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Sunday, October 7 • 9:00am - 10:25am
Mixed Panel 7

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Zack Brown, "Making It New: The Mythic Avant-Garde and the Reparative Turn "
In light of recent debates/discussions about the relationship between the Avant-Garde and Myth (especially Myth as dialectically opposed to History and/or Institutional Critique), I propose a scholarly paper that attempts to theorize a “Mythic Avant-Garde” as a legitimate site of socio-political resistance for an increasing number of poets and makers working today. If an overwhelming majority of historical theorizations of the Avant-Garde have been inflected with a thoroughgoing Marxism, and thus with a self-conception in terms of dialectical history, then there has traditionally been little space in innovative writing circles for work that imagines or engages the possibility of a historical otherwise. As our increasingly precarious everyday lives call more and more for reparative literary practices, and as the dialectical terms of Avant-Garde Innovation are increasingly co-opted by the Capitalist enterprises of Silicon Valley, the need for radically new theorizations of the Avant-Garde becomes particularly pressing. Through the work of Sophia Le Fraga, Divya Victor, and Chris Sylvester, I will attempt to locate one possible conception of the Mythic Avant-Garde in what I call each writers’ “critique of Conceptualism from within Conceptualism.” Disavowing the Marxist predilections of Conceptual Writing’s old guard, I find in each writer’s work a rearticulation of Conceptual strategies for a Post-Conceptual Avant-Garde that opens (rather than closes) the terms of our futural histories, an otherwise that mythically steps outside the binaristic dialectical progression of the historical Avant-Garde as such.

Kathleen Naughton, Feeling Thinking: Reparative Reading and Maggie Nelson's "Argonauts"
Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts, both in its content and in its form, works to expand the possibilities of criticism and our understanding and articulation of what criticism is and does. The concept of “reparative reading,” which comes out of queer theorist Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s work, can be used to articulate the expanded field of criticism in Nelson’s work. Applying psychoanalyst Melanie Klein’s work on paranoid and reparative psychological positions, Sedgwick argues that most contemporary criticism takes paranoia and suspicion as a requirement of critical practice and calls on critics to imagine critical possibilities that work differently. The Argonauts can be seen as an example of an alternative, perhaps reparative criticism. Nelson’s use of a fragmented and notational form allows her to establish “weak” or “local” theories that preserve context rather than obscuring these moments of partial or specific realization under the aegis of a strong paranoid theory or overarching narrative. This formal move is itself theorized by Nelson’s text, which questions the ways in which language and interpretation might be sufficient, and in what ways they fail. If earlier examples of reparative critical practice have often worked by putting life and theory into relationship and have focused on the relationship of critic to artwork, The Argonauts adds an element of uncertainty to the reparative equation about articulation of either life or theory and further expands our understanding of the possibilities of “weak theory” from the perspective not only of critics, but also of artists.

Yuriy Tarnawsky, "Literary Yoga". Eckhard Gerdes, editor and publisher of JEF Books, will host an event in conjunction with the official book release of Yuriy Tarnawsky's collection of literary exercises entitled "Literary Yoga." Tarnawsky will lead participants through a series of fun but challenging exercises designed to stretch particpants' literary muscles.  Struggling with iambs and pentameters? Characters and plots? Has one hit the concrete wall of a writer’s block? Or is one having the time of one's life seeing the pen trace out graceful meanders of words on the blank pages before fleet fingers make letters dutifully jump off the keyboard onto the screen above it? Whichever is the case, participants will be invited to participate in a few of the 100 exercises the artist and educator in Yuriy Tarnawsky have conjured up for you. What the gentle stretching on the yoga mat does for the muscles and joints, these painful tasks will do for the writing talents inside the writer. Writers may return to them again, and again, and again.


Zack Brown

Zack Brown (SUNY Buffalo)
Zack Brown lives and works in Buffalo, New York, where he is pursuing a PhD in English. As a member of SUNY Buffalo's Poetics Program, he studies Modern and Contemporary poetry and poetics, materiality studies and digital humanities, and theories of the avant-garde. In addition to... Read More →

Kathleen Naughton

University at Buffalo (SUNY)
Katie Naughton is a doctoral student in the Poetics program at the University at Buffalo (SUNY). She holds an MFA from Colorado State University and her poetry has been published by flag + void, jubilat, and Lambda Literary's Poetry Spotlight.

Yuriy Tarnawsky

Yuriy Tarnawsky has authored some three dozen books of poetry, fiction, drama, essays, and translations in English and Ukrainian, including the novels Meningitis and Three Blondes and Death, the collections of short stories Short Tails and Crocodile Smiles, three collections of mininovels... Read More →

Sunday October 7, 2018 9:00am - 10:25am EDT
129 DeBartolo Hall