What is the significance of categories in the 21st century landscape? What is it to “defend literature” or to write “literary” poetry? Has “literary” become a synonym for “abstruse” “pedantic” or “academic?” Is spoken word poetry, performance poetry, or Instagram poetry “anti-literary” (and if so, for better, or for worse)? Finally: can poets be Literary/Anti-literary? Should poets be?
Darryl Lorenzo Wellington writes: Three propositions to keep in mind before the reading.
Proposition 1. Poetry is a refined art whose major accomplishments descend from great masters. Those masters cultivated a lineage which today is preserved in academic institutions. This is how critical standards can be best preserved.
Proposition 2. Critical standards as defined above have been compromised and undermined by racist/class-based Western hierarchies and changing times. The better-known academic poetry outlets have every right to their own opinions, but in fact the poetry world is divided into groups inside and outside of scholarly institutions. Groups such as “formal poetry,” “Beat,” “language poetry,” “post-modern,” “ecological poetry,” “social protest,” “spoken word,” and poetry influenced by non-Western cultures all have distinct histories, critical approaches, and pedagogues that they themselves know best. The only valid critical standards is legitimized within each group.
Proposition 3. Poetry has accumulated a blizzard of subjective meanings—and it is best to regard all statements or sweeping commentary per regards “literary poetry,” “good poetry,” “bad poetry,” “poetry standards,” “poetic tradition,” or “major works,” frankly, as nonsense.
Diane asks: Who decides?
These three poets will read from their own works which each in their own way explore the literary/anti-literary. Darryl’s latest book, Life’s Prisoners, will be available for sale and signing.
There will be refreshments!
Darryl Lorenzo Wellington spent the last twenty years as a journalist/essayist writing on poverty, economic justice, race relations, and American civil rights history for magazines including The Atlantic, The Nation, Dissent, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, and The Guardian. His 2017 poetry collection, Life's Prisoners, received the Turtle Island Poetry Chapbook award. Contest judge Jared Smith wrote, “Life's Prisoners is a heroic book, a tightly crafted volume of poetry that grabs you by the collar, shouts in your face, disrespects what should be disrespected, and after waking you up, lets you know that all of us are prisoners in cages we have allowed to be constructed around us.”
Israel Francisco Haros Lopez was born in East Los Angeles to immigrant parents of Mexican descent. He brings his firsthand knowledge of the realities of migration, U.S. border policies, and life as a Mexican American to his work with families and youth as a mentor, educator, art instructor, ally, workshop facilitator, and activist. Even with a 1.59 high school G.P.A., Israel managed to go back to the community college and raise his grades to get accepted into U.C. Berkeley and receive a degree in English Literature and Chicano Studies, followed by an M.F.A in Creative Writing. At formal and informal visual art spaces, Israel creates and collaborates in many interdisciplinary ways including poetry, performance, music, visual art, and video making, and curriculum creation. His work addresses a multitude of historical and spiritual layered realities of border politics, identity politics, and the re-interpretation of histories.
For more than twenty years, Diane Castiglioni has been part of a dedicated society of makers and thinkers (artists, listeners, teachers, strategists) which helps support communities imagine and implement better situations for themselves. In this capacity, she collaborates, facilitates, documents, makes artifacts, writes, builds and unbuilds furniture and networks. Out of that capacity, she inhabits and extrapolates wildly on questions of being, doing, unbeing and undoing, and plays with words, clay, metal, wood, and paint, with the intent of noticing where the unseen and seen intersect. Creator of the Worlds through Words series, she has articles and poems published in various books, anthologies, and journals, and has an MA in East-West Psychology.
. . . . . . . . . .
3205 Calle Marie
Santa Fe, NM 87507