on writing freedom this Thursday, March 15th at 7pm at the Mess Hall

  • Sumo

Hey, everyone:

Please join our conversation on writing freedom this Thursday, March 15th at 7pm at the Mess Hall.

A while ago, we discussed Kapil’s “Style Handbook for New Immigrants to the US” through Joris’ “Nomad Manifesto.” In these times of multiple values, questions about how we value multiplicity bubbled up: how do we write without a native home or a center (since a center, at its most proximal, is delayed by perception) and is there ever a story without a return home and what should we make of our longing to return home?

Two weeks later we read across Heysoon’s “Rhythm” and Zizek’s “Deleuze and the Lacanian Real” in a lively discussion about how words mediate what they mean and vice versa. We considered the “Western” need for clarity in the presence of “Oriental” ambiguity. We also questioned the moral good of the illusionistic image. Don’t we often associate a sense of satisfaction with the reification process that takes place in imagistic poetry (imagistic poetry, after all, renders abstractions as physical objects)? We also talked about how rhythm relates to the goal of protest poetry to provoke readers’ empathy.

Last time we met, we overlapped Derrida’s “Phenomenology and the Closure of Metaphysics” with Stevens’ “Sunday Morning.” What a gorgeous mess that was! We talked about how the formal closure of poems maintains the sociopolitical status quo and how we may move toward alternatives such as ambiguity (or toward the shapes and sounds and looks of other freedoms). We grew suspicious of the stealthy ways poetic forms (stealthier than poetic contents) insinuate readers’ support for a kind of unearned death-knowledge. What is more suspicious than an object someone has imbued with spirit or sentiment or pause? We also talked about numbers, objectivity and the consequences for thinking people heralded by the end of science as a positive pursuit.

This week is my final textual orchestration. I’d like to sandwich Tristan Tzara’s “Dada Manifesto 1918” with Dale Smith’s “(Hoa Enters the Kitchen)”. I would really be remiss not to explore with you, arguably, the most important text to the most important cultural movement of the 20th century: Tristan Tzara’s “Dada Manifesto 1918”. Also, Tzara’s witty rage pools together the themes around which we’ve been organizing: the skeptical quest for potential freedoms in poetry, the horrific anthropocentric conflation of technological progress with moral progress, and the power of doing things with words.

1) Writing prompt (during workshop): “Poetry can go without the image by treating language as an object.” Rosemarie Waldrop
3) Critical text: Tristan Tzara’s “Dada Manifesto 1918”:  http://www.mariabuszek.com/kcai/DadaSurrealism/DadaSurrReadings/TzaraD1.pdf
2) Creative reading: Dale Smith’s “(Hoa Enters the Kitchen)”: http://liminalities.net/3-2/DS-4.htm

More info:




I look forward to our conversation,
Gene Tanta