R Johnson: the eye may be said to be the sun in other form

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ark Audio Archive!!

We are excited to announce that the Ark Audio Archive is now up and running!  Follow the links below (and on the left) to hear mp3 recordings of readings and poetics talks by writers who participated in our first ever Ark Press Summer Reading Series & Workshop (Summer 2011).  Featured readers: Joseph Wood, Eryn Green, Brenda Sieczkowski, Michael Sikkma, and Jen Tynes.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It begins with the laughter of children.  It ends there.
            Rimbaud’s Illuminations (Trans. Don Revell)

We are so grateful to dear friends Mike Sikkema and Jen Tynes for driving down from MI with kiddos Dagan and Celia in tow to bookend our first Ark Series last week.  Ark Press is first and last a proposal of company—Kirsten and I were trying to think of a way to spend time with loved ones, to share a place that we love very much with them (and visa versa).  The Ark Series and summer workshop has already, absolutely, been a realization of the tremendous energy and generosity of friends deeply committed to poetry and to community building, willing to travel great distances on their own dime to share precious time, writing, and resources with others.

The last edge of summer has been a blur of water balloon fights, climbing on old train cars, trying to save the neighbors from zombies on Super NES, listening to incredibly detailed plot synopsis of Dr Who episodes and Nancy Drew and The Hidden Staircase, watching C draw amazing pictures of dragons in tuxedos (sometimes with her left foot), and catching an impassioned, suspenseful performance of D and C’s new play “Darth Vader Gets Bored at Chucky Cheese” in the backyard, etc.

K made beautiful broadsides of Mike and Jen’s poems that C and D and I hand-pressed on the table.  Mike and Jen gave stunning ambient readings through a summer thunderstorm and hosted a gorgeous talk about memory and improvisation called “A Left Turn at Albuquerque” in exploration of the fact that Bugs Bunny always gets lost en route to Pismo Beach and goes on to have other adventures.  Lovely.

We heard Doc Watson play in the park on Saturday (in honor of Jen’s birthday), standing alongside the river beaming with a thermos full of whiskey: “This is a little Johnny Mathis tune…  My dad used to give it to all the pretty ladies.”  (“12th of Never”).  Amen. 

Returning to packing boxes for our move over to Sugar Grove at the end of the week and class prep (M’s Paradise Lost), it’s quiet up on the ridge this morning on the other side of such warm company.  We are already looking forward to next summer and we’re excited to get started on interim projects in the meantime: posting mp3 recordings of readings, links to commemorative broadsides from the series, etc.  Thanks to the amazing support of our growing Ark family who helped us raise the money we need to make repairs to our antique letterpress, we’re also looking forward to getting started on our first chapbook project.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Jen Tynes and Michael Sikkema Reading for Ark Press next week!!


Jen Tynes is the founding editor of Horse Less Press. She is most recently the author of Heron/Girlfriend (Coconut Books) and the co-author, with Michael Sikkema, of Autogeography (Black Warrior Review). A new chapbook, The Black Mariah, is forthcoming from DoubleCross Press.

Check out Jen’s “Solstice Poem and “Promise Ring” at Diode

Michael Sikkema was born and raised in rural Northern Michigan.  He is the author of Futuring (BlazeVox), the chapbooks Saying Things as an Engine Would (H N G M N), I Could Jump Through The Keyhole In Your Door (Horse Less Press), and in collaboration with Jen Tynes, Autogeography (Black Warrior Review). He believes that play's the thing.

Check out excerpts of Mike’s Lake Effects at White Print Inc


Michael Sikkema and Jen Tynes will be reading at the Todd Mercantile Bakery Thurs, Aug 18th at 7 pm.  

They will be giving a talk entitled “Improvisation & Memory” at the Todd Mercantile Bakery Fri, Aug 19th at 7 pm and co-hosting a creative writing workshop that is open to the public immediately after.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Companions are horizons

We were mightily glad to have dear Ark family, Brenda Siezckowski and Eryn Green, with us last week in Todd, NC.  Brenda and Eryn flew in from SLC, UT and Denver, CO respectively, braving long travel setbacks on runways and in scorching hot strip mall parking lots due to a defective co-pilot chair to give amazing readings Thursday night July 28th at the Todd Mercantile Bakery (Mp3 recordings forthcoming) and amazing talks around our kitchen table the following night. Brenda’s Friday night discussion focused on “The Spectacle of the Everyday,” investigated the way that the roles of writer (performance) and reader (audience) blur as they are presented by creative process.  Eryn’s discussion, “Jack Spicer and the Poet as Radio,” explored nuances of Jack Spicer’s assertion that the poet is like a radio, in that a radio receives transmission that come from elsewhere, beginning with Spicer’s admission that the problem with comparing a poet and a radio is that “a radio doesn’t develop scar tissue.”  Mostly, we just drank beers with big-ole grins on our faces, delighted by the generosity and intelligence of friends.

The rest of their stay was centered in the music of quiet mornings on the porch, reading, writing, yoga, running, errands, TV, grilling, and swimming in the New River—we even got Brenda into a beekeeper suit (a dream come true!) at Mathomhouse Farm courtesy of the amazing Lyn Soeder.  THANKS LYN!  THANKS BRENDA AND ERYN!! 

Thanks to everyone who could make it out.  Your friendship and support mean the world to us.  Like R Blaser says, “Companions/ are horizons.”

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Brenda Sieczkowski & Eryn Green Reading for Ark Press this week!!

Brenda Sieczkowski & Eryn Green
(Thurs July 28--Fri July 29th)

Brenda Sieczkowski’s chapbook Wonder Girl in Monster Land is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press.   She is currently working with Salt Lake’s chronically homeless and at-risk youth populations while she completes her PhD in Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Utah.  She is also the Artist-in-Residence at the Salt Lake Community Writing Center.  Her poetry, creative nonfiction, and other hybrid-genre works have appeared in a wide variety of journals.

Check out Brenda’s “/ end notes /” at No Tell Motel.

Eryn Green’s poetry has appeared in Eclipse, the tiny, Bat City Review, H_NGM_N, Word for/ Word, Rhino, Iron Horse Review, Pheobe, Painted Bride Quarterly, and Denver Quarterly.  He holds an MFA from the University of Utah and he is currently pursuing his PhD in poetry at the University of Denver.

Check out Eryn’s “Bones” in H_NGM_N.


Brenda Sieczkowski and Eryn Green will be reading at the Todd Mercantile Bakery Thurs, July 28th at 7 pm. 

Brenda will be giving a talk entitled “The Spectacle of the Every Day” at the Todd Mercantile Bakery Fri, July 29th at 7 pm.  Eryn will be giving a talk entitled “Poetry and Dictation: Jack Spicer and the Poet as Radio” immediately after.  

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Joseph Wood Kicks Off the Ark Press Reading Series

On Thursday night our dear friend, Joseph Wood, kicked off Ark's Summer Reading Series.  After driving 11 hours from Tuscaloosa, Alabama the night before, Joseph read and talked about poems with a small but enthusiastic crowd at the Todd Mercantile and Bakery amidst the sound of pick-up trucks, tractors, riding lawn mowers and town dogs, staying late to talk with interested audience members (the range of topics I can remember include poetry, goats, farming and road construction). Later, at home, he whipped up a decadent meal consisting of at least three different kinds of fat and some asparagus.

Warm and endlessly generous, Joseph also insisted on making dinner for anyone who showed up for his talk about the space of belief in poetry the following night.

We are so grateful for his company and his commitment to poetry and community-making. It was a pleasure to have him in Todd this weekend.

You can check out Joseph's account of his visit as well as follow his ongoing exploration of poetry and daily life (among other things) here.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Inaugural Reading of the Summer Reading Series This Thursday, Talk Friday!

Joseph P. Wood 

(Thursday, July 14-Friday, July 15) 

Joseph P. Wood is the author of two full collections of poetry, Fold of the Map (Salmon Poetry Ltd., forthcoming) and I & We (CW Books, 2010), as well as five chapbooks, which include Gutter Catholic Love Song (Mitzvah Chaps, 2010), and In What I Have Done & Failed to Do (Elixir Press, 2006), which won the Elixir Press Chapbook Prize. His poems and reviews have been published widely in journals such as Beloit Poetry Journal, BOMB, Boston Review, diode, Gently Read Literature, Gulf Coast, Hotel Amerika, Hunger Mountain, Indiana Review, Poetry London, Prairie Schooner, Rain Taxi, RealPoetik, Verse, West Branch, among others. He's held residencies at Djerassi Resident Artists Program and at Artcroft. 

Wood teaches creative writing, English and American literature, and composition at The University of Alabama. In 2009, he co-founded The Slash Pine Projects (Slash Pine Press), an undergrad internship that focuses on immersion learning and community arts. Students take leadership positions in chapbook production and promotion, community arts event planning (whose yearly highlight is The Slash Pine Writers' Festival), grant writing, fundraising, mini-documentaries of poetry performance, technology and the arts, among a dozen other fluid projects. 

Wood will be reading at the Todd Mercantile Bakery Thursday, July 14th at 7:00 pm. 

He will give a talk entitled "The Poem and Ecumenical Humanism" at the Todd Mercantile Bakery, Friday, July 15th at 7:00 pm and will be co-hosting a creative writing workshop immediately after. 

Find a sample of his work here and here.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ark Press Summer Reading Series & Workshop (2011) Schedule ::

Come on out!!  Readings, talks, and workshops free and open to the public.

Interests & talismans ::

John Cage/ writing good not well/ HD Thoreau’s “Higher Laws”/ Wm Blake’s Illuminated Manuscripts/ Polis/ “savage names”/ compost/ “Organic Form”/ John Coltrane/ Evan Williams/ Gertie Stein/ Days in the Wake/ “soul-making”/ Soul music/ process/ TV/ Laurel and Hardy/ Lightnin’ Hopkins/ Townes Van Zandt/ “the word was made good from the start” (CD Wright)/ Sentences/ Tim Hecker/ fiddle music/ the fact that Bugs Bunny always takes a wrong turn at Albuquerque on the way to Pismo Beach and goes on to have other adventures/ Lyn Hejinian: “A pause/ a rose/ something on paper”/ Ruskin’s second “everlasting law”/ river-life/ “THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THIS MOMENT”/ This passage from Huck Finn: "It's lovely to live on a raft.  We had the sky, up there, all speckled with stars, and we used to lay on our backs and look up at them, and discuss about whether they was made, or only just happened—Jim he allowed they was made, but I allowed they happened."/ “Music = no music” (no music = music)/ JJ Rousseau’s The Reveries of the Solitary Walker/ D Wordsworth/ Chainsaw art/ J Clare’s “The Nightingale’s Nest”/ nests (in general)/ songbirds/ CĂ©leste Boursier-Mougenot’s finches/ Robert Smithson/ Robert Creeley/ Guy Davenport’s sense that “a change in attention is a change in culture”/ Hank Williams/ Christmas lights/ Being alone together/ melodies and harmonies/ M Rowlandson: “I was alone and God was with me”/ Son House: “The blues is by its own self”/ Francesca Woodman/ Susan Howe/ Mountains x 2/ “My mother is a fish”/ thrift store records/ L = A = N = U = A = G = E is fossil poetry/ Burn barrels/ paper/ cinderblocks/ block prints/ Jen Bervin/ our hometowns/ your hometowns/ cemeteries/ gardens/ the visionary/ Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell duets (especially, “If This World Were Mine”)/ broken fences/ ditches bursting with cattails/ “Opposition is true Friendship”/ R Blaser: “Companions are/ horizons”/ cooking/ getting Christine drunk enough to sing/ Jasper Johns/ Virgil’s shepherds/ Bob Dylan/ Will Oldham/ Shit that falls apart/ Shit that’s just about to fall apart and doesn’t/ C Coolidge’s Space/ coffee/ tinder/ horses/ Jonathan Edwards/ Robert Johnson postcards/ “THE WORLD IS CHARGED WITH THE GRANDEUR OF GOD./ IT WILL FLAME OUT.”/ “Maximus to Gloucester, Letter 27 [withheld]”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAYxpSjkyAg (“An American is a complex of occasions.”  (Amen.)/ Niedecker/ yellow then purple/ jadite/ kitchen/ ahimsha/ salt/ bread/ eggs/ fall then snow then green; then tiger lilies/ letterpress/ herons/ plant & turn/ a field/ fluttering laundry/ birch paper/ that high lonesome sound/ innocence perforated by experience makes way for roadside flowers/ Dog is an anagram for God and our dog only wants to play ball the moment that we sit down to do something else/ seeds (atoms)/ fireworks/ fuzz pedals/ distortion/ amplification/ rust/ weather “the news,” etc./ Getting born again (and again and again)/ Milton’s Satan: “Myself am Hell”/ EP dragged through the wasted edge of his agency and reborn in love at Pisa: “Nothing counts save the quality of the affection”/ torn envelopes/ clippings/ cut-ups/ green glass/ ATTENTION!/ Rimbaud (via Donald Revell): “it began with the laughter of children; it will end there” / Jack Spicer’s “Imaginary Elegies”/ the mysteries of small houses/ The Poetics of Space/ drift wood/ Midnight Orchard/ morning stars/  loose change shining on the carpet/ W Whitman: “I stop somewhere waiting for you”