Submitted by juliejoosten on April 17, 2015 - 4:29pm
In these posts, I keep gesturing towards a transformable/transformed future, one that with different modes of attention, care, action, and responsibility, could emerge. A future that draws on the activities currently at play in our present: organizing bodies to resist oppression, reimagining how bodies signify, and altering the devastating experiences many bodies, because of their particular forms, are made to internalize. As I’ve written in earlier posts, M. NourbeSe Philip’s Zong!, a book of generosity and listening, offers ways of thinking through and living after these violences. While thinking about Zong! over the past week, George Oppen’s lines in “Of Being Numerous” kept coming into my mind:
By the shipwreck
Of the singular
Submitted by juliejoosten on April 15, 2015 - 1:10pm
In the beginning of Spring I often think of the very beginning of Hamlet:
SCENE I. Elsinore. A platform before the castle.
FRANCISCO at his post. Enter to him BERNARDO
Nay, answer me: stand, and unfold yourself.
Submitted by juliejoosten on April 14, 2015 - 3:46pm
In returning to thinking about Zong!, I’m also returning to the idea of neuro-plasticity, the forming and deforming inscriptions experience leaves on the brain. When reading Zong! or when listening to it being performed, something perceptible happens in my body, a vibration, an inhabitation, a resonance, each of which is deeply material. If events and experiences are transcribed in the brain and have the capacity to alter or reframe the inscriptions that have preceded them in an individual brain and also, by extension, in several brains in a community that experience together, how might Zong! quite literally influence our neurology? How might this crucial work be engaged in an affective labor that returns to the slaves their voices through the circuitry of our brains?
Submitted by juliejoosten on April 13, 2015 - 12:27pm
I thought today I’d write about a text that beautifully, painfully, brilliantly performs some of the affective and political work that I’ve been writing about in past posts: M. NourbeSe Philip’s Zong! Zong! is a listening text; it draws on and intervenes in the legal history of 142 African slaves who, in 1781, were thrown overboard the ship Zong so that the ships owners’ could collect insurance money for their loss. Relying on the language of the legal decision "Gregory vs. Gibson," Philip reimagines history by listening for and to the voices drowned within its violence.
Submitted by juliejoosten on April 10, 2015 - 8:03pm
In my head my posts this month were going to unfold more linearly than they seem currently to be doing. I imagined each post, in advance of writing it (and an advance of writing any of the posts) as a short section in a longer essay. But, as almost always, the plan alters ever so slightly, then ever so completely . . . Each of these posts remains (in my head at least) a continuation of what precedes it and is to-be-continued, each is part of what I now think of note-taking towards an essay, and/but the essay keeps altering as I write—
Submitted by juliejoosten on April 7, 2015 - 4:17pm
Submitted by juliejoosten on April 6, 2015 - 7:54am
Part of the reason I’ve decided to write about bodies this month is because I’ve been reading and talking so much about them—in newspapers, online, in books, and with friends and family. The transformations of bodies, the inescapable signifying of different kinds of bodies, the ways those significations might alter, have all been part of these readings and conversations.
Submitted by juliejoosten on April 4, 2015 - 9:39am
It’s strange to think of a formal beginning in the midst of the continuous alterations—some barely perceptible, some profound—that seem always to unfold at this time of year and in the midst of alterations particular to this unfolding year. In Toronto, the hide-and-go-seek appearing and disappearing of Spring, the feel of the thawing ground yielding against my boots, sap running through the trees, the end of one strike and the possibility of new strikes, book season.
Submitted by juliejoosten on April 2, 2015 - 11:32am
Today, the sap is running. It has been, on and off, for the last two weeks. I’ve spent as much of that time as possible a couple hours north of Toronto with family and friends tapping trees, carrying sap, cutting firewood, stoking fires, boiling sap into syrup, and finally bottling it. This is anything but a professional operation. The pleasure began on a Thursday when we bricked the evaporator, also called an “arch,” a “fire box,” an “oven,” and which I, for unconscious reasons, cannot help but call “the kiln”: think of an oil drum cut in half and flipped on its long side. Think of fire bricks, of scoring them with a diamond blade and tapping them apart with a wedge, of fitting them, puzzle style, along the sides of the barrel, and then mortaring them into place.
Submitted by jought on March 30, 2015 - 10:53am
The Guinness Book of Records probably doesn't have a category for it, but a group of writers and artists in Toronto has likely set a record for the longest-running, largest-scale collaboration anywhere between writers and visual artists. This eighth annual National Poetry Month exhibition and reading on April 26 features visual art by studio members of the Women's Art Association of Canada and associated poems by the Long Dash group. Some poems are responses to paintings or photographs; others share a common set of images or emotions. Similarly, some of the visual art is created, or altered, in response to poems.