Poets and Critics Symposium 2017.3 : Kevin Killian, Monday 18 and Tuesday 19 December, 2017

Daniel Nicoletta, "Kevin Killian, 2012"
Daniel Nicoletta, “Kevin Killian, 2012”

The next Poets and Critics Symposium will be devoted to the work of Kevin Killian.

Monday 18 and Tuesday 19 December.

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 Dodie Bellamy, Kevin Killian and Esther Salmona, www.doublechange.org
Monday 18 December, 7pm – Atelier Michael Woolworth, 2 rue de la Roquette, cour Février, 75011 Paris (click on link for directions)

If you would like to attend the symposium and are not already in touch with us, please contact us and we will send you information, instructions about and directions to the symposium:

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 Kevin Killian which will take place during the afternoon session and the second day. Kevin Killian will be joining the group at 2pm on Monday 18 December.

As usual, we intend to address all aspects of our guest’s work as poet, prose-writer, critic, translator and editor. Please feel free to make suggestions as to particular books that you would like to discuss during the symposium.

Our Monday afternoon session with Kevin Killian should end by 6 pm, which will leave ample time for everybody to get to the poetry reading.


–          Monday 18 December morning session 9:30am-12pm: all participants are invited to a preliminary session to prepare for our afternoon discussion with Kevin Killian. This first session will be the occasion for all participants to touch base and mention some aspects of Kevin’s work that they would like to discuss.

–          Monday 18 December 2-5:30 pm: Kevin Killian will be joining us for our afternoon session and discussion.  The first afternoon session is traditionally devoted to discussing the invited poet’s work and its context.

–          Monday 18 December 7 pm: Poetry reading with Dodie Bellamy, Kevin Killian and Esther Salmona, www.doublechange.org
Monday 18 December, 7pm – Atelier Michael Woolworth, 2 rue de la Roquette, cour Février, 75011 Paris (click on link for directions)

–          Tuesday 19 December 9:30 am – 5:30 pm: second day of the symposium. On the second day, besides our guest’s poetry, we sometimes discuss her / his engagement with other forms of writing and alternative modes of criticism. In the past, we have also done close readings of poems. These are just possibilities. The conversation often suggests its own course and topics.

–          Tuesday 19 December 7 pm- 8:30 pm: Buffet-dinner at galerie éof, 15 rue Saint Fiacre, 75002 Paris.

–          Tuesday 19 December 8:30 pm – 10:30 pm: John Ashbery Tribute Reading, galerie éof, 15 rue Saint Fiacre, 75002 Paris. Followed by poetry collective double change’s 17th birthday party.


Kevin Killian, one of the original “New Narrative” writers, has written three novels, Shy (1989), Arctic Summer (1997), and Spreadeagle (2012), a book of memoirs called Bedrooms Have Windows (1990), and three books of stories, Little Men (1996), I Cry Like a Baby (2001), and Impossible Princess (2009).  He has also written four books of poetry, Argento Series (2001), Action Kylie (2008), Tweaky Village (2014) and Tony Greene Era (2017). Killian has written often on the life and work of the American poet Jack Spicer [1925-65] and with Peter Gizzi has edited My Vocabulary Did This To Me: The Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer (2008)—which won the American Book Award—for Wesleyan University Press.  Wesleyan also brought out Killian and Lewis Ellingham’s acclaimed biography Poet Be Like God: Jack Spicer and the San Francisco Renaissance in 1998.

His work has been widely anthologized and has appeared in, among others, Best American Poetry (ed. John Ashbery), Men on Men (ed. Geo. Stambolian), Discontents (ed. Dennis Cooper) and Wrestling with the Angel (ed. Brian Bouldrey).  See Chapter 5, “Scandalous Narratives,” and afterword, “In Conclusions,” of Earl Jackson, Jr’s Strategies of Deviance: Studies in Gay Male Representation (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995), for extended consideration of KK’s work (pp. 179-266).

For the San Francisco Poets Theater Killian has written forty-five plays, including Stone Marmalade (1996, with Leslie Scalapino), The American Objectivists (2001, with Brian Kim Stefans), and Often (also 2001, with Barbara Guest).  Recent projects include a collaboration with artist D-L Alvarez (The Visitor Owl, a hybrid film/live action performance staged at SFMOMA last summer); Nude, a book with poems by Killian and images by artist Ugo Rondinone; and Tagged: Variations on a Theme, introduction by Rob Halpern, Killian’s nude photographs of poets, artists, and writers.

Many know him for his work with Small Press Traffic, the nonprofit artist run poetry recital space in San Francisco and, in recent years, another poetry reading series held at Alley Cat Books, in San Francisco’s Mission District.  With his wife, writer Dodie Bellamy, Killian has edited the mammoth anthology Writers Who Love too Much: New Narrative 1977-1997, from Nightboat Books (2017).



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