From: (Louis Cabri)

Kristen G, Mike M, Matt H, Holly J, Al F, Bob P, Barbara C,
Gregg B, Patty M, Kevin V, Kerry S, Josh S, Heather S, Dave S,
Heather L, Nate C, Vance B, Alice B, Dave D, Adam H


Seriously hoping that you will make it to the WH programming
meeting today at 4:30. The reason is a project requiring your
involvement that I want to propose for next year. I want to propose
a series of small-scale events (much like the scale of PhillyTalks this
year) that are linked to each other, that involve the participation of
a community of like-minded folk such as I think we can/already
make, and that culminate, after a year or so, in a conference. There
should/will be others to whom this note should/will be addressed as
well; I apologize for leaving those vital people out just now for lack 
of time. Because standing under a waterfall about best describes
this time of year at school I think for everyone--or, at least it does
for me--I haven't been able to detail this as much as I would have
liked prior to the meeting. Ideally, I would have solicited your input
by now on more details, as I only see this scale of a project working
if each of us feels interested enough in it to find an angle of it. Am
hoping on your presence at the meeting to at least cement a

This (below) is the idealized version of the project. I will propose
two scaled-down versions of it, so that smaller budgets can
accommodate it.

The Contemporary Project

A 1.5 yearlong, cumulative series of modular realtime events--
readings, thinktanks, talks, poetry samplers, single-issue magazines
& anthologies, celebrations, study groups--continuously folded into
each other over the course of time via newsletter (& by other more
technological means), culminating in a publicized conference 
featuring participants in the project as well as outside respondents,
& including the inaugural co-publication (with WH) by U of
Pennsylvania Press in their--a radical departure for them--Emergent
Poetics Series: New Histories & Tendencies.

The primary purpose of the project is to generate new poetry and
poetic discourse in print and on the web within the formally
innovative and political engaged traditions of the art as those
traditions are rendered live on the tongue by those involved in these
events at this time. To generate new poetry and discourse not in
order to re-emphasize already-existing formations and their naming
vehicles (anthologies, group labels, lists of names), but rather in
order to reconfigure and recreate those formations as well, thus
their--our--lineages to/of the present: thus, *unackowledged*
traditions, *contingent* (as Derksen articulated) formations, as
much as the acknowledged and the seemingly necessary, etc. The
following formats are meant to enable these movements.


a)      PhillyTalks
        4 newsletters this summer (no events)
        7 events + newsletters Sept 98-Mar 99
        4 newsletters (no events) May 99-Aug 99
        3 solicited or guest edited response issues

b)      PoetryTanks
Two "major" (see [e] below), three "minour" ones. In total,
5 panels of modified PhillyTalks-like formats, including
commissioned papers on specific subjects. These are small-
scale "thinktanks" on tendencies in contemporary poetry, &
on new histories/lineages. The purpose of PoetrytTanks is
to increase the amount and quality of discourse on "the
contemporary moment" (understood in its widest and
deepest historical sense, but from the view of a present
horison of formal & social innovation in the literary/social

c)      Poetry Samplers
Newsletter format. To capture poetry arising out of the 
project's discourse. Guest-edited.

d)      Single-issue magazines
        A further mix, but less frequently produced, of (c).

e)      Anthologies
Two anthologies based on the PoetryTanks (b) which
provide an extended elaboration of two formerly
overlooked tendencies/formations in contemporary poetry,
consisting of mostly poetry, but with one long, possibly
collaboratively written introductory essay for each volume.
One on "Below the Word" and one of "Above the Word"

f)      Celebrations
        A la John Wieners last year.

h)      Conference
Spring or Summer 1999, which directly builds on all
preceding events.    

Here's a sketch of just one of the above:
The rest would fold into this.

This summer:
May #5. Mandel/Alcalay
June #6. Response issue + transcripts.
July #7 Peter Gizzi, David Bromige, Steve Farmer on the
contemporary troubadour.
August #8 Gil Ott interview, responses, anecdotal materials.
August #9 John Wieners celebration (record of the March 1997

Sept. Kit Robinson & Alan Bernheimer on collaboration
Oct. Roberto Toscano & TBA on poelitics
Nov. Fred Wah & Brian Kim Stefans on hybridity; Bruce Andrews
reading & launch
Dec. All-day event: "Particularisticalisms: Below the Word" with
David Melnick, Peter Inman & others    
Jan. Nancy Shaw & Diane Ward on mass media poetics.
Feb. All-day event: "Suasion Above the Word" with Bob Perelman,
Lisa Robertson & others
Mar. TBA     

(message addressed to From: (Louis Cabri) Precedence: bulk Hey folks, Just to let all of you know that today at the hub meeting I presented a rough sketch of a poetry project whose activity I conceive as ongoing next year. As those of you who were there to witness my pretty awkward presentation today know, this project is definitely, obviously, at a preliminary stage--that is, I'm putting this to the hub membership while the project is barely formed, still only a glimmer --and in almost every sense: not only in the practical, but somewhat in the theoretical sense as well. There's only a hint of a precedent model for this project--in the PhillyTalks format, which itself only developed as each event occured (it started out with the poets reviewing each other's work, then it became email dialogue, and the last one will be a transcribed performance). I've got some idea of what some of the events will be, and also an idea of who *some* of the poets might be, as well as a sense of some of the formats that might create not only discussion-friendly events, but new thinking about poetry. However, virtually everything except the idea of the project itself still has to be worked out fully, and I think it can be worked out as we go--just as, for example, the Spanish Civil War event is being worked out as we go. (By the way, Rodrigo Toscano is on; I just got an email from him; the new dates are fine; more on him later.) That is, what I proposed to everyone at the hub meeting today was the furthest thing from being a 'prophetic tablet' from on high on poetry programming for the House over the next year. It is, rather, an extension and modification--development--of the PhillyTalks event, and as it stands an open invitation for more people to get involved in its shaping. Now's a chance to get in while everything feels confusing and uncertain and unreal--if you like that. At the same time, I am appealing to all of you to think of this project as *a* Big One for poetry at the house, in the wider sense of engagement within the field of contemporary poetry and poetics, and also a Big One that has room for participation and involvement at different house levels--at the level of parallel programming (for instance, attaching a PhillyTalks to the Spanish Civil War program), at the level of event formation and production (for instance, working out the format of the poetrytanks, as well as the speakers), as well as at the level of individual involvement by someone who just wants to do one thing (e.g., make a poster). In fact, the scale of this project is partly dependent on how much interest there is in it. I am not at all worried about scale; scale will take care of itself--so long as the focus remains sharp and strong. As Emerson might say, we'll either work it out as a multilevelled thing, or we won't; no matter. I think, given this project's one inaugural constraint (basically, that's me [leaving aside the entire question of funding and staffing, of course! reality check? --who ever heard of it!], and the idea I have of how the project might be realized, and of how it might position itself in the contemporary ideological battles going on in the poetry worlds), it is nevertheless I hope broad- based. After all, the entire purpose, and effect, of the project will not be felt at the planning and production stages, so much as on the stage of the events themselves, among its participants. For the overriding purpose is to produce dialogue and thinking on poetry, and poetry-writing, amongst poetry-interested people--regardless of how involved each has become in the actual realization of the events. *Then* is the real chance to get involved--during the events themselves. This project will actually be directed by those who contribute their writing and their thinking to the events themselves, most of which will take text form. Talking and writing and thinking about poetry and the world are what the project is all about. You don't need to know squatdiddly about poetic tradition to get involved, nor do you need to feel left out from forming the programs, either, if that's your thingamajig. So, if you wants to gets involved right at this stage, please just let me know--email, phone (222-2106). There will be plenty of other stages down the pike to get involved in at as well. And finally there will be the events themselves, whether there are five of them over the year, or fifteen, that will beckon your attendance. I've already heard from some folks directly and indirectly. What I'll do is set up a listserve so that we can keep the talk on the project going; then, perhaps a meeting might be in order sometime in May to carry us through the summer. Incredulously, Louis