The Irreparable, Irretrievable and Forgiveness – Akilah Oliver


For this workshop process, consider the poem as that which poses the question, that the poem doesn’t necessarily represent knowledge or “experience”, but rather seeks to understand the world, in all its terribly beautiful humanness. What is rupture? Rapture?  What does it mean, essentially, to forgive?  Are both loss and love forms of the irretrievable?  In this workshop, we will pay careful attention to the composition of the poem as a process as of investigation and discovery into these questions, and the many questions that spin off from these.  Can language, poetry, the collapsing of text, create an/other text that transmutes, holds, witnesses, traces, and recreates itself?  Where does the body enter this discourse? Where does the sentence/line begin?  Can a poem witness?  This workshop invites participants think of the poem as a compositional field to investigate the irreparable, the irretrievable, and forgiveness.  We will look at theory and philosophical texts next to poetry, and vice versa. For example, Alice Notley read alongside Giorgio Agamben; Avital Ronell read alongside Leslie Scalapino.

A poet, performer, and teacher, Akilah Oliver’s most recent book is A Toast in the House of Friends (Coffee House Books).