ARCHIVE - Evergreen Course Blog | Spring 2011 | Reclaiming Public Spaces Experiments in Text is a Collective Blog for Students & Where Some of the Readings & Can Be Found Tue, 10 May 2011 04:20:26 +0000 en hourly 1 ARCHIVE - Where do the strategies, tactics, and lifestyles of contemporary activists come from? Tue, 10 May 2011 04:20:26 +0000 wolachd Continue reading ]]>
Panel discussion led by author, Andrew Cornell

When: Thursday,  May 12th, 2011:  Noon-1:30

Where: Lobby of Library Building , Evergreen State College,

Oppose and Propose, by Andrew Cornell, just out from AK Press, documents and examines the history of Movement for a New Society. MNS was a radical formation in the 70s and 80s that brought together many of the ideas and practices that are now commonplace among radical activists, such as consensus decision-making, spokescouncils, collective living, unlearning oppressive behavior, and nonviolent direct action. This book opens critical questions for activists today. Join us in welcoming author Andrew Cornell to Olympia .

There will be a panel  led  by Andrew Cornell and also joined by Harjit Singh Gill, a thoughtful  activist from the San Francisco Bay  area, and Chris Dixon, who graduated from Evergreen in 2000 who  was instrumental in having Mumia as a graduation speaker that year,  was an active campus organizer and a major organizer  of the 1999 Seattle protests against the WTO which he has written about.   They will lead a discussion on the lessons from the theory and practice of Movement for a New Society for people interested in activism today.

Facebook Event:
Flyer at:

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ARCHIVE - Readings & Writing Prompt for Week 5: The Future Past: Commons & Commoning Tue, 26 Apr 2011 03:54:56 +0000 wolachd Continue reading ]]> Dear All,
Due to a paltry turnout on Saturday–kudos to those of you who let me know you were not going to be making it to class or who did show up for class–we’ve fallen a bit behind, and so this email is heavy on info, info I gave to folks on Saturday. And also we have a lot of work to do Weds! The writing prompt due for Saturday is in this email, as are the readings due before that, to be read for Wednesday. The Saturday prompt I gave out in class, so any questions about it should be asked on Wednesday at the beginning of class. The readings below, as we now enter into discussions about “public space” versus or as (?) “commons” and “commoning,” and how art practices, specifically text art practices, might relate here, these readings will be crucial sites of inspiration and/or models for us as we take up the writing prompt and write from it. Next week we’ll continue with this “theme” of commons and commoning, looking at aspects different from but related to the below–but keep in mind this “theme” has direct relationship to Buuck’s BARGE and the other readings from last week.
Please do these readings for Weds. Much of it is visual/conceptual art or audio (though still grounded in “creative” writing), and so looks to be like more reading than it is. NOTE the readings pasted in at the end of this email, short, but crucial. Read in order here, from top to bottom, would be my suggestion.
Please also bring last week’s readings in order to be able to refer back to them during class. And bring your derive writings AND your short reflections on my asking you to pick 1 piece from the readings last week, and write about WHAT THIS WORK IS DOING AND HOW IS IT DOING IT.WE WILL WORK WITH YOUR DERIVE AND YOUR REFLECTION WRITINGS.

Writing Prompt (don’t over-think this):
Individually, in the same group you were in for the derive, or in some part of that group (or in another configuration), it’s up to you, but: go back to some place that resonated with you in some way during your derive—that is, go back to that space that most interested you in some way or that gave you some ideas, perhaps, about wanting to know more, or act on that space, whatever, and NOW INTERVENE IN THAT SPACE in some way, in real time, and in writing afterwards. How? Draw out what it is you found interesting or problematic or disturbing or “invisible” otherwise (think about BARGE here or Stalk or some of the readings below). Do so by a) making a text art piece (poetry, score, script, prompt for action, etc) that can b) be “performed” or “enacted” or somehow “installed” into the landscape, into that place of interest you found on your derive–that can “frame” or further narrate or radically narrate that space. Spend enough time back in that space to do what you’ve decided to do, around 1-2 hours I’d guess. AFTER YOU’VE INTERVENED IN THAT SPACE, WRITE A POEM THAT “DOCUMENTS” (“ARCHIVES”) YOUR EXPERIENCE, up to 20 lines (paragraph, lined poetry, whatever), BUT THAT DOES NOT USE ANY NOUNS. Report back and poem are due for next (this upcoming) Saturday, Week 5.
1. Nonsite Collective Draft Proposal  HERE
2. Fred Moten, “Code and Tone” (audio)  HERE and “Tonk and Waterfront…” HERE (see Donovan’s piece below)
3. Silvia Federici, Feminism and the Politics of the Commons  HERE
4. Amy Balkin, “Public Smog,”  HERE and HERE and “This is the Public Domain”  HERE (for browsing)
5.Rob Halpern & Kootenay Poets on Prepositions for the Commons (2010):


1. The history of modernity is the history of the commons’ enclosure, i.e. “development.”

2. The commons has been traditionally understood as environmental resource open and available for use by the entire community — customary rights to the woods, and the use of common lands — all that sustains human life that can resist being monetized: rivers, pasture, wild game, plants, forest wood; but perhaps also our languages, the air.

3. The crisis of the commons is the crisis of community: how to organize our social relations around a commonmunus — or gift — (what Hannah Arendt refers to in the prologue of the Human Condition as “a gift from nowhere”): no one’s property, common ground of the human, mutual care.

4. According to Emile Benvensite in Indo-European Languages and Society, “munus is a gift carrying the obligation of a [fair] exchange, immunis is one who does not fulfill his obligation to make due return […] Consequently,communis does not mean ‘he who shares the duties’ but really he who has munia in common”. It follows that to be in community — to participate in the commons — is to give up the terms of one’s immunity, one’s transcendence, or exception: all those meanings which conceal a property logic of enclosures and contracts.

5. Common resource may be everywhere, but the commons as a social space, and a set of relations, is in no one place: it lies patient, and potential.

6. At the same time, the commons is comprised of the strata of many forgotten events, just as it potentializes a transfigured memory of our future.

7. There is no commons as such. The commons is not a positive concept, but rather a historical one. The commons is a Western idea, with a very particular genealogy dating back to the Magna Carta, where respect for customary rights was codified, by King John, as a concession to general discontent.

8. “The commons” emerges within a regime of accumulation. From its inception, a dominant form organization and accumulation has always been encroaching on the reserve it creates. Today, there may not exist a contemporary conceptual apparatus capable of realizing the commons as anything more than a hole in public space.

9. While common resource remains with us, even while diminishing, “the commons,” as such, doesn’t designate something currently in the world. To advocate for the commons is part of the work of bringing its own potential referent into being, as if for the first time.

10. Just as the commons is not a place, the commons is not a thing, either: to name it is to avow its conceptual enclosure, which may, paradoxically, be necessary for its activation. The commons could be a set of social relations, as well as a social space in opposition to the commodity relation (even though the commodity bears within it a memory trace of the commodiousness of the commons).

11. The waste of the system, that which refuses proper integration: these are the remains of a commons defeated, and the anticipatory omens of a commons to come.

12. The commons is always susceptible to becoming a duplicitous discourse because it responds in ways attractive to capital and anti-capital alike: insofar as it offers foils for both the limits of socialism and neoliberalism. In other words, the world bank loves the global commons.

13. Question: how to prevent the commons from serving the ends of a parasitical and predatory apparatus of accumulation?

14. Question: how to negate the idea of scarcity. From Malthus’s first essay on population, which makes of scarcity a universal law, one that continues to lend credibility to social policies and disabling whatever underclass, to Garret Hardin’s notorious “Tragedy of the Commons,” which argues that common ownership ineluctably leads to an exhaustion of “carrying capacity” (because every individual user will increase use and diminish resource),[1] scarcity has been used to justify everything from privatization and intensified class warfare to the commodification of pollutable airspace. These arguments work, not only because they appeal to dominant common sense, but because they deny or ignore the histories of customary rights and forms of self-regulation organized by local knowledge. How to undo the presupposition of scarcity upon which an entire economy of exchange shapes itself?

15. Project on the Commons is Anti-Malthusian evolution: toward the abundance that’s already here.

[1] “Hardin argued that a ‘man is locked into a system that compels him to increase his herd without limit—in a world that is limited’ (Hardin, Science 1968: 1244). He further asserted that having a conscience was self-eliminating. Those who restrain their use of a common-pool resource lose out economically in comparison to those who continue unrestrained use.” Challenges to the conceptual underpinning, to the empirical validity, to the theoretical adequacy, and to the generalizability of Hardin’s model and the related work in resources economics were articulated throughout the 1970s and early 1980s. A key challenge to the Hardin model came from researchers working in the field.” Dietz, Dolsak, Otrom, Stern, “The Drama of the Commons,” in The Drama of the Commons (Washington D.C.: National Academy Press:2002) 11.

6. Thom Donovan, from his talk on Commoning and the Law (in relation to Fred Moten’s work):

To the question of modeling or what, elsewhere, I have called “allegory” or “enactment,” I want to address [Fred] Moten’s work in particular, anticipating it as a point of departure for thinking about commoning in relation to somatics.

Moten’s work, after that of both white European and Black avant gardes in the 20th century, presents a radical discourse of the senses where, to paraphrase Marx, the senses become theoreticians.

But Moten tells Marx slant in his book Hughson’s Tavern, appropriately named after the rebellion by African slaves, Irish, West Indians and other “others” in colonial New York City, 1741. A direct expression of the commons, if we take the commons to be an expression of a democratized multitude; a direct expression of what Moten also calls the “Black Radical” aesthetic tradition—a tradition irreducible (yet historically particular) to skin color, that at once engages productive antagonisms for collective democratic expression and performs resistance to the reduction of human beings to commodity forms (i.e., slavery). [From Fred Moten's book]:

where the theoreticians will become senses in their practice

where the theoreticians will not be seeing, hearing

where the theoreticians will sear, the theoretician is a seer

where the theoreticians will be seen and heard in their practice

where the theoreticians will touch themselves

where the theoreticians will become sensual in their practice

where the reverse will always be in excess

where the sequence is for nono and maxine

where reading and recite this scene to John Gwin, my daddy

where they go plot paradise, blue bolivar, boll and marvel

where mask and boll and cut and fry and groove

where the senses will become theoreticians in their practice

–from Fred Moten’s “where the blues began,” in Hughson’s Tavern

Moten’s work, to my mind, embodies the problem of (the) theoreticians becoming sensual in their practice (and vice versa)—Moten’s poem in fact enacting a kind of chiasmus of “theory” (which is to say, conscious self-reflexivity) with “sensuality” (the sensual experience of an objective surrounding). The original site of this chiasmus is the revolutionary environment around John Hughson’s tavern, where people of various racial and cultural backgrounds worked collectively to achieve their freedom, and where, consequently, the Blues was “born” by John Gwin, the revolutionary Black leader instrumental in leading the rebellion around the tavern.

The discourse of the senses—and the doubling and redoubling of the senses in synaesthesia—attract me as a prosody for commoning, where aesthetic practice may touch a thinking about what we are doing, and where sense and nonsense, communication and the ineffable, legibility and obscurity found an immanent (common) sense of being in common. The Blues, therefore, as an extension of African-American arts does philosophy where theory and practice cannot be extricated—where, that is, they form a revolutionary chiasmus. Polysemy and paranomasia play to the tune of revolutionary excess.

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ARCHIVE - Readings for Weds, Week 4: “Everyday Life” and Poetic Intervention Continued Tue, 19 Apr 2011 03:00:32 +0000 wolachd Continue reading ]]> READINGS/VIEWINGS FOR WEDS WEEK 4

Readings online for Weds are below. And our collective web-text arts journal is now up and running here:

Please remember to get me your “Vicuna-inspired” re-writing of your partner’s found poem. And that your derive writing should be sent to me as attachment by this next Saturday. And PLEASE start putting up your creative work, as well as anything related to our course and to reclaiming public spaces, on our NEW BLOG!!! In such a large class, it’ll help us get to know each other and provide other means for us to do “critique” — which is to say, to ask what the text you are reading desires, and whether those desires are being met (a good way to think of critique or workshop).


David Buuck/BARGE, “Buried Treasure Island,” HERE (audio booklet/tour and 17 reasons why are also excellent to listen to/read on this site, so backtrack to BARGE’s main page for that stuff if you desire to read further)

Frank Sherlock & CAConrad’s PACE  HERE (Conrad will be here for a reading and somatic workshop on April 30th, look out for that announcement on our blog and my public blog)

Excerpt of “Landscapes of Dissent…” (courtesy of Nonsite Collective and the editors of the book, Jules Boykoff & Kaia Sand) HERE

Laura Elrick, “Stalk”  HERE

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ARCHIVE - Readings for Weds, Week 3: Psychogeograpy & Poetry as Investigating “Everyday Life” Tue, 12 Apr 2011 00:48:43 +0000 wolachd Continue reading ]]>

Student Uprising in Paris, 1968

Guy Debord, “Theory of the Derive”  HERE

Guy Debord, Chapter 3 of Society of the Spectacle  HERE (recommend you read this AFTER you do the other readings – the Debord above and the poetry below)

Brenda Coultas, from The Bowery Project (in Tool Magazine)

Bowery Mind by Brenda Coultas

Note from David: (copied / pasted from Jonathan Skinner ed. Ecopoetics #1, available online HERE, and begins on pg 22, with an interview following the poem on pg 24–amazing other work in the journal we’ll look at later, and all online for YOU…).

He said it too (a man in a book about the chicken wire hotels), a mantra I had been saying all along in my head:

When they tear down the bowery

When they implode the bowery

When they blow up the bowery

When they demolish the bowery

When they revise the bowery

When they renovate the bowery

When they deconstruct the bowery

He said they suffered from Bowery mind; the residents never expected to spend the remainder of their lives in single rooms, each taken up by a long narrow bed and hot plate. I said to my husband, “We will live in this apt., these 4 rooms for the rest of our lives. This is where we grow old together. We will never be able to live anywhere else. We’ll never have the money or the time to find another place. I am 42.” At first it made me cry and then later it became very satisfying to say, “This is the bed, the room, the place I will die in. “ It settles the mind. People think it’s tragic to be old in New York City, but maybe it’s just tragic to be old anyplace.

Once people moved away from farms and came to cities, all saying this is what I did, this is what I did for posterity. Along came me saying this is what I did for poetry. A lot of people came here all at once, this is how and why my tenement exists.

A man lying in a prone position on sidewalk outside the vacant lot. The lot was covered in white poison and cleared off.

The bottles had been getting tall. I could imagine a bottle village or other folk shrine (even the Mennonites in Illinois had a building made of Fresca bottles), but the glass rising to the top of the chain links, like a transparent pool without swimmers. (Afternoon, May 8, ’01, Bowery & 1st St.)

He said he was once the most powerful drug dealer on the block and, “go fuck yourself.” I saw him later, carrying around a strange sculpture difficult to describe, because there was no comparison to it in the natural world. (2nd St. & 2nd Ave)

Man carrying a deflated blow-up doll in basket, said he would wash it and hang it on the wall to make a statement, collecting graffiti tags, said he’s going to make a coffee table book. In bodega a man said with body language, give me three numbers, and I’ll give you three in reference to lotto. We both lost the 33 million. (Houston and Allen)

Man with huge, flopping, boil on neck. His hands were empty. ( April 29, ’01 Bleeker and Bowery)

An experience for which I have no comparison, can’t say it was this or that, just it was what it was. It existed. So write “It was late at night, and a fine rain was swirling softly down…. That is when I began this experiment in misery.”

Saw a man carrying a cross and a cane, wearing earphones. His sign said the government broke his legs. (April 28, ’01 9 am. White House Hotel, 3rd & Bowery )

Some might say that all I’ve done is stack up a heap of objects. Some will say it’s all been done before, and that others have done better but still I stack things up. I don’t think about it, I put blinders on. But I hope that through accumulation they’ll form a pattern out of chaos. I’ve stacked up twigs one by one building a structure, weaving and shaping, forming a skeleton out of raw garbage, transformed into beauty, maybe. With something to say to any Bowery resident or reader of poetry. I am intentionally writing for you and me.

Flowersand graffitti for Joey Ramone. (May 1, ’01, CBGB’S, Bleeker & Bowery)


FOR ANY INTERESTED (non-required reading – but speaks to the SI’s involvement in the 68 student uprising and ensuing strikes in Paris)

“On the Poverty of Student Life,” Situationist International (1966)

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ARCHIVE - Writing Prompt for Sat, Week 2: Investigatory Poetics: Found Text, Media and Commodity Fri, 08 Apr 2011 03:21:14 +0000 wolachd Continue reading ]]> Hi All,

Aside from giving me a short writeup of a up to a few paragraphs on how and whether information is a public space or space to be reclaimed, below is the writing prompt due for Saturday. Please bring these writings with you on Saturday, sending at very least the poem to me by Sat. eve after class. You can also send me the response to this above question–I encourage you to do so if you have it typed up. Attachments please.

See you Sat!

In Solidarity,


A reminder that as part of stuff to do this upcoming week–one of the two writing prompts I’ll give everyone between now and next Saturday. This is the assignment I briefly mentioned at end of class today.

By next Saturday write a poem of any length–emphasis on intention and attention over quantity of pages, words, etc–that

a) uses only appropriated (found) text, such as newspaper, online or no, commercial ad, memo, etc (can be more than one source, up to you);
and that

b) speaks to some interest you have in the commodification or privatization of space, in information AS potential or actual public or private space, a space to be investigated and reclaimed, as commodity to be turned inside out, etc.

Think about the Marx and our discussion, about the mediated way we interact with commodities, and about labor as hidden. Now think about/investigate how information flow (language, and who controls that language) might either facilitate or be one mechanism by which labor is hidden, or owned (privatized), and commodity driven (think advertising, for example, as a vehicle for increasing demand for commodity while occluding/hiding the labor behind that commodity).

How might you use various informational–ad, news, etc–sources that promote commodification as means to investigate, highlight, and maybe even critique those same sources? To “reclaim” that informational flow by way of framing it AS a poem? Here is one example of found work, written by poet and former student Jenny Paris:
This is all to give you some ideas; don’t overthink or worry about the prompt too much.
But do use as your models the Paris above, and the Zolf excerpt of the poem Human Resources and the Durback excerpt of her book Zine Chapbook–both involving source texts/found text, and for Zolf, chance operations using online language generators.

Remember, YOUR poem isn’t due till next Saturday, and we’ll be discussing/having lecture on Zolf, Durback, and continuing with Marx, on Wednesday. So any questions you may have, either about the poems or about the structure of the class, might be cleared up via that discussion, via us covering those poem handouts in class. The 3rd short text I will send you momentarily will also be helpful–a short article on poetic strategies of appropriation of mass media and other information, such as we see happening in the poems you received today. How might this be a conjoining of organizing/radical pedagogy and aesthetic/writing practice?
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ARCHIVE - Readings for Weds Week 2 Tue, 05 Apr 2011 02:17:57 +0000 wolachd Continue reading ]]>
So here are the readings for this week. I managed to find some of the Rachel Zolf excerpts (from the book Human Resources) online. So if you did not get that handout, hit on the links for Zolf below. As for the Durback (the other handout), I’m still waiting to get the scanned excerpt of her book Zine Chapbook. I’ll forward it soon.
Meantime, all readings to have done for Weds are below. If you DID get the Zolf handout in class, ignore the Zolf links below, but DO hit the other link, the Osman essay.

Last, I’ve included here, in celebration and solidarity with the week of fair budget actions, links related to the corporatization of academia, academic labor.  THESE READINGS/RESOURCES ARE OPTIONAL. Simply recommended readings/links, if you have the time and have the interest. We’ll cover education / pedagogy in relation to reclaiming public space during a different week as part of the syllabus-proper, so again, these are links not for class this week, but to contextualize and historicize the labor-education relation playing out now as part of budget slashing/legislative moves to curb forming unions in the public sector– and ensuing rallying responses (here but of course in the midwest and elsewhere as well).
See you all Weds. Enjoy reading. Enjoy writing from the prompt in the earlier email, writing not due till Saturday.
In Solidarity,
Readings for Wednesday (in addition to the poems handed out that I will send when I get the scans. Remember, if you did get the Zolf handout, ignore the Zolf links below)

Optional Solidarity Readings (a couple of these we’ll cover formally as part of class later, looking also at student-faculty-staff coalitions by way of organizing and labor)
Collective Bargaining On Campus, from the book Will Teach for Food
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ARCHIVE - March for a Fair Budget — Action Festival April 5 Sat, 02 Apr 2011 03:08:18 +0000 wolachd Continue reading ]]> The March for a Fair Budget and the Coalition’s Capital Action Festival is on Tuesday April 5th. March begins 10AM at Rafah Mural at State and Capital Way. Music starts at noon on Capital steps. Jim Page, the famous folk singer from Seattle, Danny Kelly our local legendary troubadour, the Citizens Band together again, hiphop by Thought Crime Collective, more love from Collective Love Unlimited and fun covers from the Olympia Free Choir. Also political theater! The Backbone’s Wheel of Fortune or Misfortune will let you choose how we spend our taxes and your attendance is required to stop the theatrical marriage ceremony of the corporation and government. Throughout all of this will be short speeches by real people not politicians or pundits on how we can take our government back!

The gloves are off. Don’t let the music and fun fool you. We mean serious business and we want you to come and participate in actions that we hope will begin the long struggle towards a better future for us and our children. Like Wisconsin our state is changing and who comes out on top is either the corporations or the people. We say the people lead and the leaders follow! We need people on the steps and engaged and to keep coming back over and over again! That is how our democracy will regain it’s vibrancy!

All this is part of a week of action APRIL 2-8. Mark your calendars for these events and make plans to join us as we demand that the bankers and billionaires — and their politician handmaidens in government — stop the attacks on working people and that they share in the sacrifice as our nation struggles to recover from the economic havoc their greed and malfeasance has caused.

SATURDAY, APRIL 2 — 2 p.m. at Peace Arch Park in Blaine — This International Solidarity Event will bring together unionists, students, activists from Canada,Washington and Oregon to extend hands across the border in solidarity with all workers. This event will be co-sponsored by the British Columbia Federation of Labour; the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO; and the Oregon AFL-CIO. Please email Lori Province from the WSLC about mobilization efforts.

SUNDAY, APRIL 3 — 6:30 p.m. at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle — Join IATSE Local 15 for Solidarity Night at “Billy Elliott: The Musical.” Living in a coal mining town in Northern England, young Billy Elliot doesn’t take to boxing lessons and is instead drawn to ballet. His father and brother, striking miners, struggle to understand and support his passion for dance. This is a Union production. Actors are members of Actors Equity; stagehands, IATSE Local 15; hair and makeup, IATSE Local 488; and wardrobe, IATSE Local 887; and musicians, AFM 76-493 and other locals. No-host bar begins at 5:30 p.m. and the show starts at 6:30 p.m. Tickets range from $26.30 to $56.90. For tickets or information, contact IATSE Local 15 at 206-441-1515 ext. 225 Tickets at these group rates are limited, so please get in touch now!

MONDAY, APRIL 4 — 5:30 – 7 p.m. at MLK Memorial Park in Seattle — The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, at 6:01 p.m. in Memphis, Tenn., where he was standing with sanitation workers demanding their dream of a better life. Today, the right to bargain collectively for a voice at work and a middle-class life are under attack as never before. Join in this National Call to Action on April 4 and stand with other civil and human rights activists, union members and supporters, Latinos, Asians and immigrants, religious supporters, environmental, student and women’s groups against a political agenda that is attacking working families, their human rights and their dignity. This event, sponsored by the Communications Workers of America, will be at 2200 Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Seattle.

TUESDAY, APRIL 5TH – March begins 10 am at the Olympia/Rafah Solidarity Mural at State Avenue and Capital Way. Then on the Capital Steps:
11:45-12: Speaker
12-12:30 Danny Kelly
12:30-1 Speaker
1-1:30 Collective Love Unlimited
1:30-1:45 Wheel of Fortune
1:45-2:30 Jim Page
2:30-3 Marriage Ceremony between Corporations and Government
3-3:45 Citizens Band
3:45-4 Open Mic
4-4:30 Thought Crime COLLECTIVE
4:30-5 Speakers
5-6 Olympia Free Choir
6-7 March around the capital campus!

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 6 — Noon at the Capitol (exact location TBA) — Washington Community Action Network will bring hundreds of community activists and students to Olympia in an attempt to find the sacrifices that the Legislature will make the bankers and billionaires pay to get us out of the economic crisis.

THURSDAY, APRIL 7 — Time/precise location TBA — Health care unions, led by SEIU District 1199NW, will mobilize health care workers in Olympia to demand that the Legislature fix the deficit problems and to look into the faces of the victims.

FRIDAY, APRIL 8 — Noon at the Capitol Steps – This is the big one: a major Labor Rally at the Capitol in Olympia. Washington’s working families are tired of being blamed and punished for the damage done by Wall Street banks and corporations. Join thousands of public- and private-sector workers from all trades as we stand together as one and demand that lawmakers PUT PEOPLE FIRST! We want good jobs, we want our rights, and we want them NOW!

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ARCHIVE - Seminar Reading SAT WEEK 1, Reclaiming Public Space, Reminders Fri, 01 Apr 2011 06:36:52 +0000 wolachd Continue reading ]]> Hi All,


I have excerpts of 2 poems that I’ll hand out for us to workshop in-class with the Marx short excerpt below. In addition we’ll do some creative writing (text arts) for the first time this quarter on Saturday. I also hope to begin to get to know one-another during this “language lab” day–so a busy day. One major thing is to at least begin to discuss Marx’s Capital via this small excerpt (continuing with Marx–and the poems–in lecture/discussion on Weds eve). So, please remember to have read this very short excerpt of Marx’s Capital, Section 4 on “Commodity Fetishism,” by the time class begins on Saturday:

Link is HERE

Remember that only this week will we have readings to do FOR Saturday (due for Sat). Usually any assigned readings  will be due for lecture-discussions on Weds and writing/experimenting with texts (language lab) reserved for Saturdays. This week since we are just starting out, having not made any text arts of our own yet, will be the exception. So, this reading is VERY short–since we’ll also come back to Marx when we have more context under our belts.

Enjoy this. Take note of questions, observations, critique–whatever interests or puzzles you.

Last, remember, for those who did get the chance to write a paragraph on what “reclaiming public space” means for you and what text arts and aesthetic production generally may or may not have to do with reclaiming public space–remember to bring these paragraph responses with you to class.

See you then!

In Solidarity,


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ARCHIVE - Experiments in Text Spring 2011 Welcome Letter Tue, 29 Mar 2011 02:50:08 +0000 wolachd Continue reading ]]> Dear All,

Welcome to your course, Experiments in Text: Reclaiming Public Spaces! This should be a fun, but socially-politically and aesthetically generative (and urgent) quarter. I’m looking forward to getting started.

Class is located in Sem II C2109 – both days, Weds at 5pm and on Sat at 4pm.

There are no readings or writings due for the first day. Rather, we’ll spend some time discussing major themes of the quarter, logistics, and writing processes, spending some time responding to any questions. We’ll likely get out a little early that first day. For future, however, I’ll be emailing everyone links to weekly readings (or attaching pdfs when necessary), as well as putting up these readings on our course blog. The blog will also be a place for announcements and the occasional extrapolation on ideas / materials covered in class. So, please bookmark this blog address (note that the name will change to reflect this quarter’s course, but note too that you’ll have at your fingertips resources of all short courses I’ve taught since 2007):

I also have a public blog that is worth putting in your virtual back pocket, since I write on contemporary issues in poetics and politics here, thus making that blog potentially useful, though non-required, as resource:

The readings posted to the first link above will be very short and will serve to give us context and models to play with, work off, discuss. They’ll range from works of poetry to multi-media artworks, to, again, short critical writing. I am mindful that this is a 4 credit course, so will keep workload at a level appropriate for 4 credits. It’s the quality of work we do with one another that I’m interested in, not quantity or breadth. And so with such little time to play with, primacy will be given to the work each of you do, individually and collaboratively, over assigned readings. We’ll spend a good amount of time outside the classroom this quarter.

Anyhow, I’m really looking forward to learning from and with you this quarter. And to getting to know those of you I have yet to meet/work with.

See you Wednesday,

In Solidarity,

david wolach

Experiments in Text: Spring 2011

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ARCHIVE - This Sat: Kate Bornstein Fri, 04 Mar 2011 05:15:18 +0000 wolachd Continue reading ]]> Great conversation on Armies by Stecopoulos and beginning of a discussion on The Book of Frank by Conrad! Terms/themes that kept coming up re TOB are below. And below that is the Kate Bornstein info. See you all at her talk. And then see you for an optional debrief on her talk in our normal classroom promptly at 7pm. First, on The Book of Frank so far:


–”Primary Frank” (the larger “narrative” arc of the poems as they pile up, forming a character-like entity, the normative or even cis-gendered life of which is in contradiction, or maybe subjugates, all the “little Franks” — the small uses of this name, standing in for people, animals, things, families, etc., living in “unlivable” conditions)

–Embodied poems, yet “Frank,” “Mother” etc as social constructions, as both social bodies and as “bodyless” in the corporeal sense….

–”Metamorphosis” — discussion of Ovid, of Kafka, of “haiku disfigured.”

–What is not on the page as what is (equally) important: what we cannot see, those we cannot describe. Can we touch what is not there? What is implied? Or what is omitted? [The magic between in the cracks between words, between circumstances made visceral...]


–”Narrative poetry”

–”Transformation and Trans-gendered” in relation to “narrative”

–”Pervasive social violence” in the poems in relation to the inclusive love implicit in them, as well as juxtaposed to love as expressed by Conrad in his activist and other writings: “it’s easy to die transgressing out there.”

–Frank as “hole” or “site” around which things or systems or feelings collect, thus only visible by way of what collects around a constantly shape-shifting (again) “blank.”

Hey everybody,

In case you haven’t heard, Kate Bornstein will be on campus (in Lecture Hall 1) on Saturday, March 5th at 3pm. In case you don’t know, Kate is an author, playwright and performance artist whose work to date has been in service to sex positivity, gender anarchy, and to building a coalition of those who live on cultural margins. Kate’s book, “Hello, Cruel World: 101 Alternatives To Suicide For Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws,” was published in 2007. Her ground-breaking books “Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women and the Rest of Us” and “My Gender Workbook” are taught in over 150 colleges around the world. A new anthology, “Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation,” co-edited with S. Bear Bergman, recently hit bookstores. Her memoir, “Kate Bornstein Is A Queer and Pleasant Danger” is due out before the end of 2011.

Hope to see you there!
The Evergreen Queer Alliance

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