Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Creative Speaking (Syllabus)

Course description

The following course is intended to present a variety of ways of thinking about the relationship between writing and orality, with special attention to composition methods generated through (constrained) embodiment, conversation, performance, and extemporization (improvised speech and utterance). As will be discussed at length throughout the class, the relationship of speech to writing is by no means simple, mediated as it is by technologies of technical reproduction (typewriter and tape recorder in particular, but more recently text messaging, Skype, and other technologies that extend from Web 2.0). My hope is that by the end of the semester you may be able to see the problem through a variety of aspects. It is also my hope that you may find your own entry point into the problem as artists, writers, critics, scholars, and citizens. This means exploring and extending the techniques of composition presented by the texts we encounter in class. It also means trying to form a critical vocabulary through which we may approach a common set of texts.

Required texts

-- Course packet

-- Books*

Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictee
Dana Ward’s This Can’t Be Life

*I recommend you purchase books online via Bookfinder (www.bookfinder.com) or Small Press Distribution (www.spdbooks.org).

--Some recommendations for further reading:

Of Grammatology, Jacques Derrida
Orality and Literacy, Walter Ong
Gramaphone, Film, Typewriter, Friedrich Kittler
The Muse Learns to Write, Eric A. Havelock
Close Listening, ed. Charles Bernstein
The Visible Word, Johanna Drucker
Black Riders, Jerome McGann
Sound States, ed. Adelaide Morris
My Way, Charles Bernstein
Uncreative Writing, Kenneth Goldsmith
Before Meaning, Steve McCaffrey
Imagining Language, ed. McCaffery and Rasula
Discrepant Engagement, Nathaniel Mackey
In the Break, Fred Moten
The Birthmark, Susan Howe
A Voice and Nothing More, Mladen Dolar
Audio-vision: Sound on Screen, Michel Chion
The Queen's Throat, Wayne Koestenbaum
Concerto for the Left Hand, Michael Davidson
Bottom: on Shakespeare, Louis Zukofsky
Writing the Illegible, Craig Dworkin
On the Camera Arts and Consecutive Matters, Hollis Frampton
HEATH (Plagiarism/Outsource), Tan Lin
Frank O’Hara: the Poetics of Coterie, Lytle Shaw
UbuWeb: www.ubuweb.com
PennSound: writing.upenn.edu/pennsound/


January 12 Introductions; creative speaking gallery

--Assignment: Charles Olson’s “Projective Verse,” Frank O’Hara’s "Personism," a page from Louis Zukofsky’s “A”, selected poems



"Projective Verse"

Emily Dickinson’s “We don’t cry – Tim and I”

William Carlos Williams’ “This is Just to Say”


Robert Creeley’s “I Know a Man”

Charles Olson’s “I, Maximus of Gloucester, to You”

Frank O’Hara’s “Metaphysical Poem”

“Having a Coke With You”

Amiri Baraka’s “Low Coups”


Bernadette Mayer’s “Sonnet” [“You jerk you didn’t call me”]

Fred Moten'a “Here It Is”

Tracie Morris’ “Slave Sho to Video aka Black but Beautiful”

19 “A Voice Blown from Print”: Projective Poetics & Personism
--Assignment: Charles Reznikoff’s Testimony selection and Langston Hughes' "Montage of a Dream Deferred," selection from Lorenzo Thomas’ Don't Deny My Name

26 Witnessing Speech
--Assignment: Allen Ginsberg’s “Wichita Vortex Sutra” and Hannah Weiner’s Clairvoyant Journals selection (http://libraries.ucsd.edu/speccoll/m504/5/index.html), with Michael Davidson’s “Technologies of Presence” (from Sound States, ed. A. Morris)

February 2 Radical Journalism
--Assignment: Gertrude Stein’s “Portraits and Repetition,” David Antin’s “how long is the present” (from Tunings), and John Cage’s “Lecture on Nothing” (from Silence)

--1-2 page midterm abstracts to be submitted

9 The Lecture as Compositional Practice & Performance
--Assignment: Gallery of New York poets TBA

16 Composition as Conversation part 1
--Assignment: Kamau Brathwaite’s “History of the Voice” (from Roots), Brathwaite’s “Letter Sycorax” (from Middle Passages), The Anthology of Rap selection (ed. Bradley & Dubois), Dub Reggae gallery TBA

23 midterms due; Auritures
--Assignment: Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictee, Susan Howe’s “The Articulation of Sound Forms in Time” selection, Myung Mi Kim’s Dura selection, Robert Kocik’s Re-English selection

March 1 Re-Speaking
--Assignment: Steve Benson’s “Views of Communist China” (from The Kenning Anthology of Poets Theatre) with Suzanne Stein’s “A Hole in Space”

8 Spring Break

15 Composition as Conversation part II
--Assignment: Jordan Scott’s Blert selection, Larry Eigner selection TBA, Michael Davidson on Larry Eigner from Concerto for the Left Hand

22 Embodiment, Speech Disfluency, Disability, Built Environment
--Assignment: Fiona Templeton’s ME DEAD and “Speaking For Performance / Writing With the Voice”

29 Creative Speaking: A Visit with Fiona Templeton
--Assignment: Dana Ward’s This Can’t Be Life

April 5 This Can’t Be Life: A Visit with Dana Ward
--Assignment: TBA

12 last class; final work due; The Acoustic Uncanny, Transcriptions (from Analogue to Digital)