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dateline: Chicago, May 2004

Janus in springtime?

Spring 2004 has taken a nostalgiac turn in new media poetry. Call it synchronicity, but this installment of the e-poets Newswire notes a lot of people looking forward, as they look back across the years, in England, America, and even here at sweet home Chicago.

in the electronic domain...

trAce announces Incubation 3
for July, 2004

e-poets' local Chicago readers may wonder if this is the same "Trace" that has a Tuesday night poetry open mic near Wrigley Field. Um... No... While compatible, this "trAce" is a very different group in terms of locale and agenda.

The trAce Online Writing Centre (Note the capitalization of the "A".) has a very strong, positive presence among writers worldwide. Based at Nottingham Trent University, in England, trAce was launched in 1995 by Sue Thomas to encourage new writing by creative application of online technologies. She explains, "In 1995 I was Course Leader of the new Master's Degree in Writing at The Nottingham Trent University, so I spent plenty of time with writers, but those working in my own special field were hard to find. However, the size and scope of the web indicated that this might be where I might finally find my own personal creative community, and so I began to explore it in search of resources, first for myself, and then for everyone else." (See trAce site.)

trAce writers routinely log-in from Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Australia, to join discussions on critique, share original works, and cultivate a deeper understanding of new media, such as the Internet, and its relationship to writing. Incubation is the premier international event for writers working on the web providing ideas, information and debate for the new media writing community. The Incubation series is a forum where e-literature people can meet in person, reconnect among their peers, and explore the new (and, with the orientation of this year's conference, the historical) phenomena in the creative online process.

This summer, Incubation3, the trAce International Symposium on Writing and the Internet will present writers and thinkers of a particularly historical interest. Mark Amerika, founder of Alt-X, one of the web's very first lit-crit journals, will be a keynote speaker. Ted Nelson, the inventor of the term "hypertext" and a visionary internet pioneer, will also speak, providing his own inimitable view of the net today. Other confirmed speakers and presenters include Paul Brown, Kate Pullinger, Alan Sondheim, and Tim Wright. More than two dozen others will give papers, workshops or performances over the three days that Incubation3 will be held from 12-14 July 2004. Speakers' biographies and abstracts are available on the Incubation3 website.

Among the special events planned, trAce are especially pleased to announce the UK premier of Steve Gibson's piece, Virtual DJ, at The Rescue Rooms in central Nottingham on the evening of Wednesday, 14 July. Also on that Wednesday at lunch time, there will be a show and tell that will offer attendees the opportunity to share their old technology and memories of computers as they used to be. Ah, silicon nostalgia!

12 - 14 July 2004 at The Nottingham Trent University, UK
trAce Online Writing Centre
The Nottingham Trent University
Clifton, Nottingham NG11 8NS, UK
Tel: + 44 (0) 115 848 3533
Fax: + 44 (0) 115 848 6364

voices in video...

Announcing... Visible Verse 2004

Heather Haley, is an partner and a well-established presenter of poetry video in Vancouver. An instigator of poetry video production and appreciation in Canada, Haley convened the original Vancouver Videopoem Festival in 1999. That festival became critically regarded as the aesthetic heir to Chicago's own National Poetry Video Festival (now folded), owing to the Vancouver festival's progressive regard for spoken word in cinema. The 2000 Festival, for example, presented many poets both in performance and on the big screen at the Pacific Cinémathèque. The audience could see for themselves the merits and distinctions of poetry rendered in time in these two forms, stage versus screen.

Haley and the Vancouver festival then built upon that critical base, with widened explorations into poetry cinema across national frontiers. They presented significant new works from Europe and the Americas, and continued to offer Canadian audiences a remarkably broad selection of new videopoems from their own country. And owing to Vancouver's strength in the film and television production industries, Haley was able to cultivate critical interest between filmmakers and poets, with positive consequences for both.

While poetry video in Vancouver has been quiet lately, Heather Haley is definitely back in the hunt for new works. She will bring Visible Verse, a new videopoem screening event, to the Pacific Cinémathèque in early November, and is seeking:

  • Videopoems that run no longer than 15 minutes.
  • Either official language of Canada -- French or English -- is acceptable, though if the video is in French, an English-dubbed or -subtitled version is required for consideration.
  • True literary merit. It is a vital in a videopoem as in traditional media. The ideal videopoem will be a wedding of word and image, the voice seen as well as heard.
  • Please, no experimental films or documentaries.
  • Submitting videopoem producers should provide a brief bio, full name, and contact infomation in a cover letter. There is no official application form nor entry fee.
  • The submission deadline is 1 September, 2004.
  • C.O.D. deliveries will not be accepted.
  • Send, at your own risk, videopoems and poetry films/preview copies (which cannot be returned) in 1/2" VHS NTSC or DVD formats to:
    Heather Haley
    c/o Pacific Cinémathèque
    200--1131 Howe Street
    Vancouver, BC
    V6Z 2L7 Canada
  • Artists will be notified of acceptance by 1 October, 2004.

Interested poetry video artists may contact Heather Haley through her website, or by e-mail.

voices in print...

Rattapallax 11 fêtes Neruda centenary

The Rattapallax 11 Launch Reading/Party in New York will feature Charles Bernstein, Roger Bonair-Agard, Elena Alexander, Charles Martin, David Mills, Urayoan Noel, John Rodriguez, Henry Israeli, and Tom Savage. Derek Beres will DJ. "New Chilean Poetry" will be read by Shradha Shah, Aracelis Girmay, Emily Maguire, Jonathan Bourland, Andrew Gebhardt, Danielle Leah Sered, and others. The event will be hosted by Edwin Torres and Idra Novey.

Rattapallax 11 includes special focusses on Pablo Neruda, Fela Kuti and AIDS, the work of nine young poets from Chile, and more from Antibalas, DJ Spooky, Breyten Breytenbach, Timothy Liu, Toni Blackman, Sapphire, Martín Espada, and others. The journal has had a continuous history of recording their contributors' readings, and including them in each issue on audio CD, this issue will be no different.

One significant change for Rattapallax in this issue, however, will be through its distribution. The publisher announced new partnerships with with Chile's leading literary press, LOM, and the Brazilian publisher Editora 34. LOM is based in Santiago, Chile, and is a leading independent publisher, distributor, and printer. The press is dedicated to social and liberal causes. Editora 34 has distinguished itself in the arts and humanities, publishing titles from young unknown Brazilian authors to Dostoyevsky, from Gilles Deleuze to Paul Gilroy.

"I am excited by the possibility of presenting South American literature in the United States and abroad," said Rattapallax publisher Ram Devineni. "By partnering with LOM in Chile and Editora34 in Brazil, the magazine can focus on work from the Americas and connect the literary traditions that are shared between the cultures. We plan to introduce many new and renowned poets from other countries and try to develop an intellectual exchange of ideas." LOM will distribute Rattapallax throughout South America and Mexico. Editora34 handles distribution in Brazil. Rattapallax is widely available in the United States through Ingram.

Rattapallax 11 celebrates the centenary of Pablo Neruda
May 11th at 7:00 PM
at the Issue Project Room
619 E. 6th St., between Ave. B and C
New York City
admission is $5
Information about the program and the journal is available through Dialogue Poetry and Rattapallax Press

on the spoken word landscape...

Women OutLoud for May, 2004

Come to the Sunfish Café and Acme Art Works at 1741 N Western Avenue, Chicago, on Tuesday evening, 25 May, for the next installment of Women OutLoud. Open mic participants are requested to donate $3, while all other guest are asked for $5.

new music and new words

Poets Richard Fox and Ian Morris will read from their written work, followed with a set by Chicago composer Jeff Kowalkowski and his Ensemble. Kowalkowski is well known in Chicago as an innovator in eclectic sound artworks and new music, including suites such as "Bosch Tapped the Gas Pedal and the Caprice Lurched Forward." Fox was featured recently at the Myopic Books series, and two years ago released an audio CD of spoken word augmented with audio art. The venue, called The Mess Hall, is also exhibiting an art project called Spill Momentum, so this whole affair should be an interesting "crossover" show.

Sunday, 23 May, from 1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
at the Mess Hall
6932 North Glenwood Ave, Chicago
(in Rogers Park, just south of Morse station, CTA Red Line)

Homolatté for May, 2004

Hear queer words and music every Thurday evening, MC'd by Scott Free starting at 8:00 PM at the No Exit Café, 6970 N Glenwood, Chicago (in Rogers Park). This is a "no open mic" venue, featuring one spoken word artist and one singer/songwriter or band each week. Phone the venue at 773-743-3355. See the website for full program details. This month:

May 6th: Nicole Garneau & Kellie Lin Knott
May 13th: Brandon Fogel & Kym Tuvim
May 20th: Raphael Kadushin & Emily Bate
May 27th: Gregg Shapiro & Brady Earnhart

While you're at it, mark your calendar for more queer writers and musicians at Scott Free's Queer Is Folk Festival, on 22 May.

The Partly Dave Show: Birthday Suit

Also at the No Exit Café, and coming Wednesday, 12 May: A spectacle of years. This month's installment of the Partly Dave show, titled "Birthday Suit," sounds suspiciously like something filed in court by a lawyer. It's a cabaret of performances about birthdays, or nudity, or possibly both. Cake and candles will definitely be on display, ready to serve. The show is hosted by the affable namesake MC Dave Awl. There'll be a "surreal striptease" by clothing designer Craig Calhoun, with narratives and stories by Greg Gillam (, NeoFuturist Stephanie Shaw, and the Partly Dave Show's official "chief science officer" Christopher Piatt. The evening's music is a live "wall of strum" by Even in Blackouts.

Wednesday, 12 May 2004, at 8:00 PM, at The No Exit Café, 6970 N Glenwood, (Morse el stop, CTA Red Line). Donations are $7 or pay what you can, and as you go.

Danny's Tavern reading series

While it's neither the most frequent nor the most regular of literary gatherings in Chicago, this series is nevertheless worth watching out for. Last month's program offered Joel Sloman and Mark Strand. This month, there's a night of fiction with Thisbe Nissen and Michael Byers. The Danny's Tavern reading series is home to a more academic audience and some very studied featured artists -- no dilletantes, all authenitc literati -- making the series an invaluable counterpoint to the typical open mic fare around Chicago. Chill afterward with the DJ, and you've got a great evening of conversation.

May 12th at Danny's Tavern
1951 W Dickens, Chicago (in Bucktown)
programs start promptly at 7:30 PM
for info, call 773-489-6457 or visit

Girlie-Q: a burlesque (performance art) cabaret

As positively bodacious as Danny's Tavern series is serious, the Girlie-Q Variety Hour features "hot women, cool jazz" on Memorial Day evening. Wrapped up (we hesitate to say "dressed") as a burlesque show, this one-night-only program gathers spoken word artists such as Greg Gillam, Rose Tully, and Elizabeth Whitney, on a bill with whack acts such as the Lickity Split Radical Cheerleaders, The Hellcat Hussies, Rachel Thorne Germond, Nick Alvarez, and the musical stylings of the What Goes On New Orleans Jazz Band, among many others. There'll also be special guests Len Plass and Cooper Lee Bombardier (formerly of Sister Spit) from Junkyard Books in San Francisco. The program definitely has a sexually radical attitude, while keeping a tongue-in-cheek regard for the art in the performance.

Girlie-Q Variety Hour
Monday, 31 May (Memorial Day)
$10 admission, Ages 21 and up
doors open at 7:00 PM, show begins at 8:00 PM
at the HotHouse, 31 E Balbo, Chicago (South Loop district)
presented by

upcoming at Mental Grafitti

Mondays nights at the Big Horse in Wicker Park, Chicago, join the spoken word wave with slam, freestyling hip-hop, and other spoken word traditions at Mental Grafitti. Hosted by Dan Sully, tables spun by Itchie Fingers, with Nikki Patin hosting the slam competitions. Here's the anticipated line-up in the weeks ahead:

May 10th: National Slam Champion Mike McGee
May 17th: Poetree Chicago celebrates their new CD Positive Pollution
May 24th: Anacron & the Mental Graffiti Yo' Mama Joke Slam!
May 31st: Ezekiel Brown of Polyrhythmic
June 7th: "Big Poppa" John Shirk
July 12th: Anthony R Miller

Mental Graffiti, Mondays at The Big Horse
1558 N Milwaukee, Chicago
(through the restaurant into the bar)
Right off the Damen Blue Line
cover is $5, 21 and older only, starts at 8:00 PM

Links We Like

We've been loading up on links for you over the last several weeks. Happy clicking!

Electronic Book Review launches a new thread on first person...

The 2004 Interactive Media Forum: Creative Space|Digital Space at Miami University's Center for Interactive Media Studies, 9 thru 11 October 2004...

The Best of the Iowa Review Web, 2002-03 features new media work by Talan Memmott, Stuart Moulthrop, and Motomichi Nakamura; crit' by Heidi Bean, Matthew Purdy and Anthony Enns; and interviews with Scanner, John Cayley, and Stephanie Strickland...

A call for papers for the Digital Resources for the Humanities Conference 2004 hosted by the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, England, on 5-8 September...

The 13th annual Wells Festival of Literature, attracting authors, jouranlists, biographers and poets from all over the UK, and it includes poetry and short story Competitions...

Milk Magazine, published by Larry Sawyer and Lina Vitkauskas, has definitely caught our attention, with its varied contributors and subjects in art, poetry, and essay form. Pieces on Ted Joans, Gregory Corso, and Michael McClure...

Jacksonville, Florida's Times-Union newspaper outlines what they see as the dichotomy between classical and contemporary poets, with an emphasis on spoken word, in an article written by Tanya Perez-Brennan... What do you think?

Thom Holcomb announced recently that The Southern Fried Slam is open-sourcing their history. Watch its evolution, and Holcomb's companion sites at and

Looking for more historical oldies but goodies online? curious where something was said first? Check out the Wayback Machine...

And some notes on hypertext about as far back as it can get, Vannevar Bush's landmark essay As We May Think, first published in Atlantic Monthly in 1945.

Now how about these morsels... Big Snap's snapshot of Billy Collins, Dialogue Poetry - poetry among civilizations, Poetix - poetry news from Southern California, the legendary City Lights Bookstore of San Francisco... From the slam world, there's Shane Koyczan and Mike McGee, and Canadian Olympics of Poetry... And some essays by Twin Cities poet and verifiable radical Christopher Shillock.

Pulp Bits, a very clean site promoting uncensored (dirty?) fiction, wins our vote for the coolest thing we've seen online in a while. Check out their downloadable books... The Smithtown Poetry Society of Neconset, New York... and the National Association for Poetry Therapy conference, held in April in Costa Mesa, California

Of local, Chicago interest... Myopic Books poetry series, Chicago slam master and Mental Graffiti MC Dan Sully, Unbound Books with an emphasis on anarchy, Estrojam women's music festival, coming to Chicago in September... Self Publishers Event Council, Chicago Media Action, and the Zine Guide... And The Idiojo Cooperative, with books, clothes, and grass-roots enterprise.

Finally, here's a real "looking forward/looking back" pair of links, as we visit LA's (and once Chicago's own) Luis Rodriguez and his ever-evolving venture, Tia Chucha's Café Cultural "where art and minds meet... for a change." Los Angeles, city of angels, city of dreams. And it certainly appears some are coming true. Cheers to Luis!

Keep your news and bulletins coming in... Thanks!

- Kurt Heintz, founder
e-poets network, Chicago

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