Archives & Ephemera: “The City/The Body” – Ronaldo V. Wilson


While an archive is defined as “a place or collection containing records, documents,” “a long term storage area,” and “a repository for stored memories or information,” and ephemera is marked as a “short lived thing,” and “printed matter of passing interest,” we shall explore these realms as indiscreet, mutable categories, as we gather and use our specific materials to generate a cycle of poems in the context of the city and the body. What observations sights/sites, mobile & static histories, artifacts, speech, signs, boutiques, bodegas, trash, art, sirens, smells, and beats meet with the body’s own fluid records, whether through breath, senses, dreams, movements, internal-chatter, memory, and revelations? Bound only by your own findings and tastes, you may wish to construct or bring in your small archive of daily pics, news clippings, or selections from diaries or journals as guides. Or, perhaps you possess some ephemeral notes, sketches, objects, or partial but striking drafts that you have left untouched and wish to revisit through the course. To inspire our writing and conversation, we will look to a variety of urbane, embodied poets to include CAConrad, Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge, Wayne Koestenbaum, Meena Alexander, Matvei Yankelevich, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Allison Cobb, among others.

Ronaldo V. Wilson’s latest book, Poems of the Black Object, won the Asian American Literary Award and the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry in 2010.