Mapping/ Local Geographies/ Poetics of Location — Master Class with C.S. Giscombe

The idea for this workshop has to do with location as an activity as opposed to a static description of being or arrival or “completeness.” What goes into the process of tracing routes—or roots, and/ or branches—through quite real (which is to say, established by others) geographies? What do we include? What do we leave out? What do we trouble? And how do we trouble? The workshop will traffic with the idea of the arrivant, best described perhaps by Sean Meighoo, who wrote, “The arrivant who is ‘always arriving’ and yet has ‘never arrived,’ disturbing the conceptual order of identity, community, nationality, and citizenship.”

Participants should bring fifteen copies of a map—“hard copies,” on paper—of a significant place, significant meaning of personal importance and personal knowledge or familiarity. Packet of readings from Basho, Kamau Brathwaite, and Lorine Niedecker.

Photo: Madeline W. Giscombe

C. S. Giscombe

C. S. Giscombe’s poetry books are Prairie Style, Giscome Road, Here, etc.; his book of linked essays (concerning Canada, race, and family) is Into and Out of Dislocation. Ohio Railroads (a poem in essay form) was published in 2014 and Border Towns (essays on poetry, color, nature, television, etc.) will appear in 2016. His recognitions include the 2010 Stephen Henderson Award, an American Book Award (for Prairie Style) and the Carl Sandburg Prize (for Giscome Road). He has been the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fund for Poetry, the Canadian Embassy to the United States, and other agencies; his work on Canada was acknowledged with a Fulbright Research Award by the Council for the International Exchange of Scholars. Projects underway include a prose book titled Railroad Sense (having to do with trains and other forms of public transportation) and a poetry book titled Negro Mountain.  C. S. Giscombe teaches at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is curator of the Mixed Blood readings, talks, and publication series. He is a long-distance cyclist.