Poets and Critics Symposium 2016.3 : Nathaniel Mackey, Thursday 6 and Friday 7 October, 2016

The next Poets and Critics Symposium will be held on Thursday 6 and Friday 7 October in Paris. Details to follow.

(c) New Directions publishing.

Nathaniel Mackey was born in Miami, Florida, in 1947, and grew up, from age four, in California.  He received a B.A. from Princeton University in 1969 and a Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1975.  He is the author of ten chapbooks of poetry, Four for Trane (Golemics, 1978), Septet for the End of Time (Boneset, 1983), Outlantish (Chax Press, 1992), Song of the Andoumboulou: 18-20 (Moving Parts Press, 1994), Four for Glenn (Chax Press, 2002), Anuncio’s Last Love Song (Three Count Pour, 2013), Outer Pradesh (Anomalous Press, 2014), Moment’s Omen (Selva Oscura, 2015), School of Oud (Middlearth Editions, 2016) and Lay Ghost (Black Ocean, 2016); six books of poetry, Eroding Witness (University of Illinois Press, 1985), School of Udhra (City Lights Books, 1993), Whatsaid Serif (City Lights Books, 1998), Splay Anthem (New Directions, 2006), Nod House (New Directions, 2011), and Blue Fasa (New Directions, 2015); and an ongoing prose work, From a Broken Bottle Traces of Perfume Still Emanate, of which four volumes have been published:  Bedouin Hornbook (Callaloo Fiction Series, 1986; second edition: Sun & Moon Press, 1997), Djbot Baghostus’s Run (Sun & Moon Press, 1993), Atet A.D. (City Lights Books, 2001), and Bass Cathedral (New Directions, 2008); the first three of these have been published together as From a Broken Bottle Traces of Perfume Still Emanate: Volumes 1-3 (New Directions, 2010); the fifth, Late Arcade, is forthcoming from New Directions in 2017.  He is also the author of two books of criticism, Discrepant Engagement: Dissonance, Cross-Culturality, and Experimental Writing (Cambridge University Press, 1993; paper edition: University of Alabama Press, 2000) and Paracritical Hinge: Essays, Talks, Notes, Interviews (University of Wisconsin Press, 2005).  Strick: Song of the Andoumboulou 16-25, a compact disc recording of poems read with musical accompaniment (Royal Hartigan, percussion; Hafez Modirzadeh, reeds and flutes), was released in 1995 by Spoken Engine Company.  He is editor of the literary magazine Hambone, whose twenty-first issue appeared in 2015, and coeditor, with Art Lange, of the anthology Moment’s Notice: Jazz in Poetry and Prose (Coffee House Press, 1993).  His awards and honors include the selection of Eroding Witness for publication in the National Poetry Series, a Whiting Writer’s Award in 1993, election to the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets in 2001, the National Book Award in poetry for Splay Anthem in 2006, an Artist’s Grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts in 2007, the Roy Harvey Pearce/Archive for New Poetry Prize in 2007, the Stephen Henderson Award from the African American Literature and Culture Society in 2008, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2010, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize from the Poetry Foundation in 2014, and Yale’s Bollingen Prize for American Poetry in 2015.  He lives in Durham, North Carolina, and teaches at Duke University, where he is the Reynolds Price Professor of English.  He has previously taught at the University of Wisconsin, Madison (1974-1976), the University of Southern California (1976-1979), and the University of California, Santa Cruz (1979-2010).

Poets and Critics 2016.2 Johanna Drucker Symposium Recordings


Thursday 2 June, afternoon session, Université Paris Diderot.


Friday 3 June, morning session, Université Paris Diderot.


Friday 3 June, afternoon session, Université Paris Diderot.

Johanna Drucker: Literary Tactics and Themes in the Books

Following the last day of the symposium, Johanna Drucker was kind enough to send us a list of books and notes to her books, thus providing us with new points of entry into her work.

JD: Literary tactics and themes in the books

Works self-referentially about language:

1976: Twenty-six ’76 (found, overheard, narrative, and meta-descriptive commentary all from a trip to Los Angeles; each page is a slice through that time-sequence)

1977: From A to Z (inventory of poetical styles and approaches to composition)

1978: Experience of the Medium (language terms/visual terms defined in a system)

1981: Dolls of the Spirit (focus on prepositions as transformative, images of objects that are transformative)
1983: Tongues: A Parent Language (procedural work from linguistic text)

1983: Just As (challenge of designatory and descriptive language)

1983: Against Fiction (pendant to Just As addressing the conventions of fiction)

1986: Through Light and the Alphabet (typographic fugue on linguistic polyvalence)

1987: Bookscape (impossibility of fit of literary form to contemporary life/landscape)

1989: The Word Made Flesh (graphically scored text about materiality to flatten planes of reference and discourse together)

1989: Sample Dialogue with Emily McVarish (typographic inflection in dialogue)

1993: Deterring Discourse (impossibility of language’s being able to speak the real)

1996: The Current Line (as in, political line, and also, news/reporting)

1997: Prove Before Laying (emergence of figure of language from potential of alphabet/font constraint)

2010: Wittgenstein’s Gallery (actually produced in 1989; editioned in 2010)

2010-12: Stochastic Poetics (figure of poetics emerging within the field of noise culture)

2014: Diagrammatic Writing (semantics of format)


Feminist works about the narrative conventions of women’s lives:

1989-90: History of the/my Wor(l)d (official history reworked and orthodox feminist theory challenged)

1990: Simulant Portrait (ghost written autobiography of a simulant based on genre fiction)

1994: Narratology (the stories according to which we constructed our lives as real/lived)

2002: A Girl’s Life, with Susan Bee (engagement with the “pink” magazines)

2003: Damaged Spring, Druckwerk

2006: Testament of Women (rethinking moral lessons of old testament tales)

2015: Fabulas Feminae, with Susan Bee, profiles of renowned women


Works of compression in figurative/associative prose:

1972: Dark: The Bat Elf (sui generis erotic juvenilia, but filled with figurative language)

1975: As No Storm (figurative, dense prose)

1977: Surprize Party (figurative prose)

1979: Kidz (punk-ish poem piece)

1980: Jane Goes Out with the Scouts (suggestive poetics)

1980: ‘S Crap ‘S Ample (poem portrait)

1993: Otherspace with Brad Freeman (about emergent sentience/perception of “other” worlds)

1994: Three Early Fictions, Potes and Poets Press

1995: Dark Decade

1999: Nova Reperta with Brad Freeman (modernity, vision, and contemporary world)

2000: Emerging Sentience, with Brad Freeman

2000: Night Crawlers on the Web

2007: From Now

2009: ComboMeals


1977: Fragile (selected poems, writings, from 1970-73)

1978: Netherland: How (so) Far (account, poetic line)

1980: Italy (an account, telegraphic)

2000: Quantum

2006: CUBA (account, telegraphic)

Poets and Critics 2016 (2): Johanna Drucker Symposium Thursday 2 & Friday 3 June

On Thursday 2 and Friday 3 June, we will be hosting a 2 day symposium on Johanna Drucker’s work in Paris.
Université Paris 7 Denis Diderot, Bâtiment Olympe de Gouges
9:45am-5pm, room 830 (8th floor of the Olympe de Gouges Building).
Howimage doigt petit to get there?
For detailed instructions and directions, click HERE.

+ Poetry reading with Johanna Drucker and Cia Rinne, Thursday 2 June, 7:30pm, Atelier Michael Woolworth, Place de la Bastille, 2, rue de la Roquette, Cour Février, 75011 Paris For detailed directions, click HERE.

So far, we’ve tried to focus on the writer’s own (creative and critical) work on the first day of the P&C symposia and on broader issues of poetics and practice-based criticism with the writer on the second day. But there’s no specific preconceived program for the 2 days of the symposium: as the previous sessions of the program have shown, it seems important to let the conversation take its own course.

Please note that the morning session of the first day is devoted to preparing the conversation with Johanna Drucker which will take place during the afternoon session and the second day. Johanna Drucker will be joining the group at 2pm on Thursday 2 June.

Among Johanna Drucker’s many publications, we would like to look at the following titles: Stochastic PoeticsDiagrammatic Writing, both available on this website, The Visible Word: Experimental Typography and Modern Art (The University of Chicago Press, 1994), SpecLab: Digital Aesthetics and Speculative Computing (The University of Chicago Press, 2009) and Graphesis: Visual Forms of Knowledge Production (Harvard University Press, 2014). As well as her many artists’ books also made available on this website. We welcome other reading suggestions.

Also of great interest:

Theorizing Modernism: Visual Art and the Critical Tradition, Columbia University Press, 1994. (ISBN 978-0231080835)
The Alphabetic Labyrinth: The Letters in History and Imagination, Thames and Hudson, 1995. (ISBN 978-0500016084)
The Century of Artists’ Books, Granary Books, 1995. (ISBN 978-1887123693)
Figuring the Word: Essays on Books, Writing, and Visual Poetics, Granary Books, 1998. (ISBN 978-1887123235)
Sweet Dreams: Contemporary Art and Complicity, University Of Chicago Press, 2005. (ISBN 978-0226165059)
Graphic Design History: A Critical Guide, with Emily McVarish, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2008 (ISBN 978-0132410755)
Digital_Humanities, with Anne Burdick, Peter Lunenfeld, Todd Presner, and Jeffrey Schnapp, MIT Press, 2012. (ISBN 978-0262018470)


Thursday 2 June 
9:45am-12 > premilinary session with all participants
12-2pm > lunch
2pm > Johanna Drucker will be joining us for the afternoon session
7:30pm > Poetry reading with Johanna Drucker

Friday 3 June
9:45am-12 > morning session with Johanna Drucker
12-2pm > lunch
2pm-5pm > afternoon session with Johanna Drucker
8pm > symposium dinner

From Johanna Drucker’s website : http://www.johannadrucker.net/

Johanna Drucker is the inaugural Breslauer Professor of Bibliographical Studies in the Department of Information Studies at UCLA. She is internationally known for her work in the history of graphic design, typography, experimental poetry, fine art, and digital humanities. In addition, she has a reputation as a book artist, and her limited edition works are in special collections and libraries worldwide. Her most recent titles include SpecLab: Digital Aesthetics and Speculative Computing(Chicago, 2009), and Graphic Design History: A Critical Guide (Pearson, 2008, 2nd edition late 2012). She is currently working on a database memoire, ALL, the online Museum of Writing in collaboration with University College London and King’s College, and a letterpress project titled Stochastic Poetics. A collaboratively written work,Digital_Humanities, with Jeffrey Schnapp, Todd Presner, Peter Lunenfeld, and Anne Burdick is forthcoming from MIT Press.

A full bibliography can be found at http://www.johannadrucker.net/articles.html

“Un-Visual and Conceptual”:

Pennsound page: with interviews, talks, readings
EPC page:
Johanna Drucker on Granary Books: