Saturday, September 23, 2006

Interesting, but it's not literature

Call for submissions from KSW. Is that a fabulous list below or what? Also check out the new issue of W Magazine which you can download here. Great piece by Aaron Peck, who is now in NYC and whom I intend to meet shortly, as well as work by Fred Wah, Lisa Robertson, Jeff Derksen, and others.

The Kootenay School of Writing is seeking submissions for the 13th issue of W magazine, to focus on "paraliterary" or nonliterary writing projects.

The thesis driving W13 is that as the parameters of poetic practice/praxis are reshaped in coming decades, more and more writing that now seems unclassifiable, except as "interesting, but not literature", will become imaginable within expanded, and culturally more pertinent, definitions of poetry.

Below is a brainstormed list of paraliterary possibilities, by no means exhaustive. Note that for the purposes of W13 it doesn't matter if the texts are legit or faked, fact or fiction, personal or impersonal, creative or uncreative.

1. informational texts (surveys; polls; maps; statistical charts; chronologies; diagrams;

2. conspiracy theories; research results)

3. notational projects (diaries; ongoing notes; classroom notes; records; lists; inventories;

4. specialised glossaries and lexicons)

5. annotational projects (annotations of other texts)

6. pseudo theory; pseudo poetics, pseudo philosophy; pseudo theology; pseudo manifestos; pseudo research

7. amateur science and pseudo sciences (investigations into: linguistics; etymology; astrology; astronomy; biology; 'pataphysics or "pataphysics)

8. occult writings (automatic writing; ouija board transcriptions; transcriptions of divinations; predictions; tarot readings of persons or texts)

9. found texts and found text-objects (scans or transcripts of interesting documents; posters; ephemera; ads; letters; notes; signs; report cards)

10. collections of texts (blurbs; phone messages; subject lines; typos in famous works)

11. interviews from interesting social contexts (faked or real; raw transcriptions of speech)

12. documentary writings and mockumentary writings

13. alphabetic projects (new alphabets; spelling reforms; codes; encryptions, stereograms)

14. scriptural projects (i.e., investigations of how scriptural systems and technologies interact with writing)

15. excerpts from artists' book projects (incl text-based photographic projects; photos of book sculptures)

16. photos/snapshots with significant textual content/context

17. conceptual writing; text-based conceptual works

18. uncreative writing

19. text-based visual art

20. outsider writings

21. graphic musical scores

22. certain cut-ups, aleatoric and erasure writings

23. certain visual/concrete poetry

24. certain flarf

25. certain song lyrics (if appreciable as "outsider" texts

If you're still unsure whether what you have in mind or on hand is right for the issue, direct queries to We can point you to examples of interesting paraliterary works and writers, or talk to you about specific projects and ideas.

In the meantime, the easiest ways to look into the paraliterary might be to pick up a copy of McCaffery and Rasula's anthology Imagining Language, or to check out the Conceptual Writing and the Outsiders sections of UbuWeb. You might also give a thought to the forthcoming anthology Against Expression (Craig Dworkin and Kenneth Goldsmith, eds.) that will feature a historical range of so-called "uncreative" writings, or look at some of the transdisciplinary writings published in the Western Front's FRONT magazine, and in the better indie zines and micro-magazines. You could also look at the found texts in FOUND magazine, or read up on text-based projects by visual artists.

We're looking for new works/texts, but will gladly consider previously-published material, depending on when, where and how it was published. It can be helpful if the work is accompanied by a brief statement of method, means or intent.

Send submissions by email or by meatmail to:
KSW - CFS - W13
309-207 West Hastings St., Vancouver, BC, V6B 1H6, CANADA
Submissions due by: December 01, 2006.
If sent by email please write "KSW - CFS - W13" in the subject line
Include SASE and an email contact if sent by snail

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