30 September 2013


I found this incredible handbill at the coffee shop the other day. I wish more people thought this way! And the flyer itself is really beautiful!

27 September 2013

Judah Rubin's Phrenologue

I've been interested of late in what Kit Schulter and friends are doing at O'Clock Press, especially after Jack Frost's recent chapbook "You Have the Eyes of A Martyr." This one's by Judah Rubin, who's pretty new to me but seems to be one of the dudes around town in Brooklyn these days. Another part of this project just came out on Ugly Duckling, though I'm not clear on the sequencing... I'm not sure these pages are totally representative of the rhythm of the whole, but they were among my favorites. Pick it up here...

26 September 2013

CAConrad's Act Like Polka Dot on Minnie Mouse's Skirt

New CAConrad out on Brian Teare's Albion. You can probably tell that I scanned these quick between other obligations, but it suddenly felt urgent that folks get reading these poems immediately. "maybe he  / hates my / poems but  / my poems are / fucking awesome." Yes, indeed. Conrad's poems always give me this overwhelming sense of possibility and potential. This time around, since I'm in the midst of baby raising, it felt like a cooling balm to read "tell them their / future happiness / depends entirely / on how well they / cultivate rebellion against / any structure which / does not hold their / autonomy and / creative intelligence as a priority." This is maybe my one dogmatic parenting strategy. Conrad is the kind of poet every baby should read; I'm placing this on Ezzy's lowest shelf for easy access. Get it here.

And while I'm on the subject of cultivating rebellion in children, here's Ezzz reading Mike Kelley / Destroy All Monsters and flipping through Agnes Martin. These are baby photos even Ted Rees can get behind!

25 September 2013

Supple Science: A Robert Kocik Primer

Help Support ON Contemporary Practice by preordering our first monograph!

Each preorder comes with an original drawing by Robert Kocik as thanks for your support!

And check out ON's new website here, where we'll shortly post new additions to our PDF Archive!

24 September 2013

Pre-order Z"L: A Benefit Chapbook for CJ Martin and Julia Drescher

Our friends in Texas have been busy folding and binding Z"L, a benefit chapbook for poets CJ Martin and Julia Drescher, and I'm happy to say the book is finally ready for pre-order. Edited and executed by Ash Smith with letterpress cover and flyleaf by me, this chapbook is only $5 and the proceeds go to helping Chris's mother start over after losing everything (literally EVERYTHING) in the aftermath of a tornado. Rather than buy your $5 coffee tomorrow, pay pal over a fiver, receive an awesome book featuring tons of interesting contributors, and help Betsy Martin land on her feet (I was going to say "start over" but that's obviously not possible). Go here and make it happen.

And here's a list of contributors (so you know what you're getting!): Kate Greenstreet, Sueyuen Juliette Lee, Shin Yu Pai, David Hadbawnik, Taylor Brady, Erica Lewis, Carter Smith, JB Beck, Karen McBurney, Dan Thomas Glass, Brenda Iijima, Divya Victor, Hugo Garcia Manriquez, Jessica Smith, Chad Heltzel, Sarah Mangold, Kevin Varrone, Marcella Durand, Pattie McCarthy, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Steve Wilson, Laura Goldstein & Nikki Wallschlaeger, Thom Donavan, Sarah Campbell, Carolina Ebeid, Paul Klinger, Dan Coffey, Pablo Miguel Martinez, Kathleen Peirce, Jeffery Pethybridge, Michalle Gould, David Abel, Dawn Pendergast, Bonnie Emerick, Rob Halpern, Michael Cross (though I think my piece got cut!), Alison Cimino, Michelle Detorie, Paula J. Smith, Jeff Sirkin, Amanda Ackerman, Rosetta Ballew-Jennings, Deborah Poe, Rosa Alcala, Roberto Ontiveros, Crane Giamo, Drew Kunz,Stephen Novotny, Jeremy Ballard, Norma Cole, Susan Briante, Julia Bloch...

23 September 2013

New Work from Nicole Trigg

Nicole Trigg read this interesting prose piece "about" Tilda Swinton during last week's SPT event, and she's generously shared a portion for your reading pleasure. Here's Nicole:

I envisioned sheets of writing paper, each marked with the solid contour drawing of a unique, abstract form—around which writing flowed, but never crossed.

The nature of the concept—impedimentum, hindrance; from impedire to impede; to shackle the feet—dictates that the writing is compromised by the impediment, never the other way around. Even when Paper wins at Rock, Paper, Scissors, by covering Rock, it bends to fit it and by no means hides it. Rock’s three dimensions trump Paper’s two, so its defeat is just a token; it remains exactly the same before and after Paper lays down on it.

The invincibility of Rock, then, is not only the model for people’s fists, but also for the fetal position, i.e., Tilda’s favorite way to sleep.

In the simulations in 1995 and 2013, “The Maybe” by Tilda Swinton and collaborators was adapted to building code at the Serpentine Gallery, London, and the Museum of Modern Art respectively, that restricted physical touching, by placing the artist inside an elevated vitrine. Probably, Tilda was glad for the buffer because the free-for-alls in the forest had sapped her. It takes gallons to make a capful of syrup, and we’d drained every drop of her bittersweet water.

Now she could begin to replenish her sugars, out of reach, but still on display.



Then again, all writing is up against the dominion of things, and can’t compare. Since words are inadequate to describe more than a surface, they spill over and fall between the cracks of people, stones, houses. Shimmering across my skin like the silk sheath I only wear at home, while I read Jacques Rancière. Gradually—because he makes arguments by knitting detritus in a circular form with his beak, so I think to myself, exhausted, I’d rather be picking apart an actual bird’s nest right now, or fraying cords, or brushing my hair—, gradually I synthesize ideas:

1) When language is officiated and terms fixed, their referents become barriers, blockades, authoritative checks, thus defining the normative superstructure, or “distribution of the sensible.” This orientation is linked with the speech category, and inextricable from hierarchical power structures. On the other hand, 2) writing potentially undoes those structures. In The Politics of Aesthetics, Rancière writes:

"By stealing away to wander aimlessly without knowing who to speak to or who not to speak to, writing destroys every legitimate foundation for the circulation of words, for the relationship between the effects of language and the positions of bodies in shared space."

That is, when language is un-officiated (released from dominant meaning), a new, playful relationship with entities comes about, by which we question and reconfigure what we know.

So writing around things goes without saying as the ‘nature’ of language, and can be characterized by free movement and creativity when we acknowledge it as such, as superficial. When, that is, we acknowledge that language isn’t truth, or even true to what it describes—except when in flux.

When you complain, saying words are just a bunch of wooden pegs and joinery that we move into new combinations, lay ‘em down, stand ‘em up, to the side, make an arch etc., I have just finished admiring the complexity of your monologue.

20 September 2013

New Work by Geoffrey Olsen

Geoffrey read this super compelling prose piece when he visited the Bay Area last month for a Hearts Desire reading. Click the image for full size, or read/download below on Scribd...

19 September 2013

Steven Seidenberg's Lares and Penates

Up now at Right Window; check it out when you see Rachel Levitsky and Heriberto Yepez read at ATA on Sunday, October 6th...

18 September 2013

Here's this dude...

Jules Benham-Cunningham has hit the streets. Bring Brent and Melissa food and don't ask to see the baby because he's sleeping. Instead, ask to see the 500 pound cat which, according to Brent, is, "like, 4 or 5 pounds overweight"! Welcome Jules...

Upcoming Things of Interest

Wednesday, Sept 18: Publication Party for the Collected Poems of Philip Lamantia
OUT-there poetry & OUT-there jazz: Poets Clark Coolidge, Garrett Caples, and Andrew Joron (Caples and Joron are also the editors of the book), with bibliographer Steven Fama, plus music from OUROBOROS (Sheldon Brown & Joseph Noble, reeds; Andrew Joron, theremin; Clark Coolidge, drums)

Thursday, Sept. 19: Art in a Time of Climatological Catastrophes
sponsored by WEAD (Women Environmental Artists Directory)
China Brotsky Art Gallery
Thoreau Center for Sustainability
The Presidio of SF
Building 1016
1014 Torney Ave (at Lincoln)
Opening 5-8 pm
Sept. 19-Nov. 8

Saturday, Sept. 21: Cedar Sigo, Mary Burger & Writer-in-Residence Maisha Z. Johnson
9/21 @ 5pm
Aggregate Space Gallery
801 W. Grand Ave. (enter on West St) in Oakland

Saturday, Sept. 21: Lone Glen 8: Basement Poetry and Video, 3132 Harrison St., Oakland, CA
Please join us for poetry in the garden and videos in the basement with four talented creators. At 3:30 pm, the enchanting poets Tiff Dressen and Hazel White will read their work among the redwoods, and then we will explore our Victorian home's basement world with artist and filmmaker, Ellen Lake, followed by poet and videographer, Denise Newman.

Thursday, Sept. 26: way, a film by Konrad Steine (in collaboration with Leslie Scalapino)
6:30 & 8:00 pm @ Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
701 Mission Street (at 3rd Street), $10
co-sponsored by the Poetry Center and YBCA

Thursday Oct. 3: Rachel Levitsky and Latash N. Nevada Diggs
4:30 pm @ the Poetry Center, HUM 512, SFSU, free

Friday, Oct. 4: Readings by Latasha Diggs and Hazel White
Presented by the Writers Series at CCA (MFA Program in Writing)
195 De Haro at 15th Street Free and open to the public
More info: David Morini, dmorini@cca.edu or 415.551.9237

Friday, Oct. 4: Edward Dorn's Collected Poems
with Jennifer Dunbar Dorn, guests tba
7:30pm @ Subterranean Arthouse
2179 Bancroft Way, Berkeley
ADVANCE TICKETS $10 ($5 low-income at door, free to SFSU students, Poetry Center members)
featuring historic recordings of Edward Dorn
from Poetry Center Archives

Sunday, Oct. 6: Readings by Rachel Levitsky and Heriberto Yepez
Small Press Traffic
Artist Television Access

17 September 2013

Lourdes Figueroa's Yolotl

Lourdes Figueroa gave a devastating performance at ATA this past Sunday, reading exclusively from this, her first chapbook, Yolotl, just out on Spooky Actions. When she started, I was afraid she'd be swallowed by the room (especially because ATA is so fucking loud...there's always someone upstairs watching Seinfeld or something), but it was just the opposite (like Stevens's jar in Tennessee...). She totally tuned the room, inviting attention by letting the poems be. It's really breathtaking to see her work, moving between Spanish and English, directing attention without the slightest sense of "command." She's really an incredible poet... If you missed it, Stephen Novotny has video footage on the way...

12 September 2013

Carol Mirakove's Muriel's House

A new chapbook from Carol Mirakove is a rare treat. This one's out on Least Weasel, with which I'm not super familiar, though I love Brenda Iijima's Glossematics, Thus (and I think my man Kyle Schlesinger has a chapbook on the way?or is it already out?). This also includes Carol's poem on Proposition L, the "sit/lie" law, written for Nonsite's Camera Works residency. It seems like it's been a long while since a generous helping of Carol's work was made available...take advantage here...

11 September 2013

Angela Hume's The Middle

I've been super impressed with what Angela's up to these days, especially in this, her newest chapbook from Omnidawn, The Middle. Here's a little taste:

damage     state
of destroy all

cess     body
state of little
to no





noonish moan, slight
as a relic

botched the lawn


(that is,

exception to

(what we want is


riot, nothing so

(frenzied clutch of

land, a gas



09 September 2013

Jules Benham-Cunningham is on the way!

Brent's asked a few of us to start spreading the word (though if you're on facebook you likely already know!): Melissa Benham and Brent Cunningham have headed to the hospital! Ezra's future BFF is on the way! If you live in town and want to help them out, I think Samantha Giles is setting up a meal train. The very best thing you can do for new parents is give them food, for real...Send your positive thoughts toward the Kaiser building in Oakland...

07 September 2013

ON Contemporary Practice is back!

ON Contemporary Practice, the journal I co-edit with Thom Donovan, will be launching its new Monograph Series this fall with the release of Robert Kocik's Supple Science.

We will also be resuming the efforts of the print journal, with the inauguration of ON's PDF Archive Series, which will feature discursive critical writings about one's contemporaries.

If you are interested in submitting to the PDF Archive Series, please see our guidelines for submission below.

In the next few weeks we will also be announcing our new website, with pre-order information for Supple Science: a Robert Kocik Primer. Stay tuned!


ON Contemporary Practice PDF Archive Series will continue to publish discursive, critical writings regarding one’s contemporaries. PDFs will be published henceforth on a semi-monthly basis and featured at ON’s website. With regards to submissions, ON’s editors seek work that:
—addresses the work (poetics, aesthetics, ethics) of one or more of your contemporaries;
—is involved in current conversations and discourse about poetry, art, performance, and other modes of cultural production;
—is critical and discursive, but which does not fall into the genre of ‘review’ or ‘academic article’ per se;
—is ‘essayistic’;
—is personal, generative, and passionate;
—is rooted in the reading of one’s contemporaries, peers, friends, and community;
—is not afraid to address a larger sociopolitical field or engage other disciplines;
—is leveling with regards to a wider field of cultural production (the old ‘high/low’ issue);
—is devoted to work that has been poorly attended or misunderstood.
Please submit your PDFs to oncontemporarypractice@gmail.com with the subject heading “PDF Archive Series submission” and a brief cover letter. We will reply to your emails as soon as we can and look forward to corresponding with you about your submission. For further ideas regarding submissions please check-out volumes 1 and 2 of the ON Contemporary Practice print journal, available at Small Press Distribution.

06 September 2013

Sept. 15th: Trevino, Trigg, and Figueroa


Wendy Trevino lives in Oakland and works in San Francisco. Her first chapbook 128-131 was released by Perfect Lovers Press in June 2013. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Abraham Lincoln, the American Reader, Armed Cell, The Capilano Review, Hi Zero, LIES and Mrs. Maybe.


Nicole Trigg lives in Oakland, works at Small Press Distribution, and is the author of a chapbook, Double Cup. She recently collaborated with strangers to make the literary magazine Birkensnake 6, and critical writing is forthcoming in Jacket2.


Lourdes Figueroa was born in Yuba City, California during one of the trips her parents made from Mexico to the USA when they worked in the campo tilling the soil for tomatoes. She grew up in the betweens of everything not from here and not from over there. She is a native of limbo nation. Lourdes is a proud 2009 and 2011 VONA alum. Some of her work has been published in the SF Poet’s 11 2008 & 2010, an Anthology of poems selected by Jack Hirschman, and also in Generations: a journal of ideas and images. She recently received her MFA in Creative Writing focusing in poetry at the University of San Francisco. She currently works as an interpreter, translator, and advocate. Lourdes believes in your lung, your throat, your tongue. She has a new chapbook, yolotl, coming out through Spooky Action Books. She will be reading poems from this.


This reading is going to be super rad. And Lourdes has a new chapbook (her first?!) on Trevor Calvert's and Ammie Stobaugh's new press, Spooky Action Books. You should come...

Small Press Traffic
Sunday, September 15
Artists' Television Access
992 Valencia Street, SF
5pm, reading starts at 5:30pm

And next up, on October 6th, Rachel Levitsky and Heriberto Yepez!