Saturday, April 30, 2011

Chicago Durutti Skool

May 1st, 5th & 6th

The Durutti Skool & Red Rover Series
would like to invite you to take part in a series of events
concerning poetry, social existence, Marxism and Anarchism

Our main concern is to join in the greater conversation occurring around the country at other Durutti Skools this year about poetry itself as a catalyst for social change. The idea for the skools began last summer when a group of poets met in Berkeley, California as part of the 95 Cent Skool. All participants were invited to form their own skools in order to continue the conversation and encourage poets to connect more strongly with their communities and ideas about writing, community, and change.

Poetry for Labor:
A May Day reading & celebration
Guest curated by John Keene
9am-12pm @ the Haymarket Square

POETRY FOR LABOR is a free, public, participatory reading to celebrate the 125th Anniversary of the Haymarket Square Affair in 1886, one of the signal events in US and global labor history, and the struggles of workers in the US and worldwide. All participants are welcome. Bring your own poem or poems, poems or prose by writers you love, short autobiographical pieces, or any text that brings to life, in celebration, in reflection, in commemoration, work and those who do it. Come out and read, recite and perform your poems!

JOHN KEENE teaches at Northwestern University and is fully or partly responsible for two books, and many drawings and translations, more of which are on their way.

the Haymarket Martyrs’ Statue, Haymarket Square
approximately 165 N. Desplaines Street
half a block north of the intersection with W. Randolph Street
CTA Green or Pink Lines to the Clinton-Green Station

April 30th @ 2pm Haymarket Re-enactment
May 1st @ 1pm Haymarket Martyrs' Ceremony

Chicago Durutti Skool: Workshop
with the Next Objectivists
7-9pm @ Mess Hall

THE NEXT OBJECTIVISTS is a free, open-to-the-public poetry workshop dedicated to the study & reproduction of the outsidereal. We take this term from the "Black Mountain" poet Edward Dorn & our name from the second generation modernist poets associated with The Objectivist Press. Although writers associated with the Objectivists and Black Mountain "schools" (Bunting, Creeley, H.D., Niedecker, Pound, Reznikoff, Williams, Zukofsky to name only those we've already studied) are prominent stars in our constellation, our objective is not to reproduce any particular style, mode or tradition, but instead to draw on many different ways of doing and making in order to isolate those practices of writing & publishing & above all those poetic effects which lead us out of the neoliberal present & the future it imagines.

The Next Objectivists Poetry Workshop was founded in January 2009. Members make the curriculum as we go along. Our meetings are potlucks and beginners are always welcome. We read, discuss & write poetry together. As time allows we publish our findings through our website.

Mess Hall, 6932 North Glenwood Avenue
CTA Red Line to the Morse Station

Chicago Durutti Skool: Readings & Discussions
with Frank Rogaczewski & Michelle Taransky
7-9pm @ Outer Space Studio

What is the role of poetry and the poet in addressing and engaging social awareness?

FRANK ROGACZEWSKI holds a Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Illinois at Chicago and teaches in the MFA Program at Roosevelt University in Chciago. He lives in Berwyn with his wife Beverly Stewart. "Fate of Humanity" was released by American Letters and Commentary in Fall 2009. Poet Mark Nowak describes the book well: "Straight from the near west suburbs of Sandburgland, Frank Rogaczewski explodes the less than brave new world we’ve unfortunately arrived at. The Fate of Humanity in Verse sears through the vast gaps of capitalism and pop culture in multi-page paragraphs of pure invention. It is quite simply, to borrow two of Rogaczewski’s titles, an “Arse Poetica” for “The Day They Outsourced America.”

MICHELLE TARANSKY is the author of "Barn Burned, Then" (Omnidawn 2009). She lives in Philadelphia, works at Kelly Writers House, as Reviews Editor for Jacket2, and teaches at University of Pennsylvania and Temple University.

Outer Space Studio, 1474 N. Milwaukee Avenue
third floor walk up, not wheelchair accessible
CTA Blue Line to Damen Station

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Poets' Strike?

"Why don't we all refuse to write or read poetry on May 1st and turn our energies towards political acts all over the country and you know why not the world. This idea was floated in the 60s maybe as a joke but today I'm thinking that rather than it being about who cares if we write or not we can use our resistance as an organizing tool.

Everyone can do it locally - I'm thinking we should NOT do things in poetry spaces (except maybe to plan and organize.) Though certainly art world spaces could be used, or any other space inside or out. I'm not thinking top down organizing at all. Pick your issue, your group of poets and we don't have to limit our groups to poets only, but poet organized.

The point is to get attention to your issue whether its about women's rights, tax cuts for the rich, spending cuts, environmental disasters and defunding, whatever you want to devote your energies to publicly or privately that day. Any takers?"

-- an email received from Eileen Myles on April 20, 2011

Eileen has since written more on her idea here (there's also a fbook page) and Mark Nowak responded very thoughtfully here. Me? I'm digesting and thinking. Chicago takes it's May Day celebrations pretty seriously. We're the home of the eight-hour work day, known around the world (though not often in the U.S.) as International Workers Day. This year there's more momentum than ever. It's the 125th anniversary of the original Haymarket struggle, unions are being attacked throughout the country, and people are (finally) really angry about corporate greed. There are numerous activities happening in Chicago this week including Poetry for Labor, a May Day reading being organized by poet John Keene. I'm thinking globally and acting locally. Ie -- my plan is to poet and not to strike on May 1, 2011.

But, I sure do LOVE the idea of a poets' strike. To start with, it brings into question the concept of cultural labor. What is our value? I've been paid $0-$500 for a reading. Do these dollar amounts have anything to do with the actual time/energy I put into my work? Insert personal note, I grew up working-class with a Jewish grandpa who would often tell me "My granddaughter the poet? I never heard of that. They gonna pay you for that?" Sometimes yes and sometimes no. It's a schizophrenic economic model (American Capitalism), particularly for those of us not solidly grounded in the academy.

So, will our cultural labor be missed if we go on strike? On an everyday level it is doubtful but on an institutional level we'd make a collective impact. What if we all stop applying for grad school, teaching positions, residencies, grants, prizes, book contests, etc? What if they held the AWP and MLA conferences and nobody showed up? What if we all picked a time to walk out? Nobody paid the registration fees? Nobody went into debt to the MFA industrial complex? Full disclosure -- I have a MFA (art school friends say that when you graduate you become a Mother Fuckin Artist).

For me, a helpful example of creative resistance is the Art Workers Coalition which existed in NYC from 1969-1971, consisting of over 300 artists, critics, writers, and arts administrators. They presented a list of "13 Demands" to the MoMA in 1969, like this one:
"Museum staffs should take positions publicly and use their political influence in matters concerning the welfare of artists, such as rent control for artists' housing, legislation for artists' rights and whatever else may apply specifically to artists in their area. In particular, museums, as central institutions, should be aroused by the crisis threatening man's survival and should make their own demands to the government that ecological problems be put on a par with war and space efforts."
The Art Workers Coalition organized the New York Art Strike in 1970 and multiple protests against the war in Vietnam. They published and distributed posters of the image I've posted up top, from the American massacre of My Lai, as a way to draw connections between the people who collect art and the people who profit from war (often one in the same, then and now).

Turn on, tune in, drop out? Sorry hipsters, that seems to have gotten us nowhere (see 1970s onwards) and I don't think that's what Eileen is calling for either. The resources for our cultural labor are time and energy. How will we use our time and energy to create the changes we want to see in the world? Not just elect some cool dude president or give a fbook thumbs up. Eileen, herself, has run for president and you could too. Why? Why not? Poet Tom Hibbard recently ran for office in Wisconsin. Want more examples of creative resistance by poets? Check out these posts by Brenda Cรกrdenas, Melissa Czarnik, and Roberto Harrison. What else? You could join up with one of the Durutti Skools happening around the country this year.
"Many peope think of the economy as unchangeable, as though economic activity lay outside the realm of human control. But the economy is a set of shared social practices, ideas, and institutions that are created, maintained, and reproduced by people; it has changed rapidly through history and will be further transformed in the future. The direction of such change is at least partially up to us."
-- Teresa Amott and Julie Matthaei, Race, Gender and Work

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

April 21-22: Chicago/Denver Writers Exchange


Readings by:
Laura Goldstein
Jennifer Karmin
Luis Humberto Valadez

at Innisfree Bookstore
1203 13th St - Suite A
Boulder, Colorado


FRIDAY, APRIL 22 @ 7:30pm
The TitMouse Chicago Writers Exchange

A collaborative experiment by:
Denise Dooley
Laura Goldstein
Jennifer Karmin
Luis Humberto Valadez

at The Dikeou Collection
1615 California St (at 16th St) - Suite 515
Denver, Colorado

DENISE DOOLEY lives in Rogers Park, Chicago. She reads and writes with Next Objectivist Workshop at Mess Hall. Her chapbook Drumtops is available through Con/Crescent Press at and poems have appeared in Con/Crescent, Shampoo, Court Green, and elsewhere. She's working on a novel about fungal blights.

LAURA GOLDSTEIN's poetry, reviews and essays can be found in EAOGH, Requited, Little Red Leaves, How2, Seven Corners, Text/Sound, Rabbit Light Movies, Otoliths, CutBank Reviews and Moria, as well as this summer in American Letters and Commentary, She has two chapbooks: Ice in Intervals from Hex Press and Day of Answers from Tir Aux Pigeons and her newest chapbook, Let Her, will be coming out from Dancing Girl Press in Spring 2012. She currently co-curates the Red Rover reading series and teaches Writing and Literature at the School of the Art Institute and Loyola University.

JENNIFER KARMIN's text-sound epic, Aaaaaaaaaaalice, was published by Flim Forum Press in 2010. She curates the Red Rover Series and is co-founder of the public art group Anti Gravity Surprise. Her multidisciplinary projects have been presented at festivals, artist-run spaces, community centers, and on city streets across the U.S., Japan, and Kenya. A proud member of the Dusie Kollektiv, she is the author of the Dusie chapbook Evacuated: Disembodying Katrina. Walking Poem, a collaborative street project, is featured online at How2. In Chicago, Jennifer teaches creative writing to immigrants at Truman College and works as a Poet-in-Residence for the public schools.

LUIS HUMBERTO VALADEZ is a poet/musician/performer from Chicago Heights, IL. His work is heavily influenced by an ilk of artists including Harryette Mullen, Amiria Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, and Anne Waldman as well as the economically depressed Chicago southern suburb he grew up in, and his mother, who constantly implored him to "get out of the Heights." These influences figure heavily into his first collection of poetry "what i'm on," published by the University of Arizona Press. He went to school at Columbia College Chicago and the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University. He also teaches and works as an AmeriCorps VISTA Supervisor for Chicago HOPES, an after-school tutoring and arts initiative for children living in Chicago homeless shelters.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mother, I + more at Sidebrow

Sidebrow is a literary press dedicated to collaborative experiments in publishing. Founded online in 2005, Sidebrow provides a forum for exploring the collective and the singular in the literary arts. Expanding on the traditional publishing model, Sidebrow uses the Internet as a tool for presenting projects as they evolve, encouraging contributions from established and emerging writers, poets, and artists that explore established themes and respond creatively to components already included on the Sidebrow Web site.

Inspired by Sidebrow’s first post, excerpts of Chris Tysh’s
screenplay adaptation of Georges Bataille’s Mother, I, Mother, I is a multi-author, multi-genre foray into the maternal, in large part shaded by the dark, erotic prescriptiveness of the mother figure in Bataille. The project is open to response, reimaginings, and inquiries into the maternal beyond Bataille.

Current contributors to Build: Mother, I include:
Nick BredieAllison CarterTraci O ConnorBrian EvensonAndrew FarkasSandy FlorianHL HazukaAnne HeideCarrie-Sinclair KatzJanice LeeMegan MilksDeborah PoeKristin PrevalletDaniel C. RemeinElizabeth RobinsonNina ShopeAnna Joy SpringerChris TyshChristine WertheimQuintan Ana Wikswo

Also, check out more Les Figues authors on Sidebrow here:
Harold AbramowitzAmina Cain

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

&Now 2011 Call for Proposals-- due by April 12th!


The &Now Festival is a biennial festival, celebration, and conference that explores intersections between creative and critical praxis, examines innovative and experimental acts of writing, and advances a serious inquiry into theories of language and consciousness. The 2011 &Now Festival of New Writing: Tomorrowland Forever! will be held October 13-15, 2011 at University of California, San Diego, a research institution internationally renowned for imaginative experimentation in the arts, humanities, and sciences.

The event will feature creative and critical panels on contemporary literary art, plus cross-disciplinary performances, keynote presentations, the Tomorrowland Forever Book Fair for the sale of books and other literary objects/experiences, the “Innovation in a Box” performance booth, and a gallery show.

&Now’s 2011 theme “Tomorrowland Forever!” addresses the idea of “innovative” literary art and how that term is linked to ideas about progress and the future. Questions concerning the institutionalization of innovation, especially in the literary arts, are meant to invigorate the inquiry in productive ways that also engage such rhetoric used in humanities disciplines such as religion, education, and law along with nanotechnology, neuroscience, and other sciences.

&Now has produced four previous festival-conferences from 2004 – 2009. &NOW Books, based at Lake Forest College, produces the biennial anthology, The &Now Awards: The Best Innovative Writing, with its next publication in 2012. &NOW Books also publishes the first book by the winners of The Madeleine P. Plonsker Emerging Writer’s Residency Award, which comes with $10,000 and suite-of-one’s-own for a two-month period. &NOW Books are distributed by Northwestern University Press.


PLEASE SUBMIT Proposals for critical papers, criti-fictional presentations, fiction and poetry readings, staged play readings, rituals, performance pieces (digital, sound, and otherwise), electronic and multimedia projects, and intergenre literary work of all kinds. We particularly encourage pieces that promote linguistic and genre transgressions, along with works that promote interdisciplinary explorations and conversations with past, present, or future literary concerns and movements. We also encourage proposals for the “Innovation in a Box” Performance Booth (see below).

Further, we strongly encourage groups and individuals from populations normally underrepresented at innovative, avant-garde, and experimental literary arts gatherings. Proposals can be for individual readings, critical panels, creative panels, and/or roundtable discussions. There is a possibility that we may be able to offer some panels in Spanish with interpreters, depending on the number of submissions for Spanish language events.

Individuals are limited to being a part of TWO separate proposals (panel and/or individual submission), and no individual will participate in more than two panel events, one critical and one creative. Yes, the lines between these may be blurred. Additionally, anyone may apply to perform for “Innovation in a Box” (see below).

If submitting a group proposal, only one member of the group (the curator/moderator) should submit, but they should include panelist names, plans, and biographical information for all panelists, as detailed below. You can find a the schedule for the 2009 panels and readings here.


Please submit proposals by April 12 in the following format:

*Your name and institutional affiliation, if any
*Contact info for yourself and for all members of your panel, if this is a group proposal
*Title of Proposed Reading/Performance/Presentation
* Names of other participants – Please be sure all participants are confirmed before including them in this proposal
*Brief Description (no more than 500 words, including why this presentation would be good for the 2011 &Now Festival of New Writing; Tomorrowland Forever! and, if relevant, very brief description of all panelists’ anticipated contribution)
*2-3 Images, if you have them
*Brief Bio (a few sentences/no more than 150 words) of all participants
*Anticipate tech, room, or other performance and accessibility needs (if any). Be as specific as possible. Please indicate which of these items you can furnish, and which ones you need &Now to provide.


“Innovation in a Box” Performance Booth Proposals

Individual writers may perform their writing for a very small audience and video camera for two minutes in a confessional-style or peep-show style booth with glass or one-way mirror separating writer from audience and video camera. Videos will be downloaded directly to a video website and projected throughout the festival before its panels. Please submit the 2-minute draft text of the work you would like to perform, plus anything you’d like us to know about the nature of the performance. Participants will receive an official acceptance of their proposal, which will help anyone affiliated with universities or businesses with funding guidelines to access travel or conference funds.

Anyone can submit a proposal. You need not be associated with an academic or any other institution.


Submit all proposals HERE using our online submission process.



Please note: Each session will be approximately 75 minutes. Individual presentations should therefore be limited to 15-20 minutes so that grouped sessions that make thematic/aesthetic sense can be arranged and so there is time for questions and discussion. Please also consider creating new kinds of presentations that are unlike conventional panels or readings and that expand notions of what these types of theatrical-pedagogical encounters might look like.

Send questions, comments concerns to: