Verso 0.1“Strophe, turning from one side to the other of the orchestra, the act of turning” - Dionne Brand
Of The Blue Clerk, Dionne Brand notes “The things one has left unwritten or unsaid [in earlier work] would lead to a set of confrontations that would expose all the compromises, self-corrections, self-censorships, and sometimes nefarious and cowardly reasons for leaving the things unwritten and unsaid. So that’s a difficult process: to revisit the decisions of language, to revisit and critique the choices made even if those choices seemed, at the time, perfectly legitimate.”
This seminar uses The Blue Clerk as a point of departure to delve into our own personal inventories, the ones that “expose all the compromises”—the inventories that have accumulated for long spells but perhaps were never even written. What are your left-hand pages—the pages you avoid, rescind, or altogether abandon? What nascent knowledge exists there? What would it mean to etch these pages into some kind of existence? What does it mean to turn and return to an idea and what accumulates in the act of turning?
In addition to reading excerpts from The Blue Clerk, we will explore short selections from John Keene’s Annotations and Inger Christensen’s Alphabet as examples of possible ways to inscribe left-hand pages.
This seminar is open to all, with the only requirement being a commitment to exploring the unwritten and the unsaid in your own work and the desire to begin to say it. Through a series of prompts and short exercises, participants will accumulate their own left-hand pages, or revisit previously written ones.
Asiya Wadud is the author of Crosslight for Youngbird, published by Nightboat Books in 2018. Her book Syncope (Ugly Duckling Presse) will be out later this year and No Knowledge Is Complete Until It Passes Through My Body is forthcoming in 2020. She teaches poetry at Saint Ann’s School and leads an English conversation class for new immigrants at the Brooklyn Public Library. She is currently working on a collaboration with choreographer and writer Okwui Okpokwasili.