Naropa University 2020 Summer Writing Program

week one

RESCHEDULED FOR 2021-- please revisit for periodic updates & new program dates.  


Week 1 | June 7-13 
Oracles & Cyborgs 




Michelle Naka Pierce

Michelle Naka Pierce & Chris Pusateri :: Mobile Utopias: Site and Insight

The term “pilgrimage” has its roots in a kind of devotional seeking, a journey connected to a place of personal significance. In secular society, it potentially signifies a different passage. Together, we will consider how site-specific writing affects our habitual thoughts and actions and how places are marked by our movement through them. We will explore sacred locales: cemeteries, labyrinths, familiar paths & haunts. We will question: “What are the limits of the body?” (Akilah Oliver); have “the walks met a need”? (Teju Cole); how do we emerge from “this state of semi-blindness” (Basho) toward heightened perception? We will explore how the body “amplifies the cognition of thresholds” (Lisa Robertson) and situates itself at the intersection of place, composition, and mindfulness.


Award winning poet Michelle Naka Pierce is the author of nine titles, including four full-length books: TRI/VIA, co-authored with Veronica Corpuz; Beloved Integer; She, A Blueprint, with art by Sue Hammond West; and Continuous Frieze Bordering Red, awarded the Poets Out Loud Editor's Prize. Pierce has collaborated with artists, dancers, and filmmakers and performed her work internationally, most recently in the UK, France, and Japan. From 2011–2015, Pierce served as the dean of the Kerouac School; presently, she directs the Naropa Writing Center. She teaches avant-garde poetry, pedagogy, and cross-genre writing. Born in Japan, Pierce is currently working on an erasure/recovery project surrounding “estranged citizenship,” memory, and the body.

Christ Pusateri

Born in the American Midwest during the year of the Watergate burglary, Chris Pusateri is the author of ten books of poetry, including Anon (BlazeVox) Semblance (Dusie Kollektiv) and Common Time (Steerage Press), which was shortlisted for the Colorado Book Award.   A former resident of London, Mexico City, and Kingston (Jamaica), he currently lives in Denver, where he works as a librarian and teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Naropa University.

Raquel Salas Rivera

Raquel Salas Rivera ::

Raquel Salas Rivera was born in Puerto Rico and grew up there and in the United States. Rivera is the author of x/ex/exis (poemas para la nación) (poems for the nation), which was selected for the 2018 Ambroggio Prize and is forthcoming from Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe in 2019. Rivera is also the author of lo terciario/the tertiary (Timeless, Infinite Light, 2018), which received the 2019 Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Poetry and was longlisted for the 2018 National Book Award in Poetry, as well as tierra intermitente (Ediciones Alayubia, 2017) and Caneca de anhelos turbios (Editora Educación Emergente, 2011), both of which were published in Puerto Rico. Rivera is co-editor of Puerto Rico en mi corazón, a collection of bilingual broadsides of contemporary Puerto Rican poets. In 2019, Rivera was named an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow. They currently serve as the 2018–2019 poet laureate of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where they live. 

Danielle Vogel 

Danielle Vogel :: Writing & Ritual: Collaborating with the Known-Unknown —

Ritual commences when intuition meets mystery, when art meets devotion, when knowing meets our own unknowing in activated and intentional ways. This course is for writers seeking to strengthen their foundational skills in ritual arts. Together, we will learn to collaborate with our own personal forms of (un)knowing, as we write and as we shape the lives we wish to live. We will cast circles, set intentions, build altars, practice protection and ritual safety, explore ritual objects and ceremonial tools, engage in interspecies communication, invocation and writing ceremonies. At its heart, this course is an experience in multidimensionality and the art of deep intuition. We will approach language as a living, intelligent field, composed of both knowable and unknowable matter. We will learn to collaborate with/in this field with intentionality and with the understanding that language, as a means of divination, creates contact zones with seen and unseen worlds. Students may arrive with an existing project—in any genre—or come with the desire to begin anew. They may arrive with a ritual practice in place or simply a calling to listen to their own intuitive cores in new and profound ways. No matter where you are in your writing and ritualistic practices, we will deepen our commitment to writing and living with reverence. Our approach to ritual arts will be rooted in a feminist, decolonizing, anti-racist, LGBTQI-friendly, class-aware, earth-honoring ethic. We’ll proceed in heart-centered ways that seek to meet each participant’s unique life experiences and ancestral storylines.

A long-form poet, lyric essayist, and interdisciplinary artist working at the intersections of poetry, ecology, and ceremony, Danielle Vogel is the author of Edges & Fray (Wesleyan University Press 2020), The Way a Line Hallucinates Its Own Linearity (Red Hen Press 2020), Between Grammars (Noemi Press 2015), the artist book Narrative & Nest (Abecedarian Gallery 2012), and the chapbooks In Resonance (Essay Press 2017) and lit (Dancing Girl Press 2008). Her manuscript-in-progress, A Library of Light, was adapted to the stage as an experimental opera by Source Material Collective under the mentorship of Marina Abramović in 2017.  
Committed to an investigative approach to poetics, Danielle Vogel relies heavily on field research, cross-disciplinary studies, and archives of all kinds. Her work is guided by an ever-expanding investigation into the bonds between language and presence, between a reader and a writer, and how a book, as an extended ecological field of a body, might serve as a site of radical transformation. Her installations, or "public ceremonies for language," which are often extensions of her manuscripts, seek to expose the archives of memory stored within language, and have been exhibited most recently at Bruna Press + Archive, The Nordic House in Reykjavík, Iceland, RISD Museum, MICA, Temple and Pace Universities, The University of Arizona’s Poetry Center, and Abecedarian Gallery. 
She holds a PhD in Literature & Creative Writing from The University of Denver, a MFA in Writing & Poetics from Naropa University and has taught across genres and the arts at Wesleyan University, Brown University, the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, and The University of Washington at Bothell. As a professor, Dr. Vogel specializes in investigative and documentary poetics, ecopoetics, visual poetry, the lyric essay, memory and memoir, cross-genre works, composing across the arts and book arts. You can read her Faculty Reflection on the themes of reimagining success and crossing thresholds with intention at Wesleyan’s 2018 Senior Voices. 

Andrea Abi-Karam

Andrea Abi-Karam :: Poetics of Terror: Visceral Performance & Cyborg/Trans Poetics

ISO: FREEK4FREEK, formlessness & formal precision, wild & unrestrained poetics, rigorous projects that tackle the unswallowable, derangement & mutation of language, obsession & desire, performance & performativity, abolitionist perspectives, fantastical futurities, a poetry of directness, a poetry with teeth. We will gather inspo from writers, performers, activists & thinkers: Ana Mendieta, David Wojnarowicz, Marina Abramović, Juliana Spahr, Wendy Trevino, Cecilia Vicuña, Trish Salah, The Mary Nardini Gang, Cody-Rose Clevidence, Jeannine Tang, & José Esteban Muñoz.

Andrea Abi-Karam is an arab-american genderqueer punk poet-performer cyborg, writing on the art of killing bros, the intricacies of cyborg bodies, trauma & delayed healing. Their chapbook, THE AFTERMATH attempts to queer Fanon’s vision of how poetry fails to inspire revolution. Under the full Community Engagement Scholarship, Andrea received their MFA in Poetry from Mills College. With Drea Marina they co-hosted Words of Resistance a monthly, radical, QTPOC open floor poetry series to fundraise for political prisoners' commissary funds. Selected by Bhanu Kapil, Andrea's first book is EXTRATRANSMISSION a poetic critique of the U.S. military's role in the War on Terror. Simone White selected their second assemblage, Villainy for forthcoming publication. Andrea toured with Sister Spit in 2018 and has performed at RADAR, The Poetry Project, The STUD, Basilica Soundscape, TransVisionaries, Southern Exposure, Counterpulse, Poets House, Radius for Arab-American Writers. With Kay Gabriel they are co-editing an anthology of Radical Trans Poetics forthcoming from Nightboat Books in 2020. They are a leo currently obsessed with queer terror and convertibles. 


Julie Carr

Julie Carr ::

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.

Rodrigo Toscano

Rodrigo Toscano ::  A Poetics of Readiness

Is the “political poem” the most vexed poetic genre of our time? Is almost every attempt at it, some kind of flop? In the few precious hours we have, we will mercilessly breakdown the dimensions of the “political poem” in order to gauge readerly/listenerly (thus writerly) meaning potential. The aim of the class is to shed as many vanities as we can manage in the interest of developing the visions of the social that we each bring to the table. 

Rodrigo Toscano's poetry has appeared in numerous anthologies, including Against Expression, Diasporic Avant Gardes, Poetic Voices Without Borders, and Best American Poetry. Toscano's Spanish language poetry appears as a book, Globo-Exilio-Ejercito, and in the anthology, Malditos Latinos, Malditos Sudacas. His poetry has appeared Best American Poetry 2004, War and Peace (2004 & 2007), and in the Criminal's Cabinet: An anthology of poetry and fiction (2004), and in McSweeny's Poets Picking Poets. He was a 2005 recipient of a New York State Fellowship in Poetry. Toscano is also the artistic director and writer for the Collapsible Poetics Theater (CPT). His polyvocalic pieces, poetics plays, and body-movement poems, have been performed at the Disney Redcat Theater in Los Angeles, Ontological-Hysteric Poets Theater Festival, Poet's Theater Jamboree 2007, Links Hall Chicago, and the Yockadot Poetics Theater Festival. His radio pieces have appeared on WPIX FM (New York), KAOS Public Radio Olympia, WFMU, WNYU, and PS.1 Radio. His work has been translated into French, German, Italian, Dutch, Norwegian, Portuguese, and Catalonian. Toscano is originally from San Diego, California. He has lived in the Greenpoint Township of Brooklyn for the last 14 years. He works for the Labor Institute in conjunction with the United Steelworkers and the National Institute for Environmental Health Science. He works out of a laptop, tethered to a Droid, residing in airports, occupying poetics in midflight. 


CA Conrad

CA Conrad :: ))))))))) THE POETRY AS DIRT CHRONICLES (((((((((

(Soma)tic Poetry Rituals of Restoration & Protection

We will spend much of our time outside building rituals with plants some call weeds, with ants and other insects some call pests. We will practice saying, "NO, YOU'RE AN INVASIVE SPECIES!" whenever someone points to a plant and dismisses it with the invasive species tag. Being in the dirt for the poems, looking closely at the soil, vegetation and other living organisms with binoculars, magnifying glasses, microscopes and one another's eyes, one another's fingertips, and breath, finding the pulse of land and trees as mirrored in our own wrists.

Poet CAConrad grew up in Pennsylvania, where they helped to support their single mother during Conrad's difficult youth. Influenced by Eileen Myles, Audre Lorde, Alice Notley, and Emily Dickinson, Conrad writes poems in which stark images of sex, violence, and defiance build a bridge between fable and confession. In a 2010 interview with Luke Degnan for BOMB Magazine’s BOMBlog, Conrad discussed their approach to poetry, which focuses on process and on engaging the permeability of the border between self and other. “Ultimately, I want my (Soma)tic poetry and poetics to help us realize at least two things. That everything around us has a creative viability with the potential to spur new thinking and imaginative output and that the most necessary ingredient to bringing the sustainable, humane changes we need and want for our world requires creativity in all lives, every single day.” In a 2010 review of The Book of Frank for Jacket Magazine, poet Eileen Myles observes, “In Conrad’s world the parameters are deliberately unknowable because that is the nature of our time. In piecing together, configuring and releasing [their] extreme miniatures—agonized fables, poems about America. CAConrad includes us all in the enormous outside of [their] heart. Which is the world in all its possibility.” 
CAConrad is a 2019 Creative Capital Fellow, and the author of 9 books of poetry and essays:  While Standing in Line for Death (Wave Books, 2017) received the Lambda Award. A recipient of a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, they also received the Believer Magazine Book Award and the Gil Ott Book Award. Their work has been translated into Spanish, Greek, Polish, Norwegian, Portuguese, Danish, French, and German. They teach regularly at Columbia University and at the Sandberg Art Institute in Amsterdam. 

Michael Cross


Michael Cross :: [Letterpress]


Michael Cross is the author of  In Felt Treeling: A Libretto  (Chax Press, 2008),  Haecceities  (Cuneiform Press, 2010), and  The Katechon: Book One  (Compline, 2018) (which is available from Small Press Distribution for the price of shipping); additionally, he edited the volumes  Involuntary Vision: After Akira Kurosawa's Dreams  (Avenue B, 2003) and  The George Oppen Memorial Lectures  (National Poetry Foundation, forthcoming), and he is currently editing a volume of Leslie Scalapino’s uncollected “critical” writing. He coedits  ON: Contemporary Practice with Thom Donovan and runs a fiercely independent poetry press called  Compline . He teaches English and Literature at Skyline College and lives in Oakland with a menagerie of human and nonhuman animals.   

Anne Boyer


This will be a workshop about notebooks and time. We will write in notebooks, consider the notebooks of ourselves and others, and attempt to think as broadly as possible about the revelatory potential of unfinishing, unpublic writing in an information-deranged world. What potential does this almost always uncertain, necessarily provisional, almost always un-commodifiable practice of notebook-keeping hold? How can a (merely) written word be the interlocutor of time?  

Anne Boyer was born in Topeka, Kansas, in 1973. She is the author of Garments Against Women, winner of the 2016 Community of Literary Magazines and Presses Firecracker Award, My Common Heart, and The Romance of Happy Workers. Boyer’s poetry has been translated into a number of languages, including Icelandic, Spanish, Persian, and Swedish, and her chapbook A Form of Sabotage was published by the collective Kült Neşriyat in Turkish translation. Boyer’s other chapbooks include Anne Boyer’s Good Apocalypse, Art is War, and The 2000s. With Guillermo Parra and Cassandra Gillig, she has translated the work of 20th century Venezuelan poets Victor Valera Mora, Miguel James, and Miyo Vestrini. Boyer's most recent publication, The Undying, is about pain, vulnerability, mortality, medicine, art, time, dreams, data, exhaustion, cancer, and care. She has taught at the Kansas City Art Institute since 2011. The recipient of a 2018 Whiting Award, she lives in Kansas City, Missouri.

Margaret Randall

Margaret Randall :: Writing Ourselves, Memory as Sanctuary

Explore the writing of memoir in times of social stress. Do we stand at the threshold of danger, staring into the abyss? Or can we claim spaces of contemplation and healing even in the face of disaster? We will read the work of others and write in a variety of genres, including poetry, autobiographical and graphic novels, and personal essay. Welcome to a community as powerful as we ourselves make it.


Margaret Randall is fortunate to have accompanied great social change with her activism. From 1961 to 1984 she lived in Mexico, where she founded and edited an important bilingual literary magazine, El Corno Emplumado / The Plumed Horn, and was active in the 1968 Student Movement; in Cuba during its revolution’s second decade; and in Nicaragua following the Sandinista takeover. Upon her return to the US, the government ordered her deported, based on opinions expressed in some of her books. She won her case in 1989. In 1990 she was awarded the Lillian Hellman and Dashiell Hammett grant for writers victimized by political repression; and in 2004 was the first recipient of PEN New Mexico’s Dorothy Doyle Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing and Human Rights Activism. In 2017, she was awarded the Medal for Literary Merit by Literatura en el Bravo, Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico. In 2019 she was given the "Poet of Two Hemispheres" Prize by Poesía en Paralelo Cero in Quito, Ecuador as well as Cuba’s prestigious Haydée Santamaría Medal. The University of New Mexico in Albuquerque also awarded her an honorary doctorate in letters in 2019. Of her 150+ published books, the most recent are ONLY THE ROAD / SOLO EL CAMINO: EIGHT DECADES OF CUBAN POETRY, Time's Language, Against Atrocity, and her forthcoming memoir  I NEVER LEFT HOME: POET, FEMINIST, REVOLUTIONARY will appear this Spring.


Evelyn Reilly :: 


Evelyn Reilly's books include Styrofoam, Apocalypso, and Echoloaction, all published by Roof Books. Her work has been widely anthologized and she has taught at The Poetry Project and co-curated the segue series in New York City. Portuguese translations of Styrofoam and Apocalypso will be published by Douda Correrie in 2021.


Alice Notley

Alice Notley :: Dharma Arts 

Alice Notley began her career as an active poet in the New York poetry scene of the 1960s and 1970s. She is often identified with the Second Generation New York School of poets, though her work frequently changes in form and style.

Notley is the author of over twenty five books of poetry, including 165 Meeting House Lane (1971), Incidentals in the Day World (1973), Phoebe Light (1973), Alice Ordered Me to Be Made (1976), For Frank O'Hara's Birthday (1976), From the Beginning (2004), Alma, or the Dead Women (2006), In the Pines (2007), Culture of One (2011), Songs and Stories of the Ghouls (2011), Dr. Williams' Heiresses (1980), Waltzing Matilda (1981), Margaret & Dusty:Poems (1985), From a Work in Progress (1988), Homer's Art (1990), To Say You (1993), Selected Poems of Alice Notley (1993), The Descent of Alette (1996), and FCPA-supported Reason and Other Women (2010), among many others. In addition to collections of poetry, Notley has published the autobiography Tell Me Again (1982), the play Anne's White Glove (1985), and Coming After (2005), a book of essays on poets and poetry. She edited and wrote the introduction for the reissue of Ted Berrigan's The Sonnets (2000), as well as editing, with her sons, The Collected Poems of Ted Berrigan (2007).

Since receiving her 1997 Grants to Artists award, her collection Disobedience (2001) was awarded the Griffin International Poetry Prize (2002), and Grave of Light: New and Selected Poems, 1970-2005, received the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize (2007). In 2011, Notley received an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. She has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Previous to receiving her FCPA grant, Notley's How Spring Comes (1981) received the San Francisco Poetry Award (1982), and her Mysteries of Small Houses (1998) won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize (1998).

Notley earned her B.A. from Barnard College and M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers' Workshop.