Thursday, October 11, 2007

Lessing the Nobelist + Events in Profusion!

First I woke to the news of, and then read an email from Reggie confirming that Doris Lessing, the 87-year-old Persian-Zimbabwean-British author had received the 2007 Nobel Prize in Literature. She wasn't on the list I wrote up a few days ago, in part because I thought she'd been passed over for good and because, having honored an English-language writer just a few years ago, and given that no Arab-language author has won in a while, I figured the Swedish Academy would select from that literary garden. But Lessing, only the 11th woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, is a prolific and important author, acclaimed both for her short stories (which I must admit I do not teach) and for her novels, especially the 1960 work The Golden Notebooks, which placed the theme of late 20th century Western bourgeois feminism at the center of contemporary literary and intellectual discourse. While this wasn't the only work to do so, it was one of the most important, and its resonance can be felt in a great deal of Western literature that followed. While there are other writers I admit to championing more, I'm glad Lessing was finally honored, and, to echo Reggie, it remains the case that the Nobel committee likes and succeeds in surprising. At the same time, her work has been insistently political, progressive and visionary, and on a number of levels falls within the general trend of recent literature Laureateships; the "linguistic" writers, at least these days, are not being recognized.

Of course I'd like to write more, but I must get back to reading short stories (6 due marked up with notes for tomorrow + so many exercises), so please post comments if you'd like on Lessing or other topics (there are so many I really would like to write about, but just don't have the time), and please check out the following upcoming events!

Congratulations also to Greg Pardlo, who launches his award-winning first book of poems, Totem, this weekend!


AUDIOLOGO performs tomorrow night:

Audiologo on electronics, voice, & various theatrics playing with the multi-genre creative force that is MuthaWit @ BAMCafé Live,
Friday, October 12, 9pm
Brooklyn, NY

A little bit on the upcoming show from MuthaWit founder Boston Fielder:

"MuthaWit is returning to NYC this Friday night to perform at the internationally acclaimed Brooklyn Academy of Music a.k.a. BAM. This unique BAMcafe LIve show will debut several new compositions along with elements of a theatrical piece we are developing called, "Hants, Saints n Panties."* So, not only will you get the aggressively ethereal music of MuthaWit, but also storytelling and acting. To make the night even more special the program will be filmed for television. We hope to have all of you beautiful people in the audience for that. Oh, did I mention that the show is free? It is, so I truly hope you'll join us. The particulars:

MuthaWit @ BAMcafe Live
Fri, Oct 12 at 9pm(doors open at 8pm so get there early!)
BAMcafé (Brooklyn Academy of Music)
30 Layette Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11217
Cost : Free

"We are incredibly excited about this show. You're going to thank yourself you attended. It's just going to be one of those thangs!"


• Sunday, October 14
Sounded Text: A Symposium on Music, Performance, and New Media
Taplin Auditorium, Fine Hall
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ
@ 2pm

Audiologo performs The Mark, a sound, text, video, and performance piece exploring intergenerational questions of African American women’s racialized bodies, histories of trauma, and the call of memory and legacy within a speculative experimental narrative. Also on the bill are exciting new performance works by composers/performers Anne Hege and Andrea Mazzariello aka massey.

Sounded Text features lectures, presentations, and performances from renowned interdisciplinary performance artist and Columbia University professor--Visual Arts Division/Spanish and Portuguese--Coco Fusco, new media artists/musicians/scholars Mendi + Keith Obadike, poet/scholar Timothy Liu, and composer/vocalist Amy X Neuburg, plus the House of Sound group installation exhibition.

Can't get to Princeton? You get another chance to see myself, Anne Hege and Andrea Mazzariello (aka massey) in NYC.

• Friday, October 19
The Tank
279 Church Street (between Franklin & White)

Audiologo performs The Mark, a sound, text, video, and performance piece exploring intergenerational questions of African American women’s racialized bodies, histories of trauma, and the call of memory and legacy within a speculative experimental narrative.

Also on the bill are exciting new performance works by composers/performers Anne Hege and Andrea Mazzariello aka massey.


More on Sounded Text at Princeton, from Dr. SWEAT (who'll be in Chicago soon, I think!):

Hi all, I'm sending word about this upcoming symposium. K and I are tying to work out some new stuff here. I'm also really looking forward to hearing the other artists.


Keith and I are performing and presenting on a panel on Sunday at Sounded Text: A Symposium on Music, Performance and New Media at Princeton University. This two-day symposium explores relationships of the performative body to music, text and new media, featuring: Coco Fusco, Mendi + Keith Obadike, Timothy Liu, and Amy X Neuburg.

Keynote address: Coco Fusco
October 13, 4pm
Taplin Auditorium at Fine Hall, Princeton University [map] [complete campus map]

Guest Artists Performance + Panel Discussion
Performance - featuring works by Mendi + Keith Obadike, Timothy Liu (in collaboration with Samson Young) and Amy X Neuburg

October 13, 8pm
Taplin Auditorium at Fine Hall, Princeton University [map] [complete campus map]

Guest Artists Panel Discussion
Mendi + Keith Obadike, Timothy Liu and Amy X Neuburg

October 14, 11am
Betts Auditorium at the School of Architecture Building, Princeton University [map] [complete campus map]


Also on Friday, but in Chitownia, two of my senior colleagues read with Polish poet Adam Zagajewski:

Reginald Gibbons, Mary Kinzie, and Adam Zagajewski @ Hotel Allegro

The Association of Literary Scholars and Critics presents this reading by three major American poets at 8:15 PM. Free, but reservations are required: call 617-358-1990 by 9 October. 171 W Randolph. For more information (and to read samples of the poets' work), visit the Poetry Foundation website.


At NURTURE ART in Manhattan, starting tomorrow:

A reminder that the latest in our Emerging Curators Program, Subjects of Power and Devotion, opens at NURTUREart Gallery at 910 Grand Street tomorrow, October 12th with a reception from 7-9 p.m. Curated by Fabian Goncalves Borrega, the show features Katia Fuentes, Luis Delgado, Amy Tamayo, Mary Daniel Hobson, and Leah Oates.

Fetishism takes us into the realm where fantasy intervenes in representation... the substitution of an object for some dangerous, powerful but forbidden force.
--Stuart Hall

Subjects of Power and Devotion addresses the object's mysterious ability to attract our attention, our desire, and our intrigue. This ability can simply (or not so simply) derive from the aesthetics of the object, or in many cases the object functions as a placeholder for emotional or otherwise significant human experiences. In the photographs collected for Subjects of Power and Devotion, the objects under the artist's gaze are diverse, from human bodies to fragmentary landscapes, but all explore the way we honor, fetishize, and encode desire, memory and power into material substance, including our own bodies.

Subjects of Power and Devotion is a NURTUREart Emerging Curators' Program Collaboration. Learn more about all NURTUREart's programs and opportunities for emerging artists and curators at


This Sunday in the Bkyn:

Unnameable Books October: Readings and Chairs

Dear ones,

I'm sorry I haven't written lately. I know you must miss me, and it is terrible to be out of touch. I miss you too, gentle readers. I also owe a letter to my grandmother in New Hampshire -- I promise to write her next week. In the meantime, there are several events here on Bergen Street that you ought to know about.

We've recently purchased some fo! lding chairs, which allow for readings to last longer, and now with greater comfort and formality. Everything is new and improved. We are moving, ever more slowly and steadily, toward a regular biweekly reading series here on Sunday afternoons. The first of these, or one of the first, is coming


We have many wonderful books here in the store -- a first american edition of Anti-Oedipus, an old collected Jarry, the nearly complete translated works of Edmond Jabès (which are mostly out of print), a bunch of scarce Aleister Crowley, some lovely rare art books printed by an italian fine-printer with essays by Roland Barthes, The Function of the Orgasm, Practical Electricity for Home Study, etc. etc. etc. All these excellent books and more -- more,! frankly, than can fit in the store -- are seeking new homes. All I ask for, in exchange, is a handful of cash.

As ever, we are also carrying a fine selection of the latest fall fashions, in which you can read up-to-minute imaginative missives of war, peace, love and destruction, in lyric, narrative and fragmented forms, fiction and non-fiction, truth and lies -- we even have that OJ Simpson book! We are about to reorganize the front of the store to make your browsing experience all the more lovely. In the process, I fear that the comfy blue chair, through no fault of its own, will be banished to the basement, making room for MORE NEW BOOKS for the Christmas season. The smaller, more stylish, less comfy, green chair, of scandinavian design, though not from Ikea, will remain in its place, the used fiction section, for all your sedentary pleasures.


Please mark your calendars:

1. Sunday, October 14 at 5 PM
Geoffrey Jacques
Christopher Stackhouse
John Keene

Unnameable Books
[formerly "Adam's"]
456 Bergen St.
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(718) 789-1534


If you're in Chicago, then check out KRISTA FRANKLIN'S ART EVENT:

2nd Sun Salon & Naïveté Studios presents
a first look at Krista Franklin's

"Seed (The Book of Eve)"
The Octavia E. Butler Artist Book

an exhibition of prints & projections from "Seed (The Book of Eve)" & a reading of brief excerpts of Ms. Butler's novels featuring:

Tyehimba Jess
D. Denenge Akpem
Quraysh Ali Lansana
Rev. Kim Crutcher
Rone Shavers
Toni Asante Lightfoot
Amanda Torres
Emily Evans
& Krista Franklin

Sunday, October 14, 2007
@ Naïveté Studios
4863 N. Ravenswood Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640

For more information call:

Light refreshments will be served. Prompt arrival is suggested.

"Seed (The Book of Eve)" is a handmade artist book of visual interpretations of the novels and stories of science-fiction writer Octavia E. Butler. Being developed page-by-page, "Seed (The Book of Eve)" is a series of mixed-media collages--some that include excerpts and lines from the novels themselves.

Created on pages that are the size of the paperbacks of many of Ms. Butler's books, the collages are imaginings, or re-creations, of passages and ideas from her novels.

"This project is supported by a Community Arts Assistance Program grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Illinois Arts Council, a state agency."

1 comment:

  1. John, thanks so much for the listings. I can't believe I yet again have a prior commitment and am missing you and Christopher Stackhouse! When will this madness end?! The universe must have a plan; when I finally get to see you'all it'll probably be a day like no other :-)