Naropa University 2019 Summer Writing Program

week one

Archive, Alchemy & Installation
At the Kerouac School, we’re committed todocumentary/investigatory poetics as activist practices, as openings into narratives and records of erased histories; committed to the archive as a collective repository and resource for culture-work, and mourn the loss of the Brazilian Museum of the Americas to fire. And other collections endangered and other siege. However, we also want to think beyond the archive as mere document, artifact, evidentiary body, and call to mind––to summon from the living body––the repertoire, that wider set of embodied practices, rites, ceremonies, forms of sociality, resistance, and performance which imply continuation, survival, and community through their very transmission as communal memory and ground of being.
In our collective laboratory, we want to think beyond the binary of archive/repertoire––beyond all binaries, really––to experiment with admixtures, assemblages, and alloys of artwork and political intervention; to choose the possibilities of transmutation rather than codes of genre, gender; to translate from and among communities of care and concern––solidarity rising, alchemically, from those exchanges and passages; urgently, to forge the figures, images, songs of a (coming) antithesis-reality, antithetical to all the forces that would make the living day a site of extraction, exploitation, and accelerating extinction. We are not interested in Empire; we are interested in the joy of making.        
Through installation practices, we mean to imagine of how writing might learn (to live) from ecology; how writing might learn from sculptural practice; how writing might further leverage the possibilities of & as performance; through installation we want to construct writing in & as activated environments; to (re)commit ourselves to writing as collaboration, to writing as form of participatory art; with installation we seek to set out into the open of writing in & for expanded and emergent fields.    




solmaz sharif headshot


Solmaz Sharif:: Poetics of Political Change 

Let’s consider our poems as falling on a spectrum from diagnostic to curative—poems that name what is and poems that name what can be. And let’s consider our poems as a political pursuit along this spectrum. We will look at a number of poets (e.g. Muriel Rukeyser, June Jordan, Layli Long Soldier, Denise Levertov) who run the gamut from naming what must change and naming what is possible, trying their approaches in our own poems along the way.

Born in Istanbul to Iranian parents, Solmaz Sharif holds degrees from U.C. Berkeley, where she studied and taught with June Jordan’s Poetry for the People, and New York University. Her debut collection LOOK was a finalist for the 2016 National Book Award and 2017 PEN Open Book Award. In 2017, Sharif was the recipient of the 27th annual PEN Center USA Literary award in Poetry for LOOK. Sharif has published poetry in the New Republic and Poetry, and has received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is currently a Jones Lecturer at Stanford University.


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Natalie Diaz:: The ArchiTEXTures of Our Desire-Hands

Using teachings from Juhani Pallasmaa and Walter J. Ong, along with sensualities from an indigenous and desert perspective (which are so very different than what we have been taught about our Western "senses") we will explore the textures and "touches" and emotional topographies of our lexicons, images, languages, stories, and poems. Imagine that our hands (whatever hands we use when we write) are not simply the tools of our minds and therefore separate from our minds, but that they are also our minds, are our thoughts, are our wonders, are our desires. And what does this mean for the way we not only create a practice of writing but then go on and practice that writing into our smaller hours and larger lives. This course will be generative with daily writing wonders and makings. We will also be using sensory shufflings and myriad tools of art (besides our pencils or pens and keyboards) to find the various bodies of our poems (physical and other) and most importantly our own bodies (physical and other and not yet known) as we practice this art of language and TEXTure.

**Writers of all body abilities are welcome, and if there are any accommodations you might want or need, or if there are different lexicons of body and physicality you want to be sure we are including, please reach out and let us know.**


Natalie Diaz was born and raised in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California, on the banks of the Colorado River. She is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. Her first poetry collection, When My Brother Was an Aztec, was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2012. She is 2018 MacArthur Foundation Fellow, a Lannan Literary Fellow and a Native Arts Council Foundation Artist Fellow. She was awarded a Bread Loaf Fellowship, the Holmes National Poetry Prize, a Hodder Fellowship, and a PEN/Civitella Ranieri Foundation Residency, as well as being awarded a US Artists Ford Fellowship. Diaz teaches at the Arizona State University Creative Writing MFA program.

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Roger Reeves:: The Missing Archive

What do we do when the archive is missing, empty, or expressed in an otherwise (immaterial) manner? How do we confront this absence that is also a presence? In this workshop, we will read selections from Saidiya Hartman's Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Social Upheaval, and M. NourbeSe Philip's Zong! as a way thinking into historical, State-assisted absences and erasures. We will generate poems that seek to require critical and aesthetic fabulation. Toward that end, please come to workshop with a snatch of unsaid history or gossip that must be told but might not yet have an archive or only has a partial archive. We will generate poems out of that absence, using both received and invented methods.

Roger Reeves’s poems have appeared in journals such as Poetry, Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Best American Poetry, and Tin House, among others.  He was awarded a 2015 Whiting Award, a Pushcart Prize, a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, a 2013 NEA Fellowship, and a Ruth Lilly Fellowship by the Poetry Foundation in 2008. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas-Austin. His first book is King Me (Copper Canyon Press, 2013), which won the Larry Levis Reading Prize from Virginia Commonwealth University, the Zacharis Prize from Ploughshares, and the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award.

julie carr talking into microphone and smiling


Julie Carr:: Install This

What happens when we don’t write for page or stage, but imagine our language in a room, interacting with other objects, images, and bodies? What happens to a line of poetry when it is projected onto a building, folded into a matchbook, or printed on a door? Where is the line between “installation” and “performance,” between “object” and “text”? We will study language-based installations by Glenn Ligon, Jenny Holzer, Bruce Nauman, Fionna Banner, Adrian Piper and others. We will create our own installations using words, objects, space, and whatever can be found. Get ready to push the boundaries of what “writing” means. 

Julie Carr is the author most recently of Real Life: An Installation as well as six books of poetry, including 100 Notes on Violence; RAG; and Think Tank. She is also the author of three critical prose and experimental essays: Surface Tension: Ruptural Time and the Poetics of Desire in Late Victorian Poetry; Objects from a Borrowed Confession; and Someone Shot My BookShe is the co-translator of Leslie Kaplan’s Excess-The Factory published by Commune Editions in 2018. With Tim Roberts, is the co-founder of Counterpath Press, Counterpath Gallery, and Counterpath Community Garden in Denver. She was a 2011-12 NEA fellow and is an Associate Professor at the University of Colorado in Boulder in the English department and the Intermedia Arts Writing and Performance.

caroline bergvall sitting on stairs and talking with brick wall behind


Caroline Bergvall:: Building Future Memory

Arrive prepared with materials from a location, a building, a landscape, a language, an event, an artefact or an artwork that matters to you and that is being threatened with oblivion or disappearance for one reason or another. You will be invited to share this source material, analyse it, and compose various short pieces using methods and materials relevant to restore, transform or salvage aspects of it (through sound, film, text, live gesture, interviews, performance, mixed forms..). In class you will be guided by sharing methods, engaging in discussion and through discovering relevant works by other artists, scholars, and scientists.

Caroline Bergvall is an artist, poet and vocal performer. French-Norwegian based in London, UK. Works across artforms, media and languages. The recipient of many awards and commissions, her work frequently develops through exploring material traces, literary documents and linguistic detail, language and literary history, sites and histories, hidden or forgotten knowledges. Her sparse textual, spatial and audio works often expose hidden or difficult historical/political events. She is the author of Drift and Meddle English; and Alisoun Sings is forthcoming from Nightboat Books in 2019. She was Awarded a Cholmondeley Award (2017). First recipient of the art literary prize Prix Littéraire Bernard Heidsieck-Centre Pompidou (2017). Awarded a Bogliasco Fellowship, Italy. Visiting Professor, Kings College London since 2017-2019.

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Azareen Van Der Vliet Oloomi:: Autofiction: Translating the Political Self into Language

How does autofiction allow writers to de-colonize their narratives of selfhood and claim their rightful place in history? In this course we will use language to deterritorialize the self and to map and remap our notions of the body and the nation. We will read seminal works of autofiction by Marguerite Duras, Peter Weiss, Annie Ernaux, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Gwendolyn Brooks, Renee Gladman & others.

Azareen Van Der Vliet Oloomi is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Fra Keeler  and Call Me Zebra longlisted for the PEN Open Book Award. She is the winner of a 2015 Whiting Writers' Award, a National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" honoree, the recipient of a MacDowell Fellowship, and a Fulbright Fellowship in Fiction to Catalonia, Spain.  Her work has appeared in The ParisReview,  GRANTA, Guernica, BOMB,  and the Los Angeles Review of Books among other places. She has lived in Iran, Spain, Italy, the United Arab Emirates, and currently teaches in the M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing at the University of Notre Dame. She speaks Spanish, Italian, Farsi and some Catalan. English is her native language.

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Janice Lowe:: Sound-Text Poems as Community Installation Art: An Ethos in Practice

Is found sound the new neighborhood narrative? Text-sound mash up are acts of both creativity and magnanimous sharing. They are a collaged remix of a cultural moment––an artful; mining of digital material. Just as hip hop or electro sound artists extend musical moments by repurposing found sound, can curated digital archives preserve, ignore, celebrate or under-celebrate the idea of community in any given setting? Does interactive community sound-text installation art need institutional permission for being? We’ll write, sound, and re-sound across genres, texts, remixes and installations. 

Janice A. Lowe is a poet, composer, and vocalizing pianist. Her poetry collection Leaving CLE: poems of nomadic dispersal  moves from Cleveland to New York City to Tuscaloosa’s “schoolhouse door” and back. She is also the author of the chapbook SWAM (Belladonna Series). Her poems have been published in Callaloo, American Poetry Review, The Hat, and on the Poetry Project's website, as well as in the anthologies Best American Experimental Writing 2016, Resist Much/Obey Little, and Solidarity Texts: Radiant Re-Sisters. Her essays have appeared in Sing the Sun Up and the Cleveland Neighborhood Guidebook. She has participated in the Renga for Obama project and the Broadside Reading Series at the Center for Book Arts.
Lowe earned an MFA in Musical Theater Writing from New York University. She was a writer-in-residence with Melted Away’s The American Dream Project. A Jonathan Larson Dramatists Guild Fellow, she is the composer of five full-length musicals and over 200 songs for theater/musical theater/opera, which have been performed extensively in New York City and regionally. Her love of setting all manner of text to music has resulted in collaborations with writers Tyehimba Jess, Nehassaiu deGannes, Jenni Lamb, and others.  She currently performs and records with her band NAMAROON. 
Lowe has taught at Purchase College, Rutgers University, Naropa University’s Summer Writing Program, and in New York City schools. She is the cofounder of the Dark Room Collective and a 2018-2019 fellow in poetics and poetic practice at the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing at University of Pennsylvania.

erica mena headshot with cat and shelf of books in background


Erica Mena:: Image / Word / Form / Archive

This workshop will explore collective / collaborative creating, composing as an embodied and active transformation of word into form, and experimental image-making. Together we will create poems, broadsides, posters, and artifacts of our time, and of our time together. Students will learn letterpress basics, including traditional hand typesetting, as well as some experimental image-making techniques including collagraphs, monoprints, and pressure printing. Together we will write poems on and for the press, transforming ephemera into archive.

Erica Mena is a Puerto Rican poet, translator, and book artist. They hold an MFA in poetry from Brown University, an MFA in literary translation from the University of Iowa, and an M.Phil in Culture & Criticism from the University of Cambridge. Their book Featherbone won a 2016 Hoffer First Horizons Award. Their translation of the Argentine graphic novel The Eternaut by H.G. Oesterheld and F. Solano Lopez won a 2016 Eisner Award.Other translations for Fantagraphics include Wrinkles by Paco Roca, Ladies in Waiting by Santiago Garcia and Javier Olivares, and Spanish Fever edited by Santiago Garcia. 

Their original poetry appears widely in journals such as The Kenyon Review, Two Lines, Asymptote, PEN America, and Words without Borders, among others. They’ve received fellowships and residencies from Banff, Vermont Studio Centers, Arteles (Finland), and Trexel (Paris). 

Erica is currently a visiting lecturer in book arts and poetry at Brown University. They have taught as a visiting lecturer and artist at Harvard University, Mills College, and the University of Massachusetts, among others.


carolina ebeid headshot with glasses outside


Carolina Ebeid:: 
Carolina Ebeid's work appears widely in journals such as The Kenyon Review, Crazyhorse, jubilat, Colorado Review, Gulf Coast, Poetry, and others. She holds an MFA from the Michener Center for Writers, and has won awards and fellowships from the Stadler Center for Poetry, CantoMundo, The Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and the Academy of American Poets. She was awarded an NEA Creative Writing Fellowship in Poetry for 2015. She is a PhD candidate in the University of Denver's creative writing program, where she serves as Associate Editor of the Denver Quarterly. Her first book, You Ask Me To Talk About The Interior, was published by Noemi Press in 2016 as part of their Akrilica series. Poets & Writers Magazine selected You Ask Me To Talk About The Interior as one of the ten best debut collections in 2016. She is currently at work on a book project entitled Hide.

Ella Longpre sitting in a room.

MFA Lecture :: Ella Longpre lives and writes in Denver, where she makes music and is learning to weave. She  is the author of How to Keep You Alive (CCM Press 2017), as well as three chapbooks of poetry and essay. Her work has appeared in The Volta, Fanzine, Denver Quarterly, and other journals and anthologies , and has been translated into French.  She  earned her MFA from the Jack Kerouac School, where she currently teaches and advises in the low-residency program. She also teaches at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop and is earning her PhD at the University of Denver.  Ella is nothing without her chosen family and can be found in the woods.