Monday, February 22, 2010

In Case You Missed It: Thank you Spring, Jen and Erica!

It was an unbelievable night! Thank you so much to Spring Ulmer, Jen Hofer and Erica Hunt!

With introductions by CAConrad:

Empires cycle and pile themselves into the shelves of historical scholarship for a view of our making. We have been filtered, and are ourselves now the new filters of the dreams of the cycle of Empires. H.P.Blavatsky has said the Akashick Records suggest our names have small codes to understanding where our feet might fall. The registries of the clerks and clerics hold no bond on our sentencing in this world, but yet they do have insight into the origins of Empire's tone and hue.

Ulmer is renowned, a strong passage, Ulmer means THE WHOLE SEA. Spring Ulmer, THE WHOLE SEA in the NEW SEASON where new ideas sear through the folded veils of the world.

Hofer is High Middle German, a farmstead, a world where the magic is in the loam, a place where what is fed will feed, and be fed, a rebirthing of the senses. Jen Hofer, where the calligrapher puts ink to bark.

Hunt is hunt. Hunt by day, dream to find the world by night. Erica is the Latin word for heather, an herb whose compounds strengthen the heart and her blood vessels. Erica Hunt, finding strength, exposing the bullshit and intrigue of the world.

Today's poets will speak of Empire, they're here to enrich and embolden our place in Empire, and to catapult our understanding for existing in Empire. Please welcome Spring Ulmer, Jen Hofer, and Erica Hunt.

And a reading report by Ariel Goldberg:

The Buffers of In Living Handwriting with Spring Ulmer, Jen Hofer and Erica Hunt:

The weather system of this reading started with the possibility of interruptions in order to get amplification. I think technical difficulties are exciting. Can you hear me back there? Do you mind not having a microphone? Words plus electricity was hard to find. Other built in parts as well. MC backslash ED Samantha Giles transported us to the acoustic feeling, perhaps this can join the list of Performances inspired by the [MTV] "Unplugged" format (actually a subheading of a Wikipedia post for the said show).

The challenge arrived: how do you get a voice to go outward? In the situations of jetlag, a podium to separate you from the obedient listeners, vocals strained, leaning over book, typed single spaced, the unpublished, and or laptop feeding a projection--this can be tough. Do they have this memorized?

It is important to note, there was quite a turnout for this reading. I do think this is because poetry can be the news or poetry that is drunk on news starts reclaiming a rebuilt empire of woman brains that were both physically present and transmitting outward in all directions of time. The brains were talking to those involved in empires so everyone had a stake in it. There was the evidence of broken systems for the few winners. There were the artists as marginalized figures. There was the Guantanamo torture from different distant views.

ULMER: "I study the photograph taken of you before you were detained"

A confrontation with an inventor of a torture device, not just a chair. Traveling for research. Not turning away. Longing for connection.

“I pretend to read the paper, but really, I’m eavesdropping.”

The reading simulated going through piles of drafts, documents, probably overwritten and maybe for good reason.

Unveiled first was the writing in the book then there was the writing that was just written. We got two essays. Both owing to the one sided epistolary: a loaded stranger and then a former lover.

Do we need to know which is which?

On display, at the admissions table, was Ulmer’s Essay Press The Age of Virtual Reproduction including the cover of that book--Eduardo Kac’s The Telepresence Garment, “designed as an interactive piece to be worn by any local participant willing to allow his or her body to be engaged by others remotely. Walking is impossible, since a knot at the bottom of the Garment forces the wearer to be on all fours and to move sluggishly.” (

HOFER: as known in an online bio as a, “public letter-writer”:
We had time in between for set up and the question, will the plan work? Suspense
We have to turn it on it has to warm up.
At this reading on empire we saw a poet pressing a remote button with arm muscles in superwoman pose.

And then back to the poetry: Intonations that go down every word read from came from her body, syllables were counted internally. I was very interested in the pacing, which always seemed fast, but I deserved it. I was trying to hold on to fast winds.

I heard about "answers that never asked"

And then more detainees. These Palm Press One poems are intermediaries between closing dates. What isn't finished lurks. I think we have a lot of lurking ahead of us in these empires. "Formerly measured in a fracture of news"

A mention of bumper stickers. They speak to me, too.

Ultimately we went to lights off--her goal in life, for the reading--switching to Benshi of On the Beach (1959) whose clips were edited by Konrad Steiner. The narration was timed and dense and fast pace, full of submarine spouts and nuclear threat actualized but fictionalized. Stills from film repeated meanwhile: a newspaper blowing on a desolate street.
There was NO BREAK for schmoozing or bathroom or cookies or wine. This was because of a show of hands voted to keep going with the reading.

HUNT: As quoted for saying, “I like poetry that disturbs the surface…avoids neat closure” (Close Listening show:

We were guided by the wise: "My conversation on Empire will take two forms: dread and possibility."

There are moments where I feel I am at a religious service but I am at a poetry reading.

Engine this: "typewriter keys that change the subject when no one is looking"

Logic down. "proof that we learn to live with the unthinkable"

Then there was an adaptation from a talk on Feminism and Poetics with a physical refrain of a blindfolded and then blind mother boxing, performed by Hunt with pauses in the text for fists swarming in the orbit of how far they could reach. This was fantastic. It was only in the air, meaning harmless, representative fists that were decidedly nonviolent. The mother was in conversation with a daughter who was thinking the boxing is silly with responses always questioning effectiveness to varying degrees of trust all located in tone of voice. There was more than one generation of mothers.

"She takes a picture of what she loves" and the “she takes a picture” began as a refrain that I couldn’t copy down fully. It switched at one point to: "I take pictures of the gap where there is no closure."

I left this low-tek-voice-from-the-body-reading thinking about words spoken as the most cost effective and inevitable imagination facilitator tool in the empires.

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