Saturday, May 11, 2013

Interview in The Conversant

I am very excited to be in the latest issue of The Conversant.  Thanks to Phil Metres for interviewing me and for Andy Fitch agreeing to publish it.

Check out the amazing poets included:

May's issue features interviews with Danielle DuttonLisa JarnotToril MoiCalvin BedientLynn XuDara Wier,Gillian ConoleyMónica de la TorreTyrone WilliamsLily BrownJena OsmanAnis Shivani, Kate DurbinDan Chelotti, E.J. McAdamsVanessa PlaceDan Beachy-Quick and Sibyl Kempson conducted by J’Lyn Chapman, Laynie Browne, Rusty Morisson, Andy Fitch, HL Hix, Virginia Konchan, Jasmine Dreame Wagner, Philip Metres and Nature Theater of Oklahoma. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Next Big Thing Questions

Poet and publisher Jill Magi "tagged" me to answer:

The Next Big Thing QUESTIONS:

What is the title of the book? 


Where did the idea come from for the book?

For almost a decade I have had the pleasure of talking to the choreographer Jennifer Monson about dancing outside.  Through this experience of her work and the work of other movement artists that have come up through the interdisciplinary Laboratory of Art Nature and Dance (iLAND) residency program I started to come up with my own practice of how to write outside – or with outside.

What genre does your book fall under?

Concrete. Somatic. Found. Procedural. Psychogeographic. Poetry.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Anyone from New York City Players.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

TRANSECTs attempts to create a collaboration with words in their urban habitat using procedures and the scientific technique of a transect as the method.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Years.  Miles.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Inspiration doesn’t always last long I have found without encouragement and curiosity by friends and peers. The book was buoyed by conversations and walks with: Phil Metres, Cecilia Vicuna, James O’Hearn, Jonathan Skinner, Marcella Durand, Tonya Foster, Doug Manson, Michael Leong, Amy Carroll, Clarinda Mac Low, Bob Sullivan, Katie Holten, Bill Fox, Elliott Maltby, Steve Clay, Sergio Bessa, Jamal Joseph, James Sherry, Robert Kocik, Petra Kuppers, Brenda Iijima, Thom Donovan and all the Somatics fellows in Michigan.

The texts that were important to this book include:
Tim Ingold’s Lines
John Cage’s Empty Words
Jackson Mac Low’s Stanzas for Iris Lezak
Joan Rettalak’s The Poethical Wager & Procedural Elegies/Western Civ Cont’d/
Langston Hughes’ “Island”
Jill Magi’s SLOT
Ed Roberson’s City Eclogue
Cecilia Vicuna’s “Libro Desierto/Desert Book”
Steve Clay and Jerome Rothenberg’s A Book of the Book
Luce Irigaray’s An Ethics of Sexual Difference
Liz Kotz's Words to be looked at: Language in 1960's Art
David Joselit’s “Dada’s Diagrams”
The Unpainted Landscape edited by Simon Cutts
Gianfranco Barchello and Henry Martin’s How to Imagine

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The emergency orange cover.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

The chapbook was published by Jill Magi and Sona Books. Thanks Jill!

My tagged readers for next week are:

Bob Hanson
Doug Manson
Julie Patton
Amy Carroll

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Robert Grenier: "a potential occasion for another real experience"

Robert Grenier (RG) spoke at Columbia in March and I took some notes because I find his work and him to be completely fascinating.  Thought others might want to see some of this too.  [Note: my transcriptions of the poems are nothing like the poems and should be held very suspect.  They are the (bad) map, and not the territory.]

RG has 170 books of these hand-written poems. Lately he has been thinking about ghosts - "ghosts presence as absence" - because of the deaths of Creeley, Scalapino, Bromige.  He talked about his poem from Sentences: "gost." He says "One of my tasks is to bring the 'h' back into existence..."


Which is an allusion to the Creely poem that goes "here I am, there you are." (Look up). The "are" is the ghost here.

RG talks folks through the "making" of the poem, acts as an intermediary. The handwritten poem in the books is THE poem and his ideal reader would be the one who reads thru these.

AN A                NO
PPLE                DAVID
ORCH               BROM
ARD (AND)      IGE

Works are made out of letters.

He reads some more:
(Fill in)

He talks about writing the fact as it's happening in the letters themselves!!!

He says the poet only reaches the one who wants to read the poem.

(Hint to his "orthography": all the lines are underlined.)

This work is a form like a sonnet is a form.

"Naked duration"

“constructed artiface of the occasion” – letters in space

“lost in the enactment of the ‘line’” (meaning the line that makes up the letters)

An artist named John Bacchi (sic?) translates Grenier poems by drawing them out

“My deepest intention is that someone would read the 170 books…”

IN         SKY

“I am the reader of the work as it is drawn.”


Sometimes people write to call it into being.


You can see the cloud and write it.

Some day I will be gone and I think someone will see that cloud.

“a potential occasion for another real experience”

Friday, April 8, 2011

Some Citations from Amanda Boetzkes' THE ETHICS OF EARTH ART

“[Lucy] Lippard argues that the move toward the virtual disregards the importance of the local environment. She thus posits the local as anti-institutional and anticorporate stance. Artists should, she argues, ‘innovate not just for innovation’s sake, not just for style’s sake, nor to enhance their reputation or ego, but to bring a new degree of coherence and beauty to the lure of the local.” (39)

Hans Haacke : “Make something which experiences, reacts to its environment, changes, is nonstable…Make something sensitive to light and temperature changes, that is subject to air currents and depends in its functioning on the forces of gravity…Make something that lives in time and makes the spectator experience time…Articulate something natural.”(44-45)

Luce Irigaray: “Porosity, and its fullest responsiveness, can occur only within difference. A porosity that moves from the inside to the outside of the body. The most profound intimacy becomes a protective veil. Turns itself into an aura that preserves the nocturnal quality of the encounter, without masks.” (62)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Poet Jonathan Skinner and Cellist Madeleine Shapiro for Earth Month Concert on Monday, March 28

Earth Day at the Cafe

Monday, March 28th

Two sets: 8:30 and 9:30 PM

29 Cornelia Street, NY, NY 10014

information/reservations: 212.989.9319

a full dinner menu is available

April is Earth Month and cellist Madeleine Shapiro and poet Jonathan Skinner will kick off the celebrations by presenting the second annual Earth Day at the Cafe. The performance will take place on the Schizoid series curated by Frank Oteri.

Music in the first set will draw from Madeleine's ongoing Nature Project featuring wind, snow and birds in works by Judith Shatin, Matthew Burtner and Salvatore Sciarrino. The evening will also highlight the world premiere of Avalon Shorelinesby Gayle Young (, the well-known Canadian composer, sound artist and instrument builder. Avalon Shorelines, combines live cello with pre-recorded sounds of waves and rocks rolling in the receding water of stony beaches along the Avalon Peninsula in Newfoundland. The works will be intertwined with readings of original poetry by award winning eco-poet Jonathan Skinner.

The second set, Travelogue, includes music by Zhou Long, Luciano Berio, and the hauntingly beautiful Cuaderno di Viaje by the Mexican composer Mario Lavista, again, intertwined with poems by Jonathan Skinner.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


What is noema? It is a word that comes from the Greek, meaning “thought,” but later became a more technical term in the phenomenology of philosopher Edmund Husserl. It is also the title for a new journal founded by 2008 iLAB resident, choreographer and experiential geographer Karl Cronin for his Somatic Natural History Archive project. He gives his own gloss on Husserl’s noema as “the perceived object as a perceived object,” seeing noemas as kinds of encounters.

This past Spring, I received the first volume of noema, wrapped in a beautiful cover of sparrow silhouettes cut from striking wallpaper patterns (by Ann Lopatin Cantrell), and was blown away by the contents, which present still photos from a growing collection of Cronin’s “embodied portraits that depict the life histories of10,000 plants and animals.”

What is attractive about the project is its unbelievable ambition, the wild execution of these attempts of “kinetic empathy” with other species, and the links to other media. As an example of the last point, in noema you can see a still of Karl’s response to Yucca glauca (Yucca) but then you must visit his website and link to the film of the response - the films capture the dynamism of these encounters, where the photos can only hint at them.

The journal and the overall project are wonderful, and if you are interested in the intersection of movement and natural history you should consider getting a subscription.* I am curious to see how the encounters will evolve over time, and more importantly if Karl will have the stamina to fulfill its five-figure ambition. I really hope so. I feel this work will be very generative for other artists. I know it has made me want to go meditate on a species and try to create some poetic empathy, although maybe just for 10 species.

*Annual subscriptions of noema are available for $20. To subscribe, contact Karl here.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Noncomputable

One of my favorite blogs to read is at the Resilience Alliance.

Recently it directed my attention to the abstract for a paper in Ecology and Society called Resilience: Accounting for the Uncomputable:

Plans to solve complex environmental problems should always consider the role of surprise. Nevertheless, there is a tendency to emphasize known computable aspects of a problem while neglecting aspects that are unknown and failing to ask questions about them. The tendency to ignore the noncomputable can be countered by considering a wide range of perspectives, encouraging transparency with regard to conflicting viewpoints, stimulating a diversity of models, and managing for the emergence of new syntheses that reorganize fragmentary knowledge.

(Here’s a link to the paper.)

It made me think that poets and artists and dancers could provide that counter since surprise and the noncomputable are often comfortable places for them to reside as it is integral to their discipline.

Again and again I hear that artists are the ones who can benefit from a collaboration with scientists, but I believe scientists can benefit too. This would be one concrete way.