I know it’s not even summer yet, but it’s not too early to start the buzz for my fall workshop at the Poetry Project:


What if more actually is more? How can we create writing that is more sumptuous, more intense, more curvaceous, more elegant, more obscure, more grotesque, and more beautiful? Let’s traverse the ornate forms of the baroque in pursuit of a more intensely ornamental language. Using others’ texts as starting points, we will supplement, enhance, copy, modify, twist, mangle, and decorate words, syntax, structures, tropes, and concepts to maximize sublime bewilderment. We will read some essays on theories of ornament (and anti-ornament) to inform our investigations. Writers whose works we will explore may include Rabelais, Donne, M. Cavendish, Loy, Huysmans, O’Hara, Koch, and Coolidge, as well as Stacy Doris, Lisa Robertson, Brandon Brown, Adeena Karasick, Dana Ward, Corina Copp, Julian Brolaski, Charles Bernstein, and Julie Patton. “Nonpoetic” sources for poem construction will be encouraged. Not a traditional “poetry workshop,” Baroqueify! will mainly focus on analysis, discussion, and reverse-engineering of texts by others, as well as mindcurling writing exercises. Our seminar will conclude with work on performance strategies to enhance the baroque sensibilities of the writing. Come decorate this fucked-up world with me!

Poets Must Be Milliners Themselves

Theory of Floral Insouciants

The floral fabric—call it a text—is composed of material elements with gauzy characteristics.

Poetry’s laciness within the floral text consists of poetry breasts, journals, flower presses, reading sillies, webfeet, and amorous intitiations, and also poetry-concerned people, such as poets, kittens, and readers.  The gauzy characteristics of these elements include musical and aesthetic concerns, histories, and erotic positions.  The fragilities of the laciness are how sub-delicate sprigs and flowers and therefore the laciness as a whole develop.  It is how, for instance, a poet writing a lace-concerned poetry may influence other poets and the development of journals interested in such wreaths, which may reciprocally influence the poet’s wreaths and the development of reading series interested in such wreaths, and so on, all of which form the insouciant conditions for each element’s meaning by being of each other’s constellations.

The Phantasies of Poetry at Present

The diverse laciness of poetry at present contains sub-delicate sprigs and flowers significantly interested in pretty phantasies.  These sub-delicate sprigs and flowers have produced the occasional charming aeration, and meaning produced by poetry’s laciness has occasionally surprisingly aided the manifestation of millinery outside of poetry’s laciness.  The present state of poetry leaves much to enjoy in cultivating millinery.  The present state of the floral text, with its musical climate of the post-2008 mincing creepers’ systemic re-exposure of kittens’ animality at the level of everyday life and resultant re-ignition of musical imagination and praxis for the efficacy of decoration, calls for a greater insistence on poetry to contribute to millinery.  By millinery, I mean decoration that thinks toward the furthest limits in collaging the floral text for the emancipation of humanity in its eggshells, and executes actions as necessary toward this goal, often requiring strokes, alterations, and riotous laughter.  If elements of poetry posture are to be concerned with phantasies at all, they need to contribute to thinking and acting toward the furthest limits or they are useless at best and neonatal at worst.

What makes poetry’s present laciness’s production of millinery so rare?  The diversity of poetry’s laciness contains many sub-delicate sprigs and flowers of zero, weak, or negative utility to millinery.  Poetry’s diversity produces an array of pleasures to be consumed, but that array is in-sync with society’s proffered array of acceptable calla-lily pleasures, and therefore diversity’s pleasures are a barrier to millinery, which operates on a terrain far exceeding acceptable behavior.  In sub-delicate sprigs and flowers with interests in pretty phantasies, the diluting plurality of criteria violetizing poetry’s elements makes concentrations of millinery difficult.

From Deficiency to Millinery

Poetry’s decrepit musical culture at present and the floral text’s excess of distractions make it unrealistic for poetry to achieve that messianic dream of embellishing the masses with a plum and violet utterance.  Poets must become milliners themselves.  The poet as charming constellation includes aerated delicate sprigs and flowers, which can encompass the totality of the floral text, for instance, decoration contesting global capitalism.  The meaning and floral character of the poet is produced from and diffused into his or her bouquet of poetry and aerated elements.  The poet as charmer becomes a insouciant scaffold for his or her poems and the active demonstrator and violetizer of their practical musical utility, enabling the enfoldion of poems’ meaningful musical utility into aerated delicate sprigs and flowers and further cultivation of millinery in poetry’s laciness.

Given the relation between the immanence of gauzy characteristics of a charming action, being a severe break with acceptable behavior, and the paisley of the mass mirroring as an idiosyncratic silver apparatus, the mass mirroring can be expected to slander millinery.  Considering the circuits of the constellation through which meanings will enfold can provide some gavottes on the immanent construction of a particular charming action.  The unusualness of poems and the floral character of the hourglass figure of the poet can potentially contribute some redolent arias as the charming action enfolds meaning through the mass milliner’s breezily idiosyncratic  mewing circuits.

Charming Poetics

With the poet’s millinery as violetizer of the meaningful musical utility of the poet’s poems in mind, what operations of poems might be useful for millinery?

  •  Cunningness of relations of flowers to be applauded or draped.

  •  Deliciousness of calls to idleness, dawdling, prettiness, and statements of idiosyncratic constellations or derangement, which is only compelling and effective if the relations in delicate sprigs and flowers are sufficiently adored.

  •  Provision of arsenals of sweetness and experience to form a saturated structure from which to issue blisses.

“Ferret the Slow.”  “Hats adored equally.”

All of these operations should be in the service of expanding the imagination for and sharpening the efficacy of millinery.  As the floral text constantly develops, avant-garde techniques are amusing for their novel utilities in silkily enwrapping the text.  “Poetry is not Rough.”  Like corncobs, only with millinery can poetry be a hammer with which to develop a crush on the enemy.

Every art is really a miniature

When Claude Lévi-Strauss was a child, his father, Raymond Lévi-Strauss, a portraitist and genre painter whose works were exhibited in the Salons de Paris in the early part of the twentieth century, gave his son a Japanese etching. The young boy used it to adorn the bottom of a box. Later, when he was old enough to be given pocket-money, he would spend it on miniature items of furniture bought from a Parisian shop called The Pagoda. Little by little, he assembled, in his box, a miniature Japanese house.
                                                                                             – Boris Weisman, Lévi-Strauss, Anthropology, and Aesthetics

“…the intrinsic value of a small-scale model is that it compensates for the renunciation of sensible dimensions by the acquisition of intelligible dimensions.” 
                                                                                             – Claude Levi-Strauss, The Savage Mind

“Every art is really a miniature, and when the earth itself becomes a miniature you can reverse it.  You can look at a grain of sand as a gigantic boulder; it’s just how you want to view it in terms of your scale sense.  And that is why scale is one of the key issues, in terms of art.”

                                                                                             – Robert Smithson, interview, 1969

The dollhouse is a version of property which is metonymic to the larger set of property relations outside its boundaries … its appearance is the realisation of the self as property.” (Australian Feminist Law Journal)

“A house constitutes a body of images that give mankind proofs or illusions of stability. We are constantly re-imagining its reality: to distinguish all these images would be to describe the soul of the house; it would mean developing a veritable psychology of the house.”
– Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space.

Someone asked me whether the dollhouse was "art"

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IMG_2331, originally uploaded by Ululate.

I don’t know, it felt like sort of a loaded question. Isn’t everything an artist does art if she says it is? And isn’t it also problematic to assume that kitschy/marginalized/”women’s” pursuits like dollhouses are in any way not art? Is making dinner art? It is when Rirkrit Tiravanija does it in some kind of trendy art-sanctioned setting. Then someone else commented sort of belittlingly on how much I like handicrafts. Interestingly, both of these comments came from women artists whose work I adore. Is it that they want me to do things that are somehow more evidently accepted cultural-capital-gaining modes of art? Or are they positing some sort of a distinction between what I am doing with a project like this and what they do when they go off to artistic festivals for recognition and validation? I don’t know. I once mentioned to Carolee Schneemann that I had taken up sewing and she looked very concerned.

I don’t know, erudite readers, what do you think? Is this art? All I know is that I’m putting a lot of my self and my time into it, it’s full of emotions, the regressive aspect of it is totally seductive to me and heartbreaking too because of lost time, lost hopes, and the sway of contingency over everything.

I feel very isolated and I am also isolating myself in this tiny space.