Oppression and Redemption Songs – Ariana Reines
TUESDAYS / 5 SESSIONS / BEGINS MARCH 20 (REGISTER)
We are going to write poems whose origins are sites of trauma, catastrophe, loss, forsakenness, terror, and sorrow. That means writing poems that may speak of enormities like war or geological catastrophe, or even a sense of nameless and mute malaise, the tiniest most inexpressible lack, the windiest most overwhelming horror-- but we will do so by proceeding from our ownmost trauma zones, and we must be both specific and precise with ourselves. That is the rule. This does not mean that the poems we write must be lyric or romantic or even expressionistic poems, necessarily-- on the contrary, we will experiment rigorously with the rapture of structure and form, and are free to make writings that do not exclude even the most highly refined procedures upon and within the plasticity of the word. We are free even to write ecstatically. But the rule is that we begin where it hurts. This is how poetry becomes the substance of transformation, a force whose origin's truth-- an aporia-- a misery-- becomes, when we write, the motor of a power that really can defy the world-- as it always has. This is what poetry is for. Even if redemption, in the end, can only be a song, well, a song is a lot, and a song can do it. We can do it too. We will write together, nourished on readings from The Book of Job, Louise Labe, Eileen Myles, Raul Zurita, Rainer Maria Rilke, Tomaz Salamun, John Donne, John Clare, John Keats, William Blake, Amiri Baraka, kari edwards, Frank O'Hara, Allen Ginsberg, Bill Knott, Georges Bataille, Claudia Rankine, Osip Mandelstam, Antonin Artaud, Huey P. Newton, Paul Celan, Walt Whitman, Aime Cesaire, Sylvia Plath, Anne Carson, Bob Marley, Shakespeare.
Maybe it's some other Bill Knott. Or a misprint. In any case, I doubt my name has ever before appeared on a list between Ginsberg and Bataille.
"[T]rauma, catastrophe, loss, forsakenness, terror, and sorrow" . . . hunh?—but my poems are so silly and goofy!—for example,
Craig Morgan Teicher in Publishers Weekly when he wants to insult Chelsey Minnis concludes his review by tarring her with me:
"Petulant, clever, sometimes funny, sometimes irritatingly flippant, Minnis's poems will inspire questions as to whether this work qualifies as poetry at all, though some readers — fans of, say, Bill Knott, at his silliest — may find much to like."
My poetry—which, according to Teicher, doesn't even qualify as poetry—can't be taken seriously.