Saturday, September 21, 2013

September 15, 2013 Hazel White Live!!!

Last week we had Hazel White live in the studio, discussing her book Peril As Architectural Enrichment (Kelsey Street Press 2011). This is her first book of poetry, following her 12 books on gardening and landscape design. We started off talking about peril in landscape and language. She discussed meeting the 'resistance of language' when attempting to write about landscape. Her book grapples with the experience of being in gardens, in landscapes that are created and inhabited by people. Hazel told us about the 'de-centering' that can happen when interacting with the garden and in the potential discomfort of reading poetry.  We learn from our discomfort and de-centering. Hazel transitioned from prose to poetry while attending CCA, when she discovered that one can write about landscape architecture in poetry.
Later in the show, Hazel talked about her collaborative project with Denise Newman, "Botanica Recognita: Signage to Facilitate a Greeting," at UC Botanical Garden's show, "Natural Discourse: Artists, Architects Scientists and Poets in the Garden." In this exhibit, Hazel and Denise created 25 plant signs that re-imagined the content one encounters when learning about plants in a garden. We also learned about her "Site Sonnets," which were presented at the Eco-poetics Conference at UC Berkeley.
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September 8, 2013 - Roundtable Discussion #6- ERROR!

On September 8th, in lieu of a guest, we had our sixth roundtable discussion about error in writing. We started out with a rather apropos error while attempting to negotiate the phone system. We hope to one day be able to interview writers by phone, but sadly, we have yet to master this skill. For those of you who would like to avoid listening to us fumble with the button pushing, you can skip the first nine minutes of this show.
Once we got talking, we spent the remainder of the time tossing around the concept of mistakes.... or perhaps happy accidents. A mistake could be on the spelling or grammar level or on the language or content level. One might see these errors as just an opportunity to get out of the way of the writing, letting the language do its thing without being obstructed by our own overdetermination. On the other hand, sometimes the error is a lack of generatively or productivity. What are the different ways we can inhabit our errors so they serve our poetry? How can we, as Kathleen Fraser says, 'dismantle seductive writing practices?' What examples and parallels can we find in other types of art? In the end, perhaps error is just the beautiful aliens talking through us and onto our page. And if this is the case, there are different ways we can see ourselves as the conduit for these foreign voices. Let us all revel in our awesome accidents!!!!
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