Sunday, May 17, 2009

NONSITE Event || Norma Cole and Amber DiPietra: Poetics of Disability (Aesthetics as Somatic Practice Curriculum) on 5/23/09

As a continuation of the Nonsite Collective's Aesthetics as Somatics Practice investigation (Poetics and Disability thread), Amber DiPietra will host;

That Same Nowhere: a Talk with Norma Cole
May 23, 2009, 3:30pm
935 Natoma, btwn 10th and 11th,
and btwn Mission and Howard
Close to Van Ness and Market (Muni)
or Civic Center BART
This event space is wheelchair accessible, with the exception of the bathrooms. We welcome input in our search to find more accessible venues.

See for more info

(This event follows the May 16 Poetics and Disablement event with Robert Kocik. Stay tuned for more in this series with Michael Davidson and Sue Schweik on June 6, 2009)

Six years ago, Norma Cole experienced a stroke that resulted in aphasia, apraxia and right side involvement. She cannot use her right arm and hand, has difficulty with balance and walking, and motor problems with speech. I approached Norma some months ago with questions as to how this shifted embodiment affects her writing and her work as a translator and teacher of poetics. I have been interested in how such a shift may come to bear on everything from use of white space on the page to the actual taking up of pen and paper. Having been focused on the basic logistics of recovery in relation to this subject, Norma now begins to explore the space that writing and the complicated body must negotiate.

This is an interview of sorts, but also a group experiment in aesthetic somatic practice. Please bring your thoughts and questions as they relate to Norma’s work, to rehabilitation, physical regimens and routines, poetics and more. Check out the Nonsite workbook page for the Poetics and Disablement series

Previous interviews with Norma appear there as well as keywords related to our upcoming talk (somatic practice, the phantom self, here-to-there) Please consider and contribute to our provisional definitions.
- Amber DiPietra


Born in Toronto, Canada, Norma Cole received an MA in French from the University of Toronto in 1967, moving to France in time to absorb the revolutionary atmosphere of the May '68 general strike. Returning to Toronto in the early '70s, she migrated to San Francisco in 1977, where she has lived ever since. A member of the circle of poets around Robert Duncan in the ’80s, and a fellow traveler of San Francisco’s language poets, Cole is also allied with contemporary French poets like Jacques Roubaud, Claude Royet-Journoud, and Emmanuel Hocquard. Her translations from the French include Hocquard’s This Story Is Mine (Instress, 1999), Crosscut Universe: Writing on Writing from France (Burning Deck, 2000), Danielle Collobert’s Notebooks 1956-1978 (Litmus, 2003), and Fouad Gabriel Naffah’s The Spirit God and the Properties of Nitrogen (Post-Apollo, 2004). She has taught at many schools, including the University of San Francisco and San Francisco State. During winter 2004/05, Cole could be seen inhabiting a 1950s living room as part of the California Historical Society’s Collective Memory installation series. More recently, she curated a show by Marina Adams at the Cue Arts Foundation in NYC. Among her many books of original poetry are Collective Memory (Granary Books, 2006), Do the Monkey (Zasterle, 2006), Spinoza in Her Youth (Omnidawn Press, 2002) and Natural Light (Libellum, 2009). Where Shadows Will: Selected Poems 1988—2008 appeared from City Lights in April 2009.

Amber DiPietra is a San Francisco poet who lives and works as a member of the local disability community. She tracks the body in real time at and is resource specialist for the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Most recently, her work appeared in the Winter 2008 issue of Tarpaulin Sky and (in the form of a hybrid essay) as part of a symposium on the Poetics of Healing: creative investigations in art, medicine, and somatic practice—a project curated by Eleni Stecopoulos and the SFSU Poetry Center. Amber is also an editor and blog curator for Kelsey Street Press.


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