The Practice of Outside*
Writers pushing at formal, conceptual, and psychological boundaries — innovative poets, prose authors, and scholars — have most often found it necessary to organize their own nurturing environments. For fifty years, literary outsiders in Southeast Michigan have looked to projects such as the Red Door Gallery, the Detroit Artists Workshop, the Willis Gallery, the Broadside Press, the Alternative Press, the Detroit River Press, LINES: New Writing at the Detroit Institute of Arts, Solid Ground: A New World Journal, Straits, In Camera Press, Alley Culture, Dispatch Detroit, Past Tents Press, and Markszine.net for support and inspiration.
In Fall of 2013 the latest installment in this unconventional tradition, Evidence: New Writing in the Metro, a reading series that reflected an impressive range of experimental writing in greater Detroit, presents adventurous authors in intriguing pairings. The first installment on Saturday, September 28 featured Carla Harryman, an innovator in interdisciplinary performance, poetry, and prose, who has authored seventeen books including Adorno’s Noise (2008), Gardener of Stars (2001), and the multi-authored work The Grand Piano, an Experiment in Autobiography: San Francisco, 1975-1980. Her Open Box (with Jon Raskin), a CD of music and text performances, was released on the Tzadik label in 2012. Harryman serves on the faculty of Eastern Michigan University and is currently a Senior Artist-in-Residence in The University of Washington at Bothell’s MFA in Poetics Program. Her reading was a party for her latest book, W— /M— (Split Level Press, 2013).
Also on the program was poet George Tysh, who from 1980 to 1991 directed LINES: New Writing at the Detroit Institute of Arts, and (with Chris Tysh) edited In Camera, a project devoted to works of the sexual imaginary. In 2010, United Artists Books published his tenth collection of poetry, The Imperfect. He currently teaches film studies, visual culture, and poetry at the College for Creative Studies.
Carla Harryman and George Tysh;
Khaled Mattawa and Chris Tysh;
Barrett Watten and Benjamin Paloff;
Lynn Crawford and Rob Halpern;
Vince Carducci and Michael Stone-Richards;
Dennis Teichman and Tyrone Williams.
Readings began at 8 p.m. and were free and open to the public. All events took place chez Elie at 407 West Marshall (two blocks west of Woodward) in Ferndale.
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* “The Practice of Outside” is the title of poet Robin Blaser’s discussion of Jack Spicer’s poetry in The Collected Books of Jack Spicer (Black Sparrow Press, 1975).