Friday, October 30, 2009

All Their Hopes

"There is hope, but not for us."
-Franz Kafka

All their hopes to not work minimum wage jobs
All their hopes to not be victims of the housing crisis
All their hopes to not be victims of the health care crisis
All their hopes for and identifications with a distant people who have had their land their local resources taken from them by a faceless outside corporate entity
All the so-called "cliche" in this
Is not elegiac enough
Is not a requiem dire enough
To site us to cite
To take Sades
The undead so displaced were they
Who otherwise should be considered vital/viral

All their hopes to not work at Mickey D's
All their hopes to not pay additional tuition
All their hopes to not be controlled by debt to start a family not controlled by debt
All their hopes to find relationships not ruled by force and brutal circumstance
All their sorrows which will not be named will not be analyzed
All the names the hopes for names that will not be grieved
"I" will not awake to the sound of these
Within ear-shot, eye-shot, headless, heedless
All their hopes to not be a multi-national corporation
All their hopes to not be a unilateral war
All their hopes to not be tortured meat byproducts

All their hopes their shared hopes
To not hope and to actually do to accomplish to achieve something to be in relation to to hallucinate what we really want a name for "the record"
All their hopes to be plausible/possible
All their hopes to be or not to be
All their hopes to be a wreck--dashed
All their hopes to be dashing quashed by conflict scores of us are quavering/quibbling on our knees
All their hopes to enter into paradises
All their hopes to enter into promises
All their hopes to keep their promises
The oil that is not coming from anywhere not from God or from spirit or the systemic destruction of sustainable cultures
All their hopes to not be a wasteland of consumer desires
All their hopes to not be Walmart to not desire Walmart

All their hopes in China all their hopes in Iran all their hopes in Afghanistan burning like unequivocal flags
All their hopes to remember
All their hopes to remember what they must forget to survive this affirmation this burning which is not fair
Nothing is fair except when we do (struck-out)
All their hopes burn with consequence
All their hopes burn and yet it is the whole world which must change
Until they realize this there should be no hope
There should be no future in what we hope for.


-after Paul Chan

There are things we lose
We meant to have lost

Like a first remove the
Strikeout of these letters

These bodies in wartime
We can not be them

Voting with our tongues and
Moreover our dollars doing

The things we wouldn't dare
Poetry what's left of

Poetry must be an indict-
ment of war and people's

Behavior during war and
Mainly the poet's behavior

During war because all
We have are words at

Our disposal and these
Bodies are not only

Disturbed they are not
Only blown to bits by

Language something feels
Us and this is not

Just a feeling this is
Not just an idea either.

-for Dottie

Our care for women
My wife I have been

Thinking about the
Violence committed every-

day against women
There is a point

I believe at which
Every man can no

Longer tolerate being
A "man" can no

Longer tolerate oc-
cupying this calcified

Subject position under-
standing how women

Struggle everyday with
Violence one doesn't

Always intend to
Be Feminist but this

Feeling for the body
At risk of being

Harmed of being
Annihilated or hum-

iliated is Feminist
This feeling for

The excuses we make
Cowardly and cruel.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Brandon Brown's Last Post of 5

is now up at the Poetry Project's blog.

Jane Sprague's The Port of Los Angeles

I recall fondly visiting Jane and her lovely family in Long Beach, CA where I read with Rob Halpern for her events series Long Beach Notebook. We drove together to LA where along the way we passed the ports of which Jane is a scholar and a dire lyricist*...

The Port of Los Angeles
by Jane Sprague
72 pages
ISBN 978-0925904-77-5

from The Port of Los Angeles

I was singing with a closed mouth

singing thinking

sing no more anger between me
sing no more stillness no breakwater

sing come away slowly
sing carry me home

to no home

In this collection of interlocking texts, Sprague adroitly intersperses the distributive dimensions of material and cultural international commerce and its strange-making effects (as on your daily donk of style, and the shine it gets from being commodity No. 1). The Port of Los Angeles has moved this reader from somewhere--to somewhere else. My bet is that many others can catch the rapid ride too. Sprague's vigorous no-bones vocability springs off of every page, and the droids are plotting to revolt!" --Rodrigo Toscano

Part post-industrial sea chantey, part epiphany against the "economies of loss" that expand exponentially with each morning's news that struggles to stay news, Jane Sprague's The Port of Los Angeles offers us a rare and varied thick description (with Whitmanesque undertows) of those moments when our living-breathing-trying-to-pay-the-bills-selves meet the vast expanse that is the seemingly boundless sea. "John Steinbeck was right," the poet writes. And Jane Sprague certainly is, too." --Mark Nowak

*dire is a term I have often heard Sprague use to designate recent lyrical poetries critical of language's complicity with "natural" and social disaster.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Million Keys | Music Language Thought

I have been enjoying backtracking through this website devoted to cross-over between art + music, A Million Keys.

This music lecture series at NYU also looks quite promising, Music Language Thought.

Stan Mir on Francis Bacon and Rob Halpern

What a great connection!

After Paul Chan's Sade

Body parts without bodies
Parts without parts

Anti-gravity pulls apart
The blue windows bits

Byts silhouettes provide
Place increasingly crowded

Flicker with bodies ace-
phalics on their knees

Bleeding cubes float
At the beginning am I

At the beginning use
Of wall as cage as

Screen saver like the
Flicker like of a sudden

Shudder iconoclast Matisse
Color bars end piece

Activate constructivisms
Malevitch black squares

Fall like the sky dangles
Appears institutional

Why Sade now why
Not Marx why not

Machiavelli or Spinoza
But for torture because

We are in a time
Of cruel affect and

Virtual commandment
Pornos squares

Are flat but create
Foregrounds contexts

The figures seen sil-
houetted like a Walker

Cliché (cut-out) they
Are gestural too these

Quivers shakes diddles
There is reference to Stein

Who overcame beginning
Again and again the

Porno of all narrative
Poetry will there be

An end to this again
And again goth animation

One commands with
Penis erect another

Trembles holding a
Square over their head

This giant negativity
Of what can’t be seen

Partial objects (shit)
Fetish objects reliquary

Remains rubble debris
Something trapped inside

Anamorphosis slight
Blur every one’s penis

Suprematist episodic new
Slaveries why would I

Destroy you once when I
Could destroy you ten

Thousand times (fascist
Aristocrats in

Passolini’s Salo) crawling
Holding lifting fucking

The limits of being
Human act bestially

Crawling on their knees
They make decisions

With their dicks carry
One another on others'

Backs there is also a
Spirit of Sade in labor

There is also a spirit
Of Sade in poetry.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

As Per Usual Eileen Myles

hits the nail on the head...

"It's actually a terrible sacrifice the art world demands of poets, the virgins thown into the volcano, so that the shiny painting and sculpture of their time will have its equivalent in print, sort of. The poets will have backed off from the spikiness of their perceptions for the glory of instantly appearing in print at all, and for the glamour of being associated with such state-of-the-art art as modern art and even the small sum we receive for writing the average short review. Of course we like art. But that's not the point. My notebook is filled with poems too. It hasn't been a great poetic age of late, it's been an age that's non-verbal, media-oriented, ultra-visual and naturally pro-money, so no one really understands the loss, only knows that poetry is something art writers do when they are young. Or behind the art world's back."
--from The Importance of Being Iceland

Sunday, October 25, 2009

TENDENCIES: Poetics & Practice: Zolf / Gluck / Salah

Trish Salah, Robert Glück & Rachel Zolf
TENDENCIES: Poetics & Practice
This new series of talks by major poets, titled in honor of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, will explore the intersection of contemporary poetic manifesto, practice, queer theory and pedagogy. Too often today, statements on poetics and their manifesto-like style have been moralistic or prescriptive discourses. By contrast, this series will attempt a Kinsey-like survey of actual poetic practice--what writers actually do, in the writers' own words--in the process queering the manifesto, inventing new terms for poetics discourse, and emphasizing queer writing and poetics.

The first event features talks by:
Trish Salah, Robert Glück, & Rachel Zolf
...followed by a discussion/Q&A session.

on Thursday, October 29
at 6:30 PM

at CUNY Graduate Center
(in the Skylight Room)
365 Fifth Avenue, NYC

Born in Halifax, Trish Salah is a Montreal-based writer, activist and teacher at Concordia and Bishop's Universities. Her first book of poetry, Wanting in Arabic, was published in 2002 and her recent writing appears in the journals Open Letter, EOAGH, No More Potlucks, Aufgabe, West Coast Line. Her new manuscript, Lyric Sexology, is near completion.

Robert Glück is the author of nine books of poetry and fiction, including two novels, Margery Kempe and Jack the Modernist and a book of stories, Denny Smith. Gluck edited, along with Camille Roy, Mary Berger and Gail Scott, the anthology Biting The Error: Writers on Narrative. Glück was Director of The Poetry Center at San Francisco State, Co-director of Small Press Traffic, and Associate Editor at Lapis Press. His poetry and fiction have been published in the New Directions Anthology, City Lights Anthologies, Best New Gay Fiction 1988 and 1996, The Norton Anthology of World Literature, Best American Erotica 1996 and 2005, and The Faber Book of Gay Short Fiction.

Rachel Zolf's most recent book of poetry, Human Resources (Coach House, 2007), won the 2008 Trillium Book Award for Poetry and was shortlisted for a Lambda Literary Award. Previous collections include Shoot and Weep (Nomados, 2008), from Human Resources (Belladonna, 2005) and Masque (Mercury, 2004). Her poetry and essays have appeared in journals such as Xcp: Cross-Cultural Poetics and Open Letter and in the anthologies Prismatic Publics: Innovative Canadian Women's Poetry and Poetics (Coach House, 2009) and Shift & Switch: New Canadian Poetry. She was the founding poetry editor of The Walrus magazine. Neighbour Procedure will appear in the spring from Coach House Books.

TENDENCIES: Poetics & Practice is curated by Tim Peterson. For additional information, visit the Tendencies blog.

Hold On To Your Dreams review

Here is a review I wrote of Tim Lawrence's Arthur Russell biography, Hold On To Your Dreams:
"One of the most impressive things that Lawrence does throughout Hold On To Your Dreams, is not only provide a sensitive and detailed rendering of Russell's life, but also the story of large and complex cultural confluences channeled by a single person. Russell's lifework is also a Whitmanesque project of containing multitudes inasmuch as it successfully negotiates groups of people, musical styles, and cultures that, to many at the time, seemed at best mutually exclusive, and at worst downright antagonistic. As Lawrence insists repeatedly throughout his book, during a time when 'avant garde,' pop, classical, (post-) punk, and emergent dance musics such as disco and house could not seem to speak to each other, let alone find common cause, Russell was equally pioneering in each musical culture/genre."

Friday, October 23, 2009

RIP Nancy Spero

Temporary Services

Para-Summit on Revolutions in Public Practice

What: Discussion
When: Sunday 10.25.09
Where: 16 Beaver Street, 4th Floor
When: 10:30 am
Who: Free and open to all

"The New York Public Library is playing host to this Saturday's Creative Time Summit entitled 'Revolutions in Public Practice.' The event isbringing together an assortment of artists, activists,curators, architects, and collectives to discuss in short intervals of seven minutes, some aspect of their (public) practice in relation to issues of social justice. A group of us thought that it would be interesting to send an open invite to all of those participants to a more improvised conversation on the following day. Our para-summit is also an opportunity to broaden that conversation with others who are interested in the issues which the event is attempting to activate. We will begin at 10:30 with a light breakfast (any simple contributions to it are appreciated, bread, cheese, honey, jam, fruit, etc...). We will then begin the discussion at 11:00 and continue formally until around 1:00. If there is a desire to continue beyond that time, we can take ashort break, and then continue further with those who remain."
--16 Beaver

Link to Creative Time Summit on Revolutions in Public Practice:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

An African in Greenland

An African in Greenland
The Arctic Book Club
Artists Respond to An African in Greenland

September 18 – October 24, 2009

Opening Reception, Thursday, September 17 from 6-8 pm

Flux Factory and EFA Project Space are proud to present Arctic Book Club, on view from September 18 through October 24, at EFA Project Space in Manhattan. Curated by Jean Barberis and Michelle Levy, this exhibition is the result of a several-month long process embarked on by a group of artists responding to Tété Michel Kpomassie’s book, “An African in Greenland,” an account of the author’s unique journey from his native Togo to Greenland.

On September 23rd at 6:30 pm, Arctic Bookclub welcomes Kpomassie to respond to the exhibition and reflect on his experiences since having left Greenland.

Artists: Amber Cortes, Jenelle Covino, The Green and Bold Cooperative, Katerina Lanfranco, Fabienne Lasserre, Valerie Piraino, Greg Pond, Annie Reichert, Julian Rogers, Ranbir Sidhu, and Christopher Ulivo.

EFA Project Space
323 West 39th Street, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10018
(between 8th and 9th Avenues)

Gallery Hours: Wed. through Sat. 12-6 PM

T. 212-563-5855, F. 212-563-1875

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Rhetoric of Glenn Beck's "Battles"*

Not even truthiness
And is it possible that
Pure ideology as
An equally important
An allegory or code
Of appeal was not
I could not tell what
Feature so much in the
He could possibly

Refer to when he
Repetitiousness per se
Compared America
But in the fact that
To a teenager who
By means of it Hitler
Goes out for the night
Provided a "world
With his friends stays

Out beyond cerfew
view" for people who
Drinks and smokes
Had previously
Pot knowing when
Seen the world but
They come home
Piecemeal? Did not
Dad will "kick their

Butt" and they will
Much of his lure derive
Be better off for this
Once more, from the bad
Lesson until I realized
filling of a good need?
He was referring
To everything
Are not those who insist

Threatening his economic
Upon a pure planless
Interest and frankly
Working of the market
Fascist cultural values
Asking people to accept far too
And not something
Slovenly a scheme of
Actually worthy of

Punishment like the
Human purpose, a
Economic exploitation
Slovenly scheme
Of the entire world
That can be accepted
Or the destruction
So long as it operates
Of the environment

I wonder what Glenn
With a fair degree of
Beck could possibly
Satisfaction but
Be thinking when he
Becomes abhorrent
Laments a "simpler
To the victims of its
time" and shows a

Coca Cola commercial
Disarray? Are they not
From the early 70s
Then psychologically
Of a young white boy
Ready for a rationale,
Offering a black
Any rationale, if
Professional football

A coke the football
It but offer them some
Repeatedly refusing
Specious "universal"
The boys offer the boy
Explanation? Hence I
Persistently offering
Doubt whether the appeal
Until he finally accepts

The coke cocking his
Was in the sloganizing
Neck back drinking
Element alone (particularly
Deeply from the archaic
As slogans can only be
Glass bottle an image
Hammered home, in speech
Redolent of com-

passionate masters and
After speech, and two
Complaisant servants the
Or three hours at a stretch,
Context of Civil Rights
By endless variations on
Completely abandoned
The themes). And Hitler
By Fox News' format

Perverted by
Himself somewhat
Neo-colonial fantasies
Justifies my interpretation
Coke = economic
By laying so much
Exploitation qua favor
Emphasis upon the
Child = white master/

White man's burden
Half-measures of the middle-
Black athlete = post-
Class politicians, and the
Jim Crow slave or
Contrasting certainty of
Stereotype of Black
His own methods. He was
People waiting

For a hand-out
Not offering people
It is not obscure at
A rival world view
All what those fascists
Rather, he was offering
In our midst believe
A world view to
As the 'teabaggers'

Signs poorly conceived
People who had no
And spelled incorrectly
other to pit against it
Would have us
Our job, then, our
Believe but a simple
Anti-Hitler Battle is to find
Equation of images and

Signs with ideas and
All available ways of making
Acts of cultural violence
The Hitlerite distortions
Even the terms of
Of religion apparent
Glenn Beck are cod-
In order that politicians
ified they tell us of

A happier time when
Of his kind in America
We were all slaves to
Be unable to perform
The few their economic
A similar swindle
'Developments' and
The desire for unity
Complaisant before

A government
Is genuine and admirable
Disaggregating the body
The desire for national
politic of multitude
Unity, in the present
Governing inasmuch
State of the world is
As all governance

Attempts to divide
Genuine and admirable
Bodies which should
But this unity if attained
Otherwise attract each
On a deceptive basis
Other like a series
By emotional trickeries
Of powers shaping

The One every body
That shift our criticism
The potential to combine
From the accurate locus
With other bodies
Of our trouble, is no
Seize power insurrect
Unity at all for even if we
Become history's subject.

*significant portions of this text are taken from Kenneth Burke's "The Rhetoric of Hitler's 'Battles'"

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Below and above
Master and slave
The mystery of being
All a body holds
But can not see
Their laboring for
This vast nothing
On this threshold
Where we're still
Waiting nothing holds
Us colder than
Masters that we
Are a mastery in
A night of games
And politics
Which passes for
Having lived.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


-with Rit

To those servants in Altman's Gosford Park
Separate because they share a name with
Their masters this is the history of an emotion

Before an emotion becomes an emotion
The subject before the subject was a subject
Space and time feels small with you here

A kind of parallel universe of labor thresholds
Separate upstairs from down intimacy
Anticipates a coevalness of souls not equality.

Con/Crescent 1

Check out Con/Crescent 1, a journal of emergent criticism coedited by Jamie Townsend and Nicholas A. DeBoer featuring work by Brenda Iijima, Bethany Minton, Andrew Schelling, Nicholas A. DeBoer, John J. Courie, Thom Donovan, CAConrad, Jamie Townsend, Marie Larson, Amanda Courie, Adrienne Dodt, and Stephanie Goldfarb.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Boy in the Balloon

It's like that
The boy in
The balloon
Supposed to
Be trapped
Is not actually
There the bal-
loon touches
Down the F.B.I
Are there we
All are rapt
By this spectacle.

It's like that the
Boy supposed to
Be secreted in
The weather balloon
Is not there when
The balloon touches
Down our sense of
The real is like
That buoyed by
Our attention.

It's like that
The boy in the
Weather balloon
Not actually there
When the balloon
Touches down is
Mistaken for
Reality the media
Secretes attention
Like it was reality
This is how we
Will have been
Seen through
History's eyes

It's like that
There're eyes where
The head should have
Been there's a boy
In a balloon that
Is barely there that
Is almost a meme
Where we touch
Down doing the
Imaginary American
Thing again while
Wars go on
Elsewhere while
Hardship is all
One actually feels.

Fuck that balloon boy
And that balloon fucking
Dad their faces are not
Real in the real sunshine
Of national discourse
Hovering like an unidentified
Flying object something
Even more mythical
Dreaming of potential.

Fuck that balloon boy
Who didn't really climb
Into the balloon whose
Father was a motherfucker
Whose mother was a
Fox News victim like I want
To see a U.F.O. anyway
This is a poem for my
Friend Brandon Brown.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

To Crown

My friend our dream of waking disavows us
It doesn't notice or give presence to the
Violence we pursue being in relation to
Other beings and blood spilled elsewhere

Than this labyrinth this space-time a site
Where I or you will not become grieveable
Inextricable from a genealogy of morals
Images flaring-up non-sensible of what we

Are capable of given to other visions the
Objective withdrawal of what we would
Have been unnamed just a mound of skulls
Inscrutable quiddity we will not awake

From refusing I have a dream yes we can
Is our bad faith for which skin and action
Has failed us the collective will to awake
Now time is only sufferance saving what we

Know the intelligible guns the accidental
Guts no names enough to crown these bodies
Tear-covered letters form a threshold
Fiction forgoes hell for a made-up sun.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

In the In Between (at FANZINE)

Here is my full interview with Chen Tamir and Galit Eilat, curators of the Israeli-based Mobile Archive. Immense thanks to Casey McKinney, chief FANZINE editor, for his labor intensive work editing and designing:

"On the evening of September 15th, 2009 I attended a talk by Galit Eilat and Reem Fadda at New School University's Vera List Center about the Israeli Center for Digital Art’s Mobile Archive. The Mobile Archive is an archive of approximately 1000 DVDs permanently housed in Holon, Israel currently traveling throughout Europe and the United States. With each new destination it travels to, it grows by as many as twenty-five DVDs depending on the choices of the local curators and artists involved in the collaborative project. Currently, the Mobile Archive is being exhibited at Art in General in SOHO, New York, guest curated by the Israeli-Canadian curator, Chen Tamir, as well as curators Regine Basha and Adina Popescu.

During Eilat's and Fadda's presentations at the New School, I was struck by the curators' many insights about the geopolitical situation in the Middle-East, and the specific ways that native artists are addressing the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Fadda's description of Israel/Palestine as a "laboratory for mobility" was especially interesting, and something which I wanted to discuss further with Eilat and Fadda when the panel concluded. I was also very struck by a video Eilat showed from her Liminal Spaces project, which brings Israeli and Palestinian artists, intellectuals, activists, and scholars into dialogue with one another in order to think about and enact interventions into the bureaucracy that governs Israel/Palestine. This video showed Palestinians and Israelis speaking through the wall separating Israel from Palestine with one another via a two-way video conference. During this conference, to the surprise of the artists responsible for setting up the conference, Israeli soldiers policing the wall did not stop the conference and instead looked on with curiosity and amusement.

One of the issues foregrounded in the following interview, which took place on Friday September 18th between myself, Chen Tamir and Galit Eilat at Art in General, is the extent to which The Mobile Archive and Liminal Spaces are both creating genuinely new spaces for artworks to exist in cross-culturally. The Mobile Archive produces spaces for artists to show work that is in between private and public distribution, inclusivity and exclusivity, and which also challenge art's value as commodity insofar as the Archive prioritizes art's "symbolic" values––the ways that artworks can transmit ideas across cultures and create spaces for cultural dialogue. In the case of Liminal Spaces, artists and fellow travelers come together to find the loopholes in a bureaucratic structure. Much like the work of Eastern European artists such as the Slovenian IRWIN group, Liminal Spaces studies the situation in Israel/Palestine in order to intervene and act in ways that affect people's lives in the region on a day-to-day basis. Whereas the IRWIN group issues civilians passports, Liminal Spaces provides information about the Israeli military's use of checkpoints to police Palestinians and Israel's own civilian population."
--from In the In Between: a Conversation with Galit Eilat and Chen Tamir about the Mobile Archive

Friday, October 09, 2009


Check out the latest issue of MUSEO, which features an interview with Shana Moulton, as well as a gallery of screen captures.


Would we no longer
Be ashamed of being
The remains of us
And what they are
Withholding while we
Decimate other peoples
Money is a necessary
Evil morality tells me
To blow it out my ass
Suck it up like I was
Not condemned by
Common sense the
Senses of your abstract
Loads depleted by
Grammar governance
And training let's make
A new orifice sew
It up let's fuck like
Dollar bills infinitely
Exchangeable but with-
out actual value
Would we no longer
Be a resource.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Bharat Jiva / No Gender launch event

Please help us celebrate the release of

Bharat Jiva by kari edwards
kari edwards: NO GENDER
Reflections on the Life & Work of kari edwards
edited by Julian T. Brolaski, erica kaufman, and E. Tracy Grinnell

Monday, October 12, 2009
@ Dixon Place (161 Chrystie Street)
doors at 7pm, event begins at 7:30pm sharp
Admission is $6 at the door

with readings by:

Rob Halpern
Akilah Oliver
Marcus Civin
Brenda Iijima
Bill Marsh
Tim Peterson (Trace)
Fran Blau
Julian T. Brolaski
Anne Waldman

kari edwards (1954 - 2006) was a poet, artist and gender activist, winner of New Langton Art's Bay Area Award in literature (2002). edwards was the author of have been blue for charity (BlazeVox, 2006) obedience (Factory School, 2005), iduna (O Books, 2003), a day in the life of p. (subpress collective, 2002) a diary of lies, Belladonna #27 (Belladonna Books, 2002), obLiqUE paRt(itON): colLABorationS (xPress(ed), 2002), and post/(pink) (Scarlet Press, 2000). edwards' work has appeared in numerous publications, such as anthologies Blood and Tears: Poems for Matthew Shepard (Painted leaf Press, 2000), and Electric Spandex: anthology of writing the queer text (Pyriform Press, 2002); as well as been exhibited throughout the United States, including Denver art museum, New Orleans contemporary art museum, University of California (San Diego), and University of Massachusetts (Amherst).

Speculating on Change at Vera List Center

Michael A. Cohen
Speculating on Change: Four Paradoxes of Our Urban Future
Friday, October 16, 2009 - 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
The New School, Kellen Auditorium
65 Fifth Avenue, between 12th and 13th Streets
New York City
Admission: $8, free for all students, New School faculty, staff and alumni with valid ID

Each year, an inaugural lecture launches the Vera List Center's annual theme, defining the intellectual territory that will be explored in public programs throughout the year. The lecturer introduces the theme in the broadest sense, serving as a guide to the range and richness of the topic at hand, and rooting the concept within The New School's intellectual tradition.

This year's programs call for a speculation on notions of "change," specifically some of the descriptions, procedures and perceptions associated with change that inform collective action, whether political, scientific, or cultural. The inaugural lecture is delivered by Michael A. Cohen, Director, The Graduate Program of International Affairs at The New School.

The current global economic crisis demonstrates the impact on the economic welfare and political stability of both rich and poor countries of accelerating global flows of people, ideas, capital and competition for control over human and natural resources. Cohen discusses cities both as sites of the greatest impacts of global change, but also as sites providing solutions to some of the challenges that result from such change.


Michael A. Cohen (Ph.D., University of Chicago) is Director of the International Affairs Program. He also works as Advisor to the Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Design, and Urban Planning of the University of Buenos Aires. Before coming to the New School in 2001, he was a Visiting Fellow of the International Center for Advanced Studies at New York University. From 1972 to 1999, he had a distinguished career at the World Bank. He was responsible for much of the urban policy development of the Bank over that period and, from 1994 to 1998, he served as the Senior Advisor to the Bank's Vice-President for Environmentally Sustainable Development. He has worked in over fifty countries and was heavily involved in the Bank's work on infrastructure, environment, and sustainable development. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences Panel on Urban Dynamics.

Cohen is the author or editor of several books, including most recently Preparing the Urban Future: Global Pressures and Local Forces (ed. with A. Garland, B. Ruble, and J. Tulchin), The Human Face of the Urban Environment (ed. with I. Serageldin), and Urban Policy and Economic Development: An Agenda for the 1990s. Other recent publications include articles in 25 Years of Urban Development (Amersfoort, The Netherlands, 1998), Cities Fit for People (Kirdar, ed., 1996), The Brookings Review, Journal of the Society for the Study of Traditional Environments, International Social Science Review, Habitat International, and Finance and Development. He is currently completing a study of urban inequality in Buenos Aires. He has taught at the University of California at Berkeley, The Johns Hopkins University, and the School of Architecture, Design, and Urban Planning of the University of Buenos Aires.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

What Came to Be Called Values

--for kari edwards after reading Bharat Jiva

Since we are disciple
And we are disciplined

The sky rhymes with interpellation
And history rhymes with sorrow

I plays dead the real
Dead can't even counter-

fire or be recalled
At a speed faster
Than the speed of light

A sun without shadow
Shining in these holes
And other holy
Places of disagreement

Your shrapnel erotica
Your maze of skin
Tests living labor

Make us governable
Virtuosos yet you keep moving

A kind of angel of discourse
I.e. an instant

Messenger mediating
The memoir of our mnemotechnique

What came to be called values.

Play dead no one no longer will
Will this maze of skin

Docile flesh performance who is a hostage
To their inherent values

I am listening to your time sense
To the gerunds in your breath

That won't let your body be possessed
By anything except catastrophe

And negative experience which is a mode
Of I without name or defense

Our death and their deaths become porous
Yet irreplaceable

Neither the sky or the earth are transcendent
But present a world outliving us.

OCTOBER 129: Chan and Buchloh

I don't normally read OCTOBER. And not because I don't admire it. I was raised on it, but for some reason I just forget it exists sometimes. Reading some of the current issue, I was very moved by Paul Chan's "The Spirit of Recession" and Benjamin Buchloh's "Raymond Pettibon: After Laughter." Chan is one of the most intellectual and politically minded artists I know working today, and his piece goes to show it as he takes apart the cultural politics (if not the obscure economics) of 'recession' through recourse to autobiography, essay, and polemic about the state of visual arts. Buchloh's "After Laughter" is a brilliant and clear reading of Raymond Pettibon's oeuvre situating the artist's work within a tradition of fine art and political caricature. His basic argument: that Pettibon goes beyond caricature in order to invent a rhetorically slippery drawing practice that can adequately respond to post-70s Right-wing 'spin' and (post-) Reagan-era power dynamics. Not having written (or even had an intelligent conversation) about Pettibon's drawings before, but always having admired them, I was very moved to read something that so clearly expressed my own intuitions towards Pettibon's work. Buchloh's article makes me wonder who is taking-up Pettibon's rhetorically astute caricature among a younger generation of artists. And what writers/poets have a sustained drawing practice in the service of their politics.

Twitter Crackdown

Twitter Crackdown: NYC Activist Arrested for Using Social Networking Site during G-20Protest in Pittsburgh * Elliot Madison was arrested last month during the G-20 protests in Pittsburgh when police raided his hotel room. Police say Madison and a co-defendant used computers and a radio scanner to track police movements and then passed on that information to protesters using cell phones and the social networking site Twitter. Madison is being charged with hindering apprehension or prosecution, criminal use of a communication facility, and possession of instruments of crime. Exactly one week later, Madison's New York home was raided by FBI agents, who conducted a sixteen-hour search. We speak to Elliot Madison and his attorney, Martin Stolar.


Sunday, October 04, 2009

Books & Magazines I Received this Past Year

that I have not written anything about (yet) but enjoyed reading and would highly recommend to others:

Etel Adnan's There (Post-Apollo)
George Albon's Step (Post-Apollo)
Jose Felipe Alvergue's us look up / there red dwells (Queue Books)
Animal Shelter vol. 1 (ed. Hedi El Kholti)
Alan Bernheimer's Billionesque (The Figures)
Brandon Brown's Camels (TAXT)
David Buuck's 17 Reasons Why (Mission 17 Gallery)
David Buuck's Buried Treasure Island: a Detour of the Future (BARGE)
David Buuck's The Shunt (Palm Press)
CAConrad's Advanced Elvis Course (Soft Skull)
Damn the Caesars vol. 5 (ed. Rich Owens)
Marcella Durand's AREA (Belladonna)
Marcella Durand's Traffic and Weather (Futurepoem)
Rob Fitterman's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Edge)
Rob Fitterman's War, the Musical (Subpress)
Ted Greenwald's 3 (Cuneiform)
Ted Greenwald's In your Dreams (Blazevox)
Ted Greenwald's Two Wrongs (Cuneiform)
Rob Halpern's Weak Link (Slack Buddha)
Carla Harryman's Open Box (Belladonna)
Geof Huth's Eyechart Poems (Queue Books)
Brenda Iijima's Rabbit Lesson (Fewer & Further Press)
Lisa Jarnot's Night Scenes (Flood)
Paul Foster Johnson's Refrains | Unworkings (Apostrophe Books)
Judith Goldman's The Dispossessions (Atticus / Finch)
Erica Kaufman's Censory Impulse (Heretical Texts)
David Larsen's Names of the Lion (Atticus / Finch)
Sara Larsen's Novus (Earthworm Press)
Joel Lewis's Learning From New Jersey (Talisman)
MIMEO MIMEO vol.'s 1/2 (Cuneiform Press)
Miranda Mellis's Materialisms (Portable Press)
Geoffrey Olsen's End Notebook (Petrichord Books)
Rich Owens' Delaware Memoranda (Blazevox)
P-Queue vol. 6 (ed. Andrew Rippeon)
Prismatic Publics: Innovative Canadian Women's Poetry and Poetics (ed. Kate Eichhorn and Heather Milne, Coach House)
Frances Richard's Shaved Code (Portable Press)
Andrew Rippeon's Priest (Vigilance Society)
Satellite Telephone vol. 1 (ed. Robert Dewhurst)
Jennifer Scappettone's Err-Residence (Bronze Skull)
Joshua Schuster's Theater of Public Safety (Handwritten Press)
Dale Smith's Susquehanna (Punch Press)
Joanathan Skinner's With Naked Foot (Little Scratch Pad Editions)
Sasha Steensen's The Method (Fence)
Rodrigo Toscano's Collapsible Poetics Theater (Fence)
Rachel Zolf's Human Resources (Coach House)

Two Poems For Friendship

Deserve your enemies my friend
Because the world is burning
From eloquence and all the fake

Shit that is made for consequence
To hide behind supposed disparity
And pretend to be the conscience

Of the world all I really wanted
Was to have an honest conversation
All the world wants for conversation

But your flaming leaves it cold
A kind of lack for lack's sake
A flick that can't cover our larger

Insalvageables distances grow
In our breath like some possible
Community formed in what remains.

II. The Progress of Our Naïveté
-for Rachel

Or "patiency" which is not
The opposite of agency as
Rob often says but the inverse

Of willing ourselves to con-
stantly be a master over
Objects the more one knows

The more one listens to
The gaps in everything we
Do like those soldiers abroad

Firing into a daylight not
Anybody's to destroy who
Controls those docile bodies

And what will be their subject
Is not just an abomination
Of what we cannot see

But a fleeing into the holey
Spaces they have made
Despite our beautiful theories.

Friday, October 02, 2009

ECOPOETICS 6/7 Launch at Artbook/X Initiative

ECOPOETICS 06/07 at Artbook/X Initiative

A nomadic, “pop-up” launch and open house Oct. 14th, 4-6pm. Readings from 5-6pm inside Fritz Haeg’s Dome Colony space at Artbook/X Initiative 548 W 22nd St., NYC.

Readings and performances with Rodrigo Toscano, Lee Ann Brown, Thom Donovan, Julie Patton, Emily Abendroth, Jonathan Skinner and others to celebrate the release of the latest issue of ecopoetics (06/07).

The editor of the magazine will be present from 4-5pm to discuss the project. / Ecopoetics 06/07 (covering 2006-2009), packed with poetry, prose, criticism, translation, interviews and artwork from nearly eighty contributors. An Australian Eco-Poetics section, guest-edited by Michael Farrell. A Theodore Enslin feature. Interviews with Gary Snyder and mIEKAL aND. New work from Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Benjamin Friedlander, Forrest Gander, Joan Retallack, Andrew Schelling, Gary Snyder, and others. Bilingual pages from Antonio Ochoa and Angélica Tornero. Collapsible poetics by Rodrigo Toscano. Rachel Blau DuPlessis’s “Nanifesto.” Artwork by Christine Boileau, Justin Clemens, Ray Meeks, Isabelle Pelissier and Stephen Vincent. Ten color plates. Bark beetle translations, sound walks, field pages, slow texts, dictionaries of imagined flora, and more . . . Copies of the magazine will be available for purchase, also available through SPD.

Notes On Conceptualisms Review at BOMB

Check out my review of Rob Fitterman's and Vanessa Place's Notes on Conceptualisms currently up at BOMB's blog. Thanks to BOMB editor Mónica de la Torre for her feedback and encouragement.

"Whereas conceptual art prioritized the dematerialization of the art object as a means of overcoming art-as-commodity, conceptualist practices in recent poetry deconstruct the authority of author and text by prioritizing ideas as the principle source of a work’s authority. Doing so, conceptualist writers invite their erstwhile readership into a discourse about poetry’s function as a site of institutional, epistemic, pedagogical, and social authority (rather than into debates about how “good” or “bad” a poem may be). Economics is still a big target for poetic conceptualism, but not so much the status of the poem as commodity since poetry tends to operate in a much smaller economy than that of visual arts (the poets whom I know best, for instance, tend to subsist through a gift economy by which the poet is communally vetted, whereas visual artists tend to operate in an economy of commodity exchange even when their works are contesting the very economic system through which their works find subsistence.)"