Naropa University 2015 Summer Writing Program

Sangha, Cross Worlds Common Ground

Sangha is a Sanskrit term meaning “association,” “assembly,” “community.” One thinks of Walt Whitman’s “adhesiveness.” And “Common ground” was a phrase Amiri Baraka used frequently when he taught at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics and invoked the idea of a serious cultural revolution. Through countercultural influences of punk rock, experimental music, and performance art the artists this week have pushed the boundaries as word workers, utilizing the artistic means of writing in parallel with performance, film, music, architecture, book-arts, small press editing, soundscapes, and other cross-disciplinary methods.

Guest Faculty: Kameron Bashi, Clark Coolidge,LaTasha Diggs, Thomas Sayers Ellis & James Brandon Lewis, Lydia Lunch, Fred Moten, Brad O’Sullivan, Steven Taylor, Anne Waldman, Ronaldo V. Wilson.


KAMERON BASHI: The Interior Community

Some questions: What is our sangha, and how do we take refuge in it? How do we, as individuals, connect to our various communities through creative activity? What is the relationship between the virtual space in which the work is born and the actual space in which it participates? How do we reconfigure the relationships we know in order to nourish a dynamic, unknown, and collective freedom?


Kameron Bashi was born in 1982 in the middle of America and has since lived on both coasts and in semi-rural Germany. He returned to study writing at the University of Maryland and Brown University, and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Denver. His first novel, tentatively titled The Following March, explores the magical qualities of intergenerational love, passenger airlines, queerness, whiteness, death, and dogs."

BOMB Magazine


LATASHA DIGGS: Action. Score. Medicine.

Ways in which we cleanse/heal: Goat milk in your bath water. Oregano oil. Bush tea from Ayití. Smudge. Slapping the walls with Bay leaves and Florida water. Dancing in your living room. Rituals are often passed down from elders and through chance encounters for reasons only the cosmos knows. Some rituals cannot be shared. But what about those that can? Examining the works of artists like Ben Patterson and Paloma McGregor, we will activate the ‘ritual’ through our writing, sonic adventures and movements. As an assembly of histories and tongues, we will consider our creative practices as medicine.


LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs is the author of TwERK. She has been published widely and her performance work has been featured at The Kitchen, Brooklyn Museum, The Whitney, MoMa and The Walker Center. An independent curator/director, she has staged events at El Museo del Barrio, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Symphony Space and BAM Café. A recipient of several awards, LaTasha is the co-founders and co-editor of Coon Bidness and SO4.Author Blog

Poetry Foundation


THOMAS SAYERS ELLIS & JAMES BRANDON LEWIS: Locating the Percussive Lyric Pocket that Changes Prose to Prosody

In GoGo Music, the vernacular of Washington, D.C., a pocket of percussive grammar consisting of cowbells, drums, tambourines, congas and voice (Lead Talk not Rap) form a foundation of interruptions, breaks, and shifting subjects. In writing, a pocket of nuanced text can make the linear behavior of prose a lyric reading experience. full of music and meaning. We will identify forms of the pocket, infusing drafts with lyric patterns, and consider Collaboration and the uses of internal and external sound. Students will write a poem a day and work with a visiting musician.

Ellis p.c. Rachel Eliza GriffithsPoet and photographer Thomas Sayers Ellis is the author of The Maverick Room and Skin, Inc. His poems have recently appeared in The Nation, The Paris Review, Poetry and Best American Poetry (1997, 2001 and 2010). He is a former GoGo percussionist and recently worked for UFCW Local 342 as photographer of meat packers and slaughterhouses. He recently taught in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Montana.

Author Website



James Brandon Lewis is a saxophonist and composer earning a Bachelors from Howard University, and Master of Fine arts degree from California Institute of the Arts. Ebony Magazine hailed james as one of seven jazz musicians to watch in today's scene. His second Album "Divine Travels " was released by historic imprint Okeh records via Sony and features William Parker , Gerald Cleaver ,and poet Thomas Sayers Ellis.

Artist Website


LYDIA LUNCH: Nomadic Transformation

As a writer and a musician I am constantly seeking new environments that inspire creative collaborations. I have lived in NYC, Los Angeles, London, New Orleans, San Francisco, Pittsburgh and Barcelona. Each city and the projects created there were unique, but as a shape shifting gypsy troubadour with an unquenchable wanderlust, even after almost four decades of touring, the road is still where I feel most at home. This workshop will discuss the transformative benefits and life changing experiences gained by having the courage to leave everything behind.

Lydia Lunch p.c. Jasmine Hirst_4

Lydia Lunch refused the confines of a formal education, opting instead to establish herself as a No Wave musician in New York City in 1976. An independent artist prolific in music, literature, film and photography, she has performed and taught workshops at numerous Universities, Museums and Art Festivals and continues to explore new mediums in which to express her passion and creativity. She was voted by Timeout New York as one of the most influential performers originating from NYC.

Artist Website


CLARK COOLIDGE: Allen Ginsberg, Poet

Time to take a close look at the life’s work of one of the founders of the Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. His influences, his evolving fascinations and procedures, his innovations in the long line and the long poem. We’ll consider all his major works, plus many others unsung but deserving. A chance to engage with the overall poetic accomplishment of one of the last century’s great poetic forces.

Coolidge credit John Sarsgard

Clark Coolidge is the author of more than forty books of poetry and other, including Space, Solution Passage, The Crystal Text, At Egypt, Now It’s Jazz: Writings on Kerouac & The Sounds, The Act of Providence and most recently 88 Sonnets and A Book Beginning What And Ending Away. Forthcoming, Selected Poems 1962-1985, Station Hill Press. In 2011 he edited a collection of Philip Guston’s writings and talks for U Cal Press. Initially a drummer, he was a member of David Meltzer’s Serpent Power in 1967 and Mix group in 1993-1994. He traveled to Paris September 2013 where his work was the subject of a symposium at Universite d’ Est. Currently he has returned to active drumming in duos with Thurston Moore and the on-going free jazz band Ouroboros.

Poetry Foundation

Electronic Poetry Center


FRED MOTEN: Under Common Ground

In this class we’ll think, read and talk about old-new assemblages of destruction and rebuilding, repurposing and disavowal, disruptions of proper publicness, histories of submergence, non-states of emergency, and the double edges of various refusals of burial. We’ll try to engage work by Amiri Baraka, Judith Butler, Sophocles, Ana Mendieta, Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency, Hazel Dickens, Öykü Potouğlo-Cook, the people of Gaza and the people of Ferguson.

Fred Moten

Fred Moten is author of In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition, Hughson’s Tavern, B. Jenkins, The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study (with Stefano Harney), The Feel Trio and The Little Edges. He lives in Los Angeles and teaches at the University of California, Riverside.

Poetry Society of America


BRAD O’SULLIVAN: Shadowcasting & the Language of Machinery

Letterpress printing allows writers to physically interact with readers by forcing language into the page, a tactile sensibility not possible with more contemporary printing methods. It’s intimate and immediate, born of a syncopated, stubborn process. So, sleeves up & fingerdeep in the stuff of language, we’ll use the press as a compositional tool in the production of a collaborative printed piece.


Brad O’Sullivan collects meaningless objects and is the sole member of Underscore, a typewriter band. He’s a letterpress printer, writer, teacher, vinyl enthusiast, and proprietor of Smokeproof Press, letterpress workshop in Boulder. He likes pencils and lives with his family in downtown Boulder.

Artist Website


THURSTON MOORE: Composed On The Tongue

When Allen Ginsberg first heard Bob Dylan in song he rejoiced for the music employing the visionary poetics he had been practicing with Beat brothers and sisters Gregory Corso, Diane Di Prima, Philip Whalen et al. During his incredible life Allen inspired and commiserated with musicians from the free love 60s to the urban poet 70s to the punk rock 80s while continually expressing Blakeian wonder in his own harmonium and finger bell mantra love calls on stage at CBGB and poet events worldwide. We will LISTEN to the RECORDS and investigate the social and activist dynamics of Ginsberg the Bard.


Thurtson Moore is the founder of the NYC rock group Sonic Youth. He has worked collaboratively with Yoko Ono, Merce Cunningham, Cecil Taylo, Lydia Lunch, John Zorn, and Glen Branco. He has composed music for films by Oliver Assayas, Gus Van Sant, and Allison Anders. His writing has been published through various imprints. He runs the Ecstatic Peace records + tapes label, edits the Ecstatic Peace Poetry Journal, and is chief editor of Ecstatic Peace Library and the poetry imprint Flowers & Cream.

Artist Website


ANNE WALDMAN: Entanglement: Co-Existence in a Dark Time

Quantum entanglement is a physical phenomena occurring when groups of particles interact in ways such that each particle cannot be described independently but rather as a whole. We will emulate the worlds of particles and particulars as they form radical force fields for progress in writing and life. We will embark on long messy works apart and together to shift frequencies of media control and war culture. We will record our words with the help of Ambrose Bye’s studio class. We will dedicate the merit of what we accomplish and create a community for the next 100 years.

Waldman pc Anne Steir

Anne Waldman has been a prolific and active poet, performer, editor and teacher many years, a founder of the Jack Kerouac School and Artistic Director of its celebrated Summer Writing Program. She is the author most recently of Gossamurmur(Penguin Poets 2013), Jaguar Harmonics(Post-Apollo 2014), and co-edited (with Laura Wright) the anthology Cross Worlds: Transcultural Poetics (Coffee House Press 2014). Waldman has been deemed a “counter-cultural giant” by Publisher’s Weekly, is a Guggenheim fellow for 2013-14, and a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets

Author Website

Fast Speaking Music


RONALDO V. WILSON: Tacky Identities and Other Self-Plays

This workshop invites participants to heartily experiment with notions of their most intimate and outrageous self-assigned and world-imposed identities, assembled selves that slide beyond who they are, and what they wish to become. All known identities (blAck, Blu, why(te), Cis-Trans-Am, Br|OWN and Query) shall be engaged, held, evacuated, destroyed, reposed and/or/but re-invented and recast to alert us to the importance of discovery and possibility.


Ronaldo V. Wilson is the author of Narrative of the Life of the Brown Boy and the White Man (2008), Poems of the Black Object (2009), Farther Traveler: Poetry, Prose, Other (2015), and Lucy 72 (2015). A recent Artist-in-Residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts, and the Center for Art and Thought (CA+T), Wilson is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing and Literature at U.C. Santa Cruz.

Poetry Foundation

The Conversant