Monday, May 16, 2016

In Search of African-American Space at Pratt Institute

May 20, 2016
10:00-5:30 PM
Higgins Hall
Pratt Institute

There were roughly four million enslaved people living in the United States when the nation formally abolished slavery in 1865. If the African American experience emerges from the structure of slavery what does architecture have to say to that experience, and what can the formerly enslaved say to an architecture whose primary purpose is to fortify the state, as Vitruvius set forth in the Ten Books on Architecture. This is a question that is being asked again today in response to the escalation of state violence toward people of color, which is taking place at the same time as the emergence of a black aesthetics. The symposium sets out to bring together in a conversation a group of historians, architects, writers, performers, activists and artists who are in search of African American spaces from a variety of perspectives. The discussion will critically examine: Brooklyn as a destination on the Underground Railroad—past, present and future; the experience of African American space in the museum, the memorial, the monument and the mundane, and the experience of “a politics without a proper locus,” to quote Saidiya Hartman.

10:00 Introduction:
Frederick Biehle, Jeffrey Hogrefe and Scott Ruff

10:30 Black Radical Tradition in Brooklyn as a Destination on UGRR—past, present and future
Jeffrey Hogrefe: Moderator

Allison Guess
Black Geography and the Emergence of Black Radical Tradition

Frank Decker
Independent Scholar
Plymouth Church and the Underground Railroad

Brian Purnell
Bowdoin College
From Segregation to Congregation: African_American Spaces and Places in Brooklyn

12:00-1:30 LUNCH

1:30 Museum, Monument, Memorial and the Mundane
Frederick Biehle: Moderator

Rodney Leon
Reprise: African Burial Ground

Scott Ruff
Pratt Institute
Culture in Translation: African-American Spatial Tropes

2:30-2:45 BREAK

2:45 Politics Without a Proper Locus
Thom Donovan: Moderator

Radiclani Clytus
Brown University
Visuality and abolition of slavery

Ann Holder
Pratt Institute
Visuality of race and space in antebellum urban

Marisa Williamson
Pratt Institute
Performance: Sally Hemings in Paris

5:00 Plenary and Reception

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Reading for Melissa Buzzeo's BFA Workshop at Pratt Institute

Melissa Buzzeo asked me to give a reading and talk about my work the other night at Pratt. I liked so much the company and the sense of rapport with her students.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

For Eleni

If we are sick
And we are all sick

How do words care
For the sick?

We are dying to live
There is something

I am dying to tell you
When language ends

Don't call this cure
Call this method

Call this the necessary
Blocks we throw up

To know we are here
And not just a voice

That pain is just the beginning
Of what we will say

To each other a kind
Of poetry just without

The poem.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Tzak feature

George Life, editor of Tzak, has kindly posted a set of poems of mine composed over the past couple years.

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Tripwire 10: A Pestschrift for CA Conrad

An updated and extended version of my essay, “None of us have rules, none of us have scripture”: CA Conrad’s Advanced Elvis Course and the Politics of Spirit, appears in Tripwire 10 along with many other essays, remembrances, and tributes to CA Conrad.

TRIPWIRE 10 * A Pestschrift for CAConrad, with an interview, prose, poems, & a play by CAConrad, plus TC Tolbert, Magdalena Zurawski, Frank Sherlock, Anne Boyer, Marianne Morris, Allison Cobb, Jen Coleman, d/wolach & Elizabeth Williamson, erica kaufman, Thom Donovan, along with work from Danielle LaFrance, Juliana Spahr, Lila Matsumoto & Samantha Walton, Sarah Hayden, Nibia Pastrana Santiago, Frances Kruk, Sheila Mannix,  Jenifer K Wofford, Alicia Cohen, Cesar Moro (trans. Esteban A. Quispe), Heriberto Yépez, ko ko thett, Steven Farmer, Nachoem Wjinberg (trans. David Colmer), Ghayath Almadhoun (trans. Catherine Cobham), Bert Stabler, Julian Francis Park on Claudia Rankine & Fred Moten, Tyrone Williams on Jocelyn Saidenberg, erica kaufman on Frank Sherlock, Eric Sneathen on Chris Nealon, William Rowe on Joshua Clover, Danny Hayward on Lucy Beynon & Lisa Jeschke, David W. Pritchard on Marie Buck, Kristin Palm on Wendy Walters, Linda Russo on Lorine Niedecker, James Sherry on Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge, Laura Moriarty on Syd Staiti, Nich Malone on Towards. Some. Air. (eds. De’Ath & Wah), & Ryan Gato on P. Inman. Cover by Yuh-Shioh Wong. 340 pages. April 2016. $15.

Friday, April 01, 2016

Interview with David Buuck in The Conversant

Thanks to Caleb Beckwith and The Conversant for publishing this interview I conducted with David Buuck! 

I think also about unlearning as much as deskilling, to let go of mastery as the threshold of the literary and let the materials and questions lead the work. Kaia Sand & Jules Boykoff have written about inexpertise as a method—“inexpert investigation” is one way they phrase it—and I find their line of thinking about research and poetics compelling. At the same time, it’s a delicate balance between forging forms of politically committed work through methodologies of deskilled inexpertise (‘rigorous amateurism’ I’ve called it elsewhere) and simply half-assing a bunch of genres/media one has only half-studied & calling oneself a cross-genre performance artist or whatever. And of course to then try to corral everything into a book, when so much of the work exists off the page, either at/on specific sites or in/as time-based performances, means that failure is inherent in the book form. Could we unlearn the book?--David Buuck

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Bath House 14

Bath House just published some work of mine along with Ana Božičević, David Buuck, Chyrum Lambert, and George Hajian. Letters to Beka Economopoulos, David Buuck, Etel Adnan, and Jordan Scott from a book forthcoming with Shifter Magazine.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016



Eleni Stecopoulos 

with a foreword by Alphonso Lingis

VISCERAL POETICS tracks “the chronic syndrome of the West” and the cruel treatments of poetry’s resistance. At once a call for an embodied scholarship, a poetic work of criticism, and a fragmentary autoethnography of the author’s health crisis at the millennium, Eleni Stecopoulos’ book moves in a complex field of languages and bodies, between symptom and art, diagnosis and composition, fascia and form. Stecopoulos aligns her method with diviners of entrails and holistic healers, tracing the resonance between locations that range from demonic possession and parasitic vowels to acupuncture and diaspora Greek. Opening new directions in poetry and poetics as well as literature and medicine, Stecopoulos argues for the body’s poetic agency and a different understanding of the therapeutic potency of art.

Focusing on works by Antonin Artaud and Paul Metcalf, Stecopoulos articulates a remarkable set of correspondences between experimental writing and the modalities and diagnostics of holistic medicine. In new readings of Artaud, Stecopoulos explores his collaboration with pain and use of energetic principles derived from modalities like homeopathy and acupuncture. She revisits the poetry and “translation therapy” of Artaud’s asylum years, understanding his exoticism as a technology of healing through world languages. Stecopoulos animates the complicated role of Artaud’s multiethnic background and ties his translations to histories of linguistic imagination situated in colonial encounter and nationalist and imperialist strategies.

VISCERAL POETICS also includes one of the few sustained meditations on Paul Metcalf’s documentary narrative GENOA: A TELLING OF WONDERS, a hybrid text that becomes a navigation of Western disease and the imperial conceptions to which American letters bear witness.

A critique both of the ways institutions disembody us and the primitivism that persists in heterodox seeking, VISCERAL POETICS seeks “to overwrite discourses of pathology with currents of empathy.” It joins the tradition of American poets’ scholarship exemplified by Charles Olson’s CALL ME ISHMAEL and Susan Howe’s THE BIRTH-MARK, and does something uniquely its own—a grand refusal of the division between who feels and who interprets. Stecopoulos’ book is the second in ON Contemporary Practice’s Monograph Series, which features extensive essays and collections by single authors as well as collections by multiple authors regarding discourses in contemporary poetics.


Eleni Stecopoulos is singularly aware of a healing power in poetry that touches the most obscure depths of our carnal existence. She seeks to uncover “how the body in its opaque poetry can be homeopathically treated by poetry—as aesthetic, not anaesthetic, therapy.” Eleni Stecopoulos’ researches open an important field for investigation and practice: the healing force of language, of poetry.
-         Alphonso Lingis, from the Foreword

Searching in real time, thinking/feeling as writing, this tour de force of authentic scholarship reaches far back to the matrix of writing/embodiment at the crux of human consciousness, far forward into a modernism (Artaud, Metcalf) that explores the edges of such embodied writing, and in all directions as Stecopoulos’ every insight emerges from and remains immersed in a surround of the immediately personal. This is a lyrical study of great depth, an epic poem of experiential erudition. 
-         Maria Damon

Eleni Stecopoulos’ brilliantly provocative, syncretic manifesto identifies idiopathic disease with ideolectical poetics, pathology with anomaly – the flesh of the text and the text of the flesh – bringing home the liberatory potential for visceral readings of the unintelligible. For Stecopoulos, diagnosis is a practice of aesthetic translation and poetry a quest for knowledge outside the disabling strictures of Western rationalism. Written in lyric bursts of telegraphic intensity, Stecopoulos follows her guides, Artaud and Metcalf, through veils of suffering in order to repossess, from the jaws of evisceration, her own life – and ours. 
-         Charles Bernstein

In a thick rich book of Artaudian trickster moves, Eleni Stecopoulos performs healing rituals upon medical practices and cultural prescriptions, writing toward her own healing process, with opacity as sustaining wayfarer and shield against early collapse. Disease emerges as narrative symptom for disconnect, and language becomes subtle homeopathy, weaves a new myth, for suffering writers and suffering war-torn worlds, in a visceral poetics based on Artaud’s asylum writings: “a rhythm of exorcism against the drying out of opium by conspiracies and consecrations” (Artaud, SELECTED WRITINGS).
-         Petra Kuppers

Experience what “radiates from a text,” “the gravity at the core of theater” in this long awaited critical work from Eleni Stecopoulos, the genesis of her Poetics of Healing—a curated series of stages in which these ideas are enacted and the isolated patient finds place in a complicated communal as both are changed. Placing the psychic reading of the body that refuses with will next to the reading of poetries claimed unreadable, she makes a document of vital forms for a new kind of scholarship, for a new and ancient kind of person or poet one and the same in the hopes that they won’t be re-swallowed by the dominant but will find their own breath. A breath that will resist and resist singularity and in the failures or blocks, the resetting, find the choral-tragic—through a different kind of reading/witnessing. The violences of a larger social body made visible though a syncope pressing right up against poetry. In this epic lyric, everything and nothing at once. In “a form that holds, rather than explains”—the mystery of how this beautiful important project came to be.  
-         Melissa Buzzeo

The central question of VISCERAL POETICS is how to be. How to be a body. How to be a body in pain, a body not in pain. How to be a thinker, a scholar, a writer about literary works. How to be a poem too. It is unusual for a piece of literary criticism to take on such weighty questions. And Eleni Stecopoulos gives us no easy answers as she consults various forms of literatures and healing, questioning all of them and her relationship to them too. And as she does this she writes a book that is beautiful and moving, a life’s work dedicated to the work of living.  
-         Juliana Spahr

$45 institutions
$25 individuals

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