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Locating the Avant-Garde in Philadelphia

Please join us for Locating the Avant-Garde, a one-day symposium, on Friday, October 23, 2015.

The conference will focus on avant-garde activity in Philadelphia, past and future, and will also be an occasion for scholars, researchers, and artists in the Philadelphia area to share current projects.

If you are interested in attending, please RSVP by filling out the form below. / More

Kampf der Ären

In The New Yorker we find Alec Wilkinson saying “Kenneth Goldsmith’s poetry elevates copying to an art—but did he go too far?” while in The New Republic Cathy Park Hong takes issue not only with Goldsmith but with Wilkinson’s representation of the controversy surrounding Goldsmith’s reading, as a poem, of a modified autopsy of the slain Michael Brown.

For the record, I’m inclined to sympathize with Cathy Park Hong’s largest point—that the American poetry world, including the avant-garde, is no more immune to institutionalized racism, subtle or otherwise, than any other part of American society. I think she’s right, too, about how Wilkinson’s essay, despite gestures toward objectivity (such as including parts of an interview with her) presents Goldsmith in a far more sympathetic light than it does his critics. And while I have no x-ray vision to see into Goldsmith’s soul, I suspect she’s on to something when she says that Goldsmith’s reading of the Brown autopsy had something to do with a desire to keep such spotlights as shine on poetry pointed at him. Some time ago, long before the Michael Brown controversy, I wrote about the desire for fame being likely to bring unhappiness to Goldsmith, and that unhappiness seems to have come to pass, at least for the moment.

But I’m not writing to weigh in on the controversy about race and Conceptualism. I’m writing to point out something that most people interested in the controversy will think of as a very minor point indeed: a point of apparent agreement between Cathy Park Hong and Kenneth Goldsmith.  They seem to agree, in a broad way, about the dynamics of literary history. That is: each is willing to present claims about the end of one era and the beginning of another—a view that implies a clear progression in literary history.

Here, for example, is a passage from Kenneth Goldsmith’s essay “Flarf is Dionysus, Conceptual Writing is Apollo”:

Disjunction is dead. The fragment, which ruled poetry for the past one hundred years, has left the building. Subjectivity, emotion, the body, and desire, as expressed in whole units of plain English with normative syntax, has returned. But not in ways you would imagine. This new poetry wears its sincerity on its sleeve . . . yet no one means a word of it. Come to think of it, no one’s really written a word of it. It’s been grabbed, cut, pasted, processed, machined, honed, flattened, repurposed, regurgitated, and reframed from the great mass of free-floating language out there just begging to be turned into poetry.

He’s declaring the death of the Language movement and Elliptical poetry, and the birth of a new, Conceptual era. Co-existence and overlap? Forget about it. Your game is over, Charles Bernstein. Step aside, C.D. Wright.  It’s all about Kenneth Goldsmith and Vanessa Place now—or so we are meant to believe.

And here’s the ending of Cathy Park Hong’s essay in The New Republic:

The era of Conceptual Poetry’s ahistorical nihilism is over and we have entered a new era, the poetry of social engagement.

/ Samizdatblog


The ten contenders for the National Book Award for Poetry

New York, NY (September 15, 2015) – The National Book Foundation announces the Longlist for the 2015 National Book Award for Poetry. Finalists will be revealed on October 14.

Well-known contemporary poets and one emerging poet with a debut collection make up this year’s Longlist. Included among them are two former National Book Award Winners, a former National Book Award Finalist, a Whiting Writers’ Award winner, a National Book Critics Circle Award winner, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist, and two Cave Canem Fellows. The ten poets, five men and five women, reside in six different states and one foreign country.

2015 Longlist for Poetry:

  • Ross Gay, Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude
  • Pitt Poetry Series/University of Pittsburgh Press
  • Amy Gerstler, Scattered at Sea Penguin Books/Penguin Random House
  • Marilyn Hacker, A Stranger’s Mirror: New and Selected Poems, 1994-2014 W. W. Norton & Company
  • Terrance Hayes, How to Be Drawn Penguin Books/Penguin Random House
  • Jane Hirshfield, The Beauty Alfred A. Knopf
  • Robin Coste Lewis, Voyage of the Sable Venus Alfred A. Knopf
  • Ada Limón, Bright Dead Things Milkweed Editions
  • Patrick Phillips, Elegy for a Broken Machine Alfred A. Knopf
  • Rowan Ricardo Phillips, Heaven Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Lawrence Raab, Mistaking Each Other for Ghosts Tupelo Press


Author biographies:

Ross Gay is the author of two previous poetry collections, Against Which and Bringing the Shovel Down. His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Orion, the Sun, and elsewhere. His honors include a Cave Canem Workshop fellowship and a Bread Loaf Writers Conference Tuition Scholar. He is an associate professor of poetry at Indiana University and teaches in Drew University’s low-residency MFA program in poetry.

Amy Gerstler is a writer of poetry, nonfiction, and journalism. Her previous poetry collections include Bitter Angel, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Dearest Creature, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. A Judge for the 2011 National Book Awards in Poetry, her work has appeared in a variety of magazines and anthologies, including The New Yorker, The Paris Review, the American Poetry Review, several volumes of The Best American Poetry, and Postmodern American Poetry: A Norton Anthology. She currently teaches in the MFA Writing Program at the University of California, Irvine. She lives in Los Angeles.

Marilyn Hacker won the 1975 National Book Award for Poetry for her debut collection, Presentation Piece. Her other honors include the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation, the Robert Fagles Translation Prize, and the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry. Her collection Winter Numbers received a Lambda Literary Award and the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize of the Academy of American Poets. In 2008, she was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. She lives in Paris, France.

Terrance Hayes is the author of Lighthead, winner of the 2010 National Book Award and finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; Wind in a Box; Hip Logic; and Muscular Music, winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. His honors include a Whiting Writers Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a United States Artists Zell Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a MacArthur Fellowship. Hayes was guest editor of The Best American Poetry 2014. He teaches at the University of Pittsburgh.

Jane Hirshfield is the author of eight books of poetry, including The Beauty; Come, Thief; After; and Given Sugar, Given Salt. A Judge for the 2003 National Book for Poetry, she has edited and co-translated four books and is the author of two major collections of essays, Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry and Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World. Her books have been finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award and England’s T. S. Eliot Prize; and named best books of the year by the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle,, and the Financial Times; and have won the California Book Award, the Poetry Center Book Award, and the Donald Hall– Jane Kenyon Prize in American Poetry. Hirshfield has received fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Academy of American Poets. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Times Literary Supplement, the Washington Post, the New York Times, Poetry, the Pushcart Prize anthology, seven editions of The Best American Poetry, and many other magazines, journals, and anthologies. She is a current chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, and lives in Northern California.

Robin Coste Lewis is a Provost’s Fellow in Poetry and Visual Studies at the University of Southern California. She is also a Cave Canem fellow and a fellow of the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities. A finalist for the Rita Dove Poetry Award, she has published her work in various journals and anthologies, including The Massachusetts Review, Callaloo, The Harvard Gay & Lesbian Review, Transition: Women in Literary Arts, VIDA, Phantom Limb, and Lambda Literary Review, among others. She has been awarded residencies and fellowships by the Caldera Foundation, the Ragdale Foundation, the Headlands Center for the Arts, the Can Serrat International Art Centre in Barcelona, and the Summer Literary Seminars in Kenya. Voyage of the Sable Venus is her first collection of poetry.

Ada Limón is the author of three previous collections of poetry: lucky wreck, This Big Fake World, and Sharks in the Rivers. Her poems have appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, and American Poetry Review, among other publications. She has contributed essays and articles to a variety of publications, such as Oxford American, Guernica, Poetry, and American Poetry Society. She has received fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, the Kentucky Foundation for Women, and was a Judge for the 2013 National Book Award in Poetry. She serves on the faculty of Queens University of Charlotte Low Residency MFA program (Latin American & Charlotte) and the 24PearlStreet Online Program for the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. She lives in Lexington, Kentucky.

Patrick Phillips is the author of two earlier collections of poetry, Boy and Chattahoochee, which won the 2005 Kate Tufts Discovery Award; and translator of When We Leave Each Other: Selected Poems of Henrik Nordbrandt, which received the 2008 Translation Prize of the American-Scandinavian Foundation. His honors include both Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, the Lyric Poeward from the Poetry Society of America, and a Discovery/The Nation Prize from the 92nd Street Y. His work has appeared in many magazines, including Poetry, Ploughshares, and The Nation. He teaches at Drew University and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Rowan Ricardo Phillips is the author of The Ground: Poems and When Blackness Rhymes with Blackness, and he translated Salvador Espriu’s story collection Ariadne in the Grotesque Labyrinth. A Judge for the 2014 National Book Award in Poetry, he has won several awards including a Whiting Writers’ Award, the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award, and the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award for Poetry, and received a 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship. His work has appeared in The New Yorker and The Paris Review, and has been featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered”. He lives in New York City.

Lawrence Raab is the author of seven previous collections of poems, including What We Don’t Know About Each Other, which was a finalist for the 1993 National Book Award. He received the Bess Hokin Prize from Poetry magazine and grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Council on the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation, as well as numerous residences at Yaddo and MacDowell. He teaches literature and writing at Williams College.

Publishers submitted a total of 221 books for the 2015 National Book Award for Poetry. Five distinguished Judges were given the charge of selecting what they deem to be the best books of the year. Their decisions are made independently of the National Book Foundation staff and Board of Directors; deliberations are strictly confidential. To be eligible for a 2015 National Book Award, a book must have been written by a US citizen and published in the United States between December 1, 2014 and November 30, 2015.

2015 Judges for Poetry:

Sherman Alexie is a poet, writer, and filmmaker. He has published 24 books, including The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven and the 2009 collection of short stories and poems War Dances, which won the 2010 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. His first young adult novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, won the 2007 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. His screenplay, Smoke Signals, won the Audience Award and Filmmaker Trophy at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival.

Willie Perdomo is the author of The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry; Smoking Lovely, winner of the PEN Beyond Margins Award; and Where a Nickel Costs a Dime, a finalist for the Poetry Society of America Norma Farber First Book Award. He is currently a member of the VONA/Voices faculty and is an instructor in English at Phillips Exeter Academy. He is also a former instructor for BookUp, the National Book Foundation’s program for middle school students.

Katha Pollitt writes the award-winning column “Subject to Debate” for The Nation magazine. She is the author of two books of poetry, including Antarctic Traveller, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1982, and The Mind-Body Problem. She is also the author of the nonfiction
works Reasonable Creatures: Essays on Women and Feminism; Learning to Drive: And Other Life Stories; Virginity or Death!: And Other Social and Political Issues of Our Time; and Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights.

Tim Seibles is the author of five collections of poetry, including Fast Animal, which won the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize and was a 2012 National Book Award Poetry Finalist. His honors include an Open Voice Award and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. He teaches at Old Dominion University, and has taught at the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA program and at Cave Canem.

The National Book Award Finalists will be announced on October 14, and the Winners at the invitation- only National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner on November 18 in New York City.


The National Book Foundation‘s mission is to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of good writing in America. In addition to the National Book Awards, for which it is best known, the Foundation’s programs include 5 Under 35, a celebration of emerging fiction writers selected by former National Book Award Finalists and Winners; the National Book Awards Teen Press Conference, an opportunity for New York City students to interview the current National Book Award Finalists in Young People’s Literature; NBA on Campus, a partnership that brings National Book Award authors to colleges across the country; the Innovations in Reading Prize, awarded to individuals and institutions that have developed innovative means of creating and sustaining a lifelong love of reading; and BookUp, a writer-led, after-school reading program for middle-school students.

The National Book Award is one of the nation’s most prestigious literary prizes and has a stellar record of identifying and rewarding quality writing. In 1950, William Carlos Williams was the first Winner in Poetry, the following year William Faulkner was honored in Fiction, and so on through the years. Many previous Winners of a National Book Award are now firmly established in the canon of American literature, such as Sherman Alexie, Louise Erdrich, Jonathan Franzen, Denis Johnson, James McBride, Joyce Carol Oates, and Adrienne Rich.

Claudia Rankine wins Forward prize for best collection

A book described by one critic as eavesdropping “on America and a racism that has never gone away” has won the top award at the 2015 Forward prizes for poetry.

Claudia Rankine has already won the National Book Critics Circle award in the US for Citizen: An American Lyric. On Monday night at a ceremony in London she was named winner of the Forward prize for best collection.


Rankine, who was born in Jamaica and now lives in California, teaching at the University of Southern California, wins £10,000.

Two other winners at the awards, now in their 24th year, were Mona Arshi, who won the £5,000 Felix Dennis prize for best first collection, and Clare Harman, who won the £1,000 prize for best single poem.

/ The Guardian

The Forward Prize for Best Collection (£10,000)

The Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection (£5,000)

  • Mona ArshiSmall Hands, (Liverpool University Press)

The Forward Prize for Best Single Poem (£1,000)

The winner of the 2015 Forward Prize for the Best Poetry Collection is Jamaica-born Claudia Rankine for Citizen: An American Lyric, described by the jury as a “powerful book for our time”. AL Kennedy, chair of the five-strong jury, said: “This is writing we can recommend with real urgency and joy. It’s a stylistically daring poetic project about the dehumanization of those deemed outsiders – we found it exhilarating and genuinely transformative.”

Citizen is a brave book, with many dimensions: it takes risks, gives courage and provokes profound self-questioning. We read it as a celebration of the power of language, not simply as a call to arms but a call to speak out and to share. Several of us have, individually, pressed this book on others with real fervour. It will, we know, raise questions about the nature, purpose and importance of poetry.

Citizen: An American Lyric (Penguin Books) is published as poetry and has also been described as a “lyric essay”, a creative non-fiction genre combining the essay form with poetic technique, using juxtaposition instead of argument or narrative. The book features extracts from documentary film scripts, an essay on Venus Williams, screen grabs of Zinedine Zidane’s 2006 World Cup head-butt, President Obama’s oath of office, JMW Turner’s painting The Slave Ship and witness testimony to acts of everyday racism.

/ Forward Arts Foundation


Dann gleich an meine Neuübertragung von Pound-Properzens Prayer für his Lady‘s Life. Je länger ich mir Eva Hesses Übersetzung ansah, desto ärgerlicher wurde ich. Kann aber gar nicht sagen, weshalb mir ausgerechnet dieser Text so ans Herz ging, unmittelbar, ich las ihn bestimmt zehnmal und sprach ihn flüsternd vor mich hin, als ich von Fiumicino zurück nach Berlin flog. Und immer weher tat mir Hesses hier ausgesprochen stakendes Deutsch.  / Alban Nicolai Herbst, Die Dschungel. Anderswelt

Ezra Pound in L&Poe

Federer and O’Hara

In a piece in this Sunday’s New York Times, Gerald Marzorati examined the “mob-loud and unruly” support Roger Federer enjoyed at the recent U.S. Open.  To try to explain why the tennis star has such a passionate, devoted following among New Yorkers, Marzorati made a surprising comparison — Federer actually embodies the spirit of Frank O’Hara’s poetry:

Federer has been loved by New Yorkers for years, of course. Just ask Andy Roddick, who heard the cheers for Roger when, as America’s best tennis player, he faced him (and lost to him) in the Open final of 2006. Federer was urbane, and has grown only more so. During his stay in New York for the two weeks of this year’s Open, he ventured from his suite at the Carlyle to attend a performance of “Hamilton,” view “China: Through the Looking Glass” at the Met and eat sushi at Kappo Masa. His tennis self, too, has always been debonair and, just as crucial (and sophisticated), open to reinvention. With a racket in his right hand, Fed is the on-court embodiment of that free-verse epigram from Frank O’Hara, the ur-New York School poet of contemporary cultivation, etched for eternity on his East Hampton gravestone: “Grace/to be born and live as variously as possible.”

/ Locus Solus: The New York School of Poets


C. K. Williams, whose morally impassioned poems addressing war, poverty and climate change, as well as the imponderable mysteries of the psyche, won him a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award, died on Sunday at his home in Hopewell. N.J. He was 78. (…)

“For a long time I had been writing poetry that leaves everything out,” he told The New York Times in 2000. “It’s like a code. You say very little and send it out to people who know how to decode it. But I then realized that by writing longer lines and longer poems I could actually write the way I thought and the way I felt. I wanted to enter areas given over to prose writers, I wanted to talk about things the way a journalist can talk about things, but in poetry, not prose.”

Mr. Williams, in this new phase, tackled themes of social injustice, the complexities of lust and love, and the intricate workings of the mind as it perceives and processes — “how we take the world to us, and make it more, more than we are, more even than itself,” as he put it in “The World.” / Marlise Simons and Daniel E. Slotnik, New York Times


In einem Leserbrief an die Financial Times schreibt Nell Wilson, der Artikel von Gregg H Mosson über große Dichter habe sie enttäuscht, weil keine Frau dabei war. Zumindest Sylvia Plath hätte doch dabeisein müssen. “Ihre Lyrik ist genau so technisch kompetent und emotional stark wie WB Yeats, TS Eliot oder Wallace Stevens.” Vokabular und Geisteskraft könnten mit jedem männlichen Genius mithalten, ihre Beschreibungen des Landlebens seien so schön wie die von Robert Frost oder Seamus Heaney.

Der Originalartikel liegt hinter einer Bezahlmauer als Businessnachricht

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Trigger Warning

Da wir grad bei Meinungen sind:

Columbia students claim Greek mythology needs a trigger warning* / Washington Post

*) Die Bibel nicht???

Langenscheidt hilft da nicht viel:

trigger 1. Elektrotechnik, phot., Technik Auslöšser m (a. fig.);
2. Abzug m (Feuerwaffe), am Gewehr: a. DrüŸcker m, einer Bombe: ZüŸnder m: pull the trigger abdrüŸcken; quick on the trigger fig. ,fix, ,auf Draht (reaktionsschnell od. schlagfertig);

© 2001 Langenscheidt KG, Berlin und MŸnchen; Internet-Wortschatz: © 2001 Langenscheidt KG, Berlin und MüŸnchen und GmbH, MüŸnchen

Wikipedia eher


Mit dem Begriff Triggerwarnung bezeichnet man in Internetforen, die in der Selbsthilfe zum Beispiel bei posttraumatischen Belastungsstörungen dienen, einen Warnhinweis auf mögliche Auslösereize (Auslöser, engl. trigger).

Damit soll ein Mensch, der selbst Lebensbedrohliches erlebt hat, vor einer ungewollten Erinnerung an die belastende Situation durch die Berichte Anderer gewarnt werden. Intensive Berichte und Diskussionen können sonst Auslöser der eigenen Belastungenwerden, die zu viel Angstreaktionen auslösen.

Ein solcher Auslöser kann beispielsweise die Schilderung eines sexuellen Missbrauchssein. Bei Personen, die selbst Opfer eines Missbrauchs oder von Mobbing oder ähnlich Belastendem geworden sind, können dadurch starke Angst- und Panikgefühle oder ein selbstverletzendes Verhalten hervorgerufen werden.

Um vor diesen potenziellen Auslösern zu warnen, werden ähnlich wie bei Spoilerwarnungen meist zusätzliche Leerzeilen in die Nachricht eingefügt; Triggerwarnungen werden daher auch oft analog als Spoiler bezeichnet.

In den Richtlinien mancher Selbsthilfeforen wird das Verwenden solcher Warnhinweise empfohlen oder sogar vorgeschrieben.

(Interessant zu sehen, daß sie inzwischen die Realität nur noch als Selbsthilfegruppe wahrnehmen)

Christian Marclays Onomatopoesien

Christian Marclays langjährige Auseinandersetzung mit der Onomatopoesie steht im Zentrum einer thematischen Schau im Kunsthaus Aarau.


Eine wichtige Inspirationsquelle stellen japanische Comics und das Format der japanischen Bildrolle dar. «Manga Scroll» (2010), eine zwanzig Meter lange Makimono-Bildrolle, reiht lautmalerische Ausdrücke aneinander, die englischen Übersetzungen japanischer Mangas entlehnt sind. Auf zwanzig Metern entfaltet sich so eine Choreografie aus wilden Galopps, Bauchrollen und Sprüngen in einer Art Vitaparcours der Geräusche.

Marclays künstlerisches Vorgehen ist von der Verwendung bestehenden Materials und dessen Neuanordnung geprägt. Die Arbeit «Mixed Reviews» (1999–2015) verwendet Ausschnitte aus Musikkritiken und ordnet diese in einer über drei Wände sich hinziehenden Textzeile neu an. Die ursprünglich englische Fassung wird bei jeder Ausstellung in die örtliche Sprache übersetzt, so dass jedes Mal eine neue Komposition entsteht. Die Arbeit macht bewusst, wie sehr sich die Beschreibung von Musik einer metaphorischen Bildsprache bedient, welche Unsichtbares in Schriftzeichen übersetzt und dabei Bilder entstehen lässt, beispielsweise solche von einer «genau richtigen Dosis himmlischer Gischt und galaktischer Moog-Rhythmen». / Eva Dietrich, NZZ


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