May 2, 2012

Inaugural JKS Symposium

This blog has become a dead space, I think. Or where words come to die.

But today at Naropa, JKS put on a symposium on Violence and Community--and words seemed to live and circle and blow away in the wind (literally).

Bhanu (several several months ago): I took an informal poll, and students are very interested in this topic. Me: OK, then it's all you. But it wasn't all her or anyone for that matter. The day started on the green. Gabrielle Civil roped: tied to intellectual violence. Pushing her encyclopedia along the grass. Cutting into the book. Debris--everywhere. It was silent. People circling around. In front of the Ginsberg Library. I wanted noise. I wanted voices in that space. Is this my own unsettled self--not comfortable with silence? Uneasy with violence taking up space--in a way that seems innocuous (quiet)... And then the space was filled--a professor from Religious Studies read a poem about violence enacted upon him. Unrehearsed. Unconnected to the performance. And yet: real. Genuine.

I offered my hand to Gabrielle; she drew a thick black line. I still can't remember what she said, even though she repeated it over pizza this evening. I picked up two slivers of paper from her cuttings: "Time as / it was." Then I offered her a circle of healing.

Next up: David Buuck. In a classroom, writing work with his head under a tent. Words projected on a screen. Again silence. Then a student speaks out: What does it feel like? Indeed: what does it feel like to sit in a room in the dark with one's head in a tent when one's friends are on the street, marching in the Oakland May day?

I slipped out. Had a diet coke.

Then on to Kate Zambreno: silk cocoons and words. Finally! The wire hanger has been given a bad name, no? Joan Crawford. A woman's body in a back alley. Not to mention the way it misshapes clothes. But seriously: Kate offered her words in the space and on slips of collaged pink paper. Twice I typed her words on my Facebook account, and both times the words vanished. I must say, it's a bit eerie. Something about it not being a good time for woman--the meaning was clear. The pink installations were beautifully hung by wire, with wire inside--and then an understanding of how wire gives shape and how the image (of the wire) has shaped woman.

The day concluded with Melissa Buzzeo hypnotizing a circle of JKS students, faculty, and staff. There were quads. Then dyads. There was crying and witnessing. There was a kind of violence in the language that felt so intense, I had to leave for a moment.

There is more to write. There is more to say. There was a reading and frenzy and laughter and sadness.

It was enough that we were all there.