Saturday, February 25, 2012

AWP Off-Site readings

I'll be reading with a cacophony of others on Friday, March 2nd, at 9pm, in Chicago. It likely will be the equivalent of a cocktail party in an art gallery, in which each art piece will be reading poems.

{readings that play with reading}

Chicago, Illinois

1474 N. Milwaukee Avenue

Venue logistics --
in the Wicker Park neighborhood
near CTA Damen blue line
third floor walk up
not wheelchair accessible

Friday, March 2nd @ 7-8pm
Facebook invite -
Hugh Behm-Steinberg, Tamiko Beyer, Naomi Buck Palagi, Maria Damon,
Carrie Etter, Jennifer Firestone, K. Lorraine Graham, Larkin Higgins,
Megan Kaminski, John Pluecker, Chris Pusateri, Marthe Reed, Judy Roitman,
Sarah Rosenthal & Elisabeth Workman

Friday, March 2nd @ 8:30-11:30pm
Facebook invite --
Writers from 32 small presses read simultaneously in one space!

Reading Experiment #1 / 9-9:30pm:
Lori Anderson Moseman, Harold Abramowitz, Gretchen E. Henderson, Peter Conners,
Molly Gaudry, Kathy Fish, Paige Lipari, Amy King, Judith Goldman, Bianca Stone,
Philip Metres, Marcus Pactor, Jonathan Stalling, Katie Fowley, Ben Mirov,
Lisa Ciccarello, Marina Blitshsteyn, Rodrigo Toscano, Anna Joy Springer,
Corina Copp, James Maughn, Amanda Deutch, Lily Ladewig, Jennifer H. Fortin,
Kristin Prevallet, Alina Gregorian, Sidebrow reading from White Horse, Alan Gilbert,
Nicole Schildkraut, Jennifer Karmin & Miranda Mellis

Reading Experiment #2 / 10-10:30pm:
Kate Durbin, Laura Goldstein, Matvei Yankelevich, Janice Lee, Noel Black,
Dana Teen Lomax, Deborah Poe, Adam Peterson, Jeff Alessandrelli,
Caroline Crumpacker, Christie Ann Reynolds, Sidebrow reading from White Horse,
Joe Elliott, Matias Viegener, Elizabeth Gentry, Gina Caciolo, Robert Kloss, Ben Segal,
BC Edwards, Jennifer Scappettone, E. Tracy Grinnell, Ben Pease, Serena Chopra,
Tracy DeBrincat, Giovanni Singleton, Jessica Laser, Brent Cunningham, Tisa Bryant,
Erika Jo Brown & Frances Richard

Saturday, March 3rd @ 7pm-12am
Facebook invite --

Feature readings:
7:30 Matthew Klane
8:30 Cara Benson
9:30 Michelle Naka Pierce
10:30 Ronaldo Wilson
11:30 Tracie Morris

7:45 AWP Show & Tell
Teresa Carmody, Feng Sun Chen, Gloria Frym, BJ Love & Mark Wallace

8:45 O.P.P./Other People's Poetry
Claire Donato, Sueyeun Juliette Lee, Luis Humberto Valadez,
Catherine Wagner, Tyrone Williams, Tim Yu, a tribute to Akliah Oliver
with a video by Ed Bowes & Anne Waldman

9:45 Tag Team Reading
cris cheek, Laura Goldstein, MC Hyland, Tim Trace Peterson,
Michelle Taransky, Edwin Torres & Christine Wertheim

10:45 Instant Reading
David Emanuel, Jennifer Karmin, Edwin Perry, Jai Arun Ravine,
Adam Roberts & Kenyatta Rogers

RED ROVER SERIES is curated by Laura Goldstein and Jennifer Karmin.
Each event is designed as a reading experiment with participation by local, national, and
international writers, artists, and performers. The series was founded in 2005 by
Amina Cain and Jennifer Karmin.

Email ideas for reading experiments to us at

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

"Khader Adnan, Bobby Sands"

Khader Adnan, a Palestinian, has been hunger striking since December 17, 2011, in protest of his illegal detention without any charge or trial. Israel's use of administrative detention (for up to six months) derives its legitimacy from laws drawn up during the British Mandate period; turns out that the British legacy of occupation is a gift that keeps on giving.

This song, "Khader Adnan, Bobby Sands" by David Rovics, attempts to suture the space between the Republican struggle in Northern Ireland with the Palestinian struggle; such parallels are always tendentious, and often problematic. Sands was a charismatic figure whose death by hunger strike made him a martyr for the cause and brought a kind of political shame upon Great Britain, and its stern intransigence in the face of the guerrilla war in Northern Ireland. I don't know much about Adnan, and whether Rovics gets all the details right; but Adnan, by virtue of this nonviolent resistance to this law, is exposing a deep flaw in the Israel's claims to Western-style democracy.

Khader Adnan grew up near Jenin City
You could say he was a product of his time
Ever since he was a kid he'd get arrested
Though he was never charged with any crime
Spending half his life in prison
A life lived like so many of his friends
Arbitrary and indefinite detention
Never knowing if your jail time would end
Khader Adnan was arrested last December
Again he wasn't told the reason why
He was shackled, he was beaten, he was tortured
There beneath the Middle Eastern sky
Perhaps there was a moment when he realized
That right then, with his body, he'd say no
But from then on he refused to eat another meal
Like in Belfast not many years ago

Khader Adnan grew up in a war zone
But all the tanks and planes were only on one side
It was a type of war that they call occupation
Settlement, removal, fratricide
And anyone who talked about resistance
Who thought they did not deserve to be a slave
Would be looking down the barrel of a gun
And often find themselves inside an early grave
Khader Adnan loves his wife and daughters
And he likes to eat his daily bread
But in prison he can't see his children
Or live life with the lady that he wed
So on behalf of all the children without fathers
He decided he had to strike a blow
He said I will have dignity or death
Like in Belfast not many years ago

Each time Khader Adnan was arrested
In prison he would learn a little more
And soon he became the teacher
And he'd talk about the times that came before
They talked about civil disobedience
They talked about the ballot and the gun
They talked about the Occupied Six Counties
And the H Blocks in 1981
Khader Adnan talked of perseverance
And how someday their people might be free
How someday they might hear their children laughing
Unafraid, how someday things could be
And then at 3:30 on one morning
The soldiers came, their rifles pointed low
And they took Khader Adnan from his family
Like in Belfast not many years ago

They say Khader Adnan is a terrorist
Just like they said of Bobby Sands
Because he dares speak out against injustice
Because he dares to make a stand
Because he dares believe that he is human
And he does not deserve to live this way
Because he dares to consider an alternative
Because he dares imagine a new day
Khader Adnan lost his liberty before he was born
To fight for life it's death he must embrace
But just like others come before him
There are others waiting to take his place
And even the great powers can lose interest
In supporting such a vicious status quo
Because you can't break a man who won't be broken
Like in Belfast not many years ago

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"Beautiful Day" as globalist poetics

Okay, I get it. U2 is overly earnest, Bono is pompous. Neither this song nor this video will change your mind on those fronts. But hearing it again while reading a series of essays on globalization, I have to say that this song is veering dangerously close to a kind of a lyrical global consciousness reminiscent of "Koyanisqaatsi" in its bridge:

See the world in green and blue
See China right in front of you
See the canyons broken by cloud
See the tuna fleets clearing the sea out
See the Bedouin fires at night
See the oil fields at first light
And see the bird with a leaf in her mouth
After the flood all the colors came out

Its large-scale "panning" over the global productions of weather and high-tech fishing, Bedouin life and oil refineries, creates a juxtaposition between "natural" ways and the technologies of global life. Without overromanticizing the natural and naturalizing, I'd say that the song celebrates a narrowing, a modifying, of our petroleum-induced desires (something that the video does not, really, with all its airplane imagery!). "Take me to that other place" is not a call to hop on the jet, but to find that interior space, the space within, where the day is beautiful and not to be lost.

The song ends in a way that Bill McKibben, ardent environmentalist and author of Eaarth, would appreciate, and see as parallel to his own call for us to adjust our lives to the new reality of climate change:

What you don't have you don't need it now
What you don't know you can feel it somehow
What you don't have you don't need it now
Don't need it now
Was a beautiful day

Friday, February 10, 2012

Justice or Peace?: The Northern Ireland Dilemma

Check out around minute 15, for the controversy regarding Boston College's oral history archives, and their subpoena by Northern Ireland to adjudicate past crimes during the bloody Troubles.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Few Nachos for Thought On Super Bowl Sunday

Anyone who watches the NFL for more than an hour realizes that football is presented as the national sport, and that the language of war is often employed (grotesquely so) to describe what happens on the field.  I'm a fan of sports and athletic prowess as much as any American male, but the Super Bowl raises the usual level of masculinity to an extreme and laughably ridiculous degree--then adds HGH, a big swig of American self-regard and patriotism, objectification of women, and worship of military might.

9/11 has frequently been part of the commemorative aspect of the Super Bowl.  Last year, U2 did this:

Budweiser ran this commercial:

Now, before you get all weepy about it, remember, they are selling beer.  With the death of 3,000 people.
When the Patriots won the Super Bowl, owner Robert Kraft said, "we are all Patriots."

Nicholas Archer recently wrote his whole dissertation on the topic of NFL films and the "counter subversive" politics they trumpet and circumscribe.

In his work on the use of the male body in Monday Night Football broadcasts during the 1994 season, Trujillo notes that the discourse used to describe the players and their actions on the field often referred to the players as weapons and their actions as military maneuvers.

During the season, players were described as "weapons," "missiles," "shields," ''rockets," "hitting machines," and other instruments of violence. And these "weapons" engaged in an impressive array of offensive and defensive maneuvers. For example, among the terms used by MNF commentators to describe what these offensive and defensive weapons (bodies) did on the football field were attack, blow away, break through, burst, catapult, club, crash, cripple, crunch, decapitate, decimate, destroy, dislodge, dislocate, dismantle, drill, explode, fire, fly, hammer, hit, hurdle, jackhammer, kill, launch, mortar, mug, penetrate, plug, pop, pound, push, ram, rifle, rip, shoot, shred, slam, slash, smash, smoke, snap, shred, spin, stearnroll, tattoo, tomahawk, toss, twist, unload, upend, whack, whip, wound, and wreck.

...Moreover, their analysis reinforces the frame of warfare or pageant of violence that Powers argues made the League the success it is, noting that the “Monday Night Football” broadcasts were introduced with exploding graphics and a theme song that included lyrics “Like a rocket burning through time and space, The NFL’s best star will rock this place...the battle lines are drawn.”

While such findings are important in showing the specific ways NFL broadcasts use militaristic imagery, they do little to tell us what precise political utility these symbols have relative to the larger puzzle of countersubversive elements in the American political tradition. While Trujillo does argue in part that the valuation of militarism the NFL promotes may relate to changes of gender relations and female boundary invasion into male occupations in the 1990s, such analyses seem insufficient, especially in light of aforementioned demographic findings that females constitute 50 percent of the NFL broadcast audience. What then, does the purpose of pushing militaristic symbolism in NFL broadcasts serve?

The use of militaristic condensation symbols in NFL videography serves the countersubversive agenda by normalizing militarism as a constitutive part of the American experience. In doing so, it prepares the audience for mobilization in times of actual military conflict to more readily accept the binary divisions and fears of alien invasion created by the countersubversive and the appropriateness of military action against them. It may also, in times of actual alien penetration, serve to recharge the legitimacy of the National Security State when its capacity to protect people is brought into question. In essence, the NFL’s use of militaristic symbols helps to personalize military conflicts by allowing viewers to experience the nationalistic fervor of real warfare vicariously by linking it to the viewing of the fictional warfare of pro football.

What if the best way to be patriotic this Sunday is to turn off the television?