The Poetry Project


Trick Methods — 5-Session Workshop with Rachel James

Devout tricksters linger on boundary lines permeating their solidity. This workshop studies their methods to find out how.

The fisherman of social absurdity, Pope.L once said, “Just because I value nothingness or incompleteness or absence does not mean I do not value meaning.” Diogenes the Cynic, who gave up his wealth to live in an Athenian rain barrel, threw rocks at the elite–yelling, “Be sure you don't hit your own father!” CAConrad suggests we hold a penny and orange juice in our mouth while answering the question, “What is the best Love you've ever had in this world?” They then demand, “Now get your pen and paper and write about POVERTY.” The Marquis de Sade wrote during the French revolution, sometimes on toilet paper he later stuffed into the cracks of his jail cell. His libertine characters delivered dense philosophical monologies about state power between debaucheries.

Collectives pursue mimicry to hold the past and the future to account as a group. Predating the 2008 satirical New York Times issue announcing the end of the US war in Iraq, AIDS activist collective Gran Fury produced the 1989 mock newspaper The New York Crimes. Now, The New York War Crimes is published by Writers Against the War on Gaza, paying homage to American Writers Against the Vietnam War. It is not just a newspaper, because people are taking to the street–and The Times’ offices–to personally hand out its statements. This workshop asks: how do these devotional acts of trickery complexly engage the body in public? Is it possible to teeter between an exterior and interior public? What would be the point?

Martine Syms writes, “Pope.L’s work suggests that I might learn something from the rub between duration and body.” Sound is, ultimately, a somatic resonance, and we will spend time each class listening and – outside of class – making sound works of our own. Experience with audio is not necessary and all genres of writing are welcome. The focus will be on making and for each participant to discover new ways of working that are sustainable beyond our encounter.

We will explore opacity and defamiliarization, ambitious not-knowing while making meaning, interior border permutation, exterior rejection of nationstates, and reverential abduction of our inner aliens. We will read and listen to thinkers such as: Axel Kacoutié, Sophie Calle, Liu Cixin, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, JJJJJerome Ellis, Avgi Saketopoulou, Clarice Lispector, Octavia Butler, Fred Moten, Janet Cardiff, Sainkho Namtchylak, Robert Ashley, Lucy Ives, David Hammons, Pauline Oliveros, Pope.L, Martine Syms, Georges Bataille, each other and others.

Please note: This is an in-person workshop with one remote meeting on May 16