40×40@40: Tremblay-McGaw on Howe

Welcome to another installment to our year-long program of inquiry (that’s been on hiatus): 40×40@40.

As part of looking back and mapping what the amazing contributions to experimental literature in the past forty years, we asked 40 writers to contribute one short text each celebrating—describing, anatomizing, remembering an encounter with, meditating on, shouting out to—a single book published by a small press between 1974 and 2014.

The 40×40@40 list will, hopefully, sketch a 40-part haphazard history of independent publishing and ardent reading across these four decades.
____________________________________________

Robin Tremblay McGaw

Susan Howe’s My Emily Dickinson. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 1985.

In August of 1985, my partner Clay and I drove across country, towing a homemade trailer, from New Hampshire to San Francisco so I could go to graduate school in English and Creative Writing at San Francisco State. There I would take classes with Bob Glück, Kathleen Fraser, Peter Weltner, and others.  That same year, as of yet unbeknownst to me, North Atlantic Books would publish Susan Howe’s My Emily Dickinson. While studying poetry with Charles Simic at the University of New Hampshire, I’m sure we read a Dickinson poem or two. However, it was through Kathleen Fraser’s classes, the groundbreaking journal HOW(ever), and Susan Howe (whose work Fraser introduced her students to) that I came to Dickinson anew.  Fraser encouraged her students to attend the Emily Dickinson/H.D. Dual Centennial Colloquium at San Jose State in October of 1986 where Howe was presenting her revolutionary, erudite and activist scholarship on Dickinson’s work and the history of its presentation and violation by male editors.  I was intimidated and awe-struck by the wiry energy and intellectual and imaginative force of Howe—in person and on the page.

My Emily Dickinson begins with an epigraph from William Carlos Williams: “Never a woman: never a poet. That’s an axiom. Never a poet saw sun here.” While Howe informs us she loves In the American Grain, she makes clear her book  is “a contradiction of its epigraph.”

Rarely has scholarship about literature become poetry as it does in Howe’s book:

Through a forest of mystic meaning, Religion hunts for Poetry’s freedom, while Poetry roams Divinity’s sovereign source (55).

The lure-dark Tower, blind as the fool’s heart was a squat mirage too late.  At the edge of unknown, the sacred inaccessible unseen-Lyric “I” is both guard and hunter. We and We prey on each other.  Absence is the admired presence of each poem. Death roams the division—World’s november (70).

Conversion is a sort of Death, a falling into Love’s powerful attraction. Power is pitiless once you have put it on. The poetry is an intermediary hunting form beyond form, truth beyond theme through woods of words tangled and tremendous. Who owns the woods? Freedom to roam poetically means freedom to hunt (79-80).

From first word to the last MY Life my art my power DIEs into rhymed order. Rhyme and meaning are one, death completes my life and makes it mine. Master is still sleeping, Gun still soliloquizing (129).

My Emily Dickinson is fueled by Howe’s passions for reading, scholarship’s thick description, poetry’s sonic and linguistic densities.  Howe reads Dickinson’s radical and enigmatic writing by travelling with George Eliot, Emerson, Browning, Tennyson, Spencer, Jonathan Edwards, Mary Rowlandson, Emily Brontë, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Shakespeare, numerous others, and Dickinson herself.

When I reread Howe’s book, I am still stunned by her accomplishment, caught again in the thicket of words, reading’s resonances.  It is ironic I needed to cross the country to discover the complexities of two New England women writing (through reading) on the edge of probability.  Susan Howe’s My Emily Dickinson provides a model for what an activist and poet’s scholarship might imagine and make possible.

Poetry is the great stimulation of life. Poetry leads past possession of self to transfiguration beyond gender. Poetry is redemption from pessimism. Poetry is affirmation in negation, ammunition in the yellow eye of a gun that an allegorical pilgrim will shoot straight into the quiet of Night’s frame. Childe Roland at the moment of sinking down with the sun, like Phaeton in a ball of flame, sees his visionary precursor peers ringed round him waiting

To Edward (Ned) Dickinson                                                  mid-may 1880

Phoebus–  “I’ll take the Reigns.”

Phaeton.

(L642) (Howe 138).

 

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Celebrate SPT with Midwinter Day

40

This December, Small Press Traffic is going to celebrate it’s 40th birthday with Bernadette Mayer’s Midwinter Day and we hope you can be a part of it.

40th Anniversary Celebration
12 p.m. to 4p.m., Saturday, December 20th
E.M. Wolfman General Interest Small Bookstore
410 13th Street Oakland
ADMISSION FREE
+ hot cider and gingerbread for deliciousness!

As you well know, since 1974 Small Press Traffic has been at the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area innovative writing scene bringing together readers, writers, and independent presses through an influential reading series, publications, conferences, and talks.

At the end of our 40th year of programming, we want to host a small celebration of our years by spending the day reading a book together that was born about the same time SPT was, equally pushes the limits about what language can do and challenges the notions about what can be done in a single day.

Please join us!   Bring your reading voice!

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$20 memberships!

SPT is so very proud to be a collaborative extension of our community, working to build the infrastructure that keeps a dynamic literature alive.

Your support is vital to the success of Small Press Traffic. Please purchase or renew your membership today.

As a special thank you for your many years of support, we’re offering (from now until the end of 2014) a special membership rate of $20.

TWENTY DOLLARS for a year’s worth of engaging, adventurous programming. TWENTY DOLLARS to help ensure that SPT is around long into the future.

But should you be a member? Put an X through any of the squares that apply to you:
sptbingofinal-page-001

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OPEN CALL: Submissions for Poets Theater 2015!

Poets Theater is an annual festival in which innovative works are performed, enduring avant-garde plays showcased, and the boundaries of theater generally jostled by artists and writers in collaboration to ask questions around and negotiate the possibilities of poetics of and in performance.

This year we are, once again, happy to announce the production of new plays (10 minutes or less) slated for January 2015 written, directed and staring YOU!

Contributions could can range from brief play to improvised performance to participatory instructional pieces to cross-genre collaboration – or anything you might discover between or beyond those suggestions.

You’ve got 10 minutes: be astonishing!

We won’t be able to offer payment for your participation, but the experience of the festival affords communion, conversation, sometimes a little collusion and always a lot of fun. We, of course, would love to accept every proposal we receive, but sadly only have room for a limited number of performances.

The process goes like this:

1)you send us brief proposal for what you’d like to do following the guidelines below; then

2) we will review the submissions and notify you by November 15th regarding your proposal and next steps including  the deadline for the full text of the play on December 15th

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES: EASY AS 1,2,3!

All proposals must be submitted by November 10th tosmallpresstraffic@gmail.com and must adhere to the full guidelines. Proposals should reflect the constraint of the performance space, which has a limited area and minimal lighting, and minimal rehearsal access.

1. Proposals must be for performances that will not exceed 10 minutes in length. If your already-written play is longer than this, please select an exerpt.

2. Proposals should include the following:
a. a basic idea (with maybe some lines of dialogue);

b. general technical needs for the performance (music, lighting , props etc.);

c. number of performers; and,

d. if you are unable to attend but would like to send in a proposal for others to perform on your behalf, a suggestion for a director/performers.

We are so excited to collaborate with you! Please feel free to e-mailsmallpresstraffic@gmail.com with questions! We look forward to hearing from you.

 

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an evening with Jocelyn Saidenberg and Amina Cain hosted by Robert Glück

Join us for a reading  and conversation with Jocelyn Saidenberg and Amina Cain hosted by former SPT Director Robert Glück

Sunday November 16th, 2014

at Artist Television Access/992 Valencia/San Francisco

Doors open at 5pm/Event begins at 5:30pm

Admission $6-10/members free/no on turned away for lack of funds

Jocelyn Saidenberg’s books include Mortal City, Cusp, Negativity, Shipwreck and Dead Letter. Born and raised in New York City, she’s lived and worked in San Francisco since 1994. She is the founding editor of KRUPSKAYA Books and one of the twelve curators of Right Window.

Amina Cain is the author of two collections of short stories: Creature (Dorothy, a publishing project, 2013) andI Go To Some Hollow (Les Figues Press, 2009). Work has appeared in BOMB, n+1, Denver Quarterly, The Paris Review Daily, Two Serious Ladies, and other places. She is a member of Betalevel, a basement space in Los Angeles’ Chinatown, where she sometimes curates readings and events.

Robert Glück is the author of nine books of poetry and fiction, including two novels, Margery Kempe and Jack the Modernist and a collection of stories, Denny Smith.  Glück prefaced artist Frank Moore’s Between Life and Death, and edited, with Camille Roy, Mary Berger and Gail Scott, the anthology Biting The Error: Writers Explore Narrative.  Glück was Co-Director of Small Press Traffic, Associate Editor at Lapis Press, and Director of The Poetry Center at San Francisco State, where he is Professor of Creative Writing.  In 2013 Ithuriel’s Spear republished his first book of stories, Elements, and in 2015 Semiotext(e) will publish his collected essays, The Greatness of Kathy Acker, and other Essays.

 

 

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WRITING AS PHOTOGRAPHY: BECOME THE CAMERA an online workshop with Ariel Goldberg

Sign up NOW!  LIMITED SPACE AVAILABLE


ARIEL GOLDBERG
Writing as Photography: Become the Camera

ALL WORKSHOPS CONDUCTED ONLINE
FOUR SUNDAYS in NOVEMBER 11/2; 11/9; 11/16; 11/23
2pmPST/11amEST

admission $100-150 sliding scale for four three-hour workshops

email smallpresstraffic@gmail.com to sign-up

ABOUT THE WORKSHOP

This workshop is an experiment in captive watching of the cameras around us. We will suspend and redirect our photographic impulses into poetic opportunities. Writing as Photography will study diverse modes of photographic production such as online image sharing, tourist attractions & consumer markets, lost images, and what we sometimes call the news. We will examine both the multiplying types of photographs that appear in our lives, and the multiplying types of photographers in order to ask the following questions: What do we lose when we are behind a camera? What implications can the realm of “digital” or lack of physical mean for photographs that are not taken but merely imagined? What does it do to our memories to make images without cameras? We will explore these questions through weekly assignments, reading discussions, and a daily log of photographic encounters. To engage these questions we will look at some of the work of Vilém Flusser, Tisa Bryant, Heimrad Bäcker, Juliana Spahr, Gustav Metzger, Zoe Leonard, Lisa Robertson, Félix Fénéon, bell hooks, Hollis Frampton, Hito Steyerl, Ehren Toole, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, & Philip Perkis.

 

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR

Ariel Goldberg is a writer and artist who lives in Brooklyn. Goldberg’s publications include The Photographer(Roof Books, 2015) and the chapbooks Picture Cameras (NoNo Press, 2010), The Photographer without a Camera (Trafficker Press, 2011), and The Estrangement Principle, selections of which appear in Aufgabe 11. Goldberg is completing the book length version of The Estrangement Principle with a research fellowship at the New York Public Library’s Wertheim Study. They were the recipient of a Franklin Furnace Fund grant for The Photographer, a series of performances and slideshows, most recently at Anthology Film Archives Single Frame Series in December 2013. They have been an artist in resident at Headland’s Center for the Arts, The Invisible Dog, Residencias Artísticas Intercambios and SOMA in Mexico City. Goldberg is the 2014 Wednesday Night Coordinator at The Poetry Project. They teach writing at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.

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an evening with Ed Roberson and Truong Tran hosted by Elizabeth Treadwell

Join us for a reading with Ed Roberson and Truong Tran hosted by former SPT Director Elizabeth Treadwell

Sunday October 19th, 2014

Doors open at 5pm/Event begins at 5:30pm
Admission $6-10/members free/no on turned away for lack of funds

Ed Roberson is the author of eight books of poetry, including Voices Cast Out to Talk Us In, a winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize, and a recent collection, The New Wing of the Labyrinth (Singing Horse Press, 2010). His Atmosphere Conditions was selected for the National Poetry Series and nominated for the Lenore Marshall Award from the Academy of American Poets. His latest book, To See the Earth Before the End of the World, is forthcoming from Wesleyan University Press in fall 2010. A recipient of theLila Wallace Writers’ Award and the 2008 Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, he is Distinguished Artist in Residence at Northwestern University.

Roberson’s limnology studies have taken him to Alaska, Afognak Island and Bermuda. Twice a team member of the Explorers’ Club of Pittsburgh’s South American Expeditions, he has climbed mountains in the Peruvian and Ecuadorian Andes and explored the upper Amazon jungle. He has been a diver for the Pittsburgh Aquazoo, motorcycled across the United States, and traveled in Mexico, the Caribbean, Nigeria and West Africa. His wide-ranging investigations, both geographical and intellectual, inform a poetics encompassing “startling and just metaphors” and “acrobatic leaps and counter-leaps of thought.” (Reginald Gibbons) He has been described in the American Book Review as one of those deeply skilled poets—like William Bronk, Jack Spicer, and Gustaf Sobin—who have worked far outside that matrix of professional critics and reviewers where literary reputations are determined.”


Truong Tran is a visual artist and the author of The Book of Perceptions, placing the accents, dust and conscience, within the margin, four letter words, and a children’s book, Going Home Coming Home. The Book of Perceptions was a finalist for The Kiriyama Prize and placing the accents (Apogee Press, 1999) was a finalist for the Western States Prize for Poetry. dust and conscience (Apogee Press, 2002) was awarded the San Francisco State Poetry Center Prize. His honors include grants from The Fund for Poetry, The Creative Work Fund, The Cultural Equity Grant, and The California Arts Council Grant. Truong lives in San Francisco where he is currently teaching poetry at San Francisco State University and Mills College.

Elizabeth Treadwell’s books include Eve Doe (1997), Chantry (2004), Birds & Fancies (2007), and Virginia or the mud-flap girl (2012). A new collection, Posy: a charm almanack & atlas, and a new chapbook, Holocene, are forthcoming.

Current poetry appears in The American Poetry Review, Puerto del Sol, Stolen Island, and Upstairs at Duroc. A career-spanning selection of her work will be included in the sequel to the landmark 1996 anthology Out of Everywhere: Linguistically Innovative Poetry by Women in North America & the UK, due out next year. She recently completed a manuscript titled Penny Marvel & the book of the city of selfys (as well as its accompanying tumblr).

Treadwell directed Small Press Traffic from 2000-2007, where her projects included the journal Traffic; the conference Coordinates 2002: Indigenous Writing Now; and revivals, for Poets Theater, of plays by Djuna Barnes and Gertrude Stein. She now directs Lark Books & Writing Studio, curates Lark Readings at Studio Grand, and teaches at two local colleges.

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an evening with Rachel Zolf and special guests

IN-PERSON EVENT
SEPTEMBER 21, 2014 at 5pm
at Artist Television Access

An evening with RACHEL ZOLF featuring a film, reading and polyvocal performance from Janey’s Arcadia. With special guests SIRAMA BAJO, DAVID BUUCK and ERIKA STAITI
doors open at 5/event at 5:30p/
admission $6-10
no one turned away for lack of funds
members free

Rachel Zolf 2
Rachel Zolf’s fifth book of poetry is Janey’s Arcadia (Coach House, 2014), an aversive, conversive reckoning with the ongoing errors of Canadian settler-colonialism. Other publications include Neighbour Procedure (2010) and Human Resources (2007), which won the Trillium Book Award for Poetry and was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. Among her many collaborations with other artists, she wrote the film The Light Club of Vizcaya: A Women’s Picture, directed by New York artist Josiah McElheny, which premiered at Art Basel Miami 2012. She has taught at The New School and the University of Calgary, and now lives and works in Toronto.

Sirama Bajo is a Nicaraguan American poet, translator and performer of Indigenous Chorotega descent.  Her work has appeared in the anthologies, “Young Angel Midnight” (Bootstrap Press) and “Catechism: Poems for Pussy Riot” (English Pen). She lives in Oakland, CA.

Erika Staiti is a writer and video artist living in Oakland.

David Buuck is a writer who lives in Oakland. He edits Tripwire, a poetics journal that is relaunching this fall.

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SEPTEMBER @ SPT

Welcome back to Small Press Traffic! We are excited to kick off the fall with an AMAZING September!

We have many exciting opportunites to engage in experimental literature this month. Including 

  • An evening with Rachel Zolf featuring a film, a reading and a polyvocal performance from Janey’s Arcadia on September 21st
  • Kristin Prevallet’s Embodied Narratives, an Online Workshop which runs 4 Saturdays in September beginning September 6th.
  • New additions to our 40×40@40 collection reviewing small press books from the past 40 years

You’re invited to enjoy all of them! Details below!
_______________________________

IN-PERSON EVENT
SEPTEMBER 21, 2014 at 5pm
at Artist Television Access

An evening with RACHEL ZOLF featuring a film, reading and polyvocal performance from Janey’s Arcadia. With special guests SIRAMA BAJO, DAVID BUUCK and ERIKA STAITI
doors open at 5/event at 5:30p/
admission $6-10
no one turned away for lack of funds
members free

Rachel Zolf 2
Rachel Zolf’s fifth book of poetry is Janey’s Arcadia (Coach House, 2014), an aversive, conversive reckoning with the ongoing errors of Canadian settler-colonialism. Other publications include Neighbour Procedure (2010) and Human Resources (2007), which won the Trillium Book Award for Poetry and was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. Among her many collaborations with other artists, she wrote the film The Light Club of Vizcaya: A Women’s Picture, directed by New York artist Josiah McElheny, which premiered at Art Basel Miami 2012. She has taught at The New School and the University of Calgary, and now lives and works in Toronto.

 

 

KRISTIN PREVALLET’S ONLINE WORKSHOP


TAKE AN ONLINE WORKSHOP WITH KRISTIN PREVALLET!

Sign up NOW! LIMITED SPACE AVAILABLE

KRISTIN PREVALLET
Embodied Narratives
Four writing workshops to explore poetically expansive trance states.

ALL WORKSHOPS CONDUCTED ONLINE
FOUR SATURDAYS in SEPTEMBER 9/6; 9/13; 9/20; 9/27: 11amPST/2pmEST

admission $100-150 sliding scale for four two-hour workshops

ABOUT THE WORKSHOP
The narratives that have been constructed and popularized around Past Life Regression, Time-line Alteration, the Akashic Records, and Chakra clearing have led people into wild dream and trance states where neurochemical and biological healing processes are activated. For writers and artists, following these narrative threads might awaken characters and plots, or unlock elliptical poetic processes useful for the generation of new work; for spiritual/soul seekers, the narratives might unlock larger experiences of expanded consciousness, co-existence, and interconnection. For anyone looking explore the silver cloud of heightened consciousness through writing, this is a class that will stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system and lead you towards the inner knowledge of self-healing. If out of this class you write a few amazing poems or stories, that’s terrific; if you (among other things) learn how to overcome emotional blocks, deal with pain in a new way, and take action to change the catastrophic future, that’s the learning of an embodied poetics that can last a lifetime.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR
Kristin Prevallet is a poet, essayist, teacher, and the founder of the Center for Mindbody Studies with a private hypnosis practice in New York City. She is a certified consulting hypnotist through the National Guild of Hypnotists and an integral health coach certified through the International Association of Counselors and Therapists. The author of five books of poetry, she is also the author of three non-fiction books about poetics and the unconscious mind: Trance Poetics: Your Writing Mind, You, Resourceful: Return To Who You Want To Be and Visualize Comfort: Pain Management and the Unconscious Mind. She is the 2014 Poet’s House Fellows Mentor-in-Residence, an associate of Bard College’s Institute for Writing and thinking, and a Writer-in-Residence at Spalding University. www.mindbodystudies.com/www.trancepoetics.com/www.kayvallet.com

QUESTIONS AND SIGN-UP INSTRUCTIONS
Please email smallpresstraffic@gmail.com

______________
40×40@40
As part of looking back and mapping what the amazing feats of the SPT community have been since 1974, we’re asking 40 writers to contribute one short text each celebrating—describing, anatomizing, remembering an encounter with, meditating on, shouting out to—a single book published by a small press between 1974 and 2014.

We’re interested in having writers reflect on a book that palpably shifted their perspective, startled their aesthetics, changed their life; a book they always recommend to others; a book that they would place in a time capsule. The Forty by Forty at Forty (40×40@40) inaugurates the section of our website called Traffic Report, which is enlivening a space for criticism, critique and conversation.

The 40×40@40 list will, hopefully, sketch a 40-part haphazard history of independent publishing and ardent reading across these four decades.

Look for September’s offerings from Robin Tremblay-McGaw, Arnold Kemp, Lauren Shufran and MORE!

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Kristin Prevallet’s Online Workshop: Embodied Narratives


TAKE AN ONLINE WORKSHOP WITH KRISTIN PREVALLET!

Sign up NOW! LIMITED SPACE AVAILABLE

KRISTIN PREVALLET
Embodied Narratives
Four writing workshops to explore poetically expansive trance states.

ALL WORKSHOPS CONDUCTED ONLINE
FOUR SATURDAYS in SEPTEMBER 9/6; 9/13; 9/20; 9/27: 11amPST/2pmEST

admission $100-150 sliding scale for four two-hour workshops

ABOUT THE WORKSHOP
The narratives that have been constructed and popularized around Past Life Regression, Time-line Alteration, the Akashic Records, and Chakra clearing have led people into wild dream and trance states where neurochemical and biological healing processes are activated. For writers and artists, following these narrative threads might awaken characters and plots, or unlock elliptical poetic processes useful for the generation of new work; for spiritual/soul seekers, the narratives might unlock larger experiences of expanded consciousness, co-existence, and interconnection. For anyone looking explore the silver cloud of heightened consciousness through writing, this is a class that will stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system and lead you towards the inner knowledge of self-healing. If out of this class you write a few amazing poems or stories, that’s terrific; if you (among other things) learn how to overcome emotional blocks, deal with pain in a new way, and take action to change the catastrophic future, that’s the learning of an embodied poetics that can last a lifetime.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR
Kristin Prevallet is a poet, essayist, teacher, and the founder of the Center for Mindbody Studies with a private hypnosis practice in New York City. She is a certified consulting hypnotist through the National Guild of Hypnotists and an integral health coach certified through the International Association of Counselors and Therapists. The author of five books of poetry, she is also the author of three non-fiction books about poetics and the unconscious mind: Trance Poetics: Your Writing Mind, You, Resourceful: Return To Who You Want To Be and Visualize Comfort: Pain Management and the Unconscious Mind. She is the 2014 Poet’s House Fellows Mentor-in-Residence, an associate of Bard College’s Institute for Writing and thinking, and a Writer-in-Residence at Spalding University. www.mindbodystudies.com/www.trancepoetics.com/www.kayvallet.com

QUESTIONS AND SIGN-UP INSTRUCTIONS
Please email smallpresstraffic@gmail.com

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