All Inseparable Now
A Workshop led by Sara Jane Stoner
Dates: July 10-August 14 (6 weeks)
Time: Mondays, 7-9:30pm
Capacity: 20 participants
Cost: $25-50 per session ($150-300 total)
Registration deadline: July 1
Sign up here.
Urgently, with the belief that poetic practices have the power to inform and transform all kinds of life practices, this workshop will seek to actively and collectively identify and write through/toward some of the lessons delivered in recent poetic work by living poets about the inseparability of politics and aesthetics in language (and beyond). I propose this workshop out of the desire to create a space in which we individually and collectively identify ways to acknowledge the affective, intellectual, and cultural labor of these writers, and develop and practice forms of listening, attentiveness, and reflective consciousness in reading which will foster critical modes of response in discussion, in writing, and in life that speak to what these poets honor, question, trouble, represent, and demand.
To ask: what are poems doing in the world right now? (what powers do they speak to, what powers do they name, refuse, and wield?); what conditions and forms of consciousness do recent poems represent and raise through what they’re doing with form, sound, and language? For me, these questions foreground a need for individuals, and this workshop, to practice an awareness of the ethics of readership: i.e. what a reader brings to texts in terms of their desires, assumptions, identity and background, access to forms of capital and privilege, “literary” and social contexts, prior knowledge and experience. To this complex end, this workshop intends to embrace all kinds of poetic energies in reading, writing, and discussion—spiritual and material, sharp and gentle, formative and destructive, centering and decentering, choral and particular, structural and post-structural, affirmative and negative, personal and theoretical, in ambivalence, in alignment, and in conflict—with the hopes that the implied and constructed values of some of these binaries reveal themselves, merge, collapse, and/or re-form, and that we might better account for ourselves as readers and writers.
Meetings may be structured around the following ideas, all of which bear different inflections as they are relevant to particular poets: word as action; poetic simultaneity; elemental lyric identity; boundaries, borders, and protectionism; un-/non-sovereign subjects; poethics of care; the big NO; poems as acts of re-creation, re-imagination, and/or refiguring of readers, audiences, and/or populations; pleasure, play, and punishment; how to speak to violence and/or how to refuse to speak to violence; voicing singular collectives; bodying the neoliberal bureaucracy; (not) fucking with institutions; figuring the ongoing colonial project and the poetics of decolonization; the anthropocene, the capitalocene, the NO-cene; endings and infinities; protest and eventness; movement and Movement; “random” acts of revolutionary being; the stakes (problems/possibilities) of (il)legibility and (in)coherence. Working list of poets/writers to be read and responded to: Ari Banias, Hannah Black, Daniel Borzutzky, Chia-Lun Chang, CA Conrad, Natalie Diaz, Joshua Jennifer Espinoza, Adjua Gargi Nzinga Greaves, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Marwa Helal, Terrence Hayes, Rickey Laurentiis, Layli Longsoldier, Dawn Lundy Martin, Lara Mimosa Montes, Fred Moten, Hoa Nguyen, Morgan Parker, Tommy Pico, Nina Puro, Claudia Rankine, Raquel Salas Rivera, Solmaz Sharif, Danez Smith, Oki Sogumi, Christopher Soto, TC Tolbert, Wendy Trevino, Alli Warren, Laurie Weeks, Maged Zaher.
Sara Jane Stoner is a PhD Candidate in English at CUNY Graduate Center, who holds an MFA from Indiana University and a BA from Smith College, and is currently working on a dissertation focused on critical pedagogies and queer theory, particularly in the context of contemporary experimental writing. She has taught or currently teaches at Brooklyn College, Baruch College, and Cooper Union, where she worked in the writing center for almost a decade. Her first book, Experience in the Medium of Destruction (Portable Press @ YoYo Labs, 2015) was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award. Her reviews and criticism can be found or are forthcoming in the Poetry Project Newsletter, Sinister Wisdom, Brooklyn Rail, and The Fanzine. A chapbook of poems titled Grief Hour was published in the Spring 2017 issue of Black Warrior Review.
This event is funded in part by Poets & Writers with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
Introduction to Oral History for Writers
Led by Svetlana Kitto
Date: Sunday, August 13th
Time: 3-6pm (3 hours)
Capacity: 12 participants
Registration deadline: August 10
Oral history is an interdisciplinary tool that has the power to bring more complexity, multivocality and urgency to writing of any genre. For writers interested in documenting unheard voices, undertold stories, or generally enlivening their work with the historical phenomenon of everyday speech, this workshop will introduce oral history interviewing techniques as both a theoretical and practical mode of writing about the world. Students will practice interviewing and writing using oral history methods, as well as read texts from a variety of periods and perspectives to get them thinking about their own complex points-of-view in this historical moment.
Svetlana Kitto is a writer and oral historian in New York City. Her fiction, journalism and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Salon, VICE, the New York Observer, the Huffington Post, ART21, BOMB, Buzzfeed and the book Occupy (Verso, 2012) among other publications and anthologies. She has contributed interviews to oral history projects with the Museum of Arts and Design, the Mashantucket Pequot Museum, and the Brooklyn Historical Society, where she developed and taught a writing workshop called Racial Realities: Writing About Race in the First Person. Additionally, she has taught or lectured at Columbia University, Pratt Institute, and Rutgers University - Newark. She co-curates the reading and performance series Adult Contemporary, which will be releasing its first book in the fall. In early 2017, her oral history for the book Ken Tisa: Objects/Time/Offerings, published by Gordon Robichaux and Pre-Echo Press, was called a "genius catalog" by Holland Cotter of the New York Times.