Conceptual Poetry: Practice, Production, and Reception

February 19, 2016 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

On February 19, Pen and Brush welcomes Sarah Madges as the moderator of a panel devoted to conceptual poetry: a genre that focuses on the concept of the poem and the process of writing rather than the outcome itself. Often unorthodox in format and incorporating appropriation of pre-existing texts, conceptual poetry challenges the way we think about poetry, art, and the poet herself. This panel gives us a free pass to a grad-level poetry seminar as five poets discuss issues such as what strategies or conceits constitute a conceptual gesture, what is the role of the author and reader when a text isn't quite "authored" in the usual sense (and a text isn't "readable" in the usual sense), does conceptual poetry interact differently with the "wider world" than other kinds of poetry, what are the special possibilities of conceptual poetry and possible ramifications of these possibilities. Please join us at 7:00 for a small reception, with the panel to begin at 7:30.

Panelists include:

Buffy Cain is a queer writer and coder interested in digital ontologies and abstract formal systems. She studied linguistics and philosophy at MIT and engages in activist work with Basic Income Action and Basic Income NYC. Her writing has been published or is forthcoming in Gauss PDF Editions, Arachne, Dream Journal, and Code and Concept.

Writer, vocalist and sound artist, LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs is the author of TwERK (Belladonna, 2013), a collection of songs, poems and myths. Her interdisciplinary work has been featured at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Walker Art Center. As an independent curator and artistic director, she has staged events at BAM Café, Lincoln Center Out of Doors and El Museo del Barrio and is the co-founder and co-editor of Coon Bidness/SO4 Magazine. A native of Harlem and Cave Canem fellow, LaTasha is the recipient of numerous awards, including New York Foundation for the Arts, The Jerome Foundation, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, The Laundromat Project, the National Endowment for the Arts, the 2016 U.S. – Japan Friendship Commission and the 2016 Creative Capital Award.

Elizabeth Guthrie is a poet and performer living in NYC researching for a practice-based PhD in text and performance at the University of East London. She is a co-editor of Livestock Editions and co-curator of Impossible Reading Series, with work appearing in journals including Onedit, Requited, Bombay Gin, Pinstripe Fedora, Alba Londres, Open Letter, and Fact-Simile. She has a pamphlet, X Portraits (Crater Press), a chapbook, Yellow and Red (Black Lodge Press), the collaborative chapbook with Andrew K. Peterson, Between Here and the Telescopes (Slumgullion PresS), a book entitled, Portraits - Captions (Contraband Books) along with the forthcoming Portraits - Negatives. She is poet-in-residence at the Centre for Creative Collaboration in London.

LB Thompson's most recent projects employ concepts from the Fibonacci Sequence and from playing cards. The catalog for her collaboration with artist Ellen Wiener, "Fibonacci Forest," and the boxed set "Poems in the Suit of Diamonds", as well as the limited edition according book "Between Red and Green" are available at Thompson has also been seeking out concepts in music that open out into poetry through her collaboration with Yamaha pianist Inna Falik's in her Music/Words performance and radio series. Thompson's collaboration with environmental artist Frieda Dean in the photo-poem sequence "Be Still Here" also demonstrates and explores conception in ephemeral arrangements of stones. At The New School, Thompson teaches "Form Matters," a cross-genre craft class in the MFA program. She also teaches writing at Suffolk Community College, and will be lecturing on the poems of George Oppen in March at the Writer's Foundry in Brooklyn.

Evie Shockley is the author of two full-length collections of poetry, a half-red sea (2006) and the new black (2011), which won the 2012 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Poetry.  She has also published a critical study, Renegade Poetics: Black Aesthetics and Formal Innovation in African American Poetry (2011), as well as essays and poems appearing widely in journals and anthologies. Currently serving as creative writing editor for Feminist Studies, Shockley is Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University, New Brunswick.

Panel moderator Sarah Madges is a writer and chief curator at Handwritten. Her words have appeared or are forthcoming in Killing the Angel, the Village Voice, SCOUT Poetry, and the DREAMS Journal. She runs the monthly poetry reading series Mental Marginalia and is working on her MFA thesis at the New School.

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