The Pleasure of That Obstinacy

One would be forgiven for thinking that the story behind this film was lifted from a Victorian novel. The story begins, that is, with an unexpected legacy. Continue Reading →

Mostly Not About Leopardi’s “La Ginestra,” But Also Mostly About It

Leopardi’s broom is an invasive species here in California. Not literally: on Vesuvius grows Genista tinctoria, dyer’s broom, while its cousins are the ones that run wild over millions of acres of California. (After Leopardi’s death, the dyer’s broom was joined by much larger broom trees from Mt. Etna, in a form of horticultural solidarity not dreamt of in his philosophy.) Heath plants, lovers of acidic soil, they grow feral and thick and welcome fire. Is landscaping not itself hubris? With what humility should it be conducted?

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Macbeth, Macbeth

The tragedy is done, the tyrant Macbeth dead. The time is free. But for how long? As Macduff pursues dreams of national revival, smaller lives are seeding. In the ruins of Dunsinane, the Porter tries to keep his three young boys safe from the nightmare of history. In a nunnery deep in Birnam Wood, a girl attempts to forget what she lost in war. Flitting between them, a tortured clairvoyant shakes with the knowledge of what’s to come.

An unprecedented collaboration between two leading Shakespeareans, Macbeth, Macbeth sparks a whole new world from the embers of Shakespeare’s darkest play.

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The Winnowing Fan

This collection of poems explores various aspects of the relationship between poetry, philosophy, and literary theory. It takes up many topics from Christopher Norris’s earlier work in strikingly innovative ways, and uses a range of complex and challenging verse-forms to offer some uniquely inventive angles of approach. The longer poems are part of his project to revive a literary genre–the philosophical verse-essay–that has had very few serious or sustained practitioners since its eighteenth-century heyday. The poems thus signal a striking new direction in the work of this eminent literary theorist and philosopher.

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Just Play

Focusing on the work of the Compañía Nacional de Teatro de México, Just Play uses a series of literary episodes — travel narratives, interviews, personal journals, play-writing — to uncover the affective power of theatre as a dynamic form of social justice. Just Play is a playful work (including a short original play) about what theatre can do in post-modern, third-to-first/first-to-third world environments. It is also an effort to encounter issues of entitlement, ex- and in-clusivity, audience, migration, translation, and responsibility. Just Play suggests what exists, and what may still be possible, when theatre attempts to enact cosmopolitan ethics such as inclusivity, hospitality and responsible interdependence.

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Ceaseless Music

Ceaseless Music combines a series of prose meditations with original poetry in order to create new insights into Wordsworth’s revolutionary autobiographical text The Prelude.

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_____ Mt.

____ Mt. [blank mount] inhabits and writes through an iconic poem of British Romanticism, Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Mont Blanc” (1816).  A work of ecopoetics and creative translation, ____ Mt. [blank mount] harnesses “Mont Blanc” to explore the ecological, aesthetic, philosophical, and technological crossroads of the 21st century, as well as the paths — factual and counterfactual — along which we got here.

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Speech Talks Back

In an act of listening-as-reading, “Speech Talks Back” theorizes about and narrativizes sonic work that uses public speech—recorded speeches, conversations, interviews, and testimonials—as its primary source: Gregory Whitehead’s “As We Know” (2004), Jane Philbrick’s “Common Prayer” (2001), and Steve Reich’s “Come Out” (1966). Placing these unique works side by side, with running commentary, recontextualizes them in light of the present moment.
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Character as Form

Most readers today think that characters are individuals. From this perspective, a character’s job is to make sure that there is exactly one of something. Poets of the Renaissance had the opposite idea. They were working with an ancient understanding of character as type. From this perspective, the job of a character is to collect every example of a kind. Out of this understanding, they built an entire literature.

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