11 September 2016


What does it mean to live fidelity to a particular body of work? How do we respond to an artist who has crucially left their mark on our own critical/creative practice(s)? How do we stake out and live this commitment—show this fidelity in situ, rather than awaiting a posthumous perspective to settle its significance for us, so that, finally, we can come to understand what it will have meant?

A number of poets are attempting to think through fidelity in a meaningful way, and we invite you to join us, in person or from afar. Here’s our proposal:

A collective of artists and intellectuals will commit the 2016-2017 academic year to study and respond to the corpus of a single poet. This poet will have committed themselves to the poetry community in the San Francisco Bay Area, specifically—a poet who, we believe, deserves a deeper, more scrupulous reading.

This year we have chosen to engage with the work of visual artist, translator, and poet Norma Cole. You can learn all about Norma’s extensive art practice at the website, where you’ll find links to out-of-print documents, visual art, and writing about Norma’s translation practice. 

We will study this body of work sometimes together, sometimes apart, sometimes in parallel. Some will simply read the work more deeply than usual; others might contribute to scholarship by interviewing the artist or making archival interventions; some might resurrect out-of-print material or attempt to make crucial material available to a larger reading public; others might organize smaller reading groups or public events. In short, the nature of our work will sometimes be intimate, sometimes public, and sometimes collaborative, depending on the contours of our lives (and the constellation of participants involved).

In order to thread our reading and writing together, we’ll use a single online interface to which all participants will have access: legacybayarea.com. Here, we’ll post stray thoughts, discoveries from readings, out-of-print material, archival material provided by the author, and we’ll discuss ways to deepen our collective engagement and to plan a celebration at the end of our run in August 2017. This online presence will enable all who wish to participate to do so, no matter where they are physically based.

If you’re interested in joining us, even if you simply want to read in tandem, on your own, please contact us. And feel free to spread the word about this project to all interested parties. 

10 March 2016

Eleni Stecopoulos's Visceral Poetics

Eleni Stecopoulos 

with a foreword by Alphonso Lingis

VISCERAL POETICS tracks “the chronic syndrome of the West” and the cruel treatments
of poetry’s resistance. At once a call for an embodied scholarship, a poetic work of criticism,
and a fragmentary autoethnography of the author’s health crisis at the millennium, Eleni
Stecopoulos’ book moves in a complex field of languages and bodies, between symptom and
art, diagnosis and composition, fascia and form. Stecopoulos aligns her method with diviners
of entrails and holistic healers, tracing the resonance between locations that range from
demonic possession and parasitic vowels to acupuncture and diaspora Greek. Opening new
directions in poetry and poetics as well as literature and medicine, Stecopoulos argues for
the body’s poetic agency and a different understanding of the therapeutic potency of art.
(Visit ON's website to read more!)


Eleni Stecopoulos is singularly aware of a healing power in poetry that touches the most
obscure depths of our carnal existence. She seeks to uncover “how the body in its opaque
poetry can be homeopathically treated by poetry—as aesthetic, not anaesthetic, therapy.”
Eleni Stecopoulos’ researches open an important field for investigation and practice: the
healing force of language, of poetry. 

-         Alphonso Lingis, from the Foreword

Searching in real time, thinking/feeling as writing, this tour de force of authentic scholarship
reaches far back to the matrix of writing/embodiment at the crux of human consciousness, far
forward into a modernism (Artaud, Metcalf) that explores the edges of such embodied writing,
and in all directions as Stecopoulos’ every insight emerges from and remains immersed in a
surround of the immediately personal. This is a lyrical study of great depth, an epic poem of
experiential erudition. 

-         Maria Damon

Eleni Stecopoulos’ brilliantly provocative, syncretic manifesto identifies idiopathic disease
with ideolectical poetics, pathology with anomaly – the flesh of the text and the text of the
flesh – bringing home the liberatory potential for visceral readings of the unintelligible. For
Stecopoulos, diagnosis is a practice of aesthetic translation and poetry a quest for knowledge
outside the disabling strictures of Western rationalism. Written in lyric bursts of telegraphic
intensity, Stecopoulos follows her guides, Artaud and Metcalf, through veils of suffering in
order to repossess, from the jaws of evisceration, her own life – and ours.  

-         Charles Bernstein

In a thick rich book of Artaudian trickster moves, Eleni Stecopoulos performs healing rituals
upon medical practices and cultural prescriptions, writing toward her own healing process,
with opacity as sustaining wayfarer and shield against early collapse. Disease emerges as
narrative symptom for disconnect, and language becomes subtle homeopathy, weaves a new
myth, for suffering writers and suffering war-torn worlds, in a visceral poetics based on Artaud’s
asylum writings: “a rhythm of exorcism against the drying out of opium by conspiracies and
consecrations” (Artaud, SELECTED WRITINGS). 

-         Petra Kuppers

Experience what “radiates from a text,” “the gravity at the core of theater” in this long awaited
critical work from Eleni Stecopoulos, the genesis of her Poetics of Healing—a curated series of
stages in which these ideas are enacted and the isolated patient finds place in a complicated
communal as both are changed. Placing the psychic reading of the body that refuses with will
next to the reading of poetries claimed unreadable, she makes a document of vital forms for a
new kind of scholarship, for a new and ancient kind of person or poet one and the same in the
hopes that they won’t be re-swallowed by the dominant but will find their own breath. A breath
that will resist and resist singularity and in the failures or blocks, the resetting, find the
choral-tragic—through a different kind of reading/witnessing. The violences of a larger social
body made visible though a syncope pressing right up against poetry. In this epic lyric, everything
and nothing at once. In “a form that holds, rather than explains”—the mystery of how this beautiful
important project came to be. 

-         Melissa Buzzeo 

The central question of VISCERAL POETICS is how to be. How to be a body. How to be a body in
pain, a body not in pain. How to be a thinker, a scholar, a writer about literary works. How to be
a poem too. It is unusual for a piece of literary criticism to take on such weighty questions. And
Eleni Stecopoulos gives us no easy answers as she consults various forms of literatures and healing,
questioning all of them and her relationship to them too. And as she does this she writes a book
that is beautiful and moving, a life’s work dedicated to the work of living.

 -         Juliana Spahr


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26 May 2015

BAPS needs your help...

The Bay Area Public is contacting our network of friends to let you know about our present financial situation, and ask for your support to keep this wonderful project going.

The Bay Area Public School has offered hundreds of free classes and events since we began in 2012, and we have provided a much-needed space for community gathering and organizing, first at 2141 Broadway and now at the Omni Commons (omnicommons.org), which we helped to found.  We're also proud to host some of the most important public intellectuals of our time -- people like Fred Moten, Silvia Federici and Frank Wilderson -- in public forums that are totally free of charge.

We've achieved all this through a pioneering community-supported financial structure, according to which 50 people paying $20 a month would make our monthly rent & expenses totalling $1000.  We never quite had fifty supporters, but we've kept the doors open for three years running, which is pretty incredible.

But with the transition to the Omni have come new challenges, most particularly financial challenges!  We were previously responsible for $1000 a month, but with the unexpected expenses attached to the Omni we have now committed to $1500 a month.

We can still pay this expense with community support & help sustain both the Public School and the Omni, but we need your help!  Right now there are 37 people who have committed to sustain the School with a repeating monthly donation of $20.  If 75 people would make this commitment, we'd never have to send another email like this.

Will you please consider a monthly $20 sustaining commitment to the Public School?  It's super-simple -- all you have to do is go to bayareapublicschool.org, click the button on the right that says "Donate to Bay Area Public School," fill in $20 (or whatever recurring donation you'd like to make), and check the box that says "I want to make this a recurring donation".  Then fill in the payment information & that's it!

We are so proud of what this project has accomplished to date and we know it has a bright future ahead of it, but it can only have that future if we come together as a community to make it happen.

Thank you so much for reading this letter -- please let us know if you have any questions, and thank you so much for your continued support of the Bay Area Public School!

Love & solidarity -- Publia Pigeon

06 April 2015

15 March 2015

Further Other Book Works Broadsides!

Our friends at Further Other Book Works has just produced these INCREDIBLE broadsides as a fundraiser for their forthcoming Helen Adams artist book. These feature unpublished poems by Jack Spicer, designed by Norma Cole, Kevin Killian, Paul Klinger, and Kyle Schlesinger. These are a must, obviously. Buy here please.

11 March 2015

House-Scrub, or After Porn

This is the cover of Rob Halpern's new pamphlet "House-Scrub, or After Porn," which represents a tiny section from his forthcoming Common Place (Ugly Duckling, soon?), beautifully produced as a solo, large-format number by Margaret Tedesco (who is responsible for the beautiful design work for many (maybe most) of the newest Nightboat books). These probably won't be around for long, so pick one directly from Margaret by clicking here.

And while we're on the subject, Sianne Ngai just published a killer essay on Rob's work called "Visceral Abstractions" for GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies. Check out the abstract here, and if you're really interested, I may be able to direct you to the full article if  you send an email...

09 March 2015

Selcer and Durback for Double Burst

New work from local powerhouses Lara Durback and Anne Lesley Selcer thanks to Stephen Novotny. I'm not sure if this series is still called Double Burst, but it is out in the world (and soon available as PDF here). First two pages are ALS; the final two are LD.

04 March 2015

The Louder the Room the Darker the Screen

Paul Ebenkamp's 'The Louder the Room the Darker the Screen' Media Statement from Timeless, Infinite Light on Vimeo.

This book is going to be so, so dope. Another big win for Timeless, Infinite Light. I took a peek at the proofs last week, and this might already be my vote for book of the year. It promises to slay. And also, just FYI, there is a very good chance that Paul and I (and maybe Ted Rees and maybe Stephen Novotny) are now in a band called Scythe Mouth. So, trademark or whatever. There will probably not be music, but there will certainly be t-shirts.

Also, I should mention that there are pre-order goodies if you buy the book now: check it out here.

03 March 2015

Laura Kilbride's In the Square

Whoa! This is the best thing I've read in forever. 1K lines of super dense, concise and beautifully labored writing. Totally essential and perfectly produced by Rich Owens' always on point Punch Press. I don't know much about Kilbride besides that she's my new favorite poet, and she lives in the U.K. I think Marianne Morris also printed something of her's with Morris's Bad Press (but I've never seen it). In short, get it (and everything else from Punch Press) here.

05 February 2015

Meet Hopper!

Ezra and I found this very sweet puppy abandoned at Dimond Park last week. His name is Hopper, and Family Dog Rescue is helping us find him a home. Perhaps you would like to make Hopper your new pal?! Spread the word, and learn more about this sweet little guy here.

04 February 2015

Silverlining: Cross, Mody, Proctor-Xu

I'm reading this Thursday, 3/5 with Monica Mody and Jami Proctor-Xu for Silverlining (at Melissa Mack's place). Doors at 7pm; Reading at 8pm. It should be a very relaxed and fun evening. Please send an email to michaelthomascross (@) hotmail for directions. 

01 February 2015

ON Contemporary Practice: Two New Essays on David Brazil

Head over to ON Contemporary Practice to read two new essays on the work of David Brazil. The first is the complete "Ordinary Weather," which collects a totally moving, serialized essay by C.J. Martin. The second, by local wunderkind Stephen Novotny, takes on the invention of "litter" and its transformation as a potentialized tool in Brazil's work. Both essays are totally worth your time!

And I suppose this is as good a time as any to announce that Thom Donovan and myself are hard at work on the next ON monograph, to be released in fall of this year. Very exciting details to follow... 

07 January 2015

Paranoid Histories Reader

The following reader features excerpts from short essays by Michelle Detorie, Julia Drescher, CJ Martin, and Kurt Newman. Folks planning to attend "Paranoid Histories" at the OMNI this Saturday, 1/10 might like to preview some of this material before the conversation. I'm looking forward to discussing these essays together then!

Heidegger for Mystics begins tomorrow!

Greetings all:

I'm looking forward to our first meeting of Heidegger for Mystics tomorrow evening (7pm) at the OMNI (4799 Shattuck). We'll spend the session getting to know each other a bit while more generally developing a reading list and plan of action together. Let's meet in the little sitting area at La Commune (enter at the corner of 48th and Shattuck), and we can find an appropriate place in the OMNI to set up shop. I'll bring a variety of resources and secondary material to inform the conversation. Hope to see you all then!


04 January 2015

Paranoid Histories at the OMNI

In his essay “For a Paranoid History, or, Bakersfield: Capital of the Twentieth Century,” historian and artist Kurt Newman writes, “My proposal is this: we should all become a little more ‘paranoid.’ In the process, we should think carefully about whether historiography can really do without the concept of ‘paranoia.'”

Join Newman, along with visiting poets Julia Drescher, Michelle Detorie, and CJ Martin, for a conversation about writing “paranoid histories,” including the composition of new critco-poetic essays about Jack Spicer, Robert Creeley, and feral poetics.

This event will take place at the OMNI (4799 Shattuck) on Saturday, 1/10 from 7-9 pm. See you there!

17 December 2014

Important News about This Weekend's Events

Greetings all:
I'm very sorry to report that Thom Donovan has cancelled his visit to the Bay Area due to a family emergency. Friends and colleagues will be pleased to hear that he is totally fine; however, he's got his hands full so please hold off on emails. He'll be in touch with all of you soon.

In the meantime, while we've had to cancel Thom's two public lectures at the OMNI (see above), Friday's reading is totally still on. Further, I am pleased to announce that friend and poet Hugo Garcia Manriquez has joined the bill in Thom's stead.

See you there!

16 December 2014

Hope Eternity Seen on the Hip of a Rabbit

More Beth Murray, for those who missed this chapbook the first time around. We lost a powerful poet and a super compassionate human being.

12 December 2014

I made this tonight...

to embroider on future motorcycle jackets. That's what I want for Christmas.

11 December 2014

OMNI Holiday Party & Bazaar

I'm the kind of person who really loves a holiday bazaar, and this particular bazaar promises to be pretty great because it supports La Commune, the OMNI, and Solar Luxuriance. Here's the copy:


Please join La Commune Cafe & Bookstore this Saturday, December 13, from 12noon to 6pm, for an Omni holiday party & craft bazaar!  We'll have fresh-baked goods & hot cider & oh so many books, plus craft vendors to help you with those last minute gift giving needs!

We'll top off the day with a book release party for SOLAR LUXURIANCE PRESS at 7pm, with readings by Erika Staiti, Nicole Trigg, Tatiana Luboviski-Acosta, Jared Joseph, Leif Haven & M. Kitchell.

Please stop by this Saturday to say hello -- & support La Commune's Indiegogo fundraiser here: La Commune Cafe and Bookstore

See you Saturday !