…but I am going to be published again! Pinstripe Fedora will be publishing “missives from a nuclear reactor #1″ in January’s prose issue (Issue 8)! You will be able to check it out at: http://www.pinstripefedora.com.
In class right now, we are discussing the idea of a continuum of writers, history as being a long conversation among us. Some questions: What is this “long conversation”? Who is consuming it, participating in it, and leading it? Who is left out? What is the purpose or intent, and what is the effect? How do you become a consumer, participant, and leader? What is your intent? What is your identity?
I see the long conversation, in part, as an ongoing, living document connecting various strains of writers together, like a big family tree. Some branches don’t ever meet each other, but they are all connected. This is to say that the writers are all connected somewhere along the line. I’m not so sure about the audience(s). When we ask, “Who is left out?”, a lot of the time I think that the very people we are writing to/for (supposedly) are the ones being left out of the conversation, or at least not invited. I think this is accidental – that we often aren’t aware that we are leaving them out. A lot of the time we just don’t know how to invite them in. Consumption is a good word for where the conversation stands now. It has become corporatized just like everything else (like Slouka was saying in his essay), into literary magazines, publishing houses, MFA programs, and summer writing conferences. Who consumes it? Writers and aspiring writers. Those who are already established feed into and perpetuate the system by returning to ‘pass it on’. This is, of course, what we want; however, as it appears to me, we’re only completing one-half of the conversation. We’re talking to ourselves—new generations of ourselves, but still talking to ourselves. We leave our programs and conferences, and continue to circulate among each other.
I am looking for ways to break the conversation out of its loop, to push it out into new arenas. How to begin doing this? Create a new vocabulary and new places to use it. There are a few people out there doing this. Jack Collom and Project Outreach at Naropa, and Kristin Prevallet and Bob Holman in NYC with Study Abroad on the Bowery are two examples of poets leading a very physical advancement of the conversation, albeit both projects are geared heavily toward classrooms. Leonard Schwartz’ radio show Cross-Cultural Poetics (http://www.writing.upenn.edu/pennsound/x/XCP.html) provides literal conversations among and with poets and writers all over the world, on important contemporary topics – though it is difficult to gauge just who is listening.
How do we interact/converse with people who are not students or other writers? There has to be a way to splice our creative endeavors with the Real World. I always feel uneasy separating poetry from the Real World, as something to be re-connected with it. But it is the sad truth.
Show and Tell Gallery Presents:
Poetcetera! at the Bamboo Grove Salon
With the help of Bamboo Grove Salon, Show and Tell Gallery is putting together a quirky monthly workshop series for Portland’s low-budget creative types to get their teach on, starting sometime in October.
If you are interested in holding a lecture or workshop, to share your own unique artistic process and/or your understanding of how your art connects you to the outside world:
1) Provide us a list of dates/times you would be available.
2) Let us know if it would be a multi-day class, or a one day event.
3) Create a reader of about 15-20 pages, of any material you would like – what are you reading that you think we should know about? What are you working on that you would like to share? A how-to manual for your skill set? Etcetera. The sky’s the limit.
4) Prepare an exercise for the workshop and include it in the reader.
5) Send these materials to review to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The reader will be optional, depending on what the workshop entails, but we would like to see some of your ideas/thought process behind your workshop prior to us putting you on the schedule.
The teahouse at the Bamboo Grove is open MTWTh 4 – 9, and TWTh 1 – 9. Obviously, evenings will draw a larger crowd. We will also be able to use the salon on weekends, depending on what other events are happening that week.
Troy and I met today to tie up the details for our upcoming media blast. We also met with Charles at Eberhardt Press, http://www.eberhardtpress.org/about.php, an amazingly efficient and environmentally-responsible printer located in the ActivSpace building in Southeast Portland (833 SE Main, #116), to discuss posters and handbills for the event.
I am impressed with how smoothly everything is coming along, which is a good thing, considering that now we have exactly one month to secure projectors, refreshments, hang posters, blast the local media, finish the image displays and music, and coordinate the reading with the images and sound…I should be taking better notes so that I have a better idea of how to go about this next time.
I just have to say: this truly is a multi-community collaboration! The grand scale production that we are going to pull off could never have happened without our growing list of contributors. I fully believe this is the start of something revolutionary – how perfect for Portland in the fall!
…Poetcetera! has accepted the offer made by Melissa Sillitoe and Luke Leffler of Show & Tell Gallery to join their creative community efforts and to work under Show & Tell’s generous umbrella.
Look for more updates shortly at www.showandtellgallery.org.
I look forward to working with these hard-working, dedicated and creative souls!
Poetcetera! will be proud to introduce Portland lawyer, poet, and photographer Troy Payne at the SEA Change Gallery in Everett Station Lofts on the evening of September 26th, 2009, as he presents his innovative and engaging eco-suggestive work, “Cartesian Eco-FemDarkanism: She Comes From the Earth, Therefore We Are”.
Stay tuned for an exact time. In the meantime, please check out SEA Change’s website, (http://seagallery.wordpress.com/about), or visit during the gallery’s open hours.
Here is an example of Troy’s work:
“It took many millions of years to learn to make a hammer, millions more for written language. Recorded history covers the last 20,000 years, loosely. The first cities formed just a few thousand years ago. The first books were published just six hundred years ago.
Only a couple of versions of one particular book were largely available until a few hundred years ago. As little as ten generations ago, very few human beings could read.
We’ve had very little time to study and comprehend all of the workings of life on this planet, never mind the rest of the galaxy, solar system, or universe and its multiple trillions of stars—what we don’t know is vast in comparison to what we even think we know.
Perspective is humble.”
Think of how it would be to hold your own workshops, host people from out of town for events, make flyers for your readings, make chapbooks, have a place to sell your books, and hang out without having to buy a cup of coffee.
Today, I partnered with Gabriel Weiss of Bamboo Grove Salon (134 SE Taylor), who has graciously offered to be the springboard space for Poetcetera! Neither of us are sure what this means, but we are of the same mind about poetry – that it not only has a place in every aspect of life, but that we have a responsibility to put it to work to make change in existing conditions.
Please take a moment to explore Bamboo Grove’s website (http://www.bamboogrovesalon.com/RENTAL_SPACE.html), or even better, visit the salon this First Friday to see the new exhibit, Three Muses, from 6-9pm. Say hello to Gabriel, and ask him about our ideas about creating supportive & collaborative creative communities in Portland.
In the coming weeks and months, I hope that Bamboo Grove and Poetcetera! will serve each other and the creative communities of Portland well, and bring new meaning to the Life of Poetry!