Sunday, July 10, 2016

Day3 of VizJournalPoem Project by Jennifer K Dick

(30x42cm//11.75x16.5". Pastel and charcoal)

Thursday, July 07, 2016

The Enigmatic Torque of Elena Rivera summer reading project 1

The enigmatic torque of Elena Rivera
Summer project—I have a particular knack for starting projects. There is excitement in that new breath, all hope and possibility in the emerging unknown encounter—it is like taking off along a road you had never noticed was right there, in your own neighborhood, and hoping it will lead you to see an entirely new city. Determination, of course, is part of project creation—and an initial sense of duty, as well as the desire to see the project flourish and be completed one day. You start with the belief it will. I am starting with the belief it will. To make that possible, I’ve realized from many prematurely abandoned projects that it is wise not to put too many constraints on the project, not to demand too much of yourself every day.
And so, on this, my first official night of the French “vacances”, entering a summer of completing critical and creative books, I have decided to read more—and that my newest project, my summer reading project, will be to post little mini thoughts about the books and chapbooks that I read in my friend’s houses, at the BNF, on the road. Not reviews—but a note on something that caught my eye or ear. Something of note in the reading of the day.
Today I begin with a little booklet I perused but had not read with attention before tonight. It has been among the pile of books to review that never got reviewed (I do what I can, but am only one me!) The first reading here on the train that is rushing at 300KM/hour towards Paris from Mulhouse, dipping southward towards Belfort then over to Dijon, the sun still bright in the evening sky, was so quick to complete I began again and gave it a second read, and then a third—it is On the Nature of Position and Tone, by Elena Rivera (Field Press: New York and Chicago, 2012).
I have two sets of thoughts on this chapbook: one is on the book itself—folded and bound with string that has been carefully planned to tie so that the interior knot opens the chapbook to the title page for Part II—Already on Different Sides. The chapbook is printed on a slightly off-white paper, just a tinge of the egg cream tone to it, which is comforting to look at. The black and white cover image is a gorgeous, seductive photo (by unknown) of Vanishing Ship (third state), a sculpture by John Roloff. The image seems a mirror or a kind of botanical garden glass greenhouse-ship’s bow emerging from the forest which perhaps contains unbeknownst to us (or even the artist) the first page, the first stanza of Elena’s delicate, mysterious poem—which also seems to be just hinting at the unseen, underground body behind the few visible words “just” emerging from the “fog” she mentions so often in this book-length poem:
In a field of blooming thistle
a sensual response
Give me oblivion
as of emotion
Here, two unpunctuated couplets signaled as such by the use of capitalization and by the rhyme of the second, already evoke-provoke-elicit reactions, but not intellectual ones, instead they are “sensual”. The called-forth response is about feeling and about the attempt to not feel, to forget in the witnessing instant. But forget what? The prickle of thistle, or its bright flash of inviting color? Which do we choose to imagine, to see in our minds, to reach out to? To suckle or get stabbed by? A thistle is a hardy, strong plant, a weed with hidden sweetness, which seems to be groping for release, and here there is the voice of the one (presumably Elena, the poet) seeing the thistle’s moment of blooming as if it is responding—but to what? The poet? A rain that has passed? Summer? Another season? Or some more opaque connection only known to a plant’s roots?
I could sit all the hours of the train ride and keep looking into that field and that combination of oblivion-emotion, but what surges forth is the command “Give me” that reoccurs later in the book as Rivera writes a few pages on: “Give me rapture!” and later still “Give me choices” and near the end “a rattler” says “Give me a twist”. There is a need, as she tells us in: “Chorus: Need more, seek more, want more” and “at the crossroads needing something more to go on” as well as “Went to the wishing circle to wish for the wish that would turn the world//around”. The longing, like all desires, remains unquenchable in this chapbook. Meanwhile, these landscapes delicately sketched with gaps and elliptical lines stretching towards various horizons, is pocked with the possibility of disaster (loss: “Mourning the morning in the evening” or “her fall”; fire: “Which tree will be resistant to fire”; unknown: “it all happened so quickly”; accident/hunting: “Dear deer mowed down”; amnesia and loss: “What am I without my memory/My family”) or with the option of release into some state of wonderment.
As I close the chapbook, I select the last option, returning to her line near the start of Part II: “I have...been shaken by reading the ocean”. That seems like a great way to spend the summer, reading the ocean, watching in wonderment the way the world undulates regardless of what is happening within us, or around us, or to us. I am here “Trying for buoyancy on the surface”.


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Paris Writers' Workshop Faculty Reading Wednesday 29th June 2016


29 June 2016 at 6pm: Jennifer K Dick (poet), Ayana Mathis (novelist), Michelle Huneven (nonfiction writer), and Nahid Rachlin (novella/short story author) will read at Berkeley Books of Paris for the Paris Writers Workshop Faculty Reading. Berkeley Books, 8 rue Casimir Delavigne, 75006 Paris. M° Odéon or RER B

I will be reading entirely new work from the manuscript That Which I Touch Has No Name, completed this June. In fact, I will be reading from the last section I finished while in Amsterdam just a few weeks ago--so will be testing the waters.

So I hope you can join me/us for this event!

Reader BIOS:
Avana Mathis is Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing for the Iowa Writers' Workshop. The Twelve Tribes Of Hattie, her first novel, was a New York Times Bestseller, a 2013 New York Times Notable Book of the Year, an NPR Best Book of 2013 and was chosen by Oprah Winfrey as the second selection for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0.She has also been a frequent contributor for the N.Y. Times Book Review, the Financial Times, Esquire, and The Atlantic.

Michelle Huneven has published a nonfiction book, The Tao Gals Guide to Real Estate, and four novels. Her short fiction has been published in Harpers, Redbook, and Ms. magazine. She has taught at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Antioch College, and Bennington College, and is currently a lecturer at UCLA.
Nahid Rachlin’s publications include a memoir, Persian Girls; four novels, Jumping Over Fire, Foreigner, Married To A StrangerThe Heart’s Desire; and a collection of short stories, Veils. Her novella, Crowd of Sorrows, and individual short stories have appeared in more than fifty magazines. She has taught for Barnard College, Yale University and for various workshops in Europe such as the PWW and the Geneva Writers' Conference. 

Jennifer K Dick is the author of Circuits (2013), Enclosures (2007), Florescence (2004) and 5 chapbooks. Her collaborative projects include the live show Traces de son amant qui s’en va (2015) and Le Moulin Collectif, including vocal appearance in Gilles Weinzaepflan’s film Le Moulin: She is Maître de Conférences at the Université de Haute Alsace in Mulhouse, France.

For more complete bios of all of the faculty of PWW, 
see the PWW Master Class Faculty page:

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Paris Writers Workshop Poetry Workshop with Jennifer K Dick

The Art Of Poetry Writing With Writer-In-Residence Jennifer K Dick
Course Description: “Which is skin, which flesh, which skeleton–form, content– is impossible to discern: They’re part of one body of motion.” So contends Marilyn Hacker in her article, “A Few Cranky Paragraphs on Form and Content.” As she notes, often contemporary poets fail to fully explore the extent to which various forms can enhance and enliven their message.  This course will test out the possibilities of form, from the bases of Hackeresque meters in English poetry in sonnets remaining loyal to the use of iambic pentameter to Troubadour forms such as the sestina as explored across the twentieth century to the ways form can be understood as loosely as visual placement of words on the page, in the line or in a prose poem paragraph. The attention will be on the progression of line to stanza to poem, from the point of writing to final revision, thus the outside of the body, that skin, to the inside, and how form stitches itself into the marrow, the deepest bone of what desires to be expressed in a poem. It is never what a poem says that makes it unforgettable, but how: and this week we will hone and sharpen our work via reading, writing and revision. This workshop should leave you with some tools you can build on when you return home.

As the PWW page announces:
"... the 28th edition of the Paris Writers’ Workshop (PWW), the longest-established English-language creative writing program in France. PWW 2016 will be held 26 June – 1 July. PWW is a special program of WICE, an anglophone organization in Paris promoting continuing education.
This year we have the distinct honor of conducting our classes at UNESCO Headquarters, in the heart of Paris. Auxiliary events will be held at a variety of historic Paris locations.
The workshop will open with a mandatory registration reception on Sunday, 26 June. On Monday morning, 27 June, our intensive master classes will begin. 
Choose from four master classes taught by distinguished authors:
  • Writing Novels led by Ayana Mathis
  • Writing Short Stories and Novellas led by Nahid Rachlin
  • Writing Poetry led by Jennifer K Dick
  • Writing Creative Nonfiction led by Michelle Huneven
In addition to the morning master classes, the workshop will also include an expert panel, author readings and social events. We invite you to be a part of our international community. Come hone your writing skills with guidance from accomplished instructors. Surround yourself with other writers who are working to elevate their craft. Immerse yourself in Paris, the city that has inspired authors and creative minds for generations."
Click here to register for Paris Writers’ Workshop 2016.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Book Review at Jacket2 of Donna Stonecipher's Model City

So excited to see my book review of DONNA STONECIPHER'S fabulous book MODEL CITY (called "The Urban Interior-Exterior Ideal")  up and available for perusal. And I am also very thankful for the edits and close readings of Kenna over at Jacket2, who helped get this polished like a shiny little stone!!! Enjoy!

FYI: Future book reviews are cookin' in the pan, so keep your eyes peeled for announcements as they arrive on your screens--perhaps next fall.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Ivy double-header the 29th and the 31st of May in Paris

Ivy will be having a full end of May, with 2 end-of-May events in Paris!!!

29th May at 17h30: 
The IVY WRITERS PARIS + VERSAL Magazine (Amsterdam) and UPSTAIRS AT DUROC (Paris) mini festival of poetry, including performances in French by the group VEGA and readings in both English and French by a wide variety of local and travelling authors. WHEN? 29 May at 5:30pm to 8pm. WHERE? Mundolingua, 10 rue servandoni, 75006 Paris. Full info at:

The 31st of May at 19h00:
American Poetry night with Amy Catanzano, Rebecca Seiferle and Margaree Little at BERKELEY BOOKS OF PARIS. The bios for these fabulous authors can be found on the Ivy Writers Paris Blog.

A Mundolingua (musée de la langue à Paris), 
10 rue Servandoni – 75006 Paris
- See more at:
A Mundolingua (musée de la langue à Paris), 
10 rue Servandoni – 75006 Paris
- See more at:
A Mundolingua (musée de la langue à Paris), 
10 rue Servandoni – 75006 Paris
- See more at:

Monday, May 09, 2016

Day 2 of VizJournalPoem Project by Jennifer K Dick

May 9th 2016: Day 2 images 3 and 4:

(30x42cm//11.75x16.5". Mixed medium--acrylic, collaged paper, permanent marker, ink, glue, pastel, charcoal)

"RESPITE RE-CESS (recession) in
rooted/ignited TIMESPACE"
(30x42cm//11.75x16.5". Mixed medium--acrylic, ink, glue, pastel, charcoal)

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Recently Received / Recently Acquired BOOKS and CHAPBOOKS

April 2013 folds into May 2016: When a blogpost gets lost in the draft files and then re-emerges:

It seems worthwhile to note once in a blue moon what JOY is brought to any day where I go downstairs to discover a slightly puffier than a bill envelope and rip it open to uncover the gorgeous book that has somehow wended and wound its way possibly on trains, planes and automobiles as well as the back of the bike of our local post office worker (really, she bikes, it is awesome) to here.

Some of the very exciting recent mailbox pleasures from April 2013 which I had in a draft blog post since then include:
Anne-Marie Albiach's Celui des "Lames" (Eric Pesty, 2013)
Jane Lewty's BRAVURA COOL (1913 press, 2012)
MURDER by Danielle Collobert (one of my favorite books in French) now in an English version translated by Nathanael (Nightboat Books, 2013)
Rachida Madani's Tales of a Severed Head translated by Marilyn Hacker (Yale U Press, 2013)

But also there are the 2013 acquired in person books I wanted to tell people about in April of that year, such as:
Brandon Shimoda's Obon
Zachary Schomburg's Scary, no scary (O Books, 2013)

May 2016 shout outs about exciting new arrivals or newly acquired reads, most picked up in NYC on my recent visit include:
Dominique Maurizi Langue du chien (Albertine, 2011)--FYI Dominique will be reading at Berkeley Books of Paris on May 19, 2016 at 19h30
Tears in the Fence's newest issue (62) with a stunning new cover design
4 of the newest books from Nightboat--poetry collections by Michael Heller, E Tracey Grinnell, Brenda Iijima and Maged Zaher!
Early Linoleum by Brenda Iijima (Counterpath, 2015)
Visual Poems and Performance Scripts by Jane Augustine (Marsh Hawk Press, 2015)
3 books, including the fabulous, dense and rich Memories, Dreams and Inner Voices by Michael Ruby (Station Hill of Barrytown, 2012)
Bonny Finberg's Kali's Day (a novel!)
Epître Langue Louve by Claude Ber (got that at Ivy last week--it is fabulous!)
Actes from the colloque "Traduire le rêve" N° 53 of Etudes de Langue et Littérature françaises de l'université Seinan-Gakuin, numéro spécia for the 150th anniversary of Franco-Japonais relations (from Spring 2010)

If you never had time, in 2013, I published a few articles and book reviews, such as on Elsa Von Freytag's Body Sweats (on Drunken Boat), Of Tradition and Experiment articles for Tears in the Fence UK and poem/translation in N° 9 of RoToR magazine, in RoToR's FIRST BILINGUAL edition including my poem "Full Throttle" as well as 2 other texts which I co-translated with Anne Kawala.

In April 2013 we were all awaiting the exciting issue 11 of VERSAL--which you can still order!--and watch for 2016 news on Versal as we launch a call for work sometime this year and get ready for the next issues of the magazine. Versal has been focused on VERSO, its reading and talks series, and the next VERSO will be June 5th 2016 which I will curate--see full information at VERSO site: FIXITY/THE VOID is our Gemini alchemical theme.

Day 1 of VizJournalPoem Project May 2016

"Moi aussi, je suis peintre"--Apollinaire

About a year ago I purchased a GIANT Moleskin notebook at the Pompidou Center's spectacular bookstore with the vague idea that I would use the book to make some sort of one-off artpoetry book. "Play!" it invited me. But we all know how these things go--you get home then life takes over--the effort to make a single book just for me got shuffled under a million other "more important" things. The Moleskin was shelved.

But a few weeks ago, back at the Pompidou Center for the tail end of the Anselm Keiffer show, as I sat in one of the rooms and scribbled the draft of a poem, then shifted to another room and wrote a mini short story, the notebook came to mind once more. Keiffer's work evoked language, cited it, was crossed with it, or alluded to books and authors. But most significantly it awoke my own desire to play visually--to be the writer who let in the bit of the visual artist--to scribble over the pages, to dig into them with charcoal, to mash word and line into and perhaps even through surfaces. 

So, in an effort to not care whether the painting is sloppy or amateur, I began today the 176-page long Moleskin book as a sort of spring mental cleaning--reading and rereading old journals of the past year, I plucked out lines and fragments and painted and wrote, charcoaled and pasteled over and into the paint, collaged, glued a photo clipping I have had on my writing desk for the past years into the opening page. Thus I have begun the Moleskin one-off visual book exploration. To make me feel less insular in this process, I have also decided to post images of the pages as I go, even if they are childsplay--parce que, moi aussi, je suis peintre! Merci Anselm Keiffer et merci Apollinaire.

May 8th 2016: Day 1 image 1:
(30x84cm//11.75x33". Mixed medium--acrylic, collaged papers and black and white photo 'Holland House Library after the bombing of London', permanent marker, glue)


Monday, May 02, 2016

The Poetic Autobiography: an evening of readings and discussions on May 3rd

Very excited to be curating this event and leading the discussion around the topic of the poetic autobiography for Ivy Writers Paris Tonight, the 3rd of May 2016 at 19h30 in Paris at Berkeley Books. If you want more information on the event, see the bios for the authors at: