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dateline: Chicago, June 2005

June pours the heat on in Chicago and New York, and new poetry and lit' arts are happening all over.

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Citron's Mixed Greens premieres at the Siskel Film Center

Michelle Citron's piece, Mixed Greens, was a full evening of on-screen storytelling. It contains history and lore in many senses of scale, from the personal to the international. It took about 2 hours to walk through the whole program. While it was presented in a venue that was geared for feature films, technically Mixed Greens is an interactive disc. Mixed Greens completes a trilogy in Citron's work called "A Queer Feast," where food is an underlying metaphor, beginning with the interactive disc "As American as Apple Pie," presented live -- and yes, with fresh, hot apple pie for the audience -- at GiG 2.0, in December 2000.

True to form for a member of the Chicago School of electronic literature, everybody in the audience got a card to hold up for declaring the next item they wanted clicked on screen; interactivity means audience participation. Citron listened for the calls for individual clips and ushered everyone through the program. According to Citron, Mixed Greens, "presents two narratives: four generations of my Irish Jewish heritage played against four decades of lesbian life in America, offering a do-it-yourself story in both documentary and fiction."

In interface terms, the stories are organized by vegetable and category. The vegetables -- oak leaf lettuce, yellow pepper, cucumber, red onion, broccoli, and so forth -- are what greet the reader. Rolling the cursor over the veggies reveals the categories of the links... mystery, place, time, and so on. The reader can select about ten clips to play in the order they wish, assembling them on a time line "tray" at the bottom of the screen. Forty-eight clips comprise the whole collection.

Mixed Greens layers itself very well by operating in several modes. It is documentary, because it contains interviews with Citron's Jewish/Irish family, recollecting how they got to America, and their life in Ireland, involved with the IRA and Michael Collins. It is drama because it presents several threads that are acted from script, illustrating aspects of lesbian life in period language and situations. It is social commentary, because it reflects upon the evolution of lesbian identity in America through these dramatizations, plus other segments of Citron's personal memoirs. It pushes social commentary further by juxtaposing all that gender identity work with ethnic heritage. Readers who taste Mixed Greens will be able to identify the ingredients, while reckoning the whole.

The literary atom for Mixed Greens is the anecdote, one per click. The anecdote is an apt and flexible object here, especially when one presents the reader about fifty of them at once. The reader assimilates an historical timeline as they read the non-linear pieces by recognizing the fashions, language, music, and other cues about the age of the dialogue, one anecdote at a time. This way, the reader builds in their own head the author's picture, and begins to make sense of the story on their own terms. When viewing the Mixed Greens in a theater, the effect is like watching the film "26 grams," where the narrative had been chopped up and re-sequenced, obliging the viewer to internalize the story as they watch it.

By juxtaposing ethnic histories with studies of lesbian relationships, Citron's Mixed Greens verges upon the work of the late Marlon Riggs. Riggs broke down the parallel but pervasive problems of racism and homophobia in the US through works such as "Color Adjustment," an essay on the representation of African-Americans on television, and "Tongues Untied." The latter was a suite of poetry videos broadcast on PBS that became a highly charged object of attention at a peak in the Culture Wars about 15 years ago. Citron's work may not be destined for the controversy that engulfed Riggs' videos, but then these may be more tolerant times.

Like Riggs, Michelle Citron's renderings of gay life are naturalistic. They have hyperbole, but no more than those "in the life" experience for themselves on a day-to-day basis. She also historicizes as Riggs did. But she diverges from Riggs' posing of histories in confrontational language. Instead, she invites the viewer to consider how society has changed over time, with regard to ethnicity, politics, and gender issues with a candid, friendly, but relatively agnostic gaze. Citron's Irish and Jewish family histories use public references to time, and place the genesis of Citron's story on an absolute timeline. They are histories broadly shared in American culture. But in Mixed Greens, these public histories are the matrix over which the evolution of lesbian identity and culture become configured. Eventually, older notions of culture predicated strictly on ethnicity fade into the background, while newer notions of sexual orientation arise to define a culture.

The scale of the project doesn't really become apparent until one sees the whole thing. On premiere night, Citron clicked through every one of the anecdotes of Mixed Greens, and the program was the length of a feature film, running longer than the projected 90 minutes. While a few of the clips were simple to compose, it's clear that such a disc requires mastery of production techniques and artistry in several genres and media. The scale of Mixed Greens is impressive by itself. Mixed Greens is thus a tour de force in new media, a masterwork that opens the many potentials of video, film, and new media working in unison.

- Kurt Heintz

Mixed Greens debuted Saturday, 4 June at Chicago's Gene Siskel Film Center. For further information on Michelle Citron, consult the artist's web page on the faculty of Northwestern University.


Afo'se "Power of the Word" Radio

Afo'se radio is a new internet radio station for spoken word artist, poets, and hip hop. Running 24/7, Afo'se radio has spoken word, poetry, hip hop, interviews and various other programming geared toward the world hearing your thoughts through words.

Many underestimate the uplifting effect that spoken word has on us, but Afo'se radio will remind you. If you have poetry that moves you, it will move others. We will have poets from young to old sharing the power of the word. Afo'se Radio invites you to join our e-group to get a heads up on this process. Learn how you can be a part of the new movement and dialogue with others. If you would like your spoken word, poetry, hip hop, etc, to be aired on Afo'se Radio, send your mp3 via email to the address above or mail it to:

Afose Radio
Attn: Power of the Word
P.O. Box 4302
Upper Marlboro, MD 20775
Ofo'se Radio online group

in Canada...

open call for original poetry videos: Visible Verse 2005 at Pacific Cinémathèque

The Visible Verse screening and performance poetry event returns to Pacific Cinémathèque in November, 2005. The program seeks:

  • Videopoems that run no longer than 15 minutes.
  • Either official language of Canada is acceptable, though if the video is in French, an English-dubbed or-subtitled version is required.
  • True literary merit. It is a vital in a videopoem as in traditional media. The ideal videopoem is a wedding of word and image, the voice seen as well as heard.
  • Please, no documentaries.
  • 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 deadline is 1 September, 2005.
  • 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 preferably, 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, 2005.

"Author and media poet, Heather Haley, is a well established presenter of poetry video in Vancouver. An instigator of poetry video production and appreciation in Canada, Haley and the Edgewise ElectroLit Centre convened the original Vancouver Videopoem Festival in 1999. That festival became critically regarded owing to its 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. Their 'Voice Award' honoured best performance in the hybrid genre, and the audience could see for themselves the merits and distinctions of poetry rendered in time in these two forms, stage versus screen.

"The Vancouver Videopoem 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 our own country. And owing to Vancouver's strength in the film and television production industries, Haley has been able to cultivate critical interest between filmmakers and poets, with positive consequences for both."--Kurt Heintz, Award-winning videopoem director, former Chairman, Chicago Guild Complex's Poetry Video Festival

the West Coast Poetry Festival launches in July

The West Coast Poetry Festival Society is proud to present the second annual West Coast Poetry Festival this July 7th though 10th occuring at the Vancouver Public Library, Simon Fraser University's Harbour Centre and the Lamplighter Pub.

This year's festival will include C.R. Avery, Christa Bell, bill bisset, Christian Bok, George Bowering, Tim Bowling, Di Brandt, Chrystalene Buhler, Sara Bynoe, Emily Campbell, George Elliot Clarke, Wayde Compton, Darek Dawda, Jason DeCouto, Karen Finneyfrock, Colette Gagnon, Vicki Grieve, Sharon Thesen, Linda King, Shane Koyczan, Larissa Lai, Al Mader, Daphne Marlatt, T-Paul Ste Marie, Kevin Matthews, Jack McCarthy, Mike McGee, rob mclennan, Roy Miki, Susan Musgrave, Matt Nashlenas, Alexis O'Hara, Evalyn Parry, Hilary Peach, Sandra Pettman, Matt Rader, Fernando Raguero, Jamie Reid, Stuart Ross, Mary Lou Rowley, Nola Semczyszyn, Goh Poh Seng, Oni the Haitian Sensation, Kim Shaughnessy, George Stanley, Fred Wah, Betsy Warland, R.C. Weslowski, Sheri-D Wilson and Martin Van Steinburg.

Opening Ceremonies will be occuring at the Vancouver Public Library at 7:00 PM on Thursday, July 7th. For a complete schedule and locations of events please go to our website at


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Court Green issue 2 released

Announcing the release of Court Green 2, featuring Elaine Equi, Robyn Schiff, Wislawa Szymborska, Srikanth Reddy, Robin Becker, Maureen Seaton, Ed Roberson, Keith Waldrop, Rosmarie Waldrop, Lyn Hejinian, and many others. The magazine's "Dossier: Tribute to Lorine Niedecker" includes poets such as C.D. Wright, Anne Waldman, Theodore Enslin, Elizabeth Treadwell, Lisa Fishman, Maureen Owen, Jonathan Williams, Stephanie Strickland, Eleni Sikelianos, Susan Wheeler, Dan Beachy-Quick, and others.

Court Green is a poetry journal published annually in association with the English Department at Columbia College Chicago, and is edited by Arielle Greenberg, Tony Trigilio, and David Trinidad. Each issue features a dossier on a special topic or theme. The first issue, published in 2004, featured a dossier on poetry and film. The dossier for issue #3 (Spring 2006), will be a collection of bout-rimes sonnets.

Copies are available for $10 each through the address below. Please make checks payable to Columbia College Chicago.

Columbia College Chicago
English Department
600 S. Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60605

The Ottawa Small Press Book Fair

The fair usually contains exhibitors with poetry books, novels, cookbooks, posters, t-shirts, graphic novels, comic books, magazines, scraps of paper, gum-ball machines with poems, 2x4s with text, etc. It happens twice a year, and was started in 1994 by rob mclennan and James Spyker. The Fair is now run by rob mclennan thru span-o.

The Ottawa Small Press Book Fair, spring edition, will be happening Saturday, June 18th, in room 203 of the Jack Purcell Community Centre (on Elgin, at 320 Jack Purcell Lane), running from noon to 5:00 PM, opening at 11:00 AM for exhibitors. Admission is free to the public. Phone 613-239-0337 more info on span-o. Surface mail address for span-o: c/o 858 Somerset Street West, main floor, Ottawa Ontario K1R 6R7, Canada.

source: rob mclennan; CanPoetics list


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air conditioned poetry at Danny's, Tuesday, 29 June

June at Danny's features poetry by Marcella Durand and Rich O’Russa.

Marcella Durand is the author of Western Capital Rhapsodies (Faux Press, 2001), City of Ports (Situations, 1999) and The Anatomy of Oil (Belladonna, 2005). She was the editor of the Poetry Project Newsletter from 2003 to 2005 and is currently co-editing an anthology of contemporary French poetry forthcoming from Talisman.

Rich O'Russa is the author of Elastic Latitudes (Situations, 1999) and Object Lesson (with poet Joe Elliot, Situations, 2001). He was the art editor for (the invisible city), an anthology of art and poetry inspired by Italo Calvino (Erato Press, 2001). He runs a collaborative press, Time Release, whose publications include Ruffled Rhumba Pants (with poet John Larson), Eight Halvah Cows (with Larson), and others. His collaboration with poet Shannon Ketch, 49 City Sonnets, is forthcoming this summer from Situations.

Looking ahead, the series will conclude for the summer with another Tuesday reading on July 5th, featuring Irish composer/performer Jennifer Walshe, and poet Parker Smathers, who will return for the series' fourth birthday party on August 24th.

The Danny’s Tavern Reading Series (yes, with air conditioning) is on a special night this month, Tuesday 28 June 28, at 7:30 PM (The tavern is a "21 and over" venue, so please bring ID.) Danny’s Tavern is located at 1951 W. Dickens (in the Bucktown neighborhood, just south of the intersection of Armitage and Damen). Phone 773-489-6457.

Red Rover: Snyder & Tate featured

The Red Rover Series {readings that play with reading} will hold its second event in June. Each event is designed as a reading experiment with participation by local and national writers. Experiment #2 is "A Prayer" and will feature Chicago writers Beth Snyder and Marvin Tate. Red Rover Series is curated bi-monthly at the SpareRoom by local writers Amina Cain and Jennifer Karmin. On August 13th, the series will host Experiment #3 "Feralness" which will feature visiting writers Emily Abendroth, Christian Nagler, and Amar Ravva.

Born in Philadelphia, Beth Snyder eventually moved to Berkeley and then spent many years in Santa Fe (her favorite place). In 1978, she received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College and, 23 years later, an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She now works as a senior writer at Northwestern University.

Marvin Tate is a pioneer in the genre of fusing poetry, performance, spoken-word, and music. He is the author of "School Yards and Broken Dreams" and has been featured on NPR's "This American Life", Art-Beat Chicago, Wild Chicago, and has shared the stage with the likes of Amiri Baraka, Nikki Giovanni, Annie Sprinkle, Ken Nordine, Malachi Thompson, and many others.

The Red Rover program is 7:00 PM, Saturday, June 18th, at SpareRoom, 2416 W. North Avenue (west Bucktown), Chicago. Click to for more info on the venue. Suggested donation: $3.

Wordslingers on WLUW-FM

For a while, the situation was dire. According to Wordslingers host Michael Watson, "Things were looking pretty damn rocky for awhile, and I was 105% certain of ending the show at year's end. It ain't gonna happen! As long as WLUW will have us we'll be there. As long as poets keep listening, and more importantly let the station know they listen, Wordslingers will keep right on humming."

So the poetry beat goes on at WLUW-FM, much to the credit of the station.

Sunday, 19 June, is not only Father's Day but it's Juneteenth. Wordslingers features the work of two excellent poets, Steven Schroeder and Frank Matagrano.

Steven Schroeder is a philosopher as well as poet who teaches and writes in Chicago and Shenzhen, China. Having grown up in the Texas Pamhandle his work is rooted in his experiences of the Plains His work has been published in Halcyon, The Cresset and Georgetown Review and currently, a collection of his works titled Revolutionary Patience published by Virtual Artists Collective.

Frank Matagrano can always be found in poetry circles in and arounmd the Chicago scene His work has been published in Cimarron Review, Crab Orchard Review, Another Chicago Magazine and Spoon River Poetry Review. A collection of his poetry, I Can Go as Fast as the Guy in Front of Me has been published by Black Lawrence Press 2005.

Wordslingers airs on the 1st and 3rd Sunday nights of the month, at 9:00 PM on 88.7-FM, WLUW. Loyola University. Tune in over the air, if you're in Chicago, or click to the streaming webcast online at; when you get there, click "listen live".

Homolatté for June 2005

The beat goes on with Chicago's weekly LGBT/Q coffeehouse. And this months' beat for Homolatté includes:

June 1st: Marcus Waller / Ripley Caine

June 8th: special Outmusic Awards show w/ Jay Spears & Wishing Chair

June 15th: Kathy Bergquist / Brianna Lane

June 22nd: DJ Shiva (spoken word) / Denise Dill

June 29th: Outmusic Outloud open-mic hosted by Lars VonKeitz

Homolatté queer words and music, Wednesday evenings at 7:30 PM at Marrakech Expresso, 4747 N Damen Avenue (just south of Lawrence Avenue, Ravenswood neighborhood), Chicago. Phone 773-271-4541. Admission is free, though the host, Scott Free, invites guests to donate $5; all collections go the featured artists and only the artists. Full program listing is available at

Late news: Scott Free took top honors at the 2005 OutMusic Awards (OMAs) by snagging two of the top prizes - OUTMUSICIAN OF THE YEAR and OUTSONG OF THE YEAR. The OutMusician Award was for his album They Call Me Mr. Free plus his cultural activism which includes producing Chicago's annual Queer IS Folk Festival and Homolatte, the weekly queer performance series - and for leading effective protests against anti-gay performers at Chicago music venues. His rap song Another Day of Cruelty was named OUTSONG OF THE YEAR.

30 Queer Plays in 60 Straight Minutes

It's a special Pride edition of Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind, and a Benefit for Lambda Legal!

The Neo-Futurists race the clock to perform their new and favorite plays that are totally gay. Including the toe tapping musical 'Ken Ferree', the insightful 'It takes more than two weeks to gestate a guinea pig, I looked it up', the lovelorn 'Maybe your heart is a rubber bucket' and the nearly legendary 'Booty Dance'. Good cause, great show, two mommies and a well placed banana.

One Night Only: Saturday, June 25th at 8:00PM. At the Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland, (at Foster in Andersonville), Chicago. Reserved Tickets: $15. Tickets at the door are still $7 + what you roll on a six sided die (i.e. $8-$13). For Reservations contact Bob at Lambda Legal: 312-663-4413 ext.32. Or e-mail Further info:

The Chicago Solutions Show brings on the poets at ARC

The Chicago Solutions Show is jurored by James Rondeau, Associate Curator and Acting Department Head for Modern and Contemporary Art at The Art Institute of Chicago. It offers a showcase of all media of works by artists from across the world. Themes addressed within the exhibit include: war, racism, over-population, environmental destruction, media violence, the discourse between the sexes, etc. The solutions show does not simply point out problems but presents solutions to the problems.

Featured poets and performing artists include: Nina Corwin, author of Conversations with Friendly Demons and Tainted Saints; Jared Smith, author of Walking the Perimeter of the Plate Glass Window Factory; Adam Swinford-Wasem, author of Seeing My Mother Off and Other Poems; Lee Kitzis, author of The Laundromat Girl; Martha Vertreace, author of Glacier Fire; With a special reading of the anti-war poetry of JJ Jameson (aka Norman Porter) by Collage Productions members Barbara Button and Jeff Helgeson.

An Evening of Poetry during the Chicago Solutions Art Show, at the ARC Gallery, 734 N Milwaukee Avenue (south of Chicago Ave, River West neighborhood). Saturday, 18 June, from 7:00 to 9:00 PM. More info is available at Info about ARC Gallery is available at

in the audio arts...

ESS presents Hal Rammel's Calls and Songs

Join ESS for the opening of the latest florasonic sound installation at Lincoln Park Conservatory. florasonic is an ongoing series of sound installations commissioned by Experimental Sound Studio, and presented in collaboration with the Chicago Park District at Lincoln Park Conservatory. The series is curated by ESS Executive Director Lou Mallozzi. Calls and Songs will be on exhibit all day, every day, from June 18 - September 30, 2005 Lincoln Park Conservatory is open every day, 9:00AM - 5:00PM, free of charge.

Calls and Songs was composed using sounds from the Sound Palette, an instrument designed and built by Hal Rammel in the 1990s. Its wooden timbres reflect the materiality of many of the plants in the Fern Room, and the phrases that were recorded, edited, and combined to create the composition reflect the thick, interwoven fabric of unique sounds -- the constant shifting of calls, songs, and chatter -- that populate the audio landscape of the natural world all around us.

Sound and visual artist Hal Rammel has been designing and building his own unique acoustic and amplified musical instruments since the 1970s. As a composer he often utilizes recordings of urban and rural soundscapes as raw material and as sources of inspiration, and then combines these with his unusual musical instruments.

Opening reception: Saturday, June 18, 3:00PM - 5:00PM. Fern Room, Lincoln Park Conservatory, 2391 N. Stockton Drive (southeast of the intersection of Fullerton and Clark), Chicago. Free admission. Presented by Experimental Sound Studio, For more info, call 312-850-9362.


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links we like

Here is this month's batch of links that we hope will give you something new to ponder...

The Toronto Small Press Book Fair..., a site dedicated to networking indie producers and artists in short-format works with a unique distribution model...

In e-lit', check out Eclipse at Princeton, where the relationships between written contributors and their works are linked in 3-D space... A new website with regular streaming audio programs, including the occasional live webcast, Ink & Ashes.

Thanks for taking a moment to read our update, and thanks also to those who keep it well-fed with news, announcements, leads, comments, and so forth.

- Kurt Heintz, founder
e-poets network, Chicago

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