Subversity is Big Other‘s online para-academy, a “community of dissensus,” where we collectively examine vital experimental, innovative texts written by engagingly unruly authors.

Subversity offers two ten-month seminars: “Innovative Fiction” and “Experimental Poetry” (schedules for 2023 below). Facilitated by Big Other‘s editor, John Madera, the seminars meet monthly to deeply study the most recent books of some of the world’s finest authors.

Each session of the seminars comprises two parts: a ninety minute-long discussion of a recently published book followed by an hour-long Q&A session with the author of the discussed book. Each session includes access to an online folder that includes a writing prompt inspired by the discussed book, as well as supplementary readings, videos, links, etc.

Subversity‘s inaugural line-up of writers includes Pulitzer Prize winner Rae Armantrout, National Book Award winners Daniel Borzutzky and Arthur Sze, and American Book Award winner Edwin Torres.

The sessions are exclusively available to Patreon supporters.

Here are the schedules for Subversity‘s 2023 seminars:


Innovative Fiction Seminar and Author Q&A:

(Each session meets 5:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m., EST.)


February 9, 2023: Dawn Raffel’s Boundless as the Sky

March 9, 2023: Angela Woodward’s Ink

April 6, 2023: Karen An-hwei Lee’s Love Chronicles in the Octopodes

May 4, 2023: Garielle Lutz’s Worsted

June 8, 2023: Michael Martone’s Plain Air: Sketches from Winesburg, Indiana

July 6, 2023: Andrew Joron’s O0

August 3, 2023: Luis Othoniel Rosa’s Down with Gargamel!

September 6, 2023: Lance Olsen’s Always Crashing in the Same Car

October 4, 5, or 6, 2023: TBD

November 3, 2023: Eugene Lim’s Search History


Experimental Poetry Seminar and Author Q&A:

(Each session meets 5:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m., EST.)


February 23, 2023 : Will Alexander’s Divine Blue Light (for John Coltrane)

March 23, 2023: Rae Armantrout’s Finalists

April 20, 2023: Lisa Russ Spaar’s Madrigalia

May 19, 2023: Edwin Torres’s Quanundrum: [I Will Be Your Many Angled Thing]

June 22, 2023: Daniel Borzutzky’s Written After a Massacre in the Year 2018

July 20, 2023: Laura Cronk’s Ghost Hour

August 17, 2023: Marjorie Welish’s A Complex Sentence

September 20, 2023: Arthur Sze’s The Glass Constellation

October 19, 2023: Victoria Redel’s Paradise

November 16, 2023: John Yau’s Genghis Chan on Drums



“John Madera is the consummate literary activist. I’ve visited several of his classes, and discovered him a meticulous, thoughtful, radical reader of thrilling innovative texts. I’ve watched his Rhizomatic redefine the ecology of publicity, what literature can be, how, and why. I’ve read with energizing delight the writing he’s published in Big Other, one of the most exciting online journals out there. And I’ve met a human being at once tireless, professional, prompt, pleasant, a joy to work with, and profoundly committed to challenging and undoing the meh wherever he may find it. [And] Subversity [is Madera’s] rethinking of the often deadeningly bland, interchangeable iteration of the corporate university that exists in sad abundance these days.”

Lance Olsen, author of Skin Elegies, My Red Heaven, Dreamlives of Debris, Always Crashing in the Same Car, and many other books


“John Madera is generously committed to highlighting some of the most innovative prose writers today. I am grateful for John’s editorial vision and influence in magazine publishing, where he has launched and sustained an exciting digital presence with an avant-garde niche. A shaper of literary communities, his activities on virtual platforms and digital venues are thoughtful and forward-thinking; the eclectic, imaginative spaces that John continually produces for other writers—and their readers—is a tremendous gift.

“As a classroom instructor, John Madera’s engagement with students is dynamic and energetic, simultaneously challenging and supporting our younger generations of writers to learn technique and traditional critique through a workshop format while pushing the boundaries of their imagination by reading difficult, contemporary texts by living authors.”

Karen An-hwei Lee, author of Sonata in K, The Maze of Transparencies, Love Chronicles in the Octopodes, and many other books