Monday, August 02, 2021

Art in Time by Cole Swensen presented by Jennifer K Dick

 Jennifer K Dick’s introductory comments for Cole Swensen’s ART IN TIME (Nightboat Books, May 2021)

A zoom event in June 2021 co-organized by Eléna Rivera, Laura Mullen and Jennifer K Dick


Essai: Montaigne: Try

Poetry: Art: Land: Stop Time: Move on: Glimpse: Halt: Retreat: Examine: Light: Grass: Field: Sky: Tend Histories: Groom Recollection: Filter: Wait: Grow: Decipher:

Misreading one of Swensen’s lines in Art in Time, I discovered myself thinking “It’s a gesture of pure rapture—” in lieu of “rupture”. I found that misreading moment to be defining something about my own encounter with this new work, as

“…the face of the filmer breaking

open the surface of the fiction—” (25)

was suddenly no longer the “rupture” of Vargas, but the rapture, the joy of light, of enlightening, of being enlightened—and sharing that—that is Swensen here in this book.

Swensen associates writing with seeing, seeing with being expanding beyond the breadth and depth of the spatio-temporal realm (I think of Goest, or the pondering of “vastness” with which she opens Art in Time). To stretch beyond, within : like the short essay-videopoem we showed here to launch into this evening (online at:, the third section is the one by Swensen we showed), walking down the road towards the vanishing point which is never attained, always stretched out towards. To get to it? Into it/(intuit)? Go beyond it? The limitlessness of possibility. Lines, in Swensen’s work, thus extend, but then a wind comes up, some distraction, and the focus disperses. Are these poems constantly trying to stick to the solid road, the manageable, cultivated field, the uniformly, nicely blocked essay, the art critical—like in this extract on Tanner who Swensen notes was painting “the architecture of faith picked / out in right angles by the architecture of light” ?  

Like an insect, a flower, a leaf, dust in a gust of wind causing us to pause then wander off, free to explore the spirit of something encountered, poetic fragments float through these texts, break away from thought to sense (tactility) and to sensing (knowing, feeling, suspecting an idea to be an accurate rendition) through and beyond—like Tanner’s :


From Extract from Henry Ossawa Tanner

Night Over Night, p57

I draw your attention especially to this moment:

night, which is inherently borderless—within it, things

have no edges, things live indeterminate; less themselves alone,

they begin to participate in others; they start suggesting and

transforming—in evening is the transformation of the world—

Writes Swensen. Or, as she writes in another poem from this collection— “Field: a flag of erasure one life becomes another”(5)

Landscape with street on which wind—

in which women lean in—

Landscape of a line of lights

down a street in a storm.

Landscape of a woman

holding up a lamp.

Landscape of a woman

succumbing to light.

Of a woman with weather streaked in stone.


Landscape of a woman

on a balcony hanging out a sheet.

A woman walks up the quai with a basket of laundry on her head.

Another woman resting

against the blade of her scythe.


Suddenly we are transformed and transforming. We are in community, communing with moments, Like Swensen, like the artists Swensen is writing about. We, as readers, find ourselves in constant encounter. Not with Swensen alone, but, through Swensen, through her focus, her distractions, her wandering, her returning to find her point, with the others she is writing us into the room with: Agnes Martin, Robert Smithson, Agnès Varda, Rosa Bonheur, Willem de Kooning, Zao Wu-Ki, André des Gashons, Sally Mann, Irving Petlin, but also, through them, into their lives and encounters with others—we are there with Brassai, as Swensen writes:

“We see
Agnès V.

setting up a camera on a black and white street
to take a photo of Brassai from several different heights” (23)

Swensen takes us into the work of Zao Wu-Ki, so that we, too,

collaborate with
some of the greatest poets of his time—René Char, Saint-John
Perse, Ezra Pound, Roger Laporte,

and earlier ones: Rimbaud
Rimbaud, and Rimbaud

and always, in endless conversation, Henri Michaux.”

For, as Swensen writes in that poem, in that moment

“It’s through friendship that abstraction can acquire a density
sufficient to amount to matter. To become material.

We, in fact, through the joy of reading these texts, of pausing a while in their light, feel the rapture—to return to my misreading—of communion as

“They (as Swensen say’s of Michaux’s ideogrammed thousands silhouetted along the horizon) “become fast friends.”

Tonight, Elena, Laura and I wanted to honor our close friend, ZOOM partner, and amazing author, publisher and translator. We want to celebrate this wonderful work with her because she has not only brought richness and encounter into our lives as a writer, but through her generosity of spirit, and—to end with a little laugh and a photo (not included for privacy reasons here) from when we could all gather in a physically shared space, a picture she has never even seen from an evening of sharing a galette des rois with friends—she has taught us to see both outwards and inwards at once in a manner that is constantly striving to go beyond and which Art in Time beautifully encapsulates. Here we locate

Landscape as history

as a trajectory perpendicular to memory

Landscape of history

as a long row of rooms

These pages, these poem-essays are rooms we get to enter. In which we get to find ourselves, together, as now as she will read to us. 



Friday, May 28, 2021

INVITATION to DIVE IN WRITING WORKSHOP Recycling and Recyclages 3 June 2021 8pm Paris time, 2pm East Coast USA time

"writing: recycling and recyclages"
A generative, open-genre workshop offered
by Jennifer K Dick and Lisa Pasold

online  via FB livestream link
20-22h Paris time for DIVE IN

The Dive In is a celebration of cultural diversity in the arts featuring writers and musicians from France, the US, UK, Peru, Canada, Ireland, and beyond, all coming together to raise money by entertaining you. This year we're raising money for Frank Water, a charity that works to improve access to safe water, sanitation & hygiene in India & Nepal:

WORKSHOP DESCRIPTION  "writing: recycling and recyclages"
A generative, open-genre workshop offered by Jennifer K Dick and Lisa Pasold

        In connection with Dive-In’s focus on raising funds for environmental causes, this workshop will reconsider the pages of language we often automatically trash in our lives, and the objects, debris and linguistic fields they are often connected to. In short, over our two hours together you will be prompted to “recycle” the scraps of advertising, packaging, labels and other tidbits of language that arrive at your home into a variety of texts. Collage and writing, epistolary forms and performance will be among the topics covered. Come with pen, paper and a pile of about-to-get-binned junk mail, packaging labels, etc. In any language!
          Suggestion: to get into the groove, check out “Dump (‘Dance This Mess Around’) by Laura Mullen in The Volta’s special issue on trash:, pick up a copy of AR Ammons Garbage or any one of the books in the series of drafts by Rachel Blau DuPlessis, or see Anna Swanson’s interactive hypertext recycling series “garbage poems” at:

I will be offering, with Lisa Pasold, this FREE workshop on for DIVE IN.  Free. Free, but PLEASE DONATE TO THEIR CAUSE: see gofundme for a clean water project in INDIA and NEPAL.

Here's the DIVE IN link to our GoFundMe, hoping to at least raise £1000

ALL whole week for DIVE in events are happening and we are thrilled to be part of it!
Here is the events page on FB where ALL of the action will happen as a Livestream event. Lisa and I will be offering our workshop here too!


Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Ateliers pour générer des poèmes sur radio Pi Node et avec visites radiophonique de l'expo Qaqalah à la Kunsthalle Mulhouse


Jennifer K Dick vos propose 4 ateliers générateurs des poèmes contemporains sur Radio Pi-Node 
( le 23, 24 et 25 avril 2021 autour de l’exposition « Qaqalah Plus d'une langue » à la Kunsthalle Mulhouse Centre d’Art Contemporain. Avec chaque exercice, je vous propose un peu de lecture de la poésie contemporaine française pour célébrer le mois de la poésie. Ces activités vont nous préparer pour la résidence de Vannina Maestri qui viendra à la Kunsthalle dans le cadre d'Ecrire l'Art en mai 2021.


Les références des textes, et un court résumé de l’exercice (dans 1 ligne) pour chaque intervention :

23.04 à 19h:00: Emission autour de l'oeuvre "Work on paper" de Temporary Art Platform

- conversation entre Marine Ambrosini et Jennifer K. Dick

3 exercices d’écriture proposés : utilisez les pages des journaux pour écrire vos textes de façons suivants : 1) en s’inspirant d’une image pour écrire 2) en prenant des phrases et ensuite en répondant à des sujets d’articles 3) en n’utilisant que des fragments pris des journaux pour composer votre poème-collage.

Références :

·         Déborah Heissler, Sorrowful Songs (Ænchrages et Co, 2015) : poèmes et dessins du plasticien new yorkais Peter Maslow.

·         Laurent Grisel, Journal de la Crise de 2006, 2007, 2008, d’avant et d’après (Hachette/PublieNet, 2018)

·         Vannina Maestri, Mobiles et Mobiles 2 (éditions Al Dante  2005 et 2010 : disponible aux presses du réel)

24.04 à 19:00: Emission autour de l'oeuvre "Seeing studies" d'Institute for incongruous translation" de Natascha Sadr Haghighian et Ashkan Sepahvand avec Can Altay

- conversation entre Sandrine Wymann et Jennifer K. Dick

Exercice d’écriture proposé : A l’instar des artistes de « Seeing Studies », trouvez un ancien manuel d’école. Mélangez la prise des fragments du manuel avec des fragments que vous notez de vos souvenirs d’enfance et de l’école pour construire un poème-mobile.

Références :

·         Vannina Maestri, Mobiles et Mobiles 2 (éditions Al Dante  2005 et 2010 : disponible aux presses du réel)

·         Vannina Maestri : extrait d’un ouvrage en cours, disponible sur :

**Avec nos remerciements à Al Dante et l’auteur Vannina Maestri pour la permission de vous fournir un extrait de Mobiles, pp 88-89, lu par Camille Roussel et Ilona Vonau—des étudiants en licence à l’UHA Mulhouse.


25.04 à 10:00: Emission autour de l'oeuvre "Atlas" de Sarah Ouhaddou

- conversation entre Jennifer K Dick et Emilie Georges

2 exercices d’écriture proposés : Pensez à une matière brute ou une plante  locale qui peut servir de sujet d’écriture. Ensuite: 1) imitez la forme du marbre avec votre texte en passant de l’écrire libre en forme du bloc à une sélection plus précis des lignes et ensuite des fragments—jusqu’à la disparition du texte.  2) écrivez un poème sur la matière brute ou la plante locale et ensuite le mettre à l’intérieur d’une forme graphique pour nous obliger de le revoir autrement.

Références :

·         Virginie Poitrasson, Journal d’une disparition (Ink #1, mai 2008)

·         Jean-Michel Espitallier l'invention de la course à pied (éditions Al Dante, 2013, disponible aux presses du réel)

·         Vannina Maestri, Mobiles et Mobiles 2 (éditions Al Dante  2005 et 2010 : disponible aux presses du réel)

·         Phillippe Jaffeux, O L’an (Atelier de l’agneau/architextes, 2011, 2012) Pour voir un extrait dans la forme du CDrom et lire « Une question » posée à Jaffeux par Christophe Esnault en 2017 sur ZONE Critique :

25.04 à 16:00: Emission autour de l'oeuvre "Phonèmes en conflits " de Lawrence Abu Hamdan - conversations entre Muna Murbak, Jennifer K. Dick et Emilie Georges

Exercice d’écriture proposé en 2 étapes : 1) Pendant 10-20 minutes, laissez-vous réfléchir librement en prenant des notes sur les sujets et thèmes de cet ouvrage : le langage, les accents, l’immigration, les frontières, la Somalie ou même les façons dont on juge les autres/soi-même 2) Parmi vos notes, sélectionnez un axe à approfondir à travers la contrainte de l’anaphore—la répétition d’un ou de plusieurs mots, de sons ou des lettres (voyelles ou consonnes). Faites un poème en prose ou en vers qui utilise l’anaphore.

Références :

·         Jean-Pierre Bobillot, Prose des rats (l’atelier de l’agneau, 2008, 2ème édition revue et augmenté 2019)

·         Jacques Sivan, Vie sur Deuil Polaire (éditions Al Dante  2012) : pour voir un compte rendu du livre par Stéphanie Eligert où on peut lire quelques extraits :

·         Christophe Tarkos, CAISSES, (© POL, 1998).

**Avec nos remerciements à POL pour la permission de vous fournir un extrait de Caisses © P.O.L Editeur, 1998, p25, lu par Camille Roussel et Ilona Vonau—des étudiants en licence à l’UHA Mulhouse.  


Pour visiter l'exposition

Thursday, April 15, 2021

SWAS Strasbourg Write A Story 2021 Prize Ceremony and Reading

Please join us on Saturday April 17th 2021 at 2pm France time for the annual SWAS (Strasbourg Write A Story) contest prize ceremony and reading of the winning stories by the authors. This year's judges were Helen E Mundler, Barry Kirwan and Jennifer K Dick. The stories by the 5 finalists in each category have been published in an anthology which is available for purchase.

This is an ONLINE event with a youtube live link which will be activated on the day: YouTube Live Stream:

Tell us you will be there via the FB event page!

For more on SWAS, to join a workshop or submit work for next year's prize, please visit their site at

Monday, April 12, 2021

Please come to my talk on Hejinian, Carson and Kapil this THURSDAY 15 April 2021 at 10h30-12h


I would like to invite you to come hear me speak as part of the Colors and Cultures conference (about how different groups perceive, write about, think about color, etc.) I will be presenting “The Dissenting RED Self in Lyn Hejinian’s Tribunal and Anne Carson’s Autobiography of Red” during session 19 "SEEING RED" thursday the 15th at 10h30-12h France time via ZOOM--This talk will be focusing on Lyn Hejinian, Anne Carson (with some remarks also on Bhanu Kapil, too). Abstract below. 

Full conference schedule, abstracts of all talks, sign ups, etc are available at:

To attend, please If you’d like to be in our on-line audience, please send Charlaine Ostmann your email and your university affiliation in order to get a ZOOM invitation for all of our sessions:
charlaine [dot] ostmann [at] uha [dot] fr: This information on registering is available on the website as well.

The dissenting RED self in Lyn Hejinian’s Tribunal and Anne Carson’s Autobiography of Red

 Jennifer K Dick (MdC, UHA)

“A Human of Mars” in Lyn Hejinian’s Tribunal (Omnidawn, 2019) opens “I am a human in the absence of others of a yet better red.”(11) while the central story in Anne Carson’s Autobiography of Red (Cape Poetry, 1999) begins in a world described as made of “red dirt” where the character, Geryon, is overwhelmed going to school on his first day: “Children poured around him and the intolerable red assault of grass and the smell of grass everywhere/ was pulling him towards it…”(23) “He stood on his small red shadow and thought what to do next.” (24)

This talk will explore the what next? behind these two author’s uses of red. Red of rage, of rebel, of alien, of liquid earth or of foreign planet Mars—red provides color-based symbolic ramifications for the definition of an alternate, radical self-identity. Both poetry collections center around a novel-like anti-hero/underdog character pondering “The riddle [that] persists: who am I?”(23). They navigate complex interrogations of interior and exterior worlds as their existence is entirely defined by “red”—the color of “dissent”, of “fire” for Hejinian’s “alien” and Carson’s “monstrous” Geryon (based on the Greek story of Herakles who heroically slayed him for his red cattle but who may also be, in her work, a phoenix-like immortal Yazcamac.) Red remains connected to its traditional symbolisms (rage, violence, desire, flesh, blood, love and Marxist politics). Yet in these works red is most significantly related to transformation—a red, deep fire, the life-force of lava, the earth’s center bubbling out to form new land, at once a destructive and constructive force. Red, as used in these texts, provides readers with a red-eye, perhaps even blinding, photo-flash reflection of an alternative self, one which is anti-binary, molten, other, as Hejinian’s “Human of Mars” states: “I depart, separating from myself and become a red image of it” (23) In the end these characters are “a drop of gold…molten matter returned from the core of the earth to tell you [show us] interior things” (59).