We are proud to announce the publication of the fourth Ordinance chapbook, MacArthur Park, by Andrew Durbin.

In MacArthur Park, Andrew Durbin examines the outsider histories behind California’s sunny idealism—from the early cult movements of the twentieth century to the community that has formed around the work of Tom of Finland to contemporary art’s response to climactic precarity. A hybrid memoir and history of east LA, MacArthur Park considers the doomsday anxiety that prevails in earthquake country. Lost in the sprawl, Durbin moves from diners to hotels, the radio sermons of cult leaders to the disco lyrics of Donna Summer, mapping the differences and contradictions that define the city. “I’m trying to understand something about this place,” he tells the painter Richard Hawkins over dinner on Santa Monica Boulevard. “What about this place?” the painter asks. Neither respond.

Andrew Durbin is the author of Mature Themes (Nightboat 2014). He co-edits Wonder and lives in New York.

Ordinance, a critical series, issues nonfiction writing in the areas of contemporary poetics, philosophy, politics, and technology. Ordinance as in coordination, ordinal points, and incendiary potential with greater stamina than yesterday’s feed. Each chapbook in the series is handmade, perfect bound, and portable. The Ordinance series is available by subscription ($35.00 for all) and Individual titles may be purchased ($7.00). The series will be complete by the end of 2016, with ten titles in all.

Between December 2nd and December 5th Green Lantern Press and Kenning Editions–with support from Poets and Writers–will present a Festival of Poets Theater. The festival features 3-4 events each evening beginning at 7pm and a symposium on Saturday afternoon beginning at 2:30pm. All events are free. Sector 2337 is the venue, located at 2337 N. Milwaukee Avenue, in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. In anticipation of the festival, The Kenning Anthology of Poets Theater is on sale here at the website.

Poets theater is a genre of porous borders, one that emerges about the same time, and involving many of the same artists, as performance art, performance poetry (“spoken word”), conceptual and “intermedia” art. But poets have long been playwrights, either primarily (Sophocles, Shakespeare) or as a platform for postmodern literary experimentation (the operas and page plays of Gertrude Stein, for example). The Festival of Poets Theater will feature performances, screenings and readings over four nights, plus an afternoon of talks on the genre and salient examples of it. The festival is curated by Devin King and Patrick Durgin. Further details after the click.

Partial Schedule / Order Subject to Change

Wednesday, December 2nd

7:00 pm Ordinary Isadora: Often called the mother of modern dance, Isadora Duncan is now mostly remembered for her unusual death, her scandalous life, and, perhaps, her outre costuming (Duncan dancers still wear tunics). But Duncan’s dance is built on ordinary movements: walking, skipping, running, as well as moments of interaction–touching, looking, pushing, reaching–between people, objects, and atmospheres within scenes. Her work also asks us to think about the ordinary in historical ways; to think, that is, more deeply about the historicity of bodies developed in Marcel Mauss’s notion of “body techniques.” This performance talk by Ingrid Becker and Hannah Brooks-Motl, currently studying Duncan dance (and in the PhD program in English at the University of Chicago) will address Duncan and ordinariness through both movement and discussion.

7:30 pm I Am American: I Speak English, by Josh Rios and Anthony Romero, explores the historical changes of status certain languages undergo​ in the US​ and the effects this shift has on subsequent generations​​. Translation, multilingualism, interpretation, and mediated events of language acquisition are the ​points from which the performance begins. Language exceeds mere communication; it is a symbol in itself; it is a place of respite, a method of resistance, and a marker of difference. Configured to challenge authenticity as rooted in a way of speaking while lamenting the systematic erasure of native tongues I Am American: I Speak English​ attempts to deal with the ​conditions​ under which​ ways of speaking become​ lost and then found?

8:15 pm Playing with cliched feminine personae, Eleanor Antin in The Adventures of a Nurse (1976)  manipulates cut-out paper dolls to tell the story of innocent Nurse Eleanor who meets one gorgeous, intriguing, and available man after another. Nurse Eleanor is the fantasy creation of Antin, who is costumed as a nurse. Staged on a bedspread and acted by a cast of one, The Adventures of a Nurse moves through successive layers of irony to unravel a childlike, self-enclosed fantasy of a young woman’s life. (Description from Video Data Bank)

Thursday, December 3rd

7:00 pm Adaptation of Quraysh Ali Lansana’s book of poems, The Walmart Republic, directed by Emily Hooper Lansana.

7:30 pm El Gato Pussycat Proteja Your Gringo Cheese, a neo-benshi piece by Daniel Borzutzky, investigates manifestations of violence and cultural imperialism on the Southwestern border as depicted in early pop-culture images of Mexicans in and outside of the US.

8:00 pm Who Is React? is an early “Flarf” composition by K. Silem Mohammad, directed for the festival by Sharon Lanza. The Flarf e-mail list, populated by myself, Gary Sullivan, Nada Gordon, Drew Gardner, Sharon Mesmer, Jordan Davis, Katie Degentesh, Maria Damon, and others, was active during the aughts, when we would send poems to each other that we wrote by various methods, most conspicuously by collaging together scraps of language taken from Google search page results. As was typical of these early pieces, the googled language in “React” underwent minimal editing, and great care was taken not to take great care with arrangement, continuity, or coherence. It has been performed at the Small Press Traffic Poets’ Theater Jamboree in 2004 in San Francisco and the first Flarf Festival at the Medicine Show Theater in 2006 in New York City.

Friday, December 4th

7:00 pm Nero’s Ghosts is a combination of translations of Seneca by Kristina Chew and John Tipton. As a pre-eminent stoic philosopher focused on small acts of impoverished virtue who lived a life of opulence as an advisor to the hedonistic Nero, Seneca’s contradictions mark him as one of the great representatives of Roman life. While his philosophical influence can be tracked in Dante and Montaigne, amongst others, his work as a playwright looms large over Renaissance theater. Seneca’s plays—updates of Greek myths that are generally assumed to have been written to be recited amongst friends in a salon environment—are strange, tortured works of heavy violence and psychological turmoil. This performance takes as its beginning a scene between Nero and Seneca himself from Octavia—a play long attributed to Seneca but now known to be written by someone else—and moves to combine sections from a few of Seneca’s different works. Reminiscent of 1001 Nights—though trading a bedroom setting for a sterile office—this performance reflects upon how myth interprets and fulfills state sanctioned bodily harm.

7:45 pm In his directorial debut, poet/performer avery r. young explores light, sound and language in the late Amiri Baraka’s play, Home On the Range. Within an evening of watching television, a family is confronted by an intruder. In this interactive presentation, young will rely on both performer and audience in this inspection of stereotypes, imagery and sonic shifting. Co-presented by the Red Rover Series with performers: Dan Godston, Shadell Jameson, Jennifer Karmin, Kortney Morrow, Analeah Rosen, and Nate Russell.

8:30 pm The Arm Collector by TRAUMA DOG (Cassandra Troyan & Rachel Ellison) is a stage for uncovering the erotics of competitive objectification. We prepare for battle; on the pole, in the octagon, on the field, in the air, in the wilderness. Self-realization, attained by victory and satisfaction, is enacting on this terrain of desirous drama. 1: “It’s like anything else: I’ve done all of my life. I would never stop training no matter what.” 2: “The environment is perfect for celebrating. Plenty of room to sit and great view from all directions.” 1: “Put that together…it hits you a lot.” 2: “The dancers were high energy and very good at their routine.” 1: “You don’t want to hear the critics sometimes but still — I’m a sensitive guy and it still hits you, hits you and you are never good enough.” 2: “Doors open at 7 pm. Bring extra dollars for the men, they are very entertaining and real gentlemen. The drinks are great and the talent is so adorable.”

Saturday December 5th

2:30 pm Carla Harryman’s talk, Towards a Poets Theater, will approach Poets Theater from the perspective of a practitioner, focusing on full-length works since 2000 that explore polyvocality, bilingual translation, interdisciplinary collaboration, sound-text experiment, multi-authorship, site and physical context in the realization of non/narrative “poetic” plays. These works include “Performing Objects Stationed in the Sub World,” “Mirror Play,” “Sue,” and “Gardener of Stars, the Opera,” most of which are written as autonomous text that are radically open to interpretation by any given performing group. Harryman will also give a brief account of the “language-centered” Bay Area Poets Theater from the late 1970’s through mid 1980’s to establish a context for the development of later works, and to show the potential of a yet-to-be fully realized theater within and beyond her own practice.

3:15 pm Heidi R. Bean’s talk: Capturing the Scene of Amiri Baraka’s Home on the Range: In 1968 Amiri Baraka’s play Home on the Range seemed destined for an auspicious career. Despite being a strange little one-act in which the white characters speak in what one prominent critic deemed “unintelligible gibberish,” it toured nationally, played before an audience of 2600 as part of a high-profile Black Panther benefit that was widely covered by the media, and was published in the celebrated 1968 Black Theatre issue of The Drama Review. And yet the play soon fell into obscurity, with no productions on record after 1970 and no reprint for thirty years. So what happened? More than most plays, this talk argues, Home on the Range enjoyed a moment precisely because it captured a scene. It was both product and victim of its own competing interests—a clash of pro-textual avant-garde poetics, anti-textual performativity associated with American theater of the 1960s, Black Nationalist ideology, and the emerging sense of cultural performativity Baraka championed, all coming together at a particularly activist moment in African American cultural history.


6:30 pm Interference is a remote controlled performance piece by Patrick Durgin taking cues from Scott Burton’s infamous “Behavior Tableaux.” See if you can find it.

7:00 pm In The Gunfight, by Brent Cunningham, a war of weapons between The Kid and Tex turns into a war of words, then into a war of words about words, then–almost thankfully–back into a war of weapons.  The Gunfight was originally performed as part of Poets Theater at Small Press Traffic in 2007 with Dan Fisher as The Kid, Lauren Shufran as Tex, and Brandon Brown as the Sheriff. Since then it has been performed at the Yockadot Poetics Theater Festival (2007) and at The Rogue Theater in Tucson, Arizona as part of the University of Arizona Poetry Center’s Poetry Off the Page Event (2012).

7:30 pm Figures of Speech and Figures of Thought (re-visited): Encounters from David Antin’s 80 Langdon Street talk re-performed // David Antin’s aborted talk piece “Figures of Speech and Figures of Thought” was originally presented in May 1978 as part of the “Talk” series poet Bob Perelman ran at the San Francisco art space 80 Langdon Street. Approximating the spatial and temporal conditions of the original event, Ira S. Murfin, together with the audience, re-performs transcribed audio recordings of those moments when the talk was diverted from its intended format by audience intervention. In general, Antin’s talk poems begin as extemporaneous lectures before live audiences that are then recorded, transcribed, edited and published as poetry. In this case, key members of the audience at 80 Langdon, including poet Ron Silliman, Perelman, and Antin’s wife, the artist Eleanor Antin, intervened in Antin’s talk to debate the limits of the performance as an artwork, who controls when, or if, the talk would become a poem, and what it would ultimately include. Though the talk piece itself was never published, accounts of the incident have appeared from Antin, Perelman, and the artist Ellen Zweig, who was in the audience. Murfin resumes the interrupted process of entextualization and uses that material to re-inhabit the parts of the performance when its monologic status was dialogically called into question. Using simple tools and a shared occasion, Murfin facilitates a re-performance that gives Antin’s self-reflexive unpublished talk a new temporal, voiced, and embodied life in the present and off the page.

8:30 pm The Birth of the Poet, directed by Richard Foreman, is a production of a play written by downtown legend Kathy Acker, with music by Peter Gordon and sets by David Salle. Part of 1985’s Next Wave Festival, The Birth of the Poet was reviled at its premiere: the audience (those who hadn’t already walked out) barraged the actors with boos, and the next day’s reviews unanimously echoed the audience’s rage. The Birth of the Poet is still considered one of the most panned shows of the Next Wave. (From BAM blog)


In Ring 0, writer and filmmaker Daniel Spangler describes an uncontrollable freefall into, and between, layers of code & complexity, during an ill-fated attempt to grasp the elusive opus of a rogue computer programmer from Las Vegas. Touching on themes of heretical code, mental illness, open-source software, algorithmized entropy, praise art, minimalism, God, and the history of digital timekeeping, Spangler unravels and reweaves the digital threads left behind by Davis, a man who believes that God resides within the Operating System of his own design.

Daniel Spangler is a writer and filmmaker.  His work consists of self-proclaimed “antidocumentaries” that seamlessly merge painstaking research with repurposed and tampered-with footage, visual effects, graphic design, pseudoscience, science, and storytelling.  He is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and now lives in Calfornia, where he studies math and physics.

Ordinance, a critical series, issues nonfiction writing in the areas of contemporary poetics, philosophy, politics, and technology. Ordinance as in coordination, ordinal points, and incendiary potential with greater stamina than yesterday’s feed. Each chapbook in the series is handmade, perfect bound, and portable. The Ordinance series is available by subscription ($35.00 for all) and Individual titles may be purchased ($7.00). The series will be complete by the end of 2016, with ten titles in all.

Patrick Durgin, author of PQRS (also the Singles and Daughter), will read with Lyn Hejinian and others as part of the celebration of Gertrude Stein’s famed visit to Chicago in 1934, “An Adventure Was Home.” The event is free and takes place at the Poetry Foundation in downtown Chicago, Wednesday, November 11, 7:00 PM. Click for more details.

And on November 15, Trisha Low, author of The Compleat Purge, reads with Monica McClure at 5:30 PM, Sunday, November 15th. Presented by the venerable Small Press Traffic, the event takes place at Artist Television Access, in the Mission District of San Francisco.

A 501c3 non-profit, independent literary publisher founded in 1998, Kenning Editions began as a “newsletter” in the small press “little magazine” tradition. Since 2005 Kenning has published paperback books explicitly involved in a negotiation between political commitment and aesthetic quality. Work of this kind variously proves that “experimental” is not a stylistic feature or set of effects, but that risk and deliberation are mutually ramifying forces.

In 2015-2016, Kenning Editions will publish Dolores Dorantes’ Style (translated by Jen Hofer) and Joshua Corey’s new translation of Francis Ponge’s classic Le Parti pris des choses. Ongoing is a series of ten chapbooks of nonfiction writing, entitled Ordinance, which is available exclusively through the press. Ordinance essays are commissioned, the books are handmade and perfectbound, and the series covers areas such as contemporary poetics, philosophy, politics, and technology. Authors include Daniel Borzutzky, Cassandra Troyan, Andrew Durbin, and Julietta Cheung.

Kenning Editions has published first books by Trisha Low, K. Silem Mohammad and Jesse Seldess; the first full-length translations into English of Dolores Dorantes and Jean-Marie Gleize; The Kenning Anthology of Poets Theater, the first collection of its kind anywhere; Hannah Weiner’s Open House, which introduced this extraordinary poet and artist to many, while practically discovering the full scope of her work; and the “audio edition” of the Kenning newsletter which, in 2000, presaged resources like PennSound.

Kenning Editions is a small press with a regular staff of one individual, who relies on the input of many, and now also your tax-deductible monetary contributions to continue. Consider becoming a supporter of Kenning Editions. Just click “donate” and enter the amount you would like to give. Premium levels begin at $10.00 and all supporters receive acknowledgement by name in a forthcoming title. All levels at $35.00 and above receive a subscription to the Ordinance series, which runs through 2016. Click here to learn more about the options.

“What I have seen muddies my thinking. It clouds my sight, gives me migraines. The repressive system at work in Mexico has done me a lot of harm, without doubt. It’s like having a mental scar. Anyone who has been hunted by the state would understand. But it’s been precisely this journey through hell that has made me believe that maybe my common sense was right.”–Read more here.

Dorantes’ Style is forthcoming, late this year, from Kenning Editions.

Dolores Dorantes’s Style is a prose book in which a plural feminine voice narrates the vicissitudes of a war designed to suppress that voice. A voice that represents the war on the Mexico-U.S. border? Guerilla adolescents taking their revenge? Enslaved girls who appear in order to combat a macho presidential figure linked to our current-day Central America? Latin America advancing on a fascist-capitalist government? These are some of the questions that might arise from Style. The book was written in 2011, in some dark place in Texas, during the first three months Dorantes was awaiting political asylum.

Estilo, de Dolores Dorantes, es un libro de prosa donde una voz femenina plural narra los avatares de una guerra que intenta someterla. ¿Una voz que representa la guerra en la frontera México-Estados Unidos? ¿Adolescentes guerrilleras tomando venganza? ¿Niñas esclavas que se revelan para combatir una figura presidencial machista ligada a nuestra Centroamérica actual? ¿Latino América avanzando por encima de un gobierno fascista-capitalista? Esas son varias de las preguntas con las Estilo podría relacionarse. Fue escrito en 2011, en algún lugar oscuro de Texas, durante los primeros tres meses de espera de Dorantes por asilo político.

Kenning Editions is proud to announce the second in the Ordinance series: Minoritarian Enunciation and Global Product Culture, by Julietta Cheung.

In Minoritarian Enunciation and Global Product Culture, artist Julietta Cheung uses Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s linguistic concepts to tease out the creative force of consumption in a globalized economy. Taking Chinese “shanzhai” as a partially subversive intervention–and comparing the pirated, open-source manufacture of Apple products (the “HiPhone”) to fan fiction–Cheung connects the rhizomatic complexities of desire, flows of capital, and the textual conditions of translation. Minoritarian Enunciation and Global Product Culture is an important resuscitation of Deleuzian theory and a level-headed elaboration of how global branding intersects with “ideology,” and technology with popular culture.

Julietta Cheung is a visual artist. She has exhibited at various venues in Europe and the United States. Her conceptually-driven work merges sculpture, graphics, photography and appropriative writing within installations that examine the interrelationship between language and the material world. She received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is currently Assistant Professor of Art at Florida State University.

The Ordinance series is available by subscription ($35.00 for all) and Individual titles may be purchased ($7.00). The series will be complete by the end of 2016, with ten titles in all. The first title appeared in June: Memories of My Overdevelopment, by Daniel Borzutzky. Subscribe now and both will be dispatched in haste! See the full Kenning Editions catalog here.

Kenning Editions proudly announces the first in the Ordinance series, Memories of my Overdevelopment, by Daniel Borzutzky.

Memories of my Overdevelopment reflects on the politics of translation, transnationalism, neoliberalism and the author’s life as a Chilean-American poet living in Chicago.  Through essays, poems and hybrid forms.  Borzutzky develops an argument about the continuums of economic and political violence that translate across borders, reversing the stereotypical belief that the US controls South America, and not the other way around.  Here, translation is a means of showing that the “neoliberal policy lab” of Chicago could not exist without the influence of pre-existing economic experiments in Chile and Latin America.

Daniel Borzutzky is the author of the poetry collections The Performance of Becoming Human (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2016), In the Murmurs of the Rotten Carcass Economy (Nightboat, 2015), The Book of Interfering Bodies (Nightboat, 2011), The Ecstasy of Capitulation (BlazeVox, 2007); the chapbooks Bedtime Stories for the End of the World (Bloof Books, 2014), Data Bodies (The Green Lantern, 2013), One Size Fits All (Scantily Clad Press, 2009), and Failure of the Imagination (Bronze Skull Press 2007); and a collection of short stories, Arbitrary Tales (Ravenna Press, 2005). He has translated Raúl Zurita’sThe Country of Planks (Action Books, 2015) and Song for His Disappeared Love (Action Books, 2010); and Jaime Luis Huenún’s Port Trakl (Action Books, 2008). His writing has been translated into Spanish, French, Bulgarian, and Turkish, and has been anthologized in, among other publications, Angels of the Americlypse: An Anthology of New Latin@ Writing; La Alteración del Silencio: Poesía Norteamericana RecienteMalditos Latinos Malditos Sudacas: Poesia Iberoamericana Made in USAA Best of Fence: The First Nine Years; and The City Visible: Chicago Poetry for the New Century. Borzutzky’s work has been recognized by grants from the PEN American Center and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Ordinance, a critical series, issues nonfiction writing in the areas of contemporary poetics, philosophy, politics, and technology. Ordinance as in coordination, ordinal points, and incendiary potential with greater stamina than yesterday’s feed. Each chapbook in the series is handmade, perfect bound, and portable. The Ordinance series is available by subscription ($35.00 for all) and Individual titles may be purchased ($7.00). Free PDF downloads of each book will be available at The series will be complete by the end of 2016, with ten titles in all. Next are essays by Julietta Cheung, Daniel Spangler, Andrew Durbin, Cassandra Troyan, Margit Säde and others.


Kenning Editions’ new nonfiction series, 2015-2016

Ordinance, a critical series, issues nonfiction writing in the areas of contemporary poetics, philosophy, politics, and technology. Ordinance as in coordination, ordinal points, and incendiary potential. Ordinance offers in chapbook form essays and other texts with greater stamina than yesterday’s feed. They will also be available to read on screen.

Beginning in June, Kenning Editions will publish a new chapbook in the series every couple of months. These are slender, handmade, perfectbound books. The first set features work by Julietta Cheung (on global product culture as enunciation), Daniel Borzutsky (on translation and Chicago School economics), Andrew Durbin (on Donna Summer), and Daniel Spangler (on operating systems, God, and Deleuze). 2016 begins with Cassandra Troyan (on social reproduction, emotional labor, sex work, & gendered violence). The series will carry on from there and updates will be posted to and elsewhere.

Although you may purchase individual titles at $7.00 each, you may subscribe to the series for a mere $35.00 and receive them all as they are printed. International orders add a $15.00 shipping fee.

Meanwhile, Hannah Weiner has had her first museum show, and Trisha Low has been busy this spring castigating the culture (for its own benefit–see what I mean here). And if you plan to be in Chicago next winter, you can look forward to attending a poets theater festival we are coordinating with the good citizens at Sector 2337. To help everyone prepare, the Weiner, Low, and Kenning Anthology of Poets Theater books are on sale for the next week or so.

We have more planned, but nothing we’re ready to confide just now. Stay tuned and help spread the word.

Trisha Low left a trail of dead this spring, and to help you follow along:

Here is the first of a few “National Poetry Month” posts for the Poetry Foundation:

I mean the truth is that poetry is not anything really that morally superior or good or exciting, it’s like not even as good as the green frosting on a CVS cupcake that could maybe redeem itself because it tastes 0.5% like a jolly rancher…

Here is Low’s series On Being Hated from the SFMoma’s Open Space blog:

From heavy leather jackets to tattoos, subcultural markers tend to also become visual calcifications of form, stiff materialization without which there is only reason to flee, or worse still, no reason not to die. Another word for existence is survival. Maybe without performing being-hated, whatever bullshit pain you feel is only a fucking compromise. Maybe performing being-hated is a simple case of desiring better, wanting different.

Here at Lemonhound is a book review she wrote, sizing up Brandon Brown and Steven Zultanski’s new books:

Like it or not, the feminine confessional has transmutated itself from male fascination to a mode of transgression, revenge, cold-blooded violence, out of necessity – because the fetishism surrounding this genre has always at least ensured that the work is even read. The feminine confessional can do. But this has always come at a higher cost to the author. We are weak, or vulnerable and sexy because of it, we are nuts, or narcissistic, or should drown ourselves à la Virginia Woolf. We are cute but talentless.

And another good book is Ben Fama’s Fantasy. Low and Fama discuss at The Believer:

You’re very unflappable. I’m trying to embarrass you here.

At The Operating System is a review of Low’s own Compleat Purge:

I’ve wanted to write about The Compleat Purge for a while, however, I’ve felt prevented from doing so by the fact that the book is, in a sense, a step ahead of me: it’s already dialoging with the thinkers and theoretical frameworks that I, as a critic, would like to put it into conversation with. Trisha is a poet who does theory: her work contains the critical apparatus through which to apprehend it. The Compleat Purge writes its own review. The Compleat Purge swallows the place of the critic.



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