5.04.2004

Thank you for the gathering actually, I had a very pleasant time. Oddly enough, the thing you mentioned in your e-mail was exactly what i had been thinking the event needed. . . Although in fact I thought this one went
very well, in that I met a lot of nice people.
thanks so much for having the salon ... -- I love the toastmaster idea! looking forward to
the next one -- will try to actually cook something next time --
Statement of Purpose

I would like to purchase a laptop projector which I could use as part of my scheduled performance of new media poetry in the UK at the Ledbury Poetry Festival, the largest poetry festival in the UK. My UK-based publisher, Salt Publishing, was the interface for my invitation to the prestigious festival. I only know my editors and publisher through my online participation on poetry-related Listservs and my online, international, publication of poetry. Thus, representing my work well at Ledbury is more important to my work and future publication right now, I believe, than participation in other International or American festivals or academic conferences.

I am proposing to purchase rather than rent the laptop projector so that I may be sure I have all of the cords, etc. tested and configured before I go to the UK, where I must test the power converters, etc. (I fear anything I rent in the UK may not be compatible with my American laptop – in any case, it would be difficult to test). I feel that owning a laptop projector would permanently solve the problem I am applying to the Durfee Artist Resource for Completion Program to solve, which is presenting my new media art to the general public. My performance is currently limited to academic environments.

I have several pieces in my Salt book which use media: “Palm Anthology” and “In Medias Res” are two. “In Medias Res” is a long poem written using MS PowerPoint but existing in electronic, transparency / slide, and paper versions. Each version is a distinct work. While David Byrne has been able to present his MS PowerPoint art in a variety of environments, I have only been able to present “In Medias Res” indoors. I have only been able to present the full work – the poem in all three versions – at academic conferences held in institutional environments with their own equipment. “Palm Anthology” was written using a pda with wireless capability. While I can beam “Palm Anthology” in Palm markup format to audience members, I cannot currently project it as I read. I would like a portable projector I could use to fully project these works to non-academics since my work comes about outside of the academy.

I attended Columbia University in the City of New York less than full time, as I worked as an IT consultant. When I received my MFA in Creative Writing, Poetry, in 1991, I continued to consult; my career continued in New York until 1996, when I moved to Los Angeles. At that time, I was consulting to the CIO of a major investment bank; my colleagues have gone on to lead technology organizations for Viacom, its subsidiary Simon & Schuster, Realtor.com, UBS/Paine Webber, etc. Interestingly, I created media presentations for and ran many committee meetings, video conferences, etc. I had just finished a second manuscript of poems, one which will be published this fall (eight years is about the average time from writing to print of a poetry manuscript).

In Los Angeles, I began consulting for a string of clients, including the Boeing / NASA / United Space Alliance supporting the space shuttle orbiter, where I created an online collaboration system encouraging them to increase maintenance spending (they did not). I began teaching online, I became more thoroughly artistically networked online, and I began to more rigorously unify my pursuits. I began reading and writing poems which engaged my environment, the “grey ecos” of information, bringing public domain poems and information about them online, and writing poems which relied on the types of applications I was creating at work to gather their content or establish a new form.

More recently, as the technology boom began to end, I started running reading and performance series again, as I had always done in school. In fact, my Salt book has been widely reviewed as performance art, as it has, as one of its non-technical roots, DaDa performance. I run a reading series at the UCLA Hammer Museum which I currently co-curate with the Electronic Literature Organization. While I was curating the multi-media performance series myself, with Watts Prophet and Hip Hop Poetry Choir founder Amde Hamilton in collaboration with a media artist (he interacts with a projected media environment in performance) and collage artist Wendy Kramer (she makes visual arts collages and constructions but then reads them – each time differently, each time as a poem), I noticed that the Electronic Literature Organization was having a perpetually difficult time reaching their public audience without a place where they could use laptops, laptop projectors, sound systems and the like. The UCLA Hammer Museum was such a place, and when the ELO came under the aegis of UCLA (it had been an independent organization), the fit was natural. I run two other reading series for Writers and Teachers besides my co-curation of a series at The Smell, an all ages club downtown which had a screen and sound system. For The Smell, the other curators and I are bringing artist bands, artists, and writers (which has included collaborations with poets and traditional Philippine Kulintang gong players, for example) to perform for a young downtown crowd. If only Ledbury had our equipment!


Marguerete Porete was a writer and preacher executed as a heretic in France in the early 1300s. Her book, Le Mirouer Des Simples Ames Anienties Et Qui Seulement Demourent En Vouloir Et Desir D'Amour, often called A Mirror of Simple Souls, has been the source of three creative writing projects in the past few years. Anne Carson wrote a libretto for an opera entitled DECREATION, the second act of which is based on Porete's trial testimony and writing. MD Coverley edited an online project entitled THE MIRROR OF SIMPLE ANNIHILATED SOULS, where concerns Porete and net.artists share are debated (online at http://currents.cwrl.utexas.edu/archives/fall01/fall01/luesebrink/wone.htm). "In Medias Res," a long poem excerpted here in print from its complete print version in my book DaDaDa (Salt Publishing, 2003), but also existing in animated MS PowerPoint, slide, and transparency, combines the Carson and Coverley approaches to this morality play. "Low fi" and ubiquitous technology (that of common office software) is used to demonstrate writing's survival and erasure. Slide transitions (and, in the print versions, some transitions which are more readily available in print than electronically) which are named in the poem's section titles "fade to white" or slice and dice the words into transitional poems before the words disappear.

Porete was forced to witness a burning of her books before she was burned at the stake. Yet, part of the reason she was accused of heresy was that she was so very good at distributing her work: in a time when women were not parapatetic preachers with self-published books, she was. Many copies of her book survived the auto da fe. So, too, her work has become useful to a diverse group of contemporary writers.

5.03.2004

The Game

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.

"Very casually, Dan Rolff shifted in his chair, leaning back, lowering his thin hands out of sight below the table's edge."

Dashiell Hammett, RED HARVEST
More salon comments:

Definitely I believe that a short reading (or showing of a short film for example, or some paintings...) would be nice -- to focus the ideas, the minds and really permit people to communicate based on a shared experience, rather than small talk....

-- Wendy Cohen
Had a try at a potluck / salon last night. I'm afraid I'm still learning to host a party, and am not very good at leasding conversations and discussions interesting directions while getting out dessert plates (for J, Ana Fores' excellent tiramisu).

It might be worthwhile to try to steal an idea from -- is it some men's club like Rotary or Lions? -- which has a "toastmaster" or "mistress of ceremonies" in addition to a host/ess. In other words, while the host/ess can make sure everyone has food and a place to sit and is introduced, perhaps there could be some sort of designated person to see that if people have brought something to share (like Therese's neat broadsides or Ara's new book cover or Wendy's tarot) (the art potluck part), they can share it more formally, and at the beginning of the evening; and then as we eat and chat, can keep leading conversation back to art(s)? I think that's what these toastmasters do, anyway, having never been to a Lions (or Moose, or Elk, for that matter) meeting.

I know that for more experienced hosts, this happens quite naturally, but I am hardly one of them! I think this is one of the reasons that doing a potluck-in-rotation is a fine idea, and having a potluck around an event (such as before the readings Ara, Rob, and I are doing) is also a good plan.

Thanks again for all your parts of making the evening swell as well as sultry (well, ok, just plain hot).