Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Motion of Light: Samuel R. Delany Tribute at Jacket2

Last April 11 in Philadelphia, the Kelly Writers House at the University of Pennsylvania organized a tribute to Samuel R. Delany (1942-), "Motion of Light," honoring his "performative poetics."

Though I always associate Chip Delany with his native New York City, he has taught at Temple University for over a decade (and will be retiring this year), and has become an integral member of that city's literary communities, so it was fitting that he was honored there. A number of admirers of Delany's work were present; though invited I was already booked at a conference (&Now) in Colorado, so I sent my contribution, "Paean," to Tracie Morris, one of the organizers, to present in my absence. The original event was archived at PennSound.

Now Tracie has edited a special section at Jacket2 featuring some of the events' tributes, including work by Kenneth R. James, Ira Livingston, Sarah Micklem, Fred Moten, Jena Osman, Frank Sherlock, Anne Waldman, Tracie herself I, and, as well as Chip offering his own contribution to the event through a concluding conversation with Charles Bernstein. Although Chip needs no introduction and his work as a creative writing, critic and intellectual could fill a month-long conference, if you're interested in seeing others speak (or create Möbius strips in response) to his poetics, the Jacket2 features offers a fine introduction.

Here's a snippet from Tracie's warm introduction to the special section:

The magnitude of Chip’s impact in a variety of fields is impossible to calculate, much less organize into one volume. Here’s hoping for more and more celebrations, compilations, cheers, toasts, and discussions on his monumental work and importance to so many people and at so many stages of their lives. Chip is a constellation that continues to be fixed, yet revolves, for me and for so many lovers of poetry, of resonant words. I’m eternally grateful to be part of bringing these many hands together that have lifted a glass in Samuel R. Delany’s honor during his birth month in 2014, a microcosm of his worlds-full of admirers. As this is coming out in February, a month, in the US, given to emphasizing the experiences of Black people and Black culture, I’m especially glad to share this celebration of one of the world’s great Black thinkers, writers, creators. A maker of many worlds. Worlds for everyo

Here's a snippet from Fred Moten's perfectly titled "Amuse-Bouche":
Moved movers amid the intensity of the pas de deux my offering asks you to imagine, Delany and Taylor are bound in what Denise Ferreira da Silva would call the affectability of no-bodies.[4] Bound for that embrace, they hold, in their openness, to its general, generative pattern. Openness to the embrace moves against the backdrop of exclusion and the history of exclusion, which is a series of incorporative operations. This is how openness to being affected is inseparable from the resistance to being affected. Dance writes this push and pull into the air and onto the ground and all over the skin of the earth and flesh that form the city. The words of these moved movers have something specific to do with dance and I want to talk about that specificity as an interplay between walking and talking, between crossing and tasting, between quickness and flavor. Their words and work form part of the aesthetic and philosophical atmosphere that attends the various flows and steps that have taken place in and as New York City over the last fifty years, especially downtown in the serially and simultaneously emergent and submergent dance space between two churches, Judson and St. Mark’s.

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