How one walks through the world, the endless small adjustments of balance, is affected by the shifting weights of beautiful things.
– Elaine Scarry
This work was like no other I had ever read—its rhythms and repetitions were of my own body, my heartbeat, my breath, the motion of my legs and the swing of my arms as I walked.
– Inger Christensen
Survival depends on her ability to keep walking. She must never weaken or slow her captors down.
– Susan Howe
This course is designed to consider different approaches to embodiment, contemplation and experimental writing. While seemingly simple, the word walk has different meanings from which we will base our contemplative writing experiments. Some of these definitions include: to move at a regular pace, to travel over, to accompany someone, to go missing, to be visible or appear, a path or route. We will approach walking as a practice that can splinter open the craft of writing. We will consider how we embody our language and observe the inner topographies of our words. We will wander through labyrinths and happen upon things, moving in an elliptical thinking that opens unexpectedly and strolls into new territory. We will consider who has the privilege to walk in certain spaces and think about borders that limit our travel. Engaging the contemplative as a mode of inquiry, we will embody, question, perform, stroll, trespass and call present attention to the craft of writing so that new possibilities may unfold or open in a work of any mode or genre. Seminar components will include weekly reading responses and contemplative writing experiments which will be revised towards a final portfolio consisting of an artist statement (1-2 pages) and a creative manuscript (25-30 pages).
Main Pedagogies: Contemplative & Embodied, Feminist, Constructivist, Process
- Civil, Gabrielle. Swallow the Fish.
- Lucretius On the Nature of the Universe.
- Myles, Eileen. The Importance of Being Iceland.
- Nelson, Maggie. Bluets.
- Preciado, Paul B. Dissident Cartographies.
- Robertson, Lisa. Seven Walks from the Office of Soft Architecture.
- Vicuña, Cecilia. Spit Temple.
- Woolf, Virginia. The Waves.
ESSAYS & POEMS
- Adnan, Etel. “Journey to Mount Temalpais”
- Borges, Jorge Luis. “Garden of Forking Paths” and selections from Labyrinths
- Butler, Judith. “Bodies in Alliance and the Politics of the Street”
- Cardiff, Janet. “Her Long Black Hair”
- Christensen, Inger. “The Dream of a City”
- Debord, Guy. ‘Theory of the Dérive”
- hooks, bell. “Is Paris Burning?” Black Looks
- Lorde, Audre. “Walking Our Boundaries”
FILMS & CLIPS
- Abramovic: “The Lovers: The Great Wall Walk”
- Calle, Sophie. The Detective (1981):
- Kimsooja, “Needle Woman”
- Paris is Burning
OPTIONAL FURTHER READING
- Sebald, W.G. Rings of Saturn.
- Calvino, Italo. Invisible Cities.
- Solnit, Rebecca. Wanderlust: A History of Walking.
- Baudelaire, Charles. Paris Spleen.
Emma Gomis: A poet and essayist, Emma’s work stirs in a place of multicultural contemplation. She has been published in Vice Magazine, Mother Jones, and La Opinión among others. Her chapbook CANXONA was put out by Sunshine Canyon Press in 2018. Current literary projects include: Sisters, a feminist auto-fiction about the nature of sisterhood; A la Santé du Serpent, a translation of Rene Char’s surrealist aphorisms; and Break Open, a work of experimental criticism looking at preSocratic rhythm and revolution in the work of Lisa Robertson. She is an MFA Candidate and the Anne Waldman Fellow at Naropa’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics and will be pursing a PhD in Criticism and Culture at Cambridge University in the coming year.