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I leaned in to wipe his ass as he pulled himself up with both hands, the wall gleaming like zucchini fuzz, like a spinning drill bit, she’d invite me for coffee so she could talk about whatever, and start crying, the night glowing like red fanged Thai chiles, like the old tarnished slip-joint pliers, we drove up and he looked at us surprised, puked in the bushes after a three or four day drunk, drank a couple cups of coffee and got himself right, the sky radiating like the phillips head screwdriver, like red veins through kale, I drove all day for the chance talk to her for a couple hours in some northern Calif. town where I thought she might be, the air glinting like the blue chelicerae of a bold jumping spider, like glinting along the machete blade, he called me drunk to badger me to drive to Seattle but I refused, the heat glistening like the generator housing, glistening like the coiling and recoiling octopus that could not escape, we drove along the avenue without speaking, the steel sparkling like apples, sparkling like the blue tip of the acetylene torch, “shit,” her breath caught in her throat as she exclaimed, ducking behind me when she thought she saw her boyfriend, but it was not him, windows shining like black corn or like purple potatoes, they wanted to have their picture taken with me, that was all, the trees brilliant like the vise on the drill press, brilliant like the clove of garlic.

What thoughts do you have about the relationship between the body and experimental writing?

For seven years I mentored teenage writers in Boyle Heights in East Los Angeles. These writers included a girl who lived in a remodeled garage, and who usually had so little food available that she regularly suffered dizziness and headaches, and was sent home from school after fainting, even though school offered her her only hot meal of the day. On the few occasions that I was able to give her money, she used it to buy food for her younger siblings. You will never know what a great poet she was, how she transported audiences with her joyful cadences. Writers of her potential are working in kitchens, cleaning offices, fighting in Iraq. If writers with her potential were not censored throughout the inner-cities of America, generation after generation, what is now marginalized “experimental” writing wouldn’t have a marginal significance. Those superficial categories would have been replaced by deeper, more viable literatures.

foto by Ronaldo Oliveira

Here is the publication schedule for the next volume of Christopher Higgs’ ongoing series “What is Experimental Literature? {Five Questions}” which promises to be dynamite, thanks to the amazing contributions from the writers who have graciously joined the conversation. New writers, new questions!

Week of June 6th
Brian Evenson
Dodie Bellamy

Week of June 13th
Eileen Myles
Evan Lavender-Smith

Week of June 20th
Johannes Göransson
Sesshu Foster

Week of June 27th
Dennis Cooper
Selah Saterstrom

Week of July 4th
Vi Khi Nao
Michael Martone

Christopher Higgs is pursing a doctorate in twentieth century literature and critical theory at Florida State University. In his right hand he holds an MFA in Fiction from Ohio State; in his left hand he holds an MA in English from the University of Nebraska. Combined, these degrees amount to a wealth of knowledge in the field of useless things, as well as a strong commitment to poverty. He writes stuff and also curates the online arts journal Bright Stupid Confetti.

What is Experimental Literature? {Recap: Five Questions Vol. 1}

In case you missed any of them, below you’ll find links to each of the 10 writers who participated in the first edition of my [Christopher’s] series of interviews aimed at expanding our understanding of experimental literature. We generated a heap of conversation and interest, not only here but all over the web: from Ron Silliman to The New Yorker and elsewhere. Due to the overwhelmingly positive feedback from this series, I have decided to keep it going. I’m currently in the process of creating the questions for the second round of the series, which I’ve decided to formulate by using the answers given by the writers from the first series. This way, hopefully, it’ll feel like an ongoing conversation. You can expect the next edition to appear in the month of May, and to include ten new writers of experimental literature. My thanks to everybody for participating. This has been a really great experience. I’m looking forward to presenting the next edition!

Bhanu Kapil

Danielle Dutton

Debra Di Blasi

Miranda Mellis

Kate Zambreno

Susan Steinberg

Tantra Bensko

Amelia Gray

Alexandra Chasin

Lidia Yuknavitch

mas chromium
mas look for a job, 54 years old
mas that
mas silver nitrate
mas perchlorate
mas baby baby
mas Ginsberg
mas pink
mas 30,000 members of United Teachers Los Angeles
mas 30,000 gang members in Los Angeles
mas human papillomavirus
mas spokesperson
mas alternative
mas outside
mas wake up
mas cry
mas century

mas guerra
mas luv
siglos mas siglos
mas tortura mas escuela
mas universities mas tiny spiders
mas toilets flushing ammonaic vast night ponds of cattle waste immense stench filtering purplish
mas IKEA 1.8 million square foot distribution center 370,000 square foot solar panel array 6th largest in the nation opened in 2000 on 60 acres 5 in the united states
mas y mas please don’t stop
mas breath
mas coca cola classic rock disturb
mas columns of black smoke rising from
mas lies you can believe whatever you want to
mas organic zucchini mas Runge and Drager were left alone at the post, the latter told Runge that if he (Runge — trans.) did not carry out the orders then Drager himself will kill K. Liebknecht and R. Luxemburg with his bayonet. To which Runge replied that ‘the order has been given and I will carry it out’
mas after a few minutes the director (his name is not established) of the hotel walked out of the main entrance. He was on the right, in the middle was R. Luxemburg and to the left was lieutenant Vogel, who pushed R. Luxemburg out of the hotel directly towards the guard Runge. Runge was prepared for the murder and with the full swing of the hand struck Luxemburg with the butt of the rifle on the left side of her face and shoulder, under the impact of which the latter fell to the ground, but was still alive and attempted to stand up.
mas 4 soldiers came out of the hotel, and along with lieutenant Vogel dragged R. Luxemburg into the same car in which she had been brought to the hotel. They themselves got into the car. Vogel took out a pistol and in that very place shot Luxemburg in the head.
mas the following persons walked out of the hotel: captain-lieutenant Pflugk-Hartung, his brother, captain Pflugk-Hartung, Oberlieutenant Rithin, oberlieutenant (illegible in the original document), lieutenant Shultz, lieutenant Liepmann soldier Friedrich and among them was K. Liebknecht who was taken away by them in a car parked on the other side of the road.
cell phone towers
students wearing earphones
street corners
cells dividing production of images
private detention centers
ideological tendency
chew gum
mas y mas y mas

And when you said I pleased you, I looked aside

at the hot town and the fearful grove on its orange plain;

here was an end of confusion, beginning of pride,

the present was born and the past had subtly died

and you were beside me in Spain.

When you said you loved me, I saw the future stand up

free and alive, but through the open window

the railroad tracks led into silence, a wild cup

of silence held the year whose fires would not stop

while the world lay under war-shadow.

When I left you, you stood on the pier and held

your face up and never smiled, saying what we had found

was a gift of the revolution—and the boat sailed

while for a moment my sons emerged and stood in the world

as a line of shadows that fell back in the ground.

—(previously unpublished poem 1936 – 1939?)


Otto Boch, Bavarian socialist, Olympic distance runner and internationalist volunteer, was killed with 600 others in battle on the Sargasso Front on the Rio Segre in the Spanish Civil War.

Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative features extra-poetic work — correspondence, journals, critical prose, and transcripts of talks — of New American Poets, their precursors and followers. These primary documents are uncovered in archival research and edited by students and scholars at The Graduate Center, CUNY, as well as visiting fellows and guest editors, and prepared by Ammiel Alcalay, General Editor. Lost & Found puts into wider circulation essential but virtually unknown texts to expand our knowledge of literary, cultural, social, and political history.

Series II (Spring 2011)

Series ISBN: 978-0-615-43350-9

Selections from El Corno Emplumado/ The Plumed Horn
ed. Margaret Randall

Diane di Prima: The Mysteries of Vision: Some Notes on H.D.
ed. Ana Božičević

Diane di Prima: R.D.’s H.D.
ed. Ammiel Alcalay

Barcelona, 1936: Selections from Muriel Rukeyser’s Spanish Civil War Archive
ed. Rowena Kennedy-Epstein

Jack Spicer’s Translation of Beowulf:Selections
eds. David Hadbawnik and Sean Reynolds

Robert Duncan: Olson Memorial Lecture #4
eds. Erica Kaufman, Meira Levinson, Bradley Lubin, Megan Paslawski, Kyle Waugh, Rachael Wilson, and Ammiel Alcalay

Series I (Fall 2010)

Amiri Baraka & Edward Dorn: Selections from the Collected Letters, 1959–1960
ed. Claudia Moreno Pisano

The Correspondence of Kenneth Koch & Frank O’Hara: 1955–1956 (Parts I and II)
ed. Josh Schneiderman

Darwin & the Writers: Muriel Rukeyser
ed. Stefania Heim

Philip Whalen’s Journals: Selections (Parts I and II)
ed. Brian Unger

The 1963 Vancouver Poetry Conference/Robert Creeley’s Contexts of Poetry: with selections from Daphne Marlatt’s Journal Entries
ed. Ammiel Alcalay


Berlin authorities have seized what is believed to be the corpse of the post-World War I German communist revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg, according to a report published in Thursday’s edition of the mass-circulation daily Bild. The public prosecutor’s office reportedly took possession of the headless, handless and footless torso of “Red Rosa” after a judge ordered an autopsy that will allow the body to be buried.

Investigators told Bild that a “formal investigation of the cause of death” will be conducted “by Friday, at the latest.”

In an ironic twist, it was an autopsy report that originally led to speculation that Luxemburg’s body had never left Berlin’s Charité hospital in June 1919 in the first place. In May, Michael Tsokos, head of the hospital’s Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences department stated his belief that a corpse he had found in the hospital’s cellar might belong to Rosa Luxemburg. When examining the medical examiner’s report associated with the corpse, Tsokos noticed a number of suspicious irregularities in both the details of the report and the way one of the originally examining physicians added an addendum in which he distanced himself from the conclusions of his colleague, which Tsokos called “a very unusual occurrence.”

Suspicious, Tsokos had a number of elaborate tests, such as carbon dating and computer tomography exams, performed on the corpse. The tests determined that it had been waterlogged, had belonged to a woman between 40 and 50 years old at the time of death, that she had suffered from osteoarthritis and that she had legs of different lengths.

‘Striking Similiarities’

As Tsokos told SPIEGEL in May, he concluded that the corpse bore “striking similarities with the real Rosa Luxemburg.”

At the time of her death, Luxemburg was the 47-year-old co-founder of Germany’s Communist Party (KPD)*. She suffered from a congenital hip ailment that left her with a permanent limp, which in turn caused her legs to be of different lengths. And after her violent death at the hands of right-wing paramilitaries in January 1919, her body was thrown into Berlin’s Landwehr Canal.

Even the missing hands and feet fit with Tsokos’ theory. When the revolutionary was thrown into the canal, eyewitnesses say weights were tied to her ankles and wrists with wire. During the months her corpse spent under water, they could have easily severed her extremities.

In the spring, when the canal thawed out, Luxemburg’s body was recovered and taken to Charité hospital for an autopsy. Soon thereafter, a body — though presumably not hers — was placed in a grave with her name on it in Berlin’s Friedrichsfelde Cemetery. The site has been visited every year by a procession of old communists and young left-wing activists, who march through the streets of the former East Berlin to lay red carnations on her gravestone and honor her as a martyr to the communist cause. The remains that were once placed in that grave could not be used in resolving the mystery because they disappeared after virulently anti-communist Nazis attacked and plundered the graves in 1935.

*Decades after Luxemburg’s death, the dissidents who helped to bring down the Berlin Wall were fond of quoting her maxim: Freedom is always the freedom of the dissenter.

Der Spiegel, 12-17-2009,,1518,667606,00.html

1. Indonesian prison breakfast pause
2. central nervous season spell
3. mayhem accounting lapse
4. spinal neglect tolerance
5. family destruction interlude
6. visceral hope subterfuge gap
7. intravenous sleep tone
8. American marginalization stop
9. concept pulverization series
10. old meat bird concatenation

Alzheimer’s vector hair clogged drain interval
astounding outer space root clogged sewer line frequency
ultraviolet vanished civilization bowel movement cycle
garish geometric blue bottle fly swallow routine
ultramarine oceanic trash vortex corruption period
flood-line somatic transference shadow deadline
impenetrable subsidence ritual intestine holiday
excited bowdlerization committee snit loop
fatalistic death pressure pursed lips jag

I thought the pile of pine needles was a dead raccoon. I thought I would use the iron that I purchased. I felt the great vertical and social faces shone with promise. I thought everyone had more soul than they could ever use, or know. I thought terrific, lasting projects must be improvised out of the materials at hand. I thought I heard someone call out across a middle distance. I thought I would read all the books on the shelves. I thought I had time for any number of things. I felt I could stand it. I thought things would occur by chance. I felt I must contrive a strategy.

Left to right: Brian Merrill, Brooke Velasquez, Dan Talamantes, Fence Lizard, Zak Abramson, Matt Hackney, Joseph Shannon, Crystal Salas, Laura Kincaid, Alyssa Young, Angel Dominguez, Claire Williams, Lauren Vargas, Minea Herwitz. Michael Tomblinson took the picture---thanks Michael! UCSC'S POETS MADE IT HAPPEN, FINALLY. ALWAYS I'M REREADING THE WONDERFUL, ASTONISHING POEMS AND WONDERING IF THEY CAN SURVIVE AS POETS. CAN POETS SURVIVE THIS PISSING ENDLESS WAR OF A COUNTRY? THANKS FOR BRINGING YOUR POETRY, BRING IT ON!

July 2020