El Corno Emplumado. Some Samples

In anticipation to the series of activities we will have this semester of Spring 2010 with Margaret Randall, you can enjoy these samples from the mythical journal El Corno Emplumado, published by her and Sergio Mondragón during the sixties.  The activities will follow this schedule:

Monday, March 15 at 6:30 pm, The Skylight Room (9100) : Beats and Beyond.  Documenting the Poets of the 60’s
with Cecilia Vicuña, Melanie La Rosa, and Henry Ferrini.

Monday, March 22 at 6:30 pm, The Skylight Room (9100):  New Visions, New Activism, New American Poetry:  Margaret Randall in Conversation

Tuesday, March 23 at 6:30 pm, The Ph. D. Program in Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Languages (4116):  Memory and Oral History:  A Personal Journey.  Organized by the Literary Theory Study Group and the Colombian Studies Group

These activities are possible thanks to the support of The Center for the Humanities, the Doctoral Students Council, the Lost and Found Project, and the Ph.D. Program in Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Languages.


Join poet and editor Annie Finch, along with contributors to the anthology Multiformalisms: Postmodern Poetics of Form, for a lively discussion of how contemporary poets use and understand forms. The conversation, like the book, will juxtapose traditional formalism and Flarf, the American long poem and native Hawaiian poetry, rhyme in Paul Muldoon and textual variability in New Media poetry, Susan Howe and Lucinda Roy, jazz and Asian American poetics, and much more. Featuring Marilyn Hacker, Patricia Smith, Tyler Hoffman, and Stefania deKenessey. Presented by the Center for the Humanities and the GC Poetics Group. Moderated by Corey Frost.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010. 6:30 pm. At the CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue New York, Rm. 9206.
Multiformalisms : Postmodern Poetics of Form. (Essays. Edited by Annie Finch and Susan M. Schultz. Textos Books.)

March 26th: Books by and about Meena Alexander

The Postcolonial Studies Group invites you to a special event to celebrate and discuss two new books: Lopamudra Basu (University of Wisconsin, Stout) and Cynthia Leenerts (East Stroudsburg University) will discuss their anthology Passage to Manhattan: Critical Essays on Meena Alexander, and Meena Alexander (Hunter College and The Graduate Center, CUNY) will be present to discus her own Poetics of Dislocation.

March 26, 4-6pm

CUNY Graduate Center 4th floor English Lounge (4406),  365 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10016

Lost & Found

Some very exciting work has been going on around here, a large-scale archeological dig of sorts, and December 8th is your chance to discover what has been unearthed: come to the launch of the inaugural chapbook series of Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Documents Initiative. This is a ground-breaking project, and we’re all excited to see it happen. More info here.

Read at Revels

Hi all,

On Dec. 11th at 5 pm, just before the maelstrom of Winter Revels begins to spin, the GC Poetics Group in collaboration with the ESA will be hosting Image Music Text, our semi-annual reading, in the English Department lounge. The roster is starting to fill up, but we are still looking for participants.

For those unfamiliar with the tradition: each year before the English Department’s winter party we host a reading at which Graduate Center writers perform their work, whether it’s poetry, short prose, theatre, inspired babble, or anything performative.

There are a lot of talented writers at the GC, both faculty and students, and past readings have had impressive and eclectic line-ups. Each performer has 4-5 minutes to do with what you want!

We try to include different people each year, and newcomers are especially welcome. Scientists and philosophers too. If you would like to take part in this year’s reading, please contact us (via gcpoetics@gmail.com) and the sooner the better.

Your hosts,

Erica Kaufman
Ben Miller

We’re number four.

Thanks to all of you who took a moment to electronically sign our membership roster. We easily reached the quota that was required in order to keep our funding from the Doctoral Students Council, which means we are able to provide honoraria when we invite speakers, buy drinks and snacks, and save up for a rainy day.

We didn’t just meet the requirements, in fact: out of 32 groups, we were tied for fourth place in terms of support (alongside the Social and Political Theory Students Association and the Twentieth Century Studies Group).

Support Poetics via Electronic Roster

Hello Poetics members. In order to maintain active status as a GC Doctoral Students’ Council Chartered Organization (and to receive DSC funding), each semester we have to document our membership via this online ballot system. (This is a new system; previously, it was done by having members sign a paper roster.)

If you are a student at the Graduate Center, please use the link below to login and “vote for” the GC Poetics Group. You need to have a GC student number to login to the system, so if you are not a GC student, we appreciate your interest and support, but you don’t need to bother with this.

By the way, you can “vote for” as many organizations as you like; this is not an either/or situation, just an indication that you think our group is worthy of support.

Link to Chartered Organizations Electronic Rosters: https://eballot.votenet.com/dsc/login.cfm



A launch (the last of three) for the newest edition of EOAGH: A Journal of the Arts will happen at the Graduate Center Tuesday night. Check out the great line-up of readers.

Martin Segal Theater
CUNY Graduate Center
365 Fifth Ave NYC

6:00    Dorothea Lasky
6:10    Kate Broad
6:20    Uche Nduka
6:30    Stefania Heim
6:40    Thomas Fink
6:50    CA Conrad

7:00    Benjamin Miller
7:10    Vincent Katz
7:20    Louis Bury
7:30    Anne Tardos
7:40    Emily Moore
7:50    Ari Banias

8:00    Paolo Javier
8:10    John Harkey
8:20    Kimberly Lyons
8:30    Emily Beall
8:40    Julian Brolaski
8:50    Sueyeun Juliette Lee

Thanks, Eileen Myles.

And thanks to everyone who came out for her conversation with Erica Kaufman and Corey Frost. Unresolved questions: how “natural” is storytelling? Do people become good at talking in front of crowds because they are extroverted, or because they are introverted? Why does the word “lesbian” tend to make some people giggle? Why is John Cage the most important person in America, next to Gertrude Stein? Is there any truth to the story that Iceland’s name was a Viking marketing ploy?

What is The Importance of Being Iceland?

On Friday, October 2, 2009, at 6:30 pm, we are lucky enough to have Eileen Myles, the sui generis downtown poet, novelist, essayist, and performer, “my President,” as Erica Hunt recently said at the AdFemPo conference, for a couple of hours at the Grad Center, in the English Department lounge, room 4406, during which she will read from her new book, The Importance of Being Iceland: Travel Essays in Art, and then Corey Frost (me) and Erica Kaufman, both writers, doctoral English students at the Grad Center, and fans of Eileen, will give short responses to her work, following which there will be plenty of time for questions, making for an excellent opportunity to discuss a variety of topics, everything from melting glaciers, movie stars, and menopause, to class, gender, and barf, and a chance to talk to a legendary writer, a vital part of the New York poetry scene from the 70s until now.

There are 30 commas in the one-sentence paragraph above, a surfeit of organizational punctuation that is more or less the opposite of Eileen Myles’ semantically messy, often punctuation-free Steinian sentence. Her new book covers a wide range of subjects (travel, art, people, and poetry, for starters) and has two or three brilliant, casually subversive ideas on each page, but each of the essays is unmistakably Eileen Myles. Each one feels like an improvised performance, as though the author didn’t know she was going to be asked that question but is really enjoying the process of figuring out an answer. And the process is never a linear one. In the title essay, Myles gives various reasons for her interest in Iceland, but perhaps one way that Iceland is important is that it seems so tangential to the way the rest of the world works, and therefore a perfect landscape for such an ambulatory intellectual method. “I’m not sure if I’m telling a story or unveiling my mania,” she says.

Elsewhere, in an essay published in Biting the Error, talking about her novel Cool for You, she says, “my dirty secret has always been that it’s of course about me” (151) — but at the same time, she points out, the novel is Cool for You, it’s for you. It’s a communal form, like epic poetry, long and social. This emphasis on the social importance of literature is something that interests me very much in Myles’ work. She tells a story, in her new book, about watching a rare public reading by New York School poet James Schuyler—his first ever, in fact—and what she focuses on, what makes it “the most unforgettable reading I’m sure I’ll ever be at,” is the applause at the end, which goes on enthusiastically, compulsively, for perhaps 10 minutes. The most memorable part of the reading, in other words, was not something that the poet did but something the audience did in response. James Schuyler was a genius, she says, matter-of-factly, but more importantly, he was “our genius.”

Poetry, then, is not just about poetry, or as Schuyler said (according to Myles): “I think anything that’s all poetry is boring, don’t you, babe?” Recently, when she gave one of three keynote addresses at Belladonna’s Advancing Feminist Poetics: A Gathering, Myles talked about her late friend, the poet Jim Carroll, and how he had a trick, at readings, of reciting passages from the text as though he were speaking extemporaneously, as though you were getting something from the live Jim Carroll that just wasn’t there in the printed Jim Carroll. And you do, of course, get something from the live reading that you don’t get from the solitary reading, that’s obvious, but I was struck by the observation that she made then: I’m paraphrasing, but she said something to the effect that people’s response to poetry readings, or to poetry in general perhaps, the way they value it, can be read in how they respond to the gaps between the poems. I believe she was talking about both audience and poet. Is there an awkward shuffling of pages between poems? A tense silence? Or is it a silence that is sumptuous and shared? What about the banter? If you only heard the introductions to the poems and not the poems themselves, would you still be entertained? Suggesting that a poem accomplishes what it accomplishes in large part for reasons that are entirely outside the text is still blasphemous for some people, including many poets, because it seems to elevate mere social chit-chat to the same level of aesthetic significance as the poem (and presumably somehow diminishes the poem in the process). But anyone who has ever attended a poetry reading, and especially anyone who has attended more than one kind of poetry reading, knows it to be true, and more and more criticism is being written that acknowledges it. For Eileen Myles, it is a fundamental part of her writing practice.

Some of my favourite lines, recklessly plucked from their context in The Importance of Being Iceland, which I intend to further de-contextualize, or re-contextualize, during our discussion Friday evening:

“Everyone has sex, even if they don’t.” (from “Play Paws”)

“Potentially a lot of art is waste, wasted labor, wasted intellection, and of course mountains and mountains of stuff gets made — so let’s just give it away.” (from “Free Show”)

“You don’t come to New York if you don’t like advertising.” (from “Prints of Words”)

“John Cage, who probably next to Gertrude Stein is the most important man in America. Ever.” (from “How to Write an Avant-Garde Poem”)

“It wasn’t so bad to be totally wrong if you just didn’t know and it was so much fun.” (from “Everyday Barf” — the story, incidentally, that inspired Dodie Bellamy’s Barf Manifesto)

“Hawaii is not that different from Denmark.” (from “A Wedding in Denmark”)

Howl is remarkable because Allen did the complete thing — he wrote both a poem and a culture to put it in.” (from “Repeating Allen”)

“Today I was a little ashamed to be inside a museum so I went outside. The street wasn’t under-inflected, nor was it wanting to make sure we had a good time. It was sure of its material and we grabbed a cab and went downtown in the rain.” (from “Vernacular”)