Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Discussion regarding Pro-/Anti-choice groups, and reactions thereto (spurred by UOA Feminist Collective activity on Facebook

[Feminists UOA, of which I am a member, invites me to join group enititled "Anti-choice groups are NOT welcome at University of Auckland", with the sub-header "We don't want you so go away!!"]

Discussion that follows:

Ross Brighton
30 March at 13:29
While I agree with the sentiment, I'm not sure of the methodology - does censorship/antagonism communicate the kind of ethico-discursive stance that a group such as this exists to promote?

Such can lead to a cementing of positions; preventing, rather than promoting, progressive movement.

designating the university a site of conflict/contention has uncomfortable parallels to the designation of the procreative female body (or the female body in general, or the body in general) as such....

That's my stance at least
Feminists Uoa 30 March at 13:40 Reply
It is our university and we get to say if we want a group to affiliate or not. If we find it offensive we are permitted to vote against it. Just the presence of an anti-choice group at university will cause trauma to students. In my eyes that is reason enough to vote against them affiliating. We believe that the university should be a safe space for all students. Having an active anti-choice group on campus will make it an unsafe space for many people. They want to take away my rights to decide what to do with my body. No other club is trying to do that.
Ross Brighton 30 March at 13:52
Ok. If it's a question of voting then I'm totally in. It is a colonisation of the body, an assertion of proto-property rights in the name of "morality" (would an anti-gay group be permitted?).

Though I would hesitate to employ (discursive) violence against anything other than their (totalising) discourse (unless provoked by the same)
Ross Brighton 30 March at 13:53
May I post this discussion?
Feminists Uoa 30 March at 14:25 Reply
Sweet. I'd like to point out though that the person having this discussion is Alana (me).

Sunday, March 28, 2010


A Question for all the girl-poets out there: What are your feelings regarding writing and hysteria? I've just read a paper by Elaine Showalter ("Hysterical Narrative", in Narrative 1.1, Jan '93), that argues that it's association w "women's writing" is counterproductive, because of it's history of negative connotation and as a tool of oppression (the obvious counter-argument would be analogies with the "N-Bomb" and "Queer", etc). My interest in H. comes from my experience of the pathologization of the psychologically non-normative, reclaiming madness as a positive sight of production/expenditure, so I'm not totally clued up on gender here (though I wouldn't consiter myself normatively masculine.... but being a hetrosexual male this becomes a very foggy zone where there is no camp (no pun intended) - I've been both gay-bashed and straight-bashed - would you believe it?))

Any Thoughts?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Home & Away Poetry Symposium

H O M E & A W A Y 2 0 1 0
A Trans Tasman Poetry Symposium

Cape Reinga about

HOME & AWAY 2010 at the University of Auckland

your two islands seemed fragile and vulnerable. In humor, but also in a curious
seriousness, I wondered if one might not extend oars from either side of each,
and row them about in celebration of some appropriate festival

(Robert Creeley, 1976)

Programme | Speakers | PDF version


Monday 29 March

7-8 pm Pot luck dinner at Michael King Writers’ Centre. Bring a friend and something to eat or drink
8-9 pm

Michael Farrell and Jill Jones talk and read from their 2009 anthology Out of the Box: Contemporary Australian Gay and Lesbian Poets. Chair: Martin Edmond.
Venue: Michael King Writers’ Centre, Mt Victoria, Devonport

Tuesday 30 March

11-12 noon All Together Now / Kia Kotahi Rā. Poets and students from Poetry off the Page and Masters of Creative Writing make collaborative text for the digital bridge
12-1 pm Performances and shared lunch with students
Venue: Pat Hanan Room (Arts 2, Rm 501. Cnr of Symonds St & Grafton Rd)
1.20 pm Welcome / Whakatau
2-3 pm Session 1 Jill Jones, ‘Poetry’s latitudes: “scope for thought and action”’; Ann Vickery, ‘Beyond a National Paradigm: Travelling Poetics.’ Chair: Brian Flaherty
Venue: Pat Hanan Room
Afternoon tea
3.30-4.30 pm Session 2 Martin Edmond, ‘The Fictional Genealogies of David Mitchell’; Nigel Roberts, ‘Expanding The List: Dave Mitchell in Wellington, Auckland and Sydney.’ Chair: Peter Simpson
Venue: Pat Hanan Room
4.30-5 pm David Mitchell Live at the Globe. Film screening introduced by Genevieve McClean
Venue: Pat Hanan Room
5.30-7 pm Launch of Steal Away Boy: Selected Poems of David Mitchell (Auckland UP) and David Mitchell nzepc author page
Venue: Gus Fisher Gallery at the Kenneth Myers Centre, 74 Shortland St, CBD

Wednesday 31 March

12.30-1.30 pm Lunch. Senior Common Room, Old Government House. Cnr of Princes St and Waterloo Quadrant
2-3 pm Session 3 John Newton, ‘You Kiwis are really eccentric, aren’t you?’; Ian Wedde, ‘the sound of one hand typing.’ Chair: Murray Edmond
Afternoon tea
3.30-4.30 pm Session 4 Cath Kenneally, ‘Not revenge: eaten cold and its debt to Janet Charman’s cold snack; Mark Young, ‘Widening the Community: Otoliths and how.’ Chair: Selina Tusitala Marsh
Venue: Pat Hanan Room
5-5.30 pm Launch of Jill Jones’ Dark Bright Doors (Wakefield Press) and Mark Young’s Genji Monogatari (Otoliths)
Venue: Old Government House Lounge
5.30-7 pm LOUNGE #12 at Old Government House. Featuring Serie Barford, Janet Charman, Michael Farrell, Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, Jill Jones, Jan Kemp, Cath Kenneally, Genevieve McClean, John Newton, Vivienne Plumb, Nigel Roberts, Ian Wedde, Mark Young. MC: Michele Leggott

Thursday 1 April

Day: Trip to Waiheke Island, tbc
Early evening Planning for September symposium
7.30 pm Genevieve McClean’s Projector Project 2: poetry and film collaborations. Te Karanga Gallery, K Road

For more info visit the NZEPC

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Man, I think it's nearly three weeks between posts - the longest so far, at a guess. But moving, and starting postgrad work I think are good excuses.

In case those of you who have not abandoned me (dear readers, dear reader) did not know, I've moved to Auckland, and am now studying at the city's eponymous university. It's great. So far there's five hours of theory a week (three tought, the rest is a discussion group) and there may be more in the works.

I'm working on a trans-tasman semi-aleotory massively excessive (the source-text I've built through processing Home and Away scripts and Abel Tasman's Journals is over 150 pages) work that I'm hoping will be part of the digital bridge being constructed for the Home and Away symposium curated by the NZEPC.

I've also met, for the first time in the real world, Scott Hamilton, Jack Ross, and Tony Green, all of whom are good people (in my estimation at least, for what that's worth).

I've developed an unhealthy infatuation with Antonin Artaud.

Also, Amy King was good enough to send me copies of two of her books (both published by Blazevox), and they're awesome. I highly recomend them to anyone, especially those who like the kind of affect in Lara Glenum, Johannes Göransson, Kate Durbin and Kate Zambreno (And their theoretical work - I'm thinking graphorrhea (there's my Artaud obsession again - he was diognosed with such) , vomit, hysteria, excess of affect, general awesomeness....

Jaques Lacan treated Artuad during his 11 month stay at Sainte-Anne hospital in Paris (one of the five hospitals he was incarcerated in over the 8 year, 8 month period between September 30, 1937 and his release from Rodez in 1945. Artaud described him as a "filthy, vile bastard" (Curtosy of Clayton Eshelman's introduction to Watchfiends and Rackscreams: Works from the Final Period).

Helen Cixious isn't a fan of Lacan either:
"Here we encounter the inevitable man-with-rock, standing erect in his old Freudian realm, in the way that, to take the figure back to the point where linguistics is conceptualizing it "anew," Lacan preserves it in the sanctuary of the phallos (ø) "sheltered" from castration's lack! Their "symbolic" exists, it holds power-we, the sowers of disorder, know it only too well. But we are in no way obliged to deposit our lives in their banks of lack, to consider the constitution of the subject in terms of a drama manglingly restaged, to reinstate again and again the religion of the father. Because we don't want that. We don't fawn around the su- preme hole. We have no womanly reason to pledge allegiance to the negative. The feminine (as the poets suspected) affirms: ". . . And yes," says Molly, carrying Ulysses off beyond any book and toward the new writing; "I said yes, I will Yes."" ("The Laugh of the Medusa").

I saw Kate D. has started a Journal of Gaga Studies. I'm very, very impressed, and will contribute as soon as I am able.

Posts soon: Textual Body Politic: Hysteria, Abjection, Expenditure

Review of Myung Mi Kim's Penury

Review of Bruce Russell's Left Handed Blows: Writing on Sound

Swans: Abjection, Misogyny, Capital

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Poetry NZ 40

is out now (available here), including my essay "Recent Developments in American Poetry" - covering the Gurlesque and related poetries, Flarf, and Conceptual Writing. Here is the section on Johannes Göransson:

"The phenomenon of grotesquery as a means of questioning gender norms and identity isn’t confined to women. Johannes Göransson is a male poet working in this field. He relies on the Julia Kristeva’s framework of the Abject, which centres on the othering, fracturing, exploding and mutilating the speaker’s body and consciousness through a regime of continual violence and transgression:

My girlfriend is gasping for air; she’s going catatonic
in this bargain bin of a winter, she’s scared of pigeons.
I own a shoddy collection of pigeon skeletons.
I never thought I would be able to fit so many
disparate parts in my mouth at once. (35)
I keep mentioning my torso because I wish I were a zoologist. I wish I were a surgeon. Or Darwin. Or a ballet impresario in Paris. Or a mole in the ground. Or a reptile collector. Or 5000 accidents. Made of Swans. Or Darwin. Or an injury. Or going home in a wheelbarrow. Or moving into the Hotel Fuck. Or bleeding slowly into a silver bucket. Or plundering. Most of all I wish I were Darwin. (17)
Here the text becomes a battleground for competing desires and pulsions, the ‘so many disparate parts’ of language that emanate from the ‘mouth’ compete as vehicles for the assertion and explosion of self. The humanist distinction between human and animal, and the rationalist distinction between subject and object collapse as zoologist and mole become one and the same. Darwin is conjured as the archetypal destroyer of epistemologies and metanarratives (as in his impact on Judaeo-Christian cosmology). In this respect Göransson is a Darwinistic regressor, a user of the name as a vehicle for becoming animal. Being is discarded in favour of movement. The body, both personal and political, becomes the site of conflict and abjection as in the titles of some of the poems in the collection:
‘Shotgun Wedding in the Ribcage of the Bourgeoisie’ (9), ‘Ronald Regan Brought Me to this Country – Me and the Anti-Abortion Movement’ (29), ‘I Write Like a Girl, You Read like You’re in the Closet’ (68).
Such titles appear as interruptions to the flow of a longer poem reading like catch-phrases or shouted announcements as a result of their large, bold typeface, all-caps formatting or pop-up ads announcing what’s coming next on the network."

Monday, March 1, 2010

I'm looking for a flat in Auckland. If you can help, please email me. Any help would be greatly appreciated, and I have a large library if that's any incentive!