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manifest press

Tonight I went to a collective reading of The Grand Piano by 8 of its 10 authors. The reading was put on by SPT, which fosters some pretty awesome community in the Bay Area poetry world, and my friend/professor David Buuck moderated? facilitated? initiated? a discussion with them before the reading. If you follow my twitter feed (or if you know me at all) you’ll know that I was in an utterly blissful state during/after this event. This was compounded when David introduced me to Samantha Giles (a central figure in the Bay Area poetry scene) afterward and she said “Kate Robinson? I’ve heard so much about you!” Things are happening, people, and I can own my geekiness enough to admit that I’m terribly excited about the path I seem to be headed down.

What follows is what I wrote during the discussion part of the night, some of you who know me/my writing practice may be familiar with this way I have of writing. It’s a mixture of quotation, manipulation, commentary, riffing, and response, none of which is delineated. Sometimes I take these resultant writings and make them into poems. Sometimes that involves editing, sometimes it doesn’t. Plagiarism is an integral part of contemporary poetic practice. If you don’t believe me ask Joan Retallack. This is a poem. This is an essay. This is a list. This is a ______. This is “a composition of thinking rather than trying to prove a point.”

Somebody was filming it, and I’m sure it’ll end up on the internet somewhere, either on SPT’s site or on PennSound. I’ll post the link to it as soon as I know where it is.


again in the work at hand
how those histories are narrated, open up the tent
so I don’t know how we can do it, community
collectivity with no hand raising
overtly the moment now
activism as performance

how people see the tension between this moment and that one in a couple seconds
let’s say
we’re making a political practice of non-representational practice
avoid a specific practice
no internet then, internet now
that in itself is substantial

new possibilities
in some ways one could model, one could think of them as
what is that other
in that present
a possible trope
what we’re doing
look and listen

a sense of time
in recession
possible to live without money
by rejection of the system
it’s the same system now
we didn’t want jobs
an opportunity to focus
in a sense of what time is

not having money
not having healthcare
the ability to live in a somewhat precarious relationship
let no one represent you! -T. Adorno
the aesthetic that mediates
charismatic leaders
so far we haven’t seen
naturally a resistance
a large amount of suspicion towards anyone who might take command

let’s keep inconveniencing them

language centered writing strategy>>not putting forward any narrative>>audience must struggle to understand

without even thinking
lack of demands having such an impact

very strong statements about politics and listening>>exploring a line of thinking>>a composition of thinking rather than trying to prove a point

thinking about demands>>in an environment wherein demands are repeatedly not met not making demands becomes an utterly appropriate tactic

when we began writing
we were in the wake of maximized anomie
heading straight for Reagan
social action as a social collective

elective affinities>>being radically individual

an open horizon vs. a problem of totality
some sense of
some sense of changing everything
as opposed to the gains
as opposed to getting on a bus full of people reading S/Z by Barthes in 1977

consciously collaborative
different functions
different lifespans
different forces
different temporality
the overlay of different times articulated against each other

we’re everywhere else

the ontology of collective
refers away from itself
what kinds of social structures emerge
a blended process
architecture of the module
the matrix filled in non-linearly
a both/and solution
a compromise formation

anti-monolithic.>multilog.>10 individual voices not singing the same song.>this is a lot of stuff.>OR OR OR>>nobody was in a position of representing “the whole”

a certain amount of tension in “we”>>this “we” does not include me

its strengths and its limitations are the same
extend itself as a rhizome in that larger sense
a certain kind of pressure on an individual document
if you don’t do anything except what’s already proper you don’t create alternatives
talking and listening at the same time

human mic>>an age of non-mechanical reproduction>>supporting the saying regardless of agreement or disagreement with what’s being said

the fragility of the gesture
the desire to start over and over and over


Choice quotes from the reading portion:

We cannot shed the light that falls on us.

It is the present moment that wants expanding.

As a poet there’s no limit to what I cannot do.

The way we want to see ourselves is hopelessly entangled with the way we want to show ourselves.


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