Miranda Mellis: An Introduction by Aaron Smith

BathHouse reading series welcomed Miranda Mellis this fall, and Aaron Smith (a current graduate student) wrote a wonderful introduction to her reading. I thought I’d share it here!

“Today we welcome Miranda Mellis, a powerfully surreal mind & voice in a world that cannot slow down or re-trace its steps. Our cultures have carved a heavy path through time, have created & shaped what we imagine as history, and Mellis works intensely to decode our collective views of both history & time, past, present, future, and other realities. She asks a continuous array of questions that guide her readers & characters through fictional realities that further question what is happening to us & them as individuals, and question how we perceive ourselves & our world.

Lucia, the narrator of The Spokes, at one point offers a direct analysis of past & present: “We’ve been this kind of human […] for two hundred thousand years […] If we don’t know ourselves, how can we know the ancestors?” Our vision of history is blurry at best, and the ways in which our knowledge of the past is commonly obscured cause us to un-learn countless ways of living that have much to teach us about collaboration & communication. Mellis’s vivid imagery opens doors to the past & versions of the present that we might otherwise overlook forever. In a 2012 interview with Green Apple bookstore, she explains:   “our everyday lives are outrageously pressurized in ways that we become habituated to, that become invisible, and then rear up in all sorts of painful intensifications, symptoms  & so forth. Forms of magic – magical thinking, magical transformations, and magical actions – represent reachable, alternative forms of agency & knowledge in lieu of  political power for the disenfranchised, abandoned, and oppressed.”

In another 2012 interview with City Lights bookstore, she alternately describes fiction as “an organ for detecting what otherwise goes unregistered.” By utilizing these “alternative forms of agency,” Mellis is able to both openly ridicule & rigorously analyze “what otherwise goes unregistered” for many people: the ways in which our cultures & histories push themselves forward at maddening speeds, inevitably crash & collapse, then slowly repeat the long, determined climb back to some epic climax. In The Spokes, her narrator Lucia argues that “Sometimes the impossible is the missing ingredient.” This element of “the impossible” is what drives powerfully meaningful pieces of our own reality deeper into our minds when winding through the fantastic landscapes assembled by Mellis; over time her imagined landscapes begin to feel more familiar than our own.

I would like to close with a quote from The Revisionist; a paragraph that stands alone on pg. 63, and in many ways defines the sense of time that pours through all her parables:  “There were so many different kinds of time. There was time measured in objects & time measured in space. There was time enclosed by language [...] There was the way a person measures the distance between what she once felt & the moment she realizes she no longer feels that way. There was also the void, for which time was conventionally the foil.”

Miranda Mellis teaches at Evergreen State College. She is the author of The Quarry, The Spokes, None of This Is Real, Materialisms, and The Revisionist, which was the subject of a 90-foot mural at Franklin Art Works in Minneapolis. Miranda is also a founding editor with The Encyclopedia Project, a hybrid publication that plays with the ideas of reference book, literary journal & arts catalogue, blending all into a hybrid series of cross-referenced hardcover volumes. Please welcome her to our small pocket of time & space.”

Join Us For An Evening of Poetry

Please join us for an evening of poetry and conversation with:

EMILY ABENDROTH

&

AMANDA DAVIDSON

 

Saturday, September 27

@ Rob Halpern and Lee Azus’s home

contact rhalpern@emich.edu for address and directions.

Gathering begins 7:30

Readings will begin at 8PM

BYOB

 

 

Emily Abendroth is a poet, teacher, and anti-prison activist. Much of her creative work investigates state regimes of power and force, as well as strategies of resistance. Her poetry book, ]Exclosures[, was just released from Ahsahta Press this past May. Her works are often published in limited edition, handcrafted chapbooks by small and micropresses such as Belladonna (New York), Little Red Leaves (Texas), Albion Press (Philadelphia), TapRoot (San Francisco) and Zumbar Press (San Francisco). She is an active organizer with Decarcerate PA (a grassroots campaign working to end mass incarceration in Pennsylvania) and is co-founder of Address This!, an education and empowerment project that provides innovative, social justice correspondence courses to individuals incarcerated in Pennsylvania.

Work by Emily can be found here:

http://xpoetics.blogspot.com/2013/03/emily-abendroth-exclosure-9-11-17.html

 

http://thermosmag.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/philadelphia-poets-emily-abendroth/

 

 

Amanda K. Davidson writes, teaches and makes performances in Brooklyn and elsewhere. She is the author of two prose chapbooks: Arcanagrams: A Reckoning  (Little Red Leaves 2014) and Apprenticeship (New Herring Press 2013). She is a writer-in-residence at LMCC’s 2014–2015 Workspace Residency program, and has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony, Art Farm Nebraska, and the Millay Colony for the Arts. Her fiction appears in Ping PongThe Encyclopedia Project4’33”, and elsewhere. She teaches writing at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, and is currently at work on a performance novel about the mystic Swedenborg.  

 

Recent work by Amanda can be found here:

http://www.fourthirtythree.com/archivesSUMMER13.html

 

 

http://blogcitylights.com/2012/07/04/the-applicant-by-amanda-davidson/

 

 

 

Upcoming: Temporal Arts Collective Reading 10/18

Friday, October 18 at 8:00pm.
128 W Michigan Ave, apt 5

Performances by TAC & friends. All are welcome! Come out and enjoy what this Ypsi community has to offer.

TAC presents guest reader Cynthia Spencer:

http://www.commonlinejournal.com/2009/10/poetry-by-cynthia-spencer-2009.html

http://www.poetrycemetery.com/spencernew.htm

Upcoming: BATHHOUSE EVENTS 11/5 & 11/6

Join us on November 5th and 6th as BathHouse Events and the Creative Writing Department welcomes Douglas Kearney and Tisa Bryant!

The details…

Readings by Douglas Kearney and Tisa Bryant
Tuesday, Nov. 5th, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
EMU Student Center Auditorium
Ypsilanti


And:
“Textual Orality: African Diasporic Aesthetic Practices” 
A Discussion with Douglas Kearney and Tisa Bryant
Wednesday, Nov. 6th 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
EMU Student Center Auditorium
Ypsilanti

Texual Orality: African Diasporic Aesthetic Practices
The aesthetic and formal roots of African diasporic cultural production are often determined in relation to oral tradition, from poetic expression and practical education, to transmission of cosmologies and the genealogical storytelling of village griots. Celebrating and analyzing solely the oral can come at the expense of the written word, from signs and pictographs of ancient Egypt or Haiti, to the ‘spirit writing’ of African American mediums and healers. In response to this enduring but insufficient binary thinking, Tisa Bryant and Douglas Kearney devised the concept Textual Orality. Textual Orality is a way of naming this site of generative tension within African diasporic literature. Using this concept as a critical frame, Bryant and Kearney will explore the ways in which both the (il)legible and aural, the stylized mark and the spoken word, experiments in writing and traditions in performance (or vice-versa), are distinct and interdependent features of their individual writing practices and pedagogies.
Tisa Bryant:
            Though she hails from Boston, received an MFA from Brown University, and lives in Los Angeles, Tisa Bryant grew into her writing within San Francisco’s vibrant literary/arts communities, serving in various capacities with ATA, CineLatino, Frameline, New Langton Arts, the San Francisco International Film Festival, Small Press Traffic, and Intersection for the Arts, among others. She is the author of Unexplained Presence (Leon Works, 2007), a collection of hybrid essays on myth-making and black presences in film, literature and visual art; co-editor/founder of the ongoing cross-referenced journal of narrative and storytelling, The Encyclopedia Project, and co-editor of War Diaries, an anthology of black gay men’s desire and survival, nominated for a 2010 LAMBDA Literary Award. Bryant is currently on a reunion tour with the poets and writers of The Dark Room Collective, celebrating the 25th anniversary of their nationally-renown African diasporic arts exhibition and reading series and she teaches fiction and experimental writing in the MFA Creative Writing Program at the California Institute of the Arts.
Douglas Kearney:
           Poet/performer/librettist DouglasKearney’s second, full-length collection of poetry, The Black Automaton (Fence Books, 2009), was Catherine Wagner’s selection for the National Poetry Series. It was also a finalist for the Pen Center USA Award in 2010. His newest chapbook, SkinMag (A5/Deadly Chaps) is available. Red Hen Press will publish Kearney’s third collection, Patter, in 2014. He has received a Whiting Writers Award, a Coat Hanger award and fellowships at Idyllwild, Cave Canem, and others. Two of his operas, Sucktionand Crescent City, have received grants from the MAPFund. Sucktion has been produced internationally. Crescent Citypremiered in Los Angeles in 2012. He has been commissioned to write and/or teach ekphrastic poetry for the Weisman Museum (Minneapolis), Studio Museum in Harlem, MOCA, SFMOMA, the Getty and the Poetry Foundation. Raised in Altadena, CA, he lives with his family in California’s Santa Clarita Valley. He teaches at CalArts.

Friday, October 4 – Site/Nonsite Detroit: Poetry @ASAP

Site/Nonsite Detroit: Poetry @ASAP

http://www.english.wayne.edu/fac_pages/ewatten/pdfs/ASAP%20reading.pdf

Brian Ang (Oakland, CA; editor of Armed Cell); Sara Larsen; (Oakland, CA; organizer of The Public School); David Lau (Santa Cruz, CA; editor of Lana Turner); Rob Halpern (Ypsilanti, MI; author of Music for Porn); Jonathan Stalling (Norman, OK; author of Yingelishi); UIjana Wolf (Berlin/Brooklyn; author of falsche freunde). Hosted by Tyrone Williams (Xavier University). Organized by Barrett Watten (Wayne State University).

Friday, October 4, 7:30–9:00 PM TheWelcome Center @ Wayne State University Woodward and Warren, Detroit Free and open to the public!

Upcoming: Carla Harryman M–/W– launch (9/28)

 
Carla Harryman and George Tysh kick off the evidence series in Ferndale on September 28.
 
evidence:
                new writing in the metro
                        Saturday, September 28, 8 pm
                             Carla Harryman: M–/W– launch
                             George Tysh
                                    407 West Marshall, Ferndale 48220
*For info on Carla Harryman’s  M–/W–  visit  http://splitleveltexts.com/texts/w-m    

Upcoming: An Evening of Poetry and Conversation (9/27)

Please join us for  an evening of poetry and conversation with:

 

CATHERINE WAGNER, KAPLAN HARRIS,

BRENNA YORK, & MATVEI YANKELEVICH

 

Friday September 27

 

@ Rob Halpern and Lee Azus’s home:

319 Garland Street in Ypislanti

 

Gathering begins 7:00. Readings begin at 7:30.

Beer & Wine & Partners, all welcome!

 

Bios and Links:

Catherine Wagner’s collections of poems include Nervous Device (City Lights, 2012) and three previous books from Fence. Her work appears in the recent edition of the Norton Anthology of Postmodern American Poetry and other anthologies. She teaches in the MA program in creative writing at Miami University and lives in Oxford, Ohio with her son.

Recent work by Catherine can be found here:

http://theclaudiusapp.com/2-wagner.html
http://writing.upenn.edu/pennsound/x/Wagner.php

 

Brenna York resides within the Peabody Manor in Oxford, Ohio. She released Mr. Ivy, a chapbook with Plumberries Press, this past June at the Midwest Press Festival in Milwaukee. Brenna is a graduate of EMU’s Creative Writing Program.

A performance of “Twat-lite”, a collaboration between Brenna York and Elizabeth Mikesch, can be viewed here: https://vimeo.com/user14622738

 

Matvei Yankelevich is the author of the poetry collection Alpha Donut (United Artists Books) and the novella-in-fragments Boris by the Sea (Octopus Books), and the translator of Today I Wrote Nothing: The Selected Writings of Daniil Kharms (Overlook/Ardis). He is one of the founding editors of Ugly Duckling Presse, where he curates the Eastern European Poets Series. He is a member of the Writing Faculty at the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College; in Fall 2013 he is Visiting Writer at Long Island University’s MFA in Creative Writing.

Recent work by Matvei can be found here: http://bombsite.com/issues/119/articles/6447

[excerpts from the long poem "Some Worlds for Dr. Vogt" and a film based on the same poem made in collaboration with Jeanne Liotta]

 

Kaplan Harris is an editor & scholar. He has forthcoming essays in the Cambridge Companion to American Modernist Poetry & an exhibition catalog on the clairvoyant conceptualist Hannah Weiner. He lives with his daughter in Buffalo, NY.

Recent work by Kaplan can be found at:.

“The 2013 Buffalo Small Press Fair,” Harriet Open Door Series (May 2013).

“Avant-Garde Interrupted: A New Narrative after AIDS.” Contemporary Literature 52.4 (winter 2011).

“A Zine Ecology of Charles Bernstein’s Selected Poems,” Postmodern Culture 20.3 (May 2010).

Interview for “Into the Field #5” (podcast series), hosted by Steve McLaughlin, Jacket2 (June 2011)

The Selected Letters of Robert Creeley. Edited by Kaplan Harris, Rod Smith and Peter Baker. University of California Press.

 

 

Orientation for New Graduate Students

Orientation for new graduate students in the Creative Writing program is happening Friday, Sept. 20 at 5:30 pm. in rm. 202 Pray-Harrold. Session runs from 5:30 pm. – 7 pm. If you’re new, attendance is required.

This will be an opportunity to receive information to help you get oriented, answer your questions, and introduce you to your grad program advisor (if you haven’t already had that chance).

Questions? Email Christine Neufeld (cneufeld@emich.edu).