experimental poetry

Alternative poetries and alternative pedagogies

Joan Retallack, Kelly Writers House, 2001

The Kelly Writers House in 2007; photo by Bruce Anderson, via Wikimedia Commons.
The Kelly Writers House in 2007; photo by Bruce Anderson, via Wikimedia Commons.

Note: The following is an edited transcript of a discussion about the pedagogical future of experimental poetics that took place at the Kelly Writers House on February 28, 2001. The discussion opened with an introduction by Al Filreis and an extended reading from poet Joan Retallack, which included her “Memnoir,” excerpts from Errata 5uite, and “Here’s Looking at You, Francis Bacon,” and Gertrude Stein’s “What Is This?” In the portion of the discussion transcribed and presented below, Retallack and others (including Bob Perelman, Eli Goldblatt, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, and Jena Osman) tackle a number of concerns that had been raised at a four-day symposium convened by Retallack and sponsored by the Bard College Institute for Writing and Thinking. Central to the focus of the symposium, titled Poetry and Pedagogy: The Challenge of the Contemporary, were questions about the merits and means of teaching experimental writing. 

Note: The following is an edited transcript of a discussion about the pedagogical future of experimental poetics that took place at the Kelly Writers House on February 28, 2001.

On Elizabeth Willis's 'Address': (queer) space and the chrononormative

Writing puts texts in space. The procedural language of critical synthesis is inherently spatial. Thinking about connections between texts, or the bringing of texts together in an essay, simulates the positioning of objects in space. Often, writing makes texts architectural — it uses them to build, and uses the metaphorics of building. I want to use this essay to write between Elizabeth Freeman’s Time Binds and Doreen Massey’s Space, Place and Gender, texts seminal to queer temporality and to feminist geography, respectively.

[Objects] in motion

A review of Frédéric Forte's 'Minute-Operas'

Photo of Frédéric Forte (right) by Margarita Saad Plasticienne.

How many ways there are to build a space within space. I visited Dia:Beacon in New York recently. Once a Nabisco box-printing factory, the Dia in its enormity and light provides examples: build a space with threads, like Fred Sandback, or build a space with light, like Dan Flavin, or build a space with space, like Carl Andre.

Frédéric Forte’s mad, methodical Minute-Operas is broken into two parts: phase one, January–October 2001, and phase two, February–December 2002. Each phase is itself broken into five twelve-page sections.

Phase one

Moving image, moving text, never past, look in mirror (repeat)

A review of Lisa Robertson's 'Cinema of the Present'

Lisa Robertson’s epic, nothing-quite-like-it Cinema of the Present reads and screens like its title. I daresay it is a textual film. On paper. But moving. You often hear about “poetic” or “text-films” but on film. But what about the opposite? Films on paper. After you’re done reading it you will feel like you’ve just watched a film. The images will come back to haunt and unhaunt you over and over. You’ll remember and then you’ll remember you just read a book, not a film.

S. Burt and Ch. Bernstein, On Experiment (Rutgers, April 10, 2014) (audio files)

On Experiment, Rutgers - New Brunswick conference, orgnized by Rachel Feder
April 10, 2014

In which Burt argues for experimental poetry and I argue against it, in an Alice-in-Wonderland-like reversal. 

Syndicate content