Schedule of Events | Participant Bios

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Multilingual Poetics, Feminist Implications

Rachel Levitsky has asked me to post a brief note on our panel, Multilingual Poetics, Feminist Implications, which featured Julia Bloch, Angela Carr, Zhang Er (capably represented by Leonard Schwartz, wearing Nathalie Stephens's name tag), Janet Neigh, and me. These presenters, some of whom I was delighted to meet for the first time, brought together literary-critical, pedagogical, and poetic practice-oriented perspectives on literature that uses more than one language. Our presentations were, not at all surprisingly, followed by a challenging, insightful, and very stimulating discussion.

When we proposed this panel, we wanted to think about multilingualism from a variety of perspectives in order to make concrete a term whose meaning seems obvious, but whose use can sometimes be vague (is it the same thing as bilingualism? multiculturalism?). Some of the key questions we wanted to discuss included:

-What is the meaning of multilingualism in and for our practice as poets?

-What is/are the relationship/s between multilingualism and translation?

-How does multilingualism compare or relate to polyvocality or other multi-voiced textual practices?

-In what ways do the non-English parts of a multilingual text mean, especially for those who cannot read the languages in which they are written?

-How can a multilingual text best be taught? What does a pedagogy that centers multilingual work look like?

-What is the relationship between multilingualism and feminism?

These questions were discussed with reference to a broad range of texts including Anne Tardos's Uxudo (me), M. NourbeSe Philip's She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Breaks (Julia), Erin Moure and Oana Avasilichioaei's Expeditions of a Chimaera (Angela), Chinese songs and poetry by women from a variety of historical periods (Zhang Er), and Louise Bennett (Janet).

While all of these questions received some treatment in the panel, a new list of questions began to emerge for me as I listened to my fellow panelists speak. Listening to Julia's paper on NourbeSe Philip, I began to think about contemporary multilingualism in relation to historical instances of multilingualism: when Philip revisits Ezra Pound's famous dicta "make it new," how is she remaking a multilingual poetics? How does contemporary multilingual work differ from its historical precedents in high modernism and elsewhere? To what extent is it accurate to see contemporary multilingual works as the inheritors of Pound's or Eliot's (or even Loy's) multilingualisms?

I also wondered about what meanings are signaled by the simple fact of linguistic mixture. As Angela outlined the politics of selecting a language in which to write in a complex linguistic environment such as Montreal's, and explained that to group readers according to language is also to group them according to ideology, I wondered how certain linguistic combinations can also carry specific ideological or affective content. That is, before we even read the work, its linguistic combination already has a certain suggestive power, already makes us feel a certain way. What kinds of linguistic combinations can we - ought we - deploy in our poetic works?

Janet's paper, which opened with an anecdote about multilingualism and xenophobia at Geno's Cheesesteaks in South Philadelphia's Italian Market, raised similar questions for me. Like Angela, Janet emphasized that languages meet in specific times and places, in response to specific forces of history, colonialism, immigration, and economics, and she explained that in order to be pedagogically responsible - and pedagogically effective - we must develop activities that situate our students' linguistic knowledge. Janet shared a list of classroom activities designed to help students think about the social privilege that comes with knowing English, and the ways in which language does and does not map onto other social structures like class and race. These exercises seemed especially useful in bringing the work of our panel forward.

Zhang Er's paper engaged an alternative tradition in Chinese poetry, and the debate about whether these female-voiced poems had really been written by women, or whether they had been written by male poets taking on female voices (she argued that they had been written by women). I, on the other hand, wrote about a formal effect of Anne Tardos's work, where the reader is led through transliterations of different languages, learning how to pronounce French words (sidérant) through their simplification into English words (see-day-rant). Our two papers were brought together in a question from the audience, which I have been mulling over ever since: Divya Victor asked our panel as a whole to reflect on the politics of what she called "ventriloquy." Was there a way in which we might think of multilingual poetics as an empowering ventriloquy? Instead of a powerless puppet being manipulated by an insidious puppeteer, might we find an enforced performance of listening instead of an enforced performance of speech? What possibilities could be discovered there? What kind of feminism would this be?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


I've created a list for AdFemPo blog posts HERE.
And here's my response...

If other posts exist, please send them!


Friday, October 2, 2009

A note on how Adfempo was organized/conceptualized.

from Rachel Levitsky

A note on how Adfempo was organized/conceptualized.

The conference was organized by Emily Beall, Kate Eichhorn, Laura Elrick, Tonya Foster, Laura Jaramillo, erica kaufman, Rachel Levitsky, Anna Moschovakis, Akilah Oliver, Jen Scappattone -- as the Belladonna Adfempo Collective, and Ana Bozicevic and Aiobheann Sweeney and Michael Washburn at the Center for Humanities, and Ann Humphries and Leah Souffrant at Center for the Study of Women and Society, and The Poetics Group and English PhD.

Here is a bit of chronology about the process, which seems important, coming out of the plenary. Did I not say more there because I was tired or because I want to hear, be in a conversation with. It seems most of the things folks wanted to say, they said as questions. I am paraphrasing or getting these wrong, or nearby their original intent: "What is Feminism for you?" or "Do you consider yourself Feminist poets? Why are we not talking about what that is?" "What is found in the waste?" "Is it perhaps useful to think of feminism as a wasted term?" It seems venturing out always feels like venturing out alone.

Evelyn Reilly came up and said the politics are in the way we are interacting here and I said that is intentional.

Point in fact. The project is an architectural experiment, an attempt at rearranging space, the shape between the bodies. If there is one disappointment I have it is that the sessions, which I hesitated to call panels, were in fact panels.

I imagined we could infinitely re-vision the format. Can we. I digress.

A little history to the happening. erica kaufman and I thought we should do a conference, something that could reflect the project in a concentrated kind of way, for the 10 year anniversary, and erica went and made it happen, talking to Leah Souffrant, Ann Humphries and Aoibheann Sweeney at the Graduate Center. A CFP written, a call gone out, and then receiving about 85 proposals, mixture of individuals and panels, of films, collaborations (some never getting to us, like one from Martha Ronk, who was to set out to create a combination of prose poems and photograms with Farrah Karapetian--I think we would have liked the proposal a lot, but I have not yet gotten to who this we was and how we came to be).

As the proposals came in I became very nervous about the thing, not only because it seemed large but also because the format seemed to me awfully pat, promising career development and boredom but little invention, critique, play. Not because the proposals themselves were flawed but, again, the format. When conceiving the CFP I'd imagined Esther Cohen and Bread and Roses, sharing how to do what she does making image making available to working people, and Anne Waldman and Pat Stiers talking about their work together, and a writing the body workshop with Akilah Oliver, a prose conversation with Renee Gladman and Gail Scott and Tisa Bryant. All these in my imagination had a discovery about them, an energy of emergence.

Now I must say that Emma Bee Bernstein's death affected everything. We were making a book with her and so dove into the despair of her passing. Charles' elegy and Susan's rememberance in Elders Series #4 and also her brother Felix's beautiful piece on Charles' blog... all point to the impossibility of hammering down a meaning there, in her death, and yet it did make all of us turn around. Among other ways that it shook me it woke me into knowing that erica and I could not do this conference on our own, it would be bad for us and maybe impossible too. And so we brainstormed the collective and almost everyone we asked said yes to it and so the collective was strong and it was big enough and almost diverse enough intellectually if not demographically, though our one non-poet I think felt disrespected and left, and I was sorry that was the atmosphere and sorry she left but not sorry for our suspicion in general. Left after the first meeting were those who stayed and they are: Jennifer Scappattone, Tonya Foster, Akilah Oliver, Laura Jaramillo, Laura Elrick, Emily Beall, Kate Eichhorn, Anna Moschovakis, Emily Beall and erica kaufman and I. Politically we are all rather left, some of us more queer than others of us, and some of us married and one of us a mother but in general as a group of women, having less than the mean by way of indicators of hetero-normativity and I think this says something about where we position ourselves politically too. Politically we would probably all say we were anti-racist and anti-classist but we let things become too white, too easy and tried to revise after not doing a great job of listening to the comments amongst us that things were going colonial that way. We wondered for a while about how to have a meaningful class panel when in the poetry world there is so much denial and shame about the issue. So there were some good and funny and sometimes harsh or painful exchanges and we all kept coming back.

We all read all the panels and were daunted by how to keep all the ones we liked and fit them into one day. We came up with 8 minute monographs so that not everything had to fit perfectly neatly into a title. In the interest of inclusion and mixing things up and making things more diverse, we asked people/chairs who proposed panel-ready panels to let other people onto their panels and some said yes to us and some said no to us. And we each picked a panel to shepard and some other people like Sarah Dowling and Jane Sprague and Steve Zultanski and Jen Hofer and Tamiko Beyer and Vanessa Place and Kass Fleisher agreed to be shepards to their panels and Sally Silvers said yes to perform and so did Carla Harryman and Lila Zemborain and the IDR and we were able to afford a great final performance and Laura Elrick and erica kaufman organized that. We imagined a ‘fifth’ space where less talking would happen and Angela Joosse agreed to curate a film program. And the Center for Humanities let us do all this complicated visioning and also materially made the thing real and made postcards and arranged all the access to space, along with the Center for the Study of Women and Society, Ph. D. Program in English, and Poetics Group. And there is much more to this story but tonight I will end so that words go into the world and I am responsible for them.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Adfempo report part 1

I've posted the first section of my conference impressions here.

Kudos to the organizers!


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Volunteers to Register and Sell Books

Hello all! Here is a call for volunteers interested in registering folks and selling BELLADONNA BOOKS on Thursday and Friday before the conference. If you are interested contact me, ELizabeth CRawford, at elizabeth.crawforda@gmail.com Looking forward to it


On Sunday, September 27th, Caroline Bergvall, Stacy Szymaszek and Evelyn Reilly will read at the Zinc Bar at 82 West 3rd Street.
ABCDEFV to West 4th

Friday, September 18, 2009

Holbrook, Queyras, Minkus and Turner at the Bowery Poetry Club on Sept.26

Susan Holbrook will read from her new collection, Joy is So Exhausting (Coach House Books, 2009), with three other visiting poets--Sina Queyras, Kim Minkus and Jacqueline Turner. The reading and book party will take place at the Bowery Poetry Club on September 26 (4:00 to 5:40).


Susan Holbrook is a poet and fiction writer whose first book, misled, was shortlisted for the Pat Lowther Memorial Award and the Stephen J. Stephensson Award. Her chapbook Good Egg Bad Seed was published by Nomados in 2004. She teaches North American literatures and creative writing at the University of Windsor. She recently co-edited The Letters of Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thomson: Composition as Conversation (forthcoming from Oxford University Press, 2009).

Sina Queyras is the author of Slip, Teethmarks, Lemon Hound, which won the Lambda and the Pat Lowther awards for poetry, and Expressway (Coach House Books, 2009). She is also the editor of Open Field: 30 Contemporary Canadian Poets. She currently lives in Montreal and keeps a blog, Lemon Hound.

Kim Minkus has two books of poetry: 9 Freight (LINEbooks 2007) and Thresh (Snare Books 2009). She has had reviews and poetry published in FRONT Magazine, Interim, West Coast Line, The Poetic Front, LOCUSPOINT, ottawater, Memewar and Jacket. Kim is currently completing her dissertation at Simon Fraser University

Jacqueline Turner is the author of Into the Fold and Seven Into Even. She lives in Vancouver, B.C. Her work has appeared in absinthe, West Coast Line, Rampike, qwerty, Tessera, and Fireweed. She has also published a number of chapbooks. In 2005, Turner was Queensland’s inaugural poet-in-residence at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts in Brisbane, Australia.

Agent 409 Reading & Zine Release

The writers of Agent 409 celebrate the release of their fourth collection with a reading at Bluestockings. Come for a vibrant evening of readings!

Agent 409 is a smart, irreverent, multi-racial, queer writing group that's poly-genre (poetry, fiction, playwrighting, etc.) and sex positive, committed to words, social justice. We have given readings and workshops around the east coast. We are anti-everything that is oppressive and wrong in this world and pro-everything that is liberating and good.

Agent 409 is cory schmanke parrish, Danielle Morgan Feris, Yasmine Chahkar Farhang, Judy Yu, Ronica Sanyal, and Tamiko Beyer. (Danielle and Judy will be reading.)

Sunday, September 27
6:00pm - 7:30pm
Bluestockings booksore
172 Allen St. at Stanton, near the F/V at 2nd Ave or J/M/Z/F/V at Delancey/

**We know that some members of our community won't be able to make the reading because it's a holiday. Our thoughts will be with our friends who are taking time for self-reflection and atonement.**

public letter-writing in union square, sept 23


I'm very excited to participate in ADFEMPO on Friday, Sept 25, presenting images, audio and some thoughts about my escritorio público, where I write letters in Spanish or English for people on the street. I'll be setting up the escritorio for the first time ever in New York City, on September 23, from noon until 7 p.m. in Union Square. I would be delighted to see you there, and to write a letter for you!

The "official" announcement (from the Reanimation Library, generous sponsor of this public intervention) is below.

Looking forward,



The Reanimation Library is excited to sponsor Jen Hofer's public writing project, Escritorio público, which she will bring to Union Square next Wednesday, September 23rd.

Jen Hofer's Escritorio público is a public letter-writing desk most often set up on sidewalks in public space, though sometimes invited into museums, galleries and other cultural spaces. Jen types letters in either Spanish or English for passers-by, charging $2 for a letter, $3 for a love letter and $5 for an illicit love letter. Please stop by to say hello or draft a missive!

Jen Hofer is a poet, translator, interpreter, teacher, knitter, public letter-writer, and urban cyclist. Her recent and forthcoming poem sequences and translations are available through a range of autonomous small presses including: Atelos, Counterpath Press, Dusie Books, Kenning Editions, Palm Press, and Ponzipo. She also makes small books by hand at her kitchen table in Cypress Park, Los Angeles.

Wednesday, September 23
12:00 p.m - 7:00 p.m.
Union Square
Precise location in the park will be tweeted @reanimationlib, once it has been discovered.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sunday Reading Brooklyn: Tysh/Scappattone/Heuving

Sunday September 27, 1pm

In town from Seattle, Chicago, Detroit, the poets Jeanne Heuving, Jennifer Scappettone, Chris Tysh will read @ Unnameable Books, 600 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn, NY.

Jeanne Heuving's cross genre Incapacity (Chiasmus Press) won a 2004 Book of the Year Award from Small Press Traffic, and her book of experimental poetry Transducer (Chax Press) is just out. She has published multiple critical pieces on avant garde and innovative writers, including the book Omissions Are Not Accidents: Gender in the Art of Marianne Moore and is currently finishing work on a book-length manuscript, The Transmutation of Love in Twentieth Century Poetry.

Jennifer Scappettone is the author of From Dame Quickly (Litmus Press in 2008), and of severalchapbooks: Ode oggettuale, a bilingual poemetto translated into Italian with Marco Giovenale (La Camera Verde, 2008);Err-Residence (Bronze Skull, 2007); and Beauty [Is the New Absurdity] (dusi/e kollectiv, 2008). She is at work on a manuscript called Exit 43, an archaeology of the landfill and opera of pop-ups, for Atelos.

Chris Tysh was born and raised in Paris, and studied American literature at the Sorbonne. She was naturalized as a citizen of the United States on July 4th, 1998. She teaches writing and women’s studies at Wayne State University in Detroit. Her books include Secrets of Elegance, Porne, Coat of Arms, In the Name and Continuity Girl. Car men, a play in d premiered at The Detroit Institute of Arts in 1996, under the direction of Carla Harryman. She is a 2003 National Endowment for the Arts fellow.

To get to Unnameable:
Take the B/Q train to the 7th Ave stop. From Flatbush Ave, walk east on Park Place one block to Vanderbilt Ave. Turn left (north) on Vanderbilt, and walk one and a half blocks to Unnameable.
Take the 2/3 train to Grand Army Plaza. Walk north (away from the park) three blocks on Vanderbilt Ave to Unnameable.


Organisateur :
Les Figues Press
Type :
Réseau :
Prix :
Date :
samedi 26 septembre 2009
Heure :
19:30 - 22:00
Lieu :
Unnameable Boox
Adresse :
600 Vanderbilt Ave.
Ville :
Brooklyn, NY
Adresse électronique :




Numbers? We don't need no stinking numbers.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Poetry Project/Coach House Release: Prismatic Publics

Wednesday (September 23), The Poetry Project kicks off its fall season with some innovative poets from north of the border.

The Project is helping Coach House Books launch its new anthology of experimental Canadian female poets, Prismatic Publics. The event will feature readings from Nicole Brossard, Margaret Christakos and Catriona Strang, as well as an introduction from anthology co-editor Kate Eichhorn. Several other writers featured in the anthology may also be in attendance, as the launch will serve as a perfect unofficial pre-party for the Advancing Feminist Poetics & Activism conference (at the CUNY Graduate Center).

September 23 – Poetry Project launches anthology of Canadian women writers
Trailblazing poets from across the country kick off the reading series’ new season

Featuring readings by

Nicole Brossard (Museum of Bone and Water, The Aerial Letter,Mauve Desert)
Margaret Christakos (Excessive Love Prostheses, Sooner, What Stirs)
Catriona Strang (Busted, Cold Trip, Light Sweet Crude)

Prismatic Publics anthology launch at the Poetry Project
Wednesday, September 23, 8:00 pm
131 E. 10th Street
New York, NY


About Prismatic Publics:

Nicole Brossard, Margaret Christakos, Susan Holbrook, Dorothy Lusk, Karen Mac Cormack, Daphne Marlatt, Erín Moure, M. NourbeSe Philip, Sina Queyras, Lisa Robertson, Gail Scott, Nathalie Stephens, Catriona Strang, Rita Wong, Rachel Zolf.

Prismatic Publics stages intimate encounters with these key figures as they work in and against Language, conceptual, post-conceptual, documentary and investigative poetry traditions – often across, between and at the interstices of genres.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Announcement: The Gathering is Free for All

The Advancing Feminist Poetics and Activism Gathering is Free.
Registration will be requested.

Via the labor, service, space and financial support of The Center for the Humanities, Center for the Study of Women and Society, Ph. D. Program in English, and Poetics Group (all at CUNY Graduate Center), as well as all the volunteer labor of organizing by the Belladonna Adfempo Collective* we are making this an admission free conference.

But Belladonna Series does need financial support! We encourage you to donate by clicking on support from the home page, or by sending a check or by buying our books.

*Members of this Collective include: Rachel Levitsky, Erica Kaufman, Laura Elrick, Tonya Foster, Laura Jaramillo, Akilah Oliver, Jen Scappettone, Kate Eichhorn, Emily Beall, and Anna Moschovakis. Other members of the General Belladonna Collective include HR Hegnauer (www.hrhegnauer.com) whose fantastic design can be seen at our website and on our books and Adah Gorton, Meghan Johnson, Elizabeth Crawford, Katy Jones, Austin Publicover, (ETC) all of whose labor with the project makes the project.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Three Affordable Downtown Hotels: Add Suggestions Please!

*The Off Soho Suites, Rivington and Chrystie, 800-633-7646 (well designed efficiencies, good for 3)
*The Larchmont Hotel, 11th Street and 6th Ave, (212) 989-9333 (small but pretty and clean)
*The Cosmopolitan, W. B'way and Chambers, (212) 566-1900 (good rates for 2, clean)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Belladonna* Announces: Advancing Feminist Poetics and Activism: A Gathering

CUNY Graduate Center, September 24-25, 2009

In celebration of its tenth year, Belladonna* joins The CUNY Graduate Center's Women's Studies Certificate Program, Center for Research on Women and Society, Center for Humanities, English Department, and Poetics Group to present a conference aimed at advancing and broadcasting the life of Feminist Avant-Garde Poetics and Activism today.

The goals for this conference are:

• To support the study of the feminist avant-garde
• To encourage collaboration between radical feminist artists, thinkers, and activists
• To provide a space to think about relevant activism

We at Belladonna* are particularly interested in what's immediate, present, and happening now. We would like this to encourage conversations and new designs for work between genres, into activist communities, and among academic and non-academic discourse. We are looking for evolving modes of knowing, acting, and resisting.

Much more information and a schedule of events is forthcoming.