21 September 2010


I still haven't had the opportunity to fully digest the rich discussions during and after the labor day conference a few weekends back, which is probably self-evident from my super late response to the event! I allowed myself the great luxury of putting the notebook away in order to let the responses wash over me like a much-needed salve. At one point Kevin Killian mentioned that he felt like he agreed with everything everyone was saying, but also felt that this fact must be incompatible somehow, and I generally agreed with him and then wondered too how this could be true!

One conversation that seemed sorely lacking, however, was a dialogue around poetry itself as labor, a reality that fully informs my personal aesthetic. Most presenters seemed to present poetry as a respite from work, a luxury of some sort, but as a poet who often reworks a single line for days and days on end, I was desperate to hear other folks discuss language itself as labor!

That said, I was moved by Chris Daniels' impromptu discussion of his personal relationship to Marxist politics, awed by Cedar Sigo's careful catalog of skin care techniques, and was generally left wanting more from everyone in the room (including those who didn't formally present).     

The most deeply conceptual piece of the evening was delivered by David Brazil (surprise, surprise!), and he read it so quickly and with so much force that I could barely keep up. I present a scan of the document here (along with David's notes) for those who might want to dig in with more time on their hands. Thanks to Brandon Brown, Alli Warren, David Brazil, Sara Larsen, and Suzanne Stein for making it happen...


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