Blackbox Manifold No. 10 (Summer 2013)

The new issue of the always enjoyable Blackbox Manifold was just launched.  It features work by Billy Cancel, Rick Crilly, Josh Ekroy, Michael Farrell, Joanna Grigg, Bernard Henrie, Joan Harvey, David Herd, Beau Hopkins, Drew Milne & John Kinsella (together), Peter Larkin, Robert Mueller, Sandeep Parmar, Peter Riley, Jennifer Scappettone, Kerrin P. Sharpe, Nathan Thompson, Corey Wakeling, Duncan White and Rachel Zolf; accompanied by a fine essay by Sam Ladkin on Frank O’Hara, and a review of John Matthias by Adam Piette.

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FACE OUT: Maximizing the Visibility of Emerging Writers, Reading & Reception, 6/12/13


Julie Buntin, the Director of Programs & Strategic Outreach for CLMP, says, “We’ve got a lovely reception planned with enough food and drink to feed an army of starving writers–or just hungry ones.”

I hope that the refreshments–along with the diversity of poets and presses represented–will provide enough incentive to go. Do come by if you’re free and around.

Housing Works Bookstore Cafe
126 Crosby Street
New York, NY 10012

This celebratory event features short readings from exceptional emerging writers supported through CLMP’s FACE OUT program, which grants publisher/author teams funding for technical assistance to help spotlight independent, experimental titles. Readers include: Cynthia Cruz (Four Way Books), Farrah Field (Four Way Books), Michael Leong (Black Square Editions), Albert Mobilio (Black Square Editions), Jon Leon (Futurepoem Books), Francis Richard (Futurepoem Books), R. Erica Doyle (Belladonna Books), LaTasha Diggs (Belladonna Books), Dan Magers (Birds, LLC) and Ana Bozicevic (Birds, LLC). The FACE OUT program is supported by a generous contribution from The Jerome Foundation and the New York Community Trust.

No Medium

I published a review of Craig Dworkin’s No Medium (MIT Press, 2013), a study about “works that are blank, erased, clear, or silent,” in the latest weekend edition of Hyperallergic.  This is a bit of what I said:

…in “The Logic of Substrate,” the first and strongest chapter of the book, Dworkin provides a definition that affords us a more elegant and refined, if not novel, understanding of how media operate: “Those objects that are casually referred to as ‘media,’ … are perhaps better considered as nodes of articulation along a signifying chain: the points at which one type of analysis must stop and another can begin; the thresholds between languages; the limns of perception.” In this sense, the title No Medium acts as a kind of homophonic and edifying mnemonic: to realize that there is no medium — or better yet, to put the term “medium” sous rature, that is, under erasure — is to know media in a richer and, to use Dworkin’s own phrase, “more robust” way.

I notice that Amazon lists the book with a significantly different cover…as if it were deliberately supplanting what appears to be a polaroid photograph with the older medium of monochromatic painting, a kind of lighter version of Yves Klein’s blues.  Can anyone account for this difference?  

The image is embossed on the cover and I’m guessing that might have something to do with it…


Writing On It All: Governors Island, June 2013

Alex Chasin, who has been featured a few times as a guest contributor at Big Other, is spearheading a site-specific collaborative writing project at Governors Island called Writing On It All.

It begins this month and it looks unusually good–so sign up for a session, donate, and/or spread the word!

In a series of seven sessions, invited artists and writers, along with interested members of the public, collaborate in writing on the interior of an out-of-use house on Governors Island. Writing On It All enacts the physical as well as social nature of writing, with a materialist twist on contemporary conceptual art practice. Just as writers are embodied, so do we write with concrete tools, in and from particular locations with particular histories and functions. Mindful of this materiality, Writing On It All takes place in an early 20th-Century house that used to serve as senior officer housing when Governors Island was a military base.

Writing On It All puts these ideas and this history into play with a number of poets and visual thinkers, a graffiti artist, and a movement improviser, who will facilitate sessions designed to invite different forms of engagement with the empty old house, from listening to dancing to a range of collaborative writing activities. The project foregrounds process over product, which means that we don’t know quite what to expect, and that our collective focus is on acts of writing rather than on the texts we produce – nevertheless, the house will be available for viewing after each session. Ultimately, the texts themselves are ephemeral; they will be painted over, rinsed or sanded off, and the house restored to its original condition, at the beginning of July.


June 15 – Kundiman Poets – Writing Race & Belonging: A Live Monument
June 16 – Al Diaz – WET PAINT PROJECT 2011-2013
June 22 – Wendy S. Walters – Out of Regiment, a Project in Personal Mapping
June 23 – Carla Gannis and Justin Petropolous – legend / legend
June 23 – Jovanina Pagano and Rachel Levitsky – Against the Wall: Migration / Habitation / Erasing / Tracing
June 29 – Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture
June 30 – Anne Carson, Robert Currie, and Ébauche

Dean Young Poetry Trading Cards from Fact-Simile Editions


Patterned after a 1978 Topps baseball card design, Dean Young’s poetry trading card features a photo by Laurie Saurborn Young and a new poem titled, “The Life of a Poet”.

I was looking at the latest (May 2013) poetry trading card from Fact-Simile Editions and was reminded of something Dean Young said in The Art of Recklessness: Poetry as Assertive Force and Contradiction (Graywolf Press, 2010): “…It is…worth entertaining the notion that the least important time in any workshop is when your own work is being talked about.  It’s called ‘Poetry Workshop,’ not ‘Me Workshop,’ after all.” This is a quote that I’ve repeated a few times in my own workshops. Last semester when I was going through some student assignments–a required review of any poetry reading on campus–I realized how valuable this sentiment is. The first sentence of a student composition began: “I find it very difficult to relate poetry to my everyday life unless I am the author.” Yes: Poetry Workshop, not Me Workshop.