Monthly Archives: March 2012

Influences: Discuss.

und jetz, Bhanu Kapil

Bhanu Kapil is a special animal. Author of The Vertical Interrogation of StrangersIncubation: a space for monstershumanimal [a project for future children], and Schizophrene, Bhanu travels the world for the advocation of experimentation. Her classes at Naropa have engaged architecture, somatics, biology and memory as ways to approach or navigate contemporary narrative and poetics. She keeps a blog entitled “Was Gertrude Stein a Punjabi?”


How Bhanu Responds:

You asked about influence.  I want to say: talking with Andrea Spain about Groszian biologies.  She is a scholar working in/upon/through the anti-colonial spaces of Mississippi and the South.  For my last work, SCHIZOPHRENE, I centered the text in a wider, longitudinal conversation on migration and mental illness, through the cultural psychiatry work of Kam Bhui, Dinesh Bhugra and Peter Jones.  My teachers in an earlier time, when I first began my journeys in the U.S., were Anthony Piccione (deep image)and Laura Mullen (contemporary fragment).  Laura Mullen now something else but still that too, through her work. An influence.  To press. The page.  Melissa Buzzeo and I did a hypnosis/palmistry exchange over ten years ago: a relation that keeps opening space, every day, for a text of great “devastation,” as Melissa would say.  Bay Area comrades and air have been important.  Coastal company. The conversations that happen in the Naropa and Goddard classrooms. Texts: Cixous-Haraway-Spivak. I’m forgetting something.  Feel free to print this verbatim. A preliminary account.  I love the poems of Mei-Mei Bersenbrugge, read aloud to me in Brooklyn.  And the poems of Miyung Mi Kim, read aloud to me in Oakland. And at night, in Colorado, I enjoy discussing the night sky, zombies and Egypt with my son: a profound influence, in so many ways.

–Alice Virginia


and a Few of Her Favorites

Moving Right Along:  Michelle Nake Pierce

Born in Tokyo, Japan, Michelle Naka Pierce is the current director of the Writing & Poetics Department here at the Jack Kerouac School. She is the author of the collaborative text TRI/VIA, Beloved Integer, She, A Blueprint, and Continious Frieze, Bordering [Red]. Her work has been anthologized in For the Time Being: The Bootstrap Book of Poetic Journals and Saints of Hysteria: A Half-Century of Collaborative American Poetry. As well as Naropa, she has taught at Bard College and University of New Mexico. Her teaching interests include writing pedagogy, avant-garde poetry, and gender/women’s studies. Excerpts from her manuscript She, A Blueprint for InterSurface, with art by Sue Hammond West, have been published in American Letters & Commentary, Trickhouse, Mandorla, Upstairs at Duroc (France), and elsewhere.



Michelle’s Response:

Hejinian’s My Life and “Rejection of Closure”
The Poethical Wager by Joan Retallack–esp the Experimental Feminine
Donald Allen’s The Poetics of the New American Poetry
Frank O’Hara’s Personism
O’Hara’s Lunch Poems and Meditations on an Emergency
O’hara’s poem “Why I am Not a Painter”
Talking Poetry edited by Lee Bartlett–esp Michael Palmer’s interview
Lee Bartlett’s The Greenhouse Effect
Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons
Stein’s Composition as Explanation
Stein Stein Stein
Cezanne’s notion: “paint be paint”
Harryette Mullen: S*PeRM**K*T and Trimmings
Rosmarie Waldrop’s Lawn of Excluded Middle
Rachel Blau DuPlessis: Pink Guitar
Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge: Empathy
Christian Bok’s Pataphysics: The Poetics of an Imaginary Science
Raymond Queneau: Exercises in Style
Kristen Prevallet’s I, Afterlife: Essay in Mourning
Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictee
Beckett’s Waiting for Godot
Susan Howe’s My Emily Dickinson
Anne Carson’s Autobiography of Red
Gloria Anzaldua’s Borderlands
Woolf’s Orlando
Friere’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed
Joy Harjo’s She Had Some Horses and In Mad Love and War
Li-Young Lee’s Rose and The City in Which I Love You
ee cummings
The Beatles
Moving Borders: three Decades of Innovative Writing by Women edited by Sloan
Some Thing Black by Jacques Roubaud
The Language Book edited by Bernstein and Andrews
Perloff, Foucault, Barthes
Gordon Matta-Clark
bell hooks
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard
Hitchcock’s Rear Window
To Kill a Mocking Bird
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Hirokazu Koreeda’s After Life and Nobody Knows
The Pillow Book
The Tale of Genji
Chris Pusateri
Michiko Masuda Pierce Sensei
Naropa students
The Clinamen

–Alice Virginia


These are a few of his favorite things (influences)

Uthoy Ya’ll. 

I’ve gone and asked a few of the Jack Kerouac School’s Faculty: “Who/what/where are some of your personal artistic influences?” I thought it’d be enjoyable to see what makes them tick (and tock)!

Let’s begin with Reed Bye!

Reed Bye is a poet and scholar, born in Patterson, New Jersey. He teaches poetry workshops and courses in classic and contemporary literary studies and contemplative poetics. His own work includes: Join the Planets: New and Selected Poems, Passing Freaks and GracesGaspar Still in His Cage and Some Magic at the Dump. His work has appeared in a number of anthologies including Nice to See You: Homage to Ted BerriganThe Angel Hair AnthologySleeping on the Wing and Civil Disobediences: Poetics and Politics in Action. He holds a PhD in English from the University of Colorado.

reed, harry, jack, and stephen atop flagstaff

Reed’s Response:

My poems birthed on Sugarloaf Mountain just west of Boulder from broken heart, age 21, after earlier imitations of New Jersey high school friend, Jim Matthews, who published freeform spontaneous energy observation and feeling poems in literary mag there.  Now, 1969-ish in Boulder, under gradual great influence of Jack Collom, poet proper, I tried a few or they tried me, more true, and showed them to Jack who has encouraged to this day. Of many other influences, I name  Robert Creeley in particular, because of minimal abstract real power there of looking at what can’t be seen exactly, seen exactly. In the momentary energies of sight, in words, insight!

–Alice Virginia

Tagged ,

NWC Reading, March 20th!

Greetings all ya’ll; least likely to write blog entries editor here, Alice Virginia!

Let’s get down to business: 

Naropa Writing Center Reading

March 20th :: 6:30pm

Admin Conference Room :: Arapahoe Campus 

:: work by the likes of ::

Rachel Palmateer

Luke Davison

M. Elyse Brownell

Lindsay Miller

Stephani Nola

Charlotte Annie

Heather Goodrich

Kirstin Wagner

Chris Shugrue

Jenna Kotch

Come support and rah rah rah!

Luke Davison at his last reading.

–Alice Virginia

Tagged , ,

Gérard Gavarry’s Making a Novel

Below, you will find an excerpt from Denise Kinsley’s review of Gérard Gavarry’s Making a Novel. It is especially nice to get to work with Denise as I don’t get to see her much during the school year. Denise is a student in the Jack Kerouac low-residency program and lives on the coast of southern California. She’s working on a collection of short stories now, but she’s already published a book of poems, won an award from the NEA, and received a certificate from The New York Film Academy where she wrote, produced, and directed three short films.

Please also check out Gavarry’s Making a Novel and Hoppla! 1 2 3, both of which are published by the wonderful Dalkey Archive.

Making a Novel explores Gavarry’s revolutionary approach to language in Hoppla! 1 2 3. He takes three objects for his novel—a coconut palm tree, a cargo ship, and the centaur—and creates entire worlds around them. With these in mind, Gavarry then uses the deuterocanonical Book of Judith as a frame, writing the story of this biblical heroine from the perspective of an adolescent male character named Ti-Jus. Well versed in etymology, the scientific understanding of things, words and proper names issued from ancient Greece, Gavarry applies his knowledge to create new jargon and description for his novel Hoppla!. For example, in the first “panel” of the triptych, Gavarry uses the scientific name for the coconut palm, coco nucifera, and its flower, spadice, as the root for slang when one of Ti-Jus’ teenaged friends expresses annoyance as he tries to open a door while the train is moving, “What the Nucifera!” Another youth replies mockingly, “Spadices, dude, spadices!” Gavarry explains:

 This language is a jargon of sorts, or something resembling jargon. Understood only by insiders, it comprises various borrowings, distortions, and wordplay, all having some connection to the coconut palm.

 Together with language, art, myth (personal or historical) and memory, Gevarry shows us that the possibilities are endless when writing a novel, and the most fascinating parts are the discoveries (from either accidents or the subconscious) the writer makes along the way. Making a Novel presents different ways to look at language, history and synchronicity. Gevarry refers to the synchronic events as “pleasant surprises”:

The times when suddenly a writer discovers that the hand of fate has worked in his favor. Or at least, this is his impression when, upon rereading his text for the umpteenth time, he suddenly apprehends an unexpected meaning or connotation, a stubborn echo of his own personal story, or a resurgence of some implicit theme he believed to have buried deep in the subtext; and likewise, while doing some research, he comes across a word he never knew existed, but which he immediately recognizes as the one he needed to complete a certain sentence.

Tagged , , , , ,

Springtime Inspiration from Lily Hoang

I have a confession: despite owning a copy of Lily Hoang’s The Evolutionary Revolution for over a year, I have yet to actually read it. The book was recommended to me by a classmate last spring when my writing was overtaken with evolutions of bodies and vocabularies. I bought it with enthusiasm, then failed completely in reading it.

My not reading this book is more an issue of time than it is desire. As a full-time MFA student with a habit of taking on far too many commitments, pleasure reading is a luxury I am rarely afforded. I can say that on several occasions, I’ve hesitated at this text, opened it to a random page, and absorbed some of Lily Hoang’s gorgeous words “rhizomatically” (to use a phrase of fellow Bombay Gin 38.1 contributor Bhanu Kapil). At the very least, these small moments I take with the text partially appease me, remind me of the worlds which wait on my bookshelf for the day when I finally have time. It is always the starting of something that is most difficult, isn’t it?

On the cusp of this 2012 spring, I am yet again drawn toward Lily Hoang’s writing. A recent blog post of hers spoke directly to what I (like many others) am feeling at the moment. There is an inherent and instinctual something about spring which makes us crave a new project, that clichéd fresh start. And along with it comes the anxiety of facing a fresh, open void of possibility. I am talking about my own writing. I am talking about the in-the-works next issue of Bombay Gin. I am talking about the garden I plant in my backyard every May which is officially dead by July. I am talking about that which you are on the verge of creating at this very moment.

May we all find some solace in Lily Hoang’s words (even if you only have time to scan them “rhizomatically”) so that we, too, can enjoy whatever bloom is about to occur.

– Jade Lascelles

Tagged , , ,

Omar Pérez’s Did You Hear About the Fighting Cat?

J’Lyn here. As editor-in-chief, I work with Bombay Gin book reviewers closely, usually over the course of three or four drafts. Below, you will find a little teaser from Kelly Alsup’s delightful review of Omar Pérez’s Did You Hear About the Fighting Cat?, which you can find in Bombay Gin 38.1. Kelly is a graduate of the Jack Kerouac School and a dear friend, who I am so happy has stuck around after graduating to be an important part of the Boulder community.

You can buy Pérez’s book through Small Press Distribution, and the publisher, Shearsman Books, also offers a downloadable sample.

So, to exist with both desire and its limitation is not to fight to the death so much as to keep the suppleness—that, in the daylight, sleeks its contours constant and fleetingly—alive through its dimmer, or darker, hours, striking the match newly each time. The alertness to the flashing or shuddering moment that the fighting cat carries in the world is the wakefulness to “transience” and “variance in voltage” that stirs in these poems. It is the presence and everydayness of Zen that accepts conflict as much as it dissolves it. This wisdom, then, answers Pérez’s own question, posed earlier in the collection:

With the wood from this tree, coffin

with the wood from the coffin, pyre

on the pyre man grows toward zero

so what do we do now?

“Sustain / Sustain them / you sustain them.” What “grows toward zero” is

embryo moving always toward victory

down the alley with no exit to eternity

At the end a boy!

And you do not abandon the boy. The tomcat, Love, lichen. To learn to blink—a way of maintaining alertness or even relax into sleep—is to learn to stop abandoning the moment to fear, fantasy, distraction. A primary founder of American Zen, Shunryu Suzuki, reminds: “Moment after moment to watch your breathing, to watch your posture, is true nature.”

Tagged , , , , ,