Sunday, August 30, 2009


I am very pleased to announce that my e-chapbook, Make Believe, is now available as a PDF at Wheelhouse Press's website:

Thank you to David Wolach and Gianna D'Emilio for co-designing and hosting the book. Make Believe collects poems that I began writing in the fall/winter of 2006 and did not complete until the offer from Wolach to publish a chap this past spring.

"Make Believe, broken into sections, each of which explores, plays with, and critiques specific filmic tropes and conventions, jumps from these explorations as more-than-ekphrastic-springboards into the oft ignored poetic waters of belief, event, and the material conditions of our epistemological assumptions around what is public and what is private, what is use and what is using, what is other and what is othering. With the deeply thoughtful poetics and politics Donovan is known for, these poems both attack and nurse the body-as-proprioceptive-reactive becoming. And as often the case with Donovan's work, the ear is shaken first."
--David Wolach, Wheelhouse Press editor

Nostalgia is not a groundwork

For this video no face will be

Healed by lines color hovers

For her eyes like a grief of names

Never given so unsalvagable

Did they open to these distances.
--from Make Believe

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Notes for The Hole

Over the past two and a half years I have been composing a manuscript called The Hole (formerly titled "Nonsite Poems"). Now I am trying to write an essay about it, particularly the mode(s) of subjectivity it may be embodying. Here are some notes so far:

"Words like moving dirt to where we/it was not before could be called “development” if it is for profit or a process by which “I” is discovered in relation to we, a relationship by which I and we coappear complicitous with one another.

In moving dirt—like moving word-like bodies or bodies like words because we feel something for them—the whole landscape changes, all the points in space shift as if one could ever draw an accurate map of the multitude—always occurring.

I have wanted the feeling for that moment—when an entire terrain both somatic and psychic and social—seems to slide beneath a reader's feet, no constellation, no conveying but where here is.

This manuscript would present movement —the moving of lines in a lineated, enjambed poem for instance—as a means of discovering what remains of “I” subtracted from social relations, public identities, participation in a community—the nearly total mediation of the subject in contemporary experience. After these processes follows a formal feeling that I is substantiated by loss—the loss implied by all holes but also by movements which will not develop."

Usufruct V

beginning with a phrase by Rob Halpern...

Value sings inside
The dead
Sings its heart out

There is no laboring
Here just us human
Animals with heads

For holes the whole
Asshole unquieted
Into spring

Where it burgeons
We were purlieus
Pleading multitude

We are not The People
Included yet enclosed.

Rachel Zolf's The Tolerance Project

I am happy to be a part of Rachel Zolf's The Tolerance Project, a welcome deterritorialization of the MFA.

"Each poetic trace donated to The Tolerance Project has been assigned its own barcode. Each poem written for the MFA will employ traces from the donated traces. The MFA poems will be restricted to The Tolerance Project archive (which also includes the Office of Institutional Research and the Department of Communications and External Affairs) for their content.

MFA poems written for class will be posted on this blog, along with workshop feedback received. The online public is welcome to add its own feedback in the comments section to the blog. Based on cumulative feedback, the MFA poems will be scrupulously revised toward the creation of The Writing Thesis.

Barcodes for the traces used will appear at the end of each MFA poem post, so that donors can monitor when their trace has been activated. Barcode identities will be revealed at the end of The Tolerance Project, by which time an aspect of each piece of donated poetic DNA will have been happily redeployed."
--Rachel Zolf, on The Tolerance Project

Friday, August 28, 2009

For a remarkable critique of Bourriaud’s Relational Aesthetics

click here:

"In this sense I think we can bridge the gap between Bourriaud’s relational aesthetics and his later book, *Postproduction*. [Nicolas Bourriaud, *Postproduction. Culture as Screenplay: How Art Reprograms the World*. trans. Jeanine Herman (New York: Lukas & Sternberg, 2002)] Are not the key concepts of this book, the *use *of cultural artefacts, from toasting to recycling, cutting, playlisting, do-it-yourselfing, colliding and mashing, etc, not the same modalities as those that are applied to people in relational works? In this sense the micro-utopias that are envisioned are indeed utopian projections that are experienced not relationally, as in real life, with all of its traumatic contingencies and unexpected encounters, but at a meta level that is detached. As in a Tiravanija encounter, we observe ourselves being convivial, as if from the outside. Like ravers on ecstasy what we want is not connection but managed disconnection with the right kind of crowd, the right kind of music, disconnected from ourselves and our cares. Isn’t this an indication not that “art is definitely developing a political project” [RA 16] but rather a sign of dysfunction, a kind of sophisticated micro-political version of Celebration, Florida? Or, to put it more directly, a kind of gated interactionism that is fully complicit with behavioural science despite the fact that the scientists have all gone home?"
--from Marc Leger's "Queer Relational"

ON Contemporary Practice 1 PDF

For a downloadable version of ON Contemporary Practice 1 link here.

"In the dirt of the line": on Bhanu Kapil's intense autobiography

Here is a sneak peak at an essay I have been composing on Bhanu Kapil for ON Contemporary Practice 2--due out in early October:

To mark such a space Kapil “put[s] [her] knib on the page” (Humanimal, 38) to “let motion wreck the line” (38) producing written “arrhythmias” as “record[s] of travel.” (38) Through an arrhythmic writing—a writing paced by quickened heart rates—Kapil’s own body leaves the traces of its lines of flight through writing. The form of the writing—the sentences which stutter with commas, hyphens, and periods; the syllogistic/constellative movements of the sentences and paragraphs—chart intensities rather than represent where Kapil has ‘been’. Here, form becomes an extension of physical travel in space intermittent with writing as a form of travel—the “crossing of thresholds,” a “flight of intensities” —without moving. Making the body in-transit a site of autobiography (a la Thoreau’s “Walking” or Kerouac’s On the Road), Kapil’s body also extends writing as a means of mourning, where mourning is successfully negotiated through itinerancy. “In the quick, black take of a body’s flight, a body’s eviction or sudden loss of place, the memory of descent functions as a subliminal flash.” (Humanimal, 26) Although travel and motion result in perpetual loss, in Kapil’s work they also accomplish an unforeclosed work of healing.

Usufruct (IV)

Where the sky is not one and
The earth is not one no totality
Locks us into place like the same
Product existing everywhere
Ubiquity of property ubiquity
Of territory does not become
A proper name or pronouns soaked
In blood the blood of soil blood
Of family for the abstract love
Of this family we call nation
A name can fail us in this outside.

Whatever genes have their way
(And they do have their way)
However we grasp essences
(And we can't help grasping)
Other echoes inhabit what
We would call the self seeking
Its mobile edge call it a marsh
For what we would have
Wanted to have been a mirror
Where I can't see my reflection
Staring at me where the tain
Was the case of everything.

A risk worth taking
Not up into the wild
Blue yonder Western move-
ment of all things history
So far as a kind of
Deathwish but what if we
All kept moving the
Boundaries and survived by
These land grabs only
These lands which grab
Us where I patiently waits
To be you there would be
The faintest distance of
Caring there.

For the people who seem
Ungeheuer we are not The
People the multitude blows
Through a thousand holes
In the wind whistles where
A polis isn't those common
Places and place holders
Their bodies were the case
For everything which persists
Like a kind of remnant the
World before the world was
The world what people would
Only seem to be missing.

For Joan Retallack

Needless to say
Everything is changed
By saying

Needless to say every
Letter is a loss
Accumulated on the page

Needless to say
We are scared and yet
Complicitous yet porous
To the wishes
Of the world

Needless to say
Everything moves
All things move
And in their separate
There is care.

Wheelhouse Magazine #8

Thanks to David Wolach and designers for including my work in the latest issue of Wheelhouse.

Wheelhouse Magazine Issue 8 features work by Zachary Buscher, Joel Chace, Cecilia Chapman, K.R. Copeland, Ryan Daley, Thom Donovan, Emily Kendal Frey & Zachary Schomburg, Garth Graeper, Marja Hagborg, Summer Block Kumar, Dorothee Lang & Jeff Crouch, Travis Macdonald, Karen Neuberg, Deborah Poe, Nicole Steinberg, Edith Sˆdergran, English translation by Christian Ward, John Moore Williams, and Changming Yuan.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Franco Berardi (Bifo) at 16 Beaver

This Monday we are happy to meet at the Autonomedia warehouse in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (55 South 11th Street 4th Floor, Brooklyn – nearest train JMZ to Marcy Avenue). The meeting is the first chance to publicly discuss the upcoming seminar we have organized with Franco Berardi (Bifo) at 16 Beaver Street (Sept. 3-6). This event is meant to be an occasion to meet people who would like to participate, to distribute some copies of Bifo's most recent book (Precarious Rhapsody) and begin some discussions / formulate questions that we may want to explore in the seminar.

To orient our conversation, we will be considering “Technology and Knowledge in a Universe of Indetermination” which appeared in the journal SubStance several years ago.

To download this week's reading, please visit:

Usufruct (III)

Where there is no going away
Is a stain on our national debate
The spectacle of how we care
For everyone no one is prepared

By the law since we portends
This wound not a projection
Others win awards while you
Get the prize still writing the

Particulars of that storm in that
Storm history is always near
We seems this distance from it
Events receding into our present

Present a certain not yet me
An unprecedentedness the ele-
ments partake of this nature
This all-too-human nature.

The recognition that history is always near.

The recognition that events recede into the present.

We lay our bodies down
Preenact gestures no speech
Will suffice for

And this was we we first
Were this
Art this tool that
Discovers a use

The recognition that form is never more than an extension of the body.

The recognition that form is never more than an extension of interacting bodies.

The recognition that form is never more than an extension of body bags.

We touch there is
A paradise after all
The last judgment is for the

Towards these straight
Gates all translation

Work is a warp
In the dirt of the line

Bearing across our survival.

The recognition that form is never more than an extension of how one feels.

The recognition that form is never more than an extension of how every one feels.

Migration says I when
What it means to say
Is are we still living

Mastery—the primary stressor

We is not we whenever
We see

Like some
Identity formation
—Rarer sightings
Of being

(repeat insistently)
He was just a Black
Man who liked to
Write sonnets.

We not I becomes
A question for “myself.”

The recognition that forms are not unlike arable land ripe for usufruct--for common use and enjoyment.

The recognition that there are forms we have yet to recognize because the people from whom they arise are not yet

The recognition that there are forms we can't imagine yet because the circumstances which would make possible their existence have yet to arise.

The recognition that there are forms we can't imagine yet because the circumstances which would make legible their existence have yet to arrive.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Usufruct (II)

The yeomanry of the open
Spaces they may subside
Or be usurped then what
Will be what will possess
What once possessed us

Be become so great devourers
Be become so great men
They will pass into another
Ditch not us not another

Night and so deeply enjoy
What we cannot own
Be become so great devourers
Be become so great men.

Not a forest in sight
We should call a forest
A euphemism for being
And property what has
Discovered me that
I am composed

Of waste lands and
What may not be en-
closed the toxins
That one breathes
The media we can’t see.

Your bruise blood
Martyrs the human-animal
There is no our here yet
No we shit except when we hear

What red dominates
And what black
Dominates what blue comes out
To children

Comes home to children

One weeps because their
Bodies were the case
One cries because mediation
Becomes a muddle.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Usufruct (I)

Out in that field and you’re not
Even tired of your laboring yet
Under it the sun there is no
Food or suffering there we didn’t

Seem to make and no longer
Telic did we create the many
Mores no one would touch
The wastes the arable earth

They had to create a thousand
Myths to keep us in place
To make a fence around our
Crumbling sensate light.

Of that land grab and when we
Were stranded by property
Men were enlisted go site which
Cataclysm the abandoned earth
Nature could not even dream-up
The dreams of those giants
The plans of those last men.

An instinctual notion of existence
This is where particulars come in

Ask yourself whether language
Will ever be complete all the words

For snow words for feelings we
Haven’t considered metaphor of

The buildings we are bound
To the structure of these things.


featuring writing by: Emily Abendroth, Fatho Amoy, mIEKAL aND, Kristen Andersen, Karen Leona Anderson, Stan Apps, Robert Ashton, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Christine Boileau, Timothy Bradford, Pam Brown, Julieann Brownton, James Bunn, Andrew Burke, Michael Basinski, Charles Bernstein, Bonny Cassidy, Louise Crisp, Justin Clemens, Jon Cone, Jack Collom, Matthew Cooperman, Gregory Day, Tyler Doherty, Thom Donovan, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Theodore Enslin, John Estes, Kate Fagan, Michael Farrell, Alec Finlay, Lisa Fishman, Benjamin Friedlander, Forrest Gander, Jody Gladding, Liberty Heise, Krista Ingebretson, Jill Jones, Patrick Jones, Michael Kelleher, John Kinsella, Kyhl Lyndgaard, James Koller, José Martí, John McBain, Ray Meeks, Graeme Miles, Stuart Mills, Peter Minter, Luis-Aguilar Moreno, Derek Motion, Jesse Nissim, Alistair Noon, Lucas North, Antonio Ochoa, Peter O’Mara, Isabelle Pelissier, Carol Quinn, José Rabéarivelo, Daniel W. Rasmus, Joan Retallack, Sarah Rosenthal, Linda Russo, Kate Schapira, Andrew Schelling, Jared Schickling, Jonathan Skinner, Gary Snyder, Juliana Spahr, James Stuart, Alf Taylor, Angélica Tornero, Rodrigo Toscano, Lauren Tyers, Erica Van Horn, Stephen Vincent, Damian Weber, Simon West, Les Wicks

318 pp. $15 PUBLICATION DATE AUGUST 20, 2009 (order here)


ECOPOETICS: Poetry, essays, fiction, translation, interviews.

"A (more or less) annual journal dedicated to exploring creative-critical edges between making (with an emphasis on writing) and ecology (the theory and praxis of deliberate earthlings)."
--Ecopoetics editor, Jonathan Skinner

Monday, August 10, 2009

List Poem (Usufruct)

Birdtables... Lace Bedspreads...
Pottery Logs Sawn
To Order Pond

Liners Honey Goats'
Milk Pedlar Dolls
Rotted Mushroom Compost

Eggs Laid While
You Wait Toms
Glads and Cues

Replacement Windscreens
Dwarf Lop Rabbits
Maggots Sweet Corn

Terrier Meal Horse
Pellets Karate Lessons
Haircut Sir? Golden

Labrador Puppies Ready
Soon Clay Pigeons
Cream Teas Welding

& Resprays Baby
Bunnies Pullets' Eggs
By the Tray

Pork Sausages and
Shoe Repairs Concrete
Tubs for Sale.*

all text from J.M. Neeson's Commoners: common right, enclosure and social change in England, 1700-1820

Sunday, August 09, 2009

We Are This Pack

We are this pack with the fire
On our faces with our backs
To the wilderness we make
A new circle without center

Our elbows where we nearly
Touch each other are new centers
They are points in space denying
Diadem its high life so we are

So many errands licking up
The language in our wake
We survive so everyone survives
Making use of every waste.

Advancing Feminist Poetics & Activism: A Gathering

This should be a pretty amazing symposium:

Friday, August 07, 2009

No One Starsong

That crowd not
Separated by death
Allegiance to little
No one starsong
Of possession again

This is the way
We tour the end
Like it were not
The end by an-
other beginning

We are before the
Threshold of
Another beginning
The world will shed
The world what

The world will shed…

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Are We Human, or Are We Dancer?

This past winter I wrote a piece on Daria Fain's and Robert Kocik's performance "The Extent to Which," sponsored by Danspace. You can now read the piece in the current PAJ: a Journal of Performance and Art. Here's an excerpt...

"For Fain and Kocik, the right to determine genetic material should be left to poets, artists and other sensitive, creative people. As such, they are the unacknowledged geneticists of the world. In Germ, Fain/Kocik continued their attacks upon a genetic essentialism which not only discriminates among human beings (and therefore upholds various bad isms of our culture), but also human, animal and (in)organic life as they depend on one another. The germ becomes that which, via mutation, can leap over whole species in a single bound, therefore acting as a kind of wild card among the larger phylum. But the real germ of Fain’s/Kocik’s collaborative work of course is the aesthetic itself, as aesthetic phenomena may shape and alter genetic material. As Kocik pronounces in Overcoming Fitness, “May poetry determine phenotype!” By determining phenotype, poetry and art determine life itself; “nature” and “nurture” (pseudonyms for the real and the imaginary) are no longer mutually exclusive, but contingent upon one another."

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Another Nail House

--for Dale Smith

Another nail house and another rip
In the tale of us that house lifted

Into the air by balloons is the question
What will be left to critique when

Capital is through with us and what
Is ironic about those land grabs the

Poem must preserve a place to remain
In what is not real the poem must be

An active force in a universe that is
Heterogeneous however real.

Monday, August 03, 2009

I Have a Basement Apartment. Now What?

I Have a Basement Apartment. Now What? debut presentation

From 1990 to 2005, more than a third of the new housing created in NYC outside of Manhattan were phantom apartments – illegal conversions of basements and cellars. These invaluable sources of affordable housing, often occupied by New York's newest immigrants, also happen to violate many of NYC's building and zoning codes and pose serious safety threats. What should happen to all these homes? Who decides?

This summer, CUP Teaching Artist Hatuey Ramos-Fermín and students from the College Now Program at Hostos Community College investigated these hidden homes. The group talked to tenants, landlords, the Department of Buildings, housing lawyers, and advocates to uncover the politics of living underground.

Join us on Friday, August 7 as we present the results of their investigation: "I Have a Basement Apartment. Now What?" – a comic book produced in partnership with Chhaya CDC and Make the Road New York. A dramatic reading and comic-making workshop will be followed by presentations from students and community organizations on mediation strategies and avenues for new legislation. All attendees get a comic.

Friday, August 7, 7 pm
I Have a Basement Apartment, Now What?
Make the Road New York
92-10 Roosevelt Avenue
Queens, NY
Take the 7 to 90th Street/Elmhurst
(718) 565-8500, ext. 409

Two Poems

What I does we refute by being
We and sometimes a dialogue

Or the beginning of an action in
Space names become consequent

To this that they were not each
Other’s mine and I can only express

What it knows through this event
There is the truth that with only

Knows—everything else just a
Sympathetic hole outsourcing us.

What sings us the beaks too big
Wing span too large for this cage

I am made of make and I am made
Of these things not me and to let

Them cry no singular thing are we
This shop-floor not exploitable that

Would kiss these lips instead these
Glass houses in which we won’t

See me and no one will accurately
Describe a feeling for what is right.

(June-August 2009)