Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

adickinson's blog


I’ve never been particularly good at making travel arrangements. The details get the better of me. I feel a great deal of anxiety that perhaps I’ve booked the wrong flight, or scheduled it for the wrong day. I print out two copies of the boarding pass even though I need zero. Things like this.


In The Consequence of Innovation: 21st Century Poetics (edited by Craig Dworkin), Charles Bernstein updates Pound’s dictum about 20th Century poetry by quipping that rather than simply making it new, poets need to make the poem live. Christian Bök has been trying to do just this through his ambitious Xenotext Experiment, where he is attempting to insert a poem into the DNA of a bacterium. The aim is to encipher the poem as a set of instructions into the genetic nucleotides of the organism in order to cause the bacterium to create a benign protein. This protein, the result of an amino acid sequence determined by the original poem, will be legible as its own complementary poem.


Kenneth Goldsmith has turned weather reports into poetry and Nathalie Miebach has turned raw weather data into sculptures and music. What does a hurricane sound like as a musical score? Listen for yourself:


Ecopoetics has emerged as an attempt to reinvigorate and reposition writing in response to ongoing ecological issues. Such work frequently interrogates language and political discourses (among others) often in a distinctly activist mode, engaging experimental poetic methods and procedures. Poets, activists, scholars, and artists from all over the world converged on Berkeley this past February to share readings, presentations, and conversations. I was part of a panel that conceived of ecopoetics as a set of innovative research methods and compositional practices designed to extend ecocritical inquiry in unexpected directions.

Poetry and Uselessness

I had the great pleasure of reading at St. Jerome’s University in Waterloo yesterday as part of their “can lit kicks ass” reading series. It was my first chance to read from The Polymers with the book in my hand (the box arrived just a day earlier). My hosts were generous and the audience was attentive, posing some thoughtful questions about poetry and science following my reading. I’ve since been thinking about some of those questions and also about the subsequent discussion I had with students from Claire Tacon’s creative writing class. There has been, in my experience, a persistent anxiety about poetry’s so-called marginalized cultural position.

Lift Off

Let me say immediately that I am thrilled to be this month’s Open Book: Toronto Writer-in-Residence. My third book of poetry (The Polymers) has just been published and I plan to share with you some of the adventures associated with launching it. If you are in Waterloo this Thursday April 5th come and see me at the “Can Lit Kicks Ass” readings series http://canlitkicksass.blogspot...

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