Readings FOR WEDS Week 4 & Writing Experiment FOR SAT

Hi All,

In this post: 1) emji spero reading heads-up (details TBA); 2) Links to Readings for Weds; 3) Link to the Writing Experiment due for class on Saturday


As usual for Monday mornings you’ll find links to the READINGS to be read FOR WEDS linked below as well as DIRECTIONS TO THE WRITING EXPERIMENT, also linked below.

Quick note: there IS class on Saturday. As I mentioned in class, please try to have a good bit of the writing done (and bring the writing with you) on Wednesday, particularly those of you who are going to the Procession. Even though we’ll still have class on Saturday I’ve excused the few folks who are going to the Procession. Again, please email me to remind me you are going–if you are one of the five folks who raised your hand when I surveyed the class. Otherwise, please make an effort to show up and participate in our Wednesday AND Saturday classes. As we begin to shift into a more “workshop” (language lab) mode and work more on our own writings, and as the readings and lectures drop away a little bit in favor of our own work, we’ll need every minute we’ve got. Not to mention how busy we all are and how busy the class schedule will become.

Without further ado…


WRITING EXPERIMENT (Due Saturday Week 4)


Note: BEFORE writing, please read the directions as well as the notes. Included as part of the this document there are important dictionary definitions of terms as well as tips that you’ll find very useful. Also note that there is a marker to indicate where the directions end and the tips/suggestions begin. This is because the directions, which I gave out at the end of class on Weds, are actually very few: THREE five-minute free-writes followed by THREE constraints to stick to while you are writing/performing your poem (one constraint is a process constraint and one is a performance/reading aloud constraint to consider before, during, and after writing).



1) kari edwards, excerpts from iduna, handout — not available online, thus handed out in class on Saturday (O Books, which used to have excerpts online)

2) Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, excerpt from Dictee — not available online, thus handed out in class on Saturday (the book is available at The Evergreen library, and is still in print for ordering from the University of California Press)

3) Judith Butler, Intro to Undoing Gender LINK IS HERE

4) Michel Foucault, “Docile Bodies,” from Discipline & Punish LINK IS HERE    —   (the whole book is available online from Scribd)

5) Susan Stryker, “My Words To Victor Frankenstein” LINK IS HERE


OPTIONAL RELATED READINGS / LINKS TO FURTHER RECOMMENDED READINGS (note that this list can go on for a LONG time, and does relative to the usual lists for this site. Feel free to suggest more or, as usual, to post them on our tumblr site (which is beautiful!–thanks Pearson!). For now, if none are familiar to you and you’d like to read further than the assigned, just pick one or two!)

a) Jennifer Gonzalez, “Envisioning Cyborg Bodies” LINK IS HERE

b) CAConrad “What’s A Queer Poem?” LINK IS HERE

c) Fred Moten, “A Manifesto For Discomfortable Writing” in Floor Journal  LINK IS HERE (a tag takes you to other related writings!)

c) Bhanu Kapil, “Handwritten Preface To Reverse The Book,” LINK IS HERE

d) Edouard Glissant, “Distancing, Determining,” from Poetics of Relation  LINK IS HERE

e) David Buuck, “Follow” LINK IS HERE (internal pdf booklet) and HERE (Buuck’s website)

f) Coco Fusco & Paula Heredia “The Couple In The Cage” (article on the performance by artists Guillermo Gomez-Pena and Coco Fusco and its video installation, w/photos) LINK IS HERE & Excerpt of video of the performance (trailer for the video) LINK IS HERE


PRESS Series READING: emji spero  LIVE — Mark it on your calendars!

–w/guest student reader TBA

–on Saturday, most likely at The Library Underground (details TBA)

–I’m very pleased to announce that after our next Saturday class emji spero will be coming to campus to read from their new book! Very excited. More details including a reminder will be posted later (the reading will likely be at 7, so we’ll have time for a break to get a bite to eat etc)

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Attendance reminder

Dear students,

Just a reminder of the importance of being in class, even on sunny Saturdays (unless you have a prior arrangement with me about specific dates). We have a lot of amazing course-sponsored events coming up — the dates for the CA Conrad and Tisa Bryant readings are pasted below, and I’m currently finalizing details for the Emji Spero reading next weekend. But this also means that our time and focus will be limited in weeks to come, which makes it all the more urgent that you continue to turn work in to me for feedback, and come to class so that I can begin crafting that feedback based on a fuller picture of your writing and engagement with the course texts. We also need to start planning the details of our collaborative mid-quarter reading, which is a crucial way for you all to get to know each other and each other’s work as we move toward final projects.

Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow,


Tisa Bryant on experimental writing & archives – May 21 (week 8) — LH1

CA Conrad on (Soma)tic poetics – May 28 (week 9) — LH1

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Readings For Weds Week 3 & New Writing Experiment (due for Sat Week 3)

Many thanks to Miranda Mellis for–beyond the writing–extending her helpful suggestions in the crafting of the writing experiment below….

Hi All,

This post includes: LINKS TO THIS WEEK’S READINGS, DUE WEDS, and A LINK TO THE WRITING EXPERIMENT DUE SATURDAY including optional further reading links. Note that one assigned reading is a hard-copy handout, the Ultra-Red booklet, which was handed out in class Sat. Please read this whole post.


This week we’re working with sound, elision, and memory as sites for, of, and in performative writing. There are, of course, numerous texts we can look at, and hear, that would help us–thus the larger-than-usual list of optional further readings below. I picked these for us due to their size and what they afford us in terms of some specific writing techniques we’ll get to in class.

I recommend perusing UBUWEB for more examples. I hope to play a short piece in class for us as well. But both our writing experiment (linked below) and our readings will help us explore and work on how we hear our ear as it listens (to paraphrase poet Rob Halpern), how (and if) we hear being listened to and for what purposes, and in what sense sound and omission of sounds–as a political function of sociality–can be usefully recorded and investigated as a way/form of doing “creative writing.” Sounds and the omission of sound stack up and systematize into a language such as poetry or natural spoken languages, thus producing “meaningful phrases” (and meaningless phrases). Sounds perhaps get us saying that our languages “refer to” or “mean” things. Assuming that languages are often meaningful (for now), then we might ask: can training our attention (and our ears) on sound systems and the performance of written language serve any social-political function? Well, let’s have that discussion via writing, reading, and…. well… discussing what we’ve read and written!

Without further ado, OUR WRITING EXPERIMENT for this week, followed by links to THE READINGS for this Wednesday:

WRITING EXPERIMENT (due Sat Week 3, our next Sat):

***Directions, in 3 steps, to the writing experiment are here IN THIS PDF LINK***

As part of these directions (same link as above), as usual, tips and explanations are included for each step. A further note at the end of this post might also help you with the writing–but otherwise is here to get us started, i.e., to remind folks of the first step that I also outlined in class on Wednesday. Last, again, make sure to a) bring this writing to class on Saturday of Week 3 (our next Sat class), b) to type it single-spaced (unless the forms you are playing with calls for different spacing) and c) send a copy of this week’s writing, as usual, to my inbox by Saturday evening–attached doc, rtf, etc file please. Thank you!


1) Ultra-Red, “Protocols…,” handed out in class (not available online). NOTE: if you did not get a hard copy, let me know by Wednesday’s class, or just after class, and I’ll try to get you one. 

2) Miranda Mellis, “Misapprehensions: A Mobile In Ten Parts,” in ConjunctionsLINK IS HERE. (This was also handed out in class.)

3) Caroline Bergvall, 2 excerpts from “About Face”, WRITTEN TEXT LINK IS HERE and AUDIO LINK IS HERE

4) Ultra-Red, “Ten Preliminary Theses On Militant Sound Investigation,” THE LINK IS HERE — also available on Ultra-Red website.



a) Caroline Bergvall, “Piece In Progress: About Face (Goan Atom, 2)”: LINK IS HERE — NOTE: this piece found in the wonderful journal HOW2 is helpful in a couple different ways: it allows us to think about what, in Bergvall’s work, is being elided, and perhaps more importantly, in describing some of what went into this work, Bergvall refers to and contextualizes some key texts that will be assigned later, and highlights in so doing some key concepts and problems we’ll explore in future weeks.

b) Ultra-Red WEBSITE LINK IS HERE. Very cool website, with (as I recall) several archived documents, footage, etc.

c) George Oppen (via The Poetry Foundation), excerpt from Oppen’s book of poems, Of Being Numerous, LINK IS HERE — Note: a question for us: what here in/about this part of Of Being Numerous is being elided?

d) Rau’l Zurita, audio from Songs For His Disappeared Love LINKED HERE in Spanish & English. Note — I ask us the same question about Zurita’s work here as I do of Oppen’s.

FUTHER NOTE ON WRITING EXPERIMENT–TO GET YOU STARTED if necessary: The link to the directions for this week’s writing experiment are above. Please review them if you have not already. Begin with the writing as soon as you have read one or more of the readings, since it’ll take at lot of the week to do the work. For now, i.e., between now and Weds, you are working on describing sounds from memory, that is, working from one part of the longer workshop in your handout, by jazz artist and scholar George Lewis for Ultra-Red (we are not doing Lewis’s whole workshop, but incorporating one small part of it into the first part of our own experiment–and our writing experiment is linked above, to state again if you missed it…). For the next steps, not listed below, we are “translating” our freely-written descriptions into interconnecting pieces of performative writing (or one larger piece of performative writing) that elide the four sound memory writings below.

Just so you are clear: Step 1 of our writing experiment involves responding to the questions posed by Lewis: to recall, then write on each of the following sounds (spend 10-20 min per sound):

Recall and describe in writing:

1) A SOUND that oppressed you

2) A sound that deceived you

3) A sound that empowered you

4) A sound that saved you

This is restated in the linked pdf above as part of the whole set of directions. Enjoy–i.e., enjoy!

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Attendance, & Reminders For Sat Workshop // Week 2

Hi All,


It’ll be a nice day, or so the weatherperson will have us believe, so I’ll make the first reminder for this post simple: please show up to class (i.e., attend and be prepared to participate) this evening (Sat Week 2). If it does turn out to be nice, we’ll meet in the classroom but then head out to work outside, since today is largely a workshop–though there is some seminar-style follow- up to Wednesday’s lecture to do (about 20 min worth). Come prepared to share and work on your writings. It’s not just important for YOU to show up and be an active participant in class but important for your peers, who are relying on your active presence and will increasingly rely on it, such as when we discuss one another’s writings and then work on them together, which we’ll be doing today.


Well, there’s really one reminder that I haven’t made already for us: to bring with you to class your writing experiment (two prompts, linked in a pdf-link below). Please try to have these printed out even though you’ll be emailing this writing to me later in the evening (as attached file). If you can’t print it and you know this will become an issue for you more generally, come talk with me about it after class. But the idea is to have a hard copy that you and workshop peers can mark up, which will allow you to work off that when you decide to revise the work (you may decide to do so, recall, prior to emailing the work to me that night, and moreover, this may be because the writing feels promising to you as something you’d like to develop further for later on).

Other than to bring yourselves (yes, our many “multitudes” as Whitman would say [See No 51 in Song of Myself, where the line, like this one is also a parenthetical], your writings, and something to write with, there aren’t any reminders I didn’t make already in class. I will recall for us here, however, that your readings and writings should be printed and stored in one place (such as the classic three-ringed binder) and always brought with you–all of them–to each class. This is for your easy reference to any one writing or past reading, which will be called for as we go along. All to say that you are building two anthologies: one of assigned texts that you print, the other of assigned writings that you produce, and that you may organize these in whatever way most helpful to you (I’d recommend keeping all material one binder and to separate them out within it).

Black Arts Movement & Umbra Workshop Resource Link — HIGHLY recommended (as relates to the Thomas reading last week and to future readings as well):

Last, here is one resource–among many that can be found online–for all of us regarding one of the contexts, The Black Arts Movement & The Umbra Workshop, out of which the Lorenzo Thomas “Two One-Act Plays” should be read. As discussed in lecture Thomas likely wrote the piece as part of the Umbra Workshop and later would be a leading voice, with others from Umbra, in the founding of The Black Arts Movement. Recall that Thomas was also influenced, like several Black Arts affiliates, by Artaud’s “Theater of Cruelty.” FOLLOW THIS LINK–NOTE THAT IT WILL LEAD YOU TO OTHER RELATED LINKS, and I encourage folks to peruse the site.

Lots of work to do–now that we’ve gotten some of this week’s heavier material–Brecht and Artaud–somewhat behind us. Looking forward to it–in particular to hearing/seeing your own writings!

In Solidarity,


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Readings FOR WEDS WEEK 2 & Writing Experiment FOR SAT WEEK 2

Hi Everyone,

Nice work — excellent discussion — on Saturday. Loved the writing folks shared. A really good start.

Below are links to this week’s readings–due to be read for Wednesday of Week 2 (our next class).


First, before we get to the reading links, HERE IS A LINK TO THE DIRECTIONS FOR THIS WEEK’S WRITING EXPERIMENT/PROMPT — a reminder of what I asked of us to write. In other words, these are directions to the experiment I outlined for us to do this week and have ready to workshop for next Saturday’s class (due Week 2, the class after next class). Recall that there are two interrelated short writings to do this week. Also note that in addition to bringing copies of your experiments to each Saturday class, I’m asking folks to please send these experiments to my inbox as doc file (or compatible) attachment. Simply attach and send as email to d by Saturday evenings. Emailed files should indicate what they are (such as “Writing Experiment Week 2″) in the subject line. Thank you!

Note on linked directions above: for the written version of these directions I’ve made for us a fuller description, including here in this pdf link some further thoughts on how and why I’ve asked us to do this writing (“Tips/Suggestions”). The actual constraints for the writing experiment are very few. The tips/suggestions that follow each writing direction are meant to help you think through the writing further, including to help you build certain cross-disciplinary skills while doing the writing. Try to start as soon as you get some way into the readings for Weds. And on Weds bring with you to class whatever writing you’ve manage to produce or sketch out so far. I’d like for us to have a couple volunteers next class to thus be ready to share excerpts from their writing-in-progress. Enjoy the writing!

READINGS FOR WEDS (to be read for next class, Weds Week 2):

1) Lorenzo Thomas, “Two One-Act Plays” (handed out and read together in class, from The Kenning Anthology of Poets Theater, Killian & Brazil eds.)

2) Antonin Artaud, excerpt from Theater And Its Double (“The Theater of Cruelty”), Richards trans.  LINKED HERE

3) Bertolt Brecht, “Theater For Pleasure Or Theater For Instruction” LINKED HERE

4) David Buuck, “What Is Performance Writing?” in Jacket2. LINKED HERE     (note: you may have read this already if you decided to when it was “recommended” last week)

FURTHER RECOMMENDED READINGS (totally OPTIONAL, for those interested):

–Thalia Field, “Experimental Theater Is History” LINK IS HERE

–Caroline Bergvall, Keynote: “What Do We Mean By Performance Writing?” (Buuck refers to this piece in his piece above, and we’ll be reading/listening to Bergvall’s own performance writing later in the quarter) LINK IS HERE

–Bertold Brecht, Mother Courage And Her Children, play and study guide from the National Arts Center English Theatre Company  LINK HERE (helpful resource for reading Brecht)

Note On The Readings:

Artaud: as a group–in class–we will not be reading as closely the whole of the Artaud pdf. Rather, we’ll give time to discussing the “The 1st Manifesto,” and “Theater and Cruelty,” and I’ll draw a couple quotes otherwise from the rest of the pdf. The letters, for instance, will be given less attention. I recommend that you read, but skim the sections not mentioned here, such as the letters, then go back when and if you have the time to do so. So as heads up, I’d pay particular attention and thus not skim the sections “The 1st Manifesto” and “Theater and Cruelty,” and I’d at least give quick read to “The 2nd Manifesto.”

The Recommended Readings, as will always be the case for readings listed as such, are what they sound like: they are optional, meant for folks who can find the time to read them. That is, recommended readings are not mandatory for the course. They’re readings I will occasionally link here because I think they are worth reading in context with the others, because of their relation to the writing prompts, to the other readings, or both. Of course we could list more than I will, but I leave that up to you–so feel free in class suggest readings to be linked here on the blog that we can then look at as part of that week’s readings.

The Thalia Field reading: “Experimental Theater Is History” is listed under “recommended,” and I DO highly recommend that you read this piece completely. However, the only part of it I’m asking all of us to read as assigned is the 1st section, handed out in class. Read, that is, up to where the first photograph appears–in order for each of us to “fill in the blanks” (creatively fill in the brackets), which is a sort of way to interpret the piece by “co-authoring” its contents. Recall that I asked us to do this as a warmup exercise to doing our assigned writing for the week. It’s a fun way to warm up, when one sits down to work on the writing experiments, to get oneself locked in, concentrating, and in the mood, so to speak, to be writing. Such warmups are meant to get the creative juices flowing and overcome the common occurrence of feeling stuck or blocked as one stares at the (often terrifyingly) blank page.

Enjoy and best of luck with the work!

In Solidarity,


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