaging with politics on a visceral level through pieces characterized by their immersive, lyrical qualities, Alsharif creates familiar environments that lure us into unsettling experiences of being comfortable and foreign simultaneously.

Major exhibitions include: Le Prix Découverte des Rencontres d’Arles, les Module at the Palais de Tokyo, Here and Elsewhere at the New Museum, the Jerusalem Show, Yamagata Documentary Film Festival, the Berlinale, the Sharjah Biennial, Videobrasil, and Manifesta 8. She received a jury prize at the Sharjah Biennial 9, the Marion MacMahon award at Images, and was awarded the Marcelino Botin Visual Arts grant. Basma Alsharif is represented by Galerie Imane Farés in Paris, distributed by Video Data Bank and Arsenal, and is now based in Los Angeles.

 

We Began by Measuring Distance (2009) SD Video ~ 19 minutes. Long still frames, text, language, and sound are weaved together to unfold the narrative of ananonymous group who fill their time by measuring distance. Innocent measurements transition into political ones, examining how image and sound communicate history. We Began by Measuring Distance explores an ultimate disenchantment with facts when the visual fails to communicate the tragic.

A Field Guide to the Ferns (2015) 16mm HD transfer ~ 10 minutes. “Primitive savagery meets the brutality of the modern world in Ruggero Deodato’s timeless slice of visceral horror”. Cannibal Holocaust is revived deep in the New Hampshire woods
where apathy and violence are blurred.

This image requires alt text, but the alt text is currently blank. Either add alt text or mark the image as decorative.Home Movies Gaza (2013) HD video ~ 24 minutes
Home Movies Gaza introduces us to the Gaza Strip as a microcosm for the failure of civilization. In an attempt to describe the everyday of a place that struggles for the most basic of human
rights, this video claims a perspective from within the domestic spaces of a territory that is complicated, derelict, and altogether impossible to separate from its political identity.

This image requires alt text, but the alt text is currently blank. Either add alt text or mark the image as decorative.Renée’s Room (2015) ~ 15 minutes. A film on the perpetual present as an enactment of the concept of the eternal return.
“This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence – even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck of dust!” Frederick Nietzsche


[photographer & projectionist, Jacob Barrera]

“Blackboard/Whiteboard”

an exploration of identity and social tension in America
performance art installation at                                                                   Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art
by Robert Eric Shoemaker, MFA candidate
Artistic Director of Poetry Is & Editor of Beats: A Naropan Periodical

• Produced at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art on March 2nd, 2017 from 5-8 pm:
1750 13th street, bmoca.org.
• Written and Performed by Robert Eric Shoemaker, in collaboration with Beats: A
Naropan Periodical and Poetry Is Productions.
• Free and open to the public.
• For more information, please visit http://poetryis.org or contact Eric at
robertericshoemaker@gmail.com.

Boulder, CO, 2.18.17 – Poetry Is and Beats: A Naropan Periodical team up to produce Robert
Eric Shoemaker’s solo performance/installation “Blackboard/Whiteboard” at the Boulder
Museum of Contemporary Art.
The installation will take place from 5-8 pm on March 2nd. The first performance begins at 6pm, with a ten-minute talk back to occur immediately after the 40-minute show. A second performance will begin at 7pm, with a discussion facilitated by performance artist Gabrielle Civil immediately following. Drinks will be served at the bar throughout the performances.
The Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art has opened its doors to the community. Artist Mathias Kessler dedicated space in his own exhibition for creative types to perform or present pieces that developed from Boulder’s cultural ecosystem. A different event occurs every Thursday.
Robert Eric Shoemaker, Artistic Director
Poetry Is Productions
robertericshoemaker@gmail.com
270.577.7782

Blackboard/Whiteboard is an installation as well as a 40-minutes performance piece. Please join me as I laugh, cry, and attempt to redefine what it means to be American today, and what
community and solidarity can look like.
“I’m not really here
I’m only the shape
of the emptiness
that holds me
the inner space
of those dancing
molecules
again
only in music”
– Cecilia Vicuña
The emptiness that is defining. Angular. “I am the space where I am” – Bachelard— and that space defines me in ways I can’t begin to know. I am a whiteboard.
How do we write about race without talking about color? How do we talk about color without comparison?

White in terms of white is not. Opposition becomes the only way to talk about color. Opposition as the space where we are, America today, defining ourselves— as in, “I am not that.”
I want to destroy the meaning of colors. I want to do it in performance. I want you to come up to this installation. And I hope you talk back. This is the premise of “Blackboard/Whiteboard”: to reference Toni Morrison’s “unspeakable things spoken”, to reference Gabrielle Civil’s translation of the body “into words on the page that
were written to be unheard”.
Let me break it down. I am creating a rebellion against structure as well as a celebration of difference in America.

“Blackboard/Whiteboard” is an attempt to complicate, intensely, our
relations to one another, but also to inspire us to be better.

About the ARTIST
Robert Eric Shoemaker (Writer & Performer) is a poet-playwright, theatre artist, and arts journalist. Eric is an MFA Candidate in Naropa University’s Creative Writing & Poetics program at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. Eric’s poetry and plays have been featured in “Mosaic”, “Tooth N’ Nail”, “Rollick”, “Literature
Emitting Diodes”, “Chicago After Dark”, “Thought Notebook”, “Baseball Bard”, 2017’s “Verde Que Te Quiero Verde”, and his debut collection “30 Days Dry” from Thought Collection Publishing. Eric’s second book of poetry is forthcoming from In Extenso Press, with a third on the way through Partial Press, both expected in 2017.
Follow his work at reshoemaker.com.
Robert Eric Shoemaker, Artistic Director
Poetry Is Productions
robertericshoemaker@gmail.com
270.577.7782

MORE ABOUT POETRY IS & BEATS
Poetry Is Productions brings poetry into all that we do, be it theatre, film, dance,
publishing, or a new style of project.
UPCOMING EVENTS:
“medea conjures dragons” workshop and showcase at Boulder Writers Warehouse,
March 25
“(Un)Bound Book Arts Workshop” April 23-May 7 at the Boulder Public Library
“medea conjures dragons” production in Fall 2017
Poetry Is Productions – Poetry Is (For You. For Me. For All.)
https://poetryis.org/
https://www.facebook.com/poetryis.productions/
Beats: A Naropan Periodical – Writing from a Place of Urgency
https://aplaceofurgency.com/
https://www.facebook.com/aplaceofurgency/


For additional information, please contact Robert Eric Shoemaker at 270.577.7782,
robertericshoemaker@gmail.com.

http://reshoemaker.com

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.