Deracination: English(es): And The Practice Of Poetry — Master Class with Myung Mi Kim

Here are some of the nodes/considerations/questions that undergird the work we will be doing together during this class:

  • deracination: to be uprooted, isolated, and alienated from a native or customary geographical, social, linguistic, or cultural environment
  • ecological deracination: forced migration and uprooting of humans, alteration/obliteration of flora and fauna precipitated by environmental destruction (think: the valence of climate change, militarist agendas, waste products of predatory industrial practices) that render wide regions of the earth uninhabitable on an unprecedented scale
  • the greater [global] reach of English is prompting the greater production of “other Englishes.” We might consider these proliferating Englishes and their capacity to undermine ideological monolingualism. At the same time, this is also precisely the occasion to revisit the problematic of the primacy and ascendancy of English as a major language of position. We must continue to refurbish critically and affectively this on-going dialectical process between an “otherwise” of English and the re-inscription of English as a homogenizing and standardizing instrument.
  • an intricately indelible system of competence, correctness, and mastery underwrite the conception and practice of language permeating us at any given moment (e.g., orthoepy, orthology, orthography). If in one sense, our intrinsic participation in language is predicated on mastery, fluency, and normative adherence, how does this seal or skew what is deemed intelligible? To what degree is adherence/compliance a necessary element of participating in language and at point does this produce harm, a flattening/denuding of sensation, sense, vitality of person, language, and perception itself?
  • as thinkers, makers, and readers of poetry, how do we problematize this conjoined (exquisite) burden of compliance (in the sense of assent) and attend to the emancipatory potential of language, of poetry to cue plural fluencies/accents/prosodies, to avidly listen for the uncategorizable and the uncodified, and to register alterities, multiplicities, and irreducible difference.

In advance of the class, I will ask participants to send the following: first, readings (I use the word loosely) that they feel will augment the conversation around the rubrics I’ve mentioned above (from any discipline/ discourse/ genre/ medium they see fit; these can be essays, excerpts from a longer piece, fragments, images, even a single stanza.) Second, I invite participants to send in their own creative work to be discussed during the class, however covertly, adjacently, implicitly, improbably, they hover around the considerations I’ve posed.

During the class itself, we’ll begin by discussing the “readings.” The second part of the class will be devoted to linguistic/formal/prosodic writing experiments. We will close by discussing the creative work submitted by participants as they help elucidate and re-constellate the concerns of the workshop.

Myung Mi Kim

Myung Mi Kim is the author of Civil Bound (Omnidawn), Penury (Omnidawn), Commons (University of California), DURA (Sun and Moon, Nightboat Books), The Bounty (Chax Press), and Under Flag (Kelsey St. Press), winner of The Multicultural Publisher’s Exchange Award of Merit. Her work has been anthologized in Moving Borders: Three Decades of Innovative Writing by Women, Premonitions: Kaya Anthology of New Asian North American Poetry, American Hybrid: A Norton Anthology of New Poetry, American Poets in the 21st Century: The New Poetics, and other collections. Magazine and journal publications include appearances in Hambone, Sulfur, Conjunctions, How(ever), Poetry, Interval(le)s: CIPA (Centre Interdisciplinaire de Poétique Appliquée) and Cross-Cultural Poetics. She has received fellowships and honors from the Fund for Poetry, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, Gertrude Stein Awards in Innovative North American Poetry, and the State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activity. Kim was born in Seoul, Korea and immigrated to the U.S. at the age of nine. She is the James H. McNulty Chair of English at the University at Buffalo.

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