Week Four Workshops and Faculty

When the Walls of the City Shake: Changing the Frequency through Collaboration, Music and Oral Sound….

This week, we honor the Kerouac School’s commitment to cross-arts fertilization and community. How do we – as artists- awaken the world to itself? By raising the decibels, composing a lullaby, or choralizing our language with multi-tracks? How may our vocalizations suggest a new timbre for the imagination? We examine the power of our texts and our solo “vox” -the sounds made by the human mouth – which can also be augmented by others in collaboration, and by the music and the magic of the recording studio. We might compose libretti for the future. We sing and dance back our negativity in the Anthropocene.

Caroline Bergvall: Call & Response

cbergvallstairs web2We will start out by thinking through Edward Said’s notion of the musical counterpoint as a structure for inclusive creativity and responsive critical spirit. We will then apply ourselves to imagining and exploring ways by which such a contrapuntal structure could be used in writing and performance to create various forms of call-and-response. We will ask: What is a call? what is a response? How does one create a form of writing, of performing, which seeks to respond to a call not by echoing it but rather by complicating and enriching it. How can one make disparate elements function in dialogue with one another? the use of recording and editing technologies (audio/video/scanner etc) as well as live performance/ live writing will be encouraged in the workshop.

Caroline Bergvall is an artist and writer of French-Norwegian origins, based in London. Works across artforms, media, and languages. A strong exponent of writing methods adapted to contemporary audiovisual and contextual concerns, and the challenges of collaboration. Projects take the forms of books, drawings, performances, installations, events, audio works,.. Her language-based pieces and interdisciplinary structures tackle literary models, as well as difficult historical and political events, issues of cultural belonging, bilingualisms, speech for pleasure, speech as trauma. She has exhibited/performed internationally in a number of black boxes and white cubes, large and small. In the year 2013 at Tate Modern (London), The Powerplant Gallery (Toronto), Khoj Art Centre (New Delhi), Vita Kuben (Sweden), MCA (Denver), and Actoral (Marseille). Current collaborative performance is entitled DRIFT : for live voice, percussion (Ingar Zach) and electronic texts (Thomas Köppel). A meditation on quest poems, sea-travel, ancient exiles, and contemporary migrants. The text of the performance is forthcoming as a book with Nightboat Books in 2014.

Edmund Berrigan: To sing and to survive: Writing in Collaboration with Life

32573_1423297096075_8140737_nWriting has never been a solitary act­—it is a constant collaboration of ideas, influences, environment, and personal conditions. For the poet, studying writing is not enough—eventually the world kicks your door in and demands a response. Writing poetry is an avenue of dynamic understanding and escape, of responding to harsh conditions, and of sharpening your senses to the necessities of personal/ psychic/emotional survival. How do we access this information? How do we keep it interesting? How do we survive it? We step into a history where some groups of artists seek to remove “Self” from their works, while others have been persecuted for refusing to accept restraints imposed on self-expression. How can we combine honesty, necessity, and craftmanship in order to make great works? And what is the value of it? We will examine writings of necessity, create collaborations with source material, and explore relationships between poetry and poetically-influenced songwriting. We will examine works by Marina Tsvetaeva, Paul Celan, Blind Willie McTell, Alice Notley, and many others.

Edmund Berrigan is the author of two books of poetry, Disarming Matter (Owl Press, 1999) and Glad Stone Children (Farfalla, 2008), and a memoir, Can It! (Letter Machine Editions, 2013). He is editor of the Selected Poems of Steve Carey (Sub Press, 2009), and is co-editor with Anselm Berrigan and Alice Notley of the Collected Poems of Ted Berrigan (University of California, 2005) and the Selected Poems of Ted Berrigan (University of California, 2010). He is an editor for poetry magazines Vlak and Brawling Pigeon, and is on the editorial board of Lungfull!. He records and performs music as I feel tractor. He lives in Brooklyn.

Mary Burger: Figuring and Grounding

mary burgerAnaximander, the first philosopher of ancient Greece, was also the first Greek to write in prose (logos, the language of knowledge and of everyday speech), and the first to make a map of the world. In the map, the world became a spectacle (theōria). A theōria could also be a journey or a voyage to see the world. A theōros was a spectator and a traveler. To theorize (theōriēs) was to see the world. Prose, the sentence, is both map and theory. A map is a speculation on what we know, a theory is an assertion of what we want to be. Let’s find out where we think we are. Let’s mess up the boundaries. Let’s break the record and rewrite the score.

Mary Burger is a writer and visual artist based in Oakland. Her books include Then Go On, a collection of short prose (Litmus Press, 2012), A Partial Handbook for Navigators, writings on relationships to place (Interbirth Books, 2008) and Sonny, a novella on the Trinity bomb test (Leon Works, 2005.) With Robert Glück, Camille Roy, and Gail Scott, she co-edited Biting the Error: Writers Explore Narrative, an anthology of theoretical writings about narrative practice. Her writing has appeared recently in the Encyclopedia Project and Your Impossible Voice and in landscape and art publications.

Mary earned her MFA from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, where she co-founded the journal Proliferation in 1994. In 1998, she founded the press Second Story Books, featuring works of experimental narrative. Mary is trained as a landscape architect and is a printmaker and mixed-media artist. In her writing and visual work, she is interested in connections between syntax and spatial awareness, and the ecology and ethics of occupying anything. She teaches in the School of Landscape Architecture at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

Ambrose Bye: Artists Recording Artists

Ambrose Photo credit Lenny LesserWE will be poets/musicians/producers. WE will bring voices/instruments/noises. WE will gather in Harry Smith’s old cottage and document our art through the recording studio that now inhabits the space. WE will combine poetry/sound/music both deliberately improvised and deliberately deliberate. WE will have guest appearances from faculty and other workshops. WE will sound/listen/react. WE will record everything and examine some recording/mixing/producing techniques. WE will learn/teach/work together. WE will archive all our recordings and release them into the airwaves.

Ambrose Bye, composer/musician/producer grew up in the environment of the Jack Kerouac School, graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and was trained as an audio engineer at the music/production program at Pyramind in San Francisco. Working primarily with poets, he has worked on and produced many albums including “The Eye of the Falcon,” “Matching Half,” “The Milk of Universal Kindness,” “Comes Through in the Call Hold,” and “Harry’s House” a compilation from recordings done at Naropa University.

For this workshop, Ambrose will be assisted by:

max daviesMax Davies, musician/ producer has released three solo albums and worked on many others. He worked with Anne Waldman, Thurston Moore, Clark Coolidge, and Ambrose Bye on “Comes Through in the Call Hold” and also collaboratively with Steven Taylor, Julie Patton, and many others. His music has been awarded by the American College Dance Festival, and his work has been featured in several films.


Douglas Dunn: Writing While Dancing

douglas dunn copyDance to bring reality inward to original bud. Work from there outward, kneading the medium with innocent intuition. Follow forms’ leads; no thoughts regarding effects. Implicit politics: unspoken until body is full. Juxtapose this original vision with someone else’s, same medium or different. Edit all, in collaboration, with thoughtful judgment, wary of social-persona censorship at all levels, yours, your friend’s, media’s. Understand the present world’s pathways to being heard. Decide how much, if any; of the displays of your vision you are willing to sacrifice to be lent ears.

Douglas Dunn, in 1971, while a member of Merce Cunningham & Dance Company, and of Grand Union, began presenting work in New York City. In 1976, he formed Douglas Dunn & Dancers and began touring the US and Europe. In 1980, the Paris Opera and the Autumn Festival invited him to set Stravinsky’s Pulcinella on the Paris Opera Ballet. In 1998, he was awarded a New York Dance & Performance Award (Bessie) for Sustained Achievement, and in 2008, was honored by the French government as Chevalier in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. In January 2014, at the invitation of Jed Wheeler, Douglas Dunn & Dancers showed Aubade, a collaborative evening with Anne Waldman, Charles Atlas, and Steven Taylor, at the beautiful Kasser Theater at Montclair State University. Douglas’s collected writings, Dancer Out of Sight, appeared in 2012. He continues to make new work and to host Salon Events at the Douglas Dunn Studio.


Erica Hunt & Marty Ehrlich: Music and Words

erica huntIn the right circumstances, a musical phrase can set you off—somewhere between reverie and roll, a perilous Senegalese rotation on bent and weak knees, a risky speculation, a wild association word chase into a microcosm found and fashioned. Sound embodied and word souled in the rise and swerve of notes. Discernible innovation in the tumble of hierarchy, where top, bottom, interior, exterior, the entire tool box can be animated, thoughts’ enactment, elements of language that take the breath away or restore breath to ordinary life.

Erica Hunt is a poet, essayist, and author of Local History, Arcade, as well as two poem chapbooks, Piece Logic, and Time Flies Right Before the Eyes. Publications include BOMB, Boundary 2, Conjunctions, Poetics Journal, Tripwire, Recluse, various anthologies, and the Politics of Poetic Form. Hunt has received awards from the Foundation for Contemporary Art, the Fund for Poetry and the Djerassi Foundation.

Marty credit Maarteen Jan ReiderMarty Ehrlich is a multi-instrumentalist and is considered one of the leading figures in experimental or avant-garde jazz. He has performed with a who’s who of contemporary composers including Muhal Richard Abrams, Bobby Bradford, Anthony Braxton, Andrew Cyrille, Jack DeJohnette, Anthony Davis, Mark Dresser, Marianne Faithful, Don Grolnick, Julius Hemphill, and John Zorn. He appears on over 100 recordings with these and other composers.

Thurston Moore: Machine Boys Are Electronic

thurston mooreInvestigating the direct influence of William S. Burroughs as writer and evocative figure in rock n roll, we will look at the practice of “cut-up,” how it has informed specific lyricists in rock music culture, as well as the inspiration and intrigue W.S. Burroughs has had in the culture as such (Fugs, Beatles, Velvet Underground, Soft Machine, Rolling Stones, Sex Pistols, Patti Smith et al) – from psychedelic to progressive to punk rock music and beyond. Burroughs’ period of stay in London in the ’60s will be looked at in its association with the multi-disciplinary freak culture at play both in underground press publications and rock n roll. Writing, composing will happen.

Thurston Moore is founder of the NYC rock group Sonic Youth. He has worked collaboratively with Yoko Ono, Merce Cunningham, Cecil Taylor, Lydia Lunch, John Zorn and Glen Branca. He has composed music for films by Olivier Assayas, Gus Van Sant, and Allison Anders. His writing has been published through various imprints. He runs the Ecstatic Peace records + tapes label, edits the Ecstatic Peace Poetry Journal, and is chief editor of Ecstatic Peace Library and the poetry imprint Flowers & Cream. He has been on faculty at the Naropa University summer writing program since 2011. He currently records and tours both solo and with Chelsea Light Moving and resides in London. His latest publication is NO GO (Ecstatic Peace Library, 2013)

Ecstatic Peace records + tapes

Brad O’Sullivan: Shadowcasting & the Language of Machinery

Brad O SullivanLetterpress printing allows writers to physically interact with readers by forcing language into the page, a tactile sensibility not possible with more contemporary methods of printing. It’s intimate and immediate, and it’s born of a syncopated, stubborn process. So, sleeves up & fingerdeep in the stuff of language, we’ll use the press as a compositional tool in the production of a collaborative printed piece.

Brad O’Sullivan collects meaningless objects and founded Underscore, a typewriter band. He’s a letterpress printer, writer, teacher, vinyl enthusiast, and proprietor of Smokeproof Press, a letterpress workshop. He believes the pencil to be a transformative tool and lives with his family in downtown Boulder.

Smokeproof Press

Steven Taylor: Song Works

steven taylorIn this class, you belong to a band for a week. At our first meeting, we use the Smithsonian Folkways Anthology of American Folk Music to model various song genres. The class then becomes an ensemble where we collaborate on one another’s performance pieces. No previous experience required. All you need is a willingness to sing. Please bring whatever instruments you have; the more diverse the ensemble the better.

Steven Taylor is a musician and writer based in Brooklyn. For twenty years, he was Allen Ginsberg’s principal musical collaborator. He has been a member of the Fugs since 1984. His account of touring the European underground rock scene, False Prophet: Field Notes from the Punk Underground, was published by Wesleyan University Press in 2003.

Vanity Fair

Edwin Torres: Brainlingo: Writing The Voice Of The Body

TORRES_headshotPoets are creatures of awareness, receptive beings that embody transition. Part of allowing the creative process its chance to amaze is to encourage that trigger into amazement, to align our natural tri-lingual voice, our speaking-seeing-hearing voice, into a lateral extension of the ground we claim — the transformative roar that defines our humanity. Brainlingo explores that process in a movement workshop structured as a creative laboratory — where the senses can meet each other, where the creative process can begin.

Edwin Torres is the author of eight poetry collections including Ameriscopia (University of Arizona Press, 2014), Instant Fate Lift (Least Weasel Chapbooks, 2014) and Yes Thing No Thing (Roof Books, 2011). He’s performed worldwide and received fellowships from The DIA Foundation, NYFA and The Foundation from Contemporary Performance Art among others. Anthologies range from Aloud; Voices From The Nuyorican Poets Café (Hoyt, 1994) to Kindergarde: Avant Garde Poems, Plays and Songs For Children (Black Radish Books, 2013). He lives in Beacon, NY.

Anne Waldman: Six Realms of Performance

Anne for 2014 CatalogueWe will consider the Buddhist “Wheel of Life” with its realms of Hell, Hungry Ghost, Animal, Human, Warring, and “God realm” as a template for investigating states of mind, psychology and action, as well as a potential for our own writing and its performance. We will create hybrid texts working with research, documentation, erasure, memory, dream and other “experiments of attention” and record some of our pieces in collaboration with Ambrose Bye in the Harry’s House recording studio. We will consider the theme of “Anthropocene,” its dire implications and our need to work artistically to staunch the egoistic flow toward “the end of Nature.” Recommended reading: Humanimal, Bhanu Kapil (Kelsey Street), The Loving Detail of the Living and The Dead, Eleni Sikelianos (Coffee House, 2013), and Gossamurmur (Penguin Poets, 2013).

Anne Waldman has been a prolific and active poet, performer, editor and teacher many years, a founder of the Jack Kerouac School and Artistic Director of its celebrated Summer Writing Program. She is engaged with creating radical hybrid forms for the long poem, both serial and narrative, and engaged in “documentary poetics,” which fuels her ethos as a cultural activist. She is also the author of the magnum opus The Iovis Trilogy: Colors in the Mechanism of Concealment (Coffee House Press, 2011), a feminist “cultural intervention” taking on war and patriarchy, which won the PEN Center 2012 Award for Poetry. She is the author most recently of Gossamurmur (Penguin Poets, 2013) an allegory about the rescue of poetry’s oral archive, Jaguar Harmonics (Post-Apollo, 2014), and co-edited the anthology Cross Worlds: Transcultural Poetics (Coffee House Press, 2014). Waldman has been deemed a “counter-cultural giant” by Publisher’s Weekly, is a Guggenheim fellow for 2013-14, and a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets. She frequently works on collaboration projects with musicians, composers, dancers, filmmakers, visual artists.