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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Next Week & the Year in Review

The Next Objectivsts meet next TUESDAY—26 January, 2010—to discuss William Carlos Williams' Spring & All (1923). Copies of our readings can now be downloaded from Dropbok at The e-mail is; the password is outsidereal.

It is fitting that on the group's actual first anniversary we should be reading the immediate genus text of the poetry & poetics of Objectivism & the OUTSIDEREAL.

It is a good time to recall that the Next Objectivists is the world's only autonomous workshop dedicated solely to the analysis and reproduction of the poetry & poetics that speak from outside the I-self. We are autonomous in two ways: First, and most crucially, we have no affiliations with universities, academies, or other institutions where the embodiment of knowledge goes to die. Second, we aspire to a democratic syllabus—those in attendance direct the course of our assignments, so that the workshop always makes it new. All our workshops are free & open to the public. Everyone is invited to attend. No previous knowledge of poetry is required. In fact, we ask that you check your expertise at the door. Our membership constantly changes, so there is no reason not to come by & check us out.

The Next Objectivists meets pretty much every other Tuesday, 7:00 – 10:00 pm, at the Mess Hall, 6932 North Glenwood Avenue, in Rogers Park, Chicago, Illinois. You can find our schedule on the Mess Hall website:

I now offer a brief review of the previous year & announce a change to the workshop structure.

The Year in Review

During 2009, we read & discussed the work of a diverse group of poets who members felt have contributed to the concept of poetry from the outiside. We enjoyed the visits of Guest Objectivists, including Michelle Taranasky (who also led a workshop on Louis Zukofsky's “Mantis,” Christopher Alexander & Kristen Gallagher & Eric Elshtain (who led a workshop on lyricism). We read the poetry of American and French modernists, including H.D., Lola Ridge, Ezra Pound and Francis Ponge; we read some of the Black Mountain poets, including Robert Creeley & Ed Dorn; we discussed poems by Stephen Roedefer & Tom Clark. Most recently, we've been reading through the poets represented in Louis Zukofsky's special issue on Objectivists in Poetry magazine, including Lorine Niedecker, Kenneth Rexroth and Charles Reznikoff. We continue that project by reading Williams next week and the work of Basil Bunting on 9 February.

The Next Objectivists also participated in a summer-long writing project, as part of the Cultural Center's Synaesthesia Chicago event. During the months of June, July & August, we sent poetypists to the Cultural Center & out to the streets of Chicago. Using electric & manual typewriters, our poetypists transcribed sensory impressions in the public sphere, producing pages of “raw or/e.” This “or/e” was brought back to the workshop, where it was refined by members using objectivist poetic techniques to produce a chapbook of approximately 10 lyrics. The chapbook was redistributed for free at the Cultural Center & several hundred copies were distributed at the Printer's Ball on 31 July, 2009.

A Change in Structure
In 2009, most of our workshops focused on reading & discussion. In the coming year, the Next Objectivists will also include group writing sessions each week. We will read & discuss some poetry, and then write together & read poetry composed by each other in each workshop. Our goal is to continue the production of autonomous, anonymous poetry—poems produced by many authors, poems by the outside that is in-between. Beginning in the spring, the Next Objectivists will publish a series of broadsides produced by the workshop & launch an open-mic reading series to promote & celebrate outside poetics. Each evening, our basic structure will be:

7:00 – 7:15: arrivals

7:15 – 8:30: discussion of the week's poetry

8:30 – 8:15: break; reset the clock!

8:15 – 9:45: writing, reading & revising of group poetry

9:45 – 10:00: cleaning up & departures

Finally, our tentative schedule for up-coming workshops is listed to the right. Note that on Thursday, February 4, at 6:00 PM, the Poetry Foundation & Columbia College are hosting a FREE reading by Rae Armantrout at the Film Row Cinema, Columbia College, 1104 South Wabash Avenue, 8th Floor.


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