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Issue 12 :: February 2012


Ambrose Bye, composer/musician/producer grew up in the environment of The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University, graduated from The University of California, Santa Cruz and was trained as an audio engineer at the music /production program at Pyramind in San Francisco.

He has produced four albums with Anne Waldman, In the Room of Never Grieve, The Eye of the Falcon, Matching Half, and The Milk of Universal Kindness.

Tyler Carter lives in Oakland, California. Recent publications include poetry in VOLT, text collage in the Encyclopedia Project, and audio/text in BathHouse. His text blog can be found here, and his sound blog can be found here.

Heather Christle is the author of The Difficult Farm (Octopus 2009) and The Trees The Trees (Octopus 2011). Her third book, What Is Amazing, will be out from Wesleyan University Press in February. She lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Annie Finch's books of poetry include The Encyclopedia of Scotland, Eve, Among the Goddesses, Calendars, and the forthcoming Spells: New and Selected Poems. Her work also includes translation, anthologies, poetics, and many creative collaborations merging poetry with music, visual art, and theater. She lives in Portland, Maine, where she is Director of the Stonecoast MFA program at the University of Southern Maine.

erin e fortier (b 1982) is a multi-instrumentalist who hails from Windsor, Canada and lives and works in Montreal, Quebec. Her work spans across experimental, pop, and techno and past music projects have been released on Universal Music and Beggars Banquet. "tough bounce" is an experimental track that was produced within a series of unrehearsed collaborations playing with the role of rehearsal, composition, and control in music performance.

Petra Kuppers is a disability culture activist, a community artist, Artistic Director of The Olimpias (www.olimpias.org), Assoc. Professor in the English Department of the University of Michigan, and a faculty member in the Low-Residency MFA in Interdisciplinary Art at Goddard College. The soundpoem presented here is part of Spherical, a wider inquiry of site-specific performative actions that honor international food and garment labor, woven through with memories of growing up in working-class rural Germany. Other parts of Spherical have appeared in Disability Studies Quarterly, the collection Beauty is a Verb, Poets for Living Waters, and in Petra's book about Olimpias performance practice, Disability Culture and Community Performance: Find A Strange and Twisted Shape (Palgrave, 2011).

Michael K. Meyers' fiction appears in Quick Fiction, SmokeLong, Work Riot, Alice Blue, Eclectica, NANO, Spork, Bound Off, 2River, The 2nd Hand Journal, Chicago Noir, Chelsea, Fiction, The New Yorker, Requited Journal and (forthcoming) another in Alice Blue(Fall), Mad Hatter (soon), and Bound Off (Fall), textsound (soon), & three in Work Riot's 10th Anniversary Anthology. Audio works can he heard in Fringe, 2River, Mad Hatters Review & Drunken Boat. Videos can be viewed on Ninth Letter and at michaelkmeyers.com He teaches in the graduate writing program at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago.

Misha Penton, the singer of "Saturn/Spherical" is a soprano, sound designer, writer and theater artist. Her work examines liminal performative spaces and transitory symbology. She is a postmodern opera creator, and founder and artistic director of Houston's new music and multi-performing arts project ensemble, Divergence Vocal Theater. mishapenton.com/

Colin Post was born and raised in Grand Rapids, MI. He received his BA from the University of Pittsburgh and is currently working towards an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Montana. In addition to his ongoing performance work, Akhilleus (http://akhilleus.info/), Colin has a chapbook, Aleph in the Cellar, published by Open Thread.

Eric Rawson lives and works in Los Angeles. His book The Hummingbird Hour was published recently.

Jennifer Scappettone is a poet, translator, and scholar, the author of From Dame Quickly (Litmus Press, 2009) and of several chapbooks, and editor/translator of Locomotrix: Selected Poetry and Prose of Amelia Rosselli (U of Chicago, 2012). She is at work on Exit 43, an archaeology of toxic landscapes and opera of pop-up pastorals; visual poems from this work are being adapted as scores for performance in collaboration with the Difforme Ensemble. Other collaborations include work on the performance/research project PARK with choreographer Kathy Westwater and architect Seung Jae Lee, with showings at Dance Theater Workshop, Reed College, and Fresh Kills Landfill in 2010-11, and more forthcoming in 2012 with support from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Swing Space Program. A range of readings, talks, and acts of digital salvage may be found at her PennSound page and at her website, http://oikost.com. Scappettone is an assistant professor teaching modern and contemporary literature, creative writing, and media aesthetics at the University of Chicago.

Liner Notes: X Locus

X Locus: Cortile

A sound-poem on national, cultural, linguistic, and psychological crossing and dislocation, first installed at the American Academy in Rome for the collaborative installation X Locus on April 27-28, 2011. Surrounded by a virtual "moat"--a soundtrack of fountains and fowl by composer Paul Rudy, and projections by AGENCY Architecture that rendered the vaults of courtyard arcades liquid--this site-specific sound poem by Jennifer Scappettone invited community members to enter the core of the cortile to listen for the intertwinings and disintertwinings in a narrative loop.

"X Locus: Cortile" reconstructs the cacophonous history and presence of this courtyard, shaped by Columbian Exposition architects McKim, Mead, & White in 1913 as a convening space for the Academy--itself a nation-building and nation-expanding project on Rome's Janiculum Hill. In this ephemeral neighborhood, or borgo, of transit defined by the Aurelian Walls of imperial Rome and a sequence of raucous gates, the designations "American" and "Italian" are both sheltered and continually recast as a looping sequence of never-quite arrived-at aspirations, disappointments, researches, and desires. Meanwhile, the rising plants and pastiched funerary inscriptions that line the courtyard remind those who dine in and pass through this space of the anxious and fructifying lives underground.

Thanks to the members of the 2010-11 Academy community: chefs, architects and designers, composers, poets, classicists, medievalists, an early modernist, a Serbian linguist, a Tibetan-American singer, an English sculptor and a stone carver, Russian, Cuban, Albanian, and Italian-Dutch installation artists, a bharatnatyam dancer, a painter, a Russian bookmaker, an American and an Italian filmmaker, an Israeli-American doctor, Romanian and Italian baristas, protesters from the streets of the Italian capital, and other comrades eluding categorization, for the sought and found material of their cherished voices. Special thanks to Huck Hodge for tracts from his development of "Pools of Shadow from an Older Sky."

* * *

X Locus: Cryptoporticus (Abluvion)

A sonic plunge into the infrastructure of empire and collapse, first installed inside the tract of Trajan's aqueduct that passes below the cryptoporticus of the American Academy in Rome in May 2011. This piece draws upon excerpts of poetic scores by Jennifer Scappettone performed live by the Difforme Ensemble--Marco Ariano (percussion and electronics), Renato Ciunfrini (sampler, contrabass clarinet, voice) and Roberto Fega (electronics), with vocals by Jennifer Scappettone, Ersela Kripa, and Karen Yasinsky--remixed with field recordings in Roman aqueducts (the Acqua Traiana, Acqua Marcia, and Acqua Claudia), discussions with community members about the fate of monumental waterworks, readings from outmoded chronicles of Roman history, and decodings of the inscriptions to the underworld hovering in the courtyard above.

"X Locus: Cryptoporticus (Abluvion)" animates the hollows beneath our feet. Choral utterances emerge from a blighted underground: montages of voices salvaged from the community and from pastoral poetry, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Lewis Carroll's Alice, to sound the metamorphosing role of now-defunct aqueducts in feeding the city, or in spurring deviant behaviors and sieges of empire.

In the May 2011 installation, environmental media projections by Stephen Mueller and Ersela Kripa (AGENCY Architecture) and a conversant soundtrack by Paul Rudy reliquefied the corridor that hosts a tract of the 1,902-year-old aqueduct, while from a hole in the floor opening onto the channel itself, Scappettone's poem drew listeners into cycles of use, abuse, and disuse of infrastructure for the public good: portents for our postpastoral and near-apocalyptic moment.

Thanks to the artists, scholars, and staff of the American Academy in Rome for their voices in the work: special thanks to chef Mona Talbott and the Rome Sustainable Food Project, archaeologist Gianni Ponti and colleagues at Roma Sotterranea, classicist Andrew Riggsby, and medievalist Lila Yawn.

Difforme Ensemble:

Marco Ariano is a drummer/percussionist, composer of improvised music, audiovisual artist, and poet. He is the founder or co-founder of various improvisational groups, including Lenguefoco, Zeriletico, Opera Mutica, Dal Due, Xubuxue, and Difforme. In 1999 he founded CarneCeleste, a laboratory for artistic research that explores the idea of a "theater of sonic events": performances, installations, and multimedia works. Renato Ciunfrini is a free-archaic-contemporary musician, player of clarinets, saxophones, clavichord, objects and electronics, who has collaborated with a wide range of musicians globally. Roberto Fega plays tenor and soprano sax, bass clarinet, electronics and video art; his collaborations include Cervello a Sonagli, Circ.a, and Iato e Ixem.

stephanie sherriff is a San Francisco-based interdisciplinary sculptor, audio/visual performer, and media artist focused on the the dynamism of art, science, and technology. Her work is inspired by playful experimentation and seeks to question aural perception and its ability to alter our connection with time and space. She considers her work a synthesis of the natural world.http://ssherriff.com/

Bronwen Tate is the author of the chapbooks Souvenirs (Dusie 2007), Like the Native Tongue the Vanquished (Cannibal Books 2008), Scaffolding (Dusie 2009), and if a thermometer (dancing girl press 2011). Her most recent chapbook is the loss letters (Dusie 2011), a collaboration with Ming Holden. Bronwen makes her friends hungry on her blog at http://breadnjamforfrances.blogspot.com. She's a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature at Stanford University where she's completing a dissertation on scale in post-1945 poetry. These days she's really enthusiastic about the word processing program Scrivener, the new Gillian Welch album, and Sundara silky lace yarn in the "heirloom tomato" shade.

Anne Waldman, poet, professor, performer, and cultural activist is the author of over 40 books and small press editions of poetry and poetics, including most recently Manatee/Humanity and the anthology Beats at Naropa, co-edited with Laura Wright. Other titles include Fast Speaking Woman, IOVIS (I&II), Vow to Poetry: Essays, Interviews and Manifestos, Marriage: A Sentence, In the Room of Never Grieve, Structure of the World Compared to a Bubble, Outrider, Red Noir and Martyrdom. She also edited The Beat Book, and is co-editor of Disembodied Poetics: Annals of the Jack Kerouac School, The Angel Hair Anthology, and Civil Disobediences: Poetics and Politics in Action. Her numerous CDs include The Eye of the Falcon and Matching Half (with Akilah Oliver), with music and production by Ambrose Bye. She has performed her work on stages across the American continent and abroad, collaborating with Douglas Dunn and dancers and musicians on the performance "Tanks Under Trees" in Houston and Manhattan, and with artists Donna Dennis and Pat Steir on recent book projects. She has participated in conferences and festivals in Beijing, Berlin, Vienna, Nicaragua and Prague and has taught recent practicums at the Zen Mountain Monastery and Naropa University. She works with writer/director Ed Bowes on a number of video/movie projects.