Tuesday April 10 Living Room 7P Repetition 7P Living Room Tuesday April 10

The Strangeness of Repetition

Gertrude Stein

“It is very like a frog hopping he cannot ever hop exactly the same distance of the same way of hopping at every hop. A bird’s singing is perhaps the nearest thing to repetition but if you listen they too vary their insistence.”
—Gertrude Stein

Xerox Candy Bar
By Richard Brautigan

you’re just a copy
of all the candy  bars
I’ve ever eaten.


selected from Makeup on Empty Space
by Anne Waldman

I am putting makeup on empty space
all patinas convening on empty space
rouge blushing on empty space
I am putting makeup on empty space
pasting eyelashes on empty space
painting the eyebrows of empty space
piling creams on empty space
painting the phenomenal world
I am hanging ornaments on empty space
gold clips, lacquer combs, plastic hairpins on empty space
I am sticking wire pins into empty space
I pour words over empty space, enthrall the empty space
packing, stuffing jamming empty space
spinning necklaces around empty space
Fancy this, imagine this: painting the phenomenal world
bangles on wrists
pendants hung on empty space
I am putting my memory into empty space


Nothing in That Drawer by Ron Padgett

Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.

Repetition. Repetition. Repetition.  We all use it, and we all respond to it. In this workshop we will discuss and explore the function of repetition in poems. While there seems to be so many ways and purposes for repetition I hope that we will consider the strangeness of repetition. Some questions I might offer are: How does repetition affect words? What kinds or forms of repetition do we encounter and appeal to us? As poets how do we employ repetition and for what purposes? When does repetition succeed and when does it fail? What relationship does repetition have to the supernatural?—to the sacred?—to sound? In addition to considering what poets do with repetition I will offer a selection of writing exercises that centralize repetition and invite participants to bring in any exercise they have used successfully or unsuccessfully. Nadine Maestas is your guide. Bring $5 for the SPLAB hat.

Writers of all ages and skill levels gather Tuesdays at 7P to read new work, the work of someone else or to just be in the engaging company of other writers. Your donation of $5 helps SPLAB continue our programming. Please bring 8 copies of the work you plan to read. 

Living Room happens in the new SPLAB in the Cultural Corner of the old Columbia School, between Rainier AV S and 36th AV S, on Edmunds. We’re 2 blocks from the Columbia City Link Light Rail Station. (Parking is available on the school grounds.)

For the 2011-2012 SPLAB Schedule, click here. (Events subject to change. All events Living Room unless otherwise noted.)

About Splabman

Poet & interviewer Paul E Nelson founded SPLAB (Seattle Poetics LAB) & the Cascadia Poetry Festival. Since 1993, SPLAB has produced hundreds of poetry events & 600 hours of interview programming with legendary poets & whole systems activists including Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Joanne Kyger, Robin Blaser, Diane di Prima, Daphne Marlatt, Nate Mackey, George Bowering, Barry McKinnon, José Kozer, Brenda Hillman & many others. Paul’s books include American Prophets (interviews 1994-2012) (2018) American Sentences (2015) A Time Before Slaughter (2009) and Organic in Cascadia: A Sequence of Energies (2013). Co-Editor of Make It True: Poetry From Cascadia (2015), 56 Days of August: Poetry Postcards (2017) and Samthology: A Tribute to Sam Hamill (2019) Make it True meets Medusario (2019), he’s presented poetry/poetics in London, Brussels, Nanaimo, Qinghai & Beijing, China, has had work translated into Spanish, Chinese & Portuguese & writes an American Sentence every day. Awarded a residency at The Lake, from the Morris Graves Foundation in Loleta, CA, he’s published work in Golden Handcuffs Review, Zen Monster, Hambone, and elsewhere. Winner of the 2014 Robin Blaser Award from The Capilano Review, he is engaged in a 20 year bioregional cultural investigation of Cascadia and lives in Rainier Beach, in the Cascadia bioregion’s Cedar River watershed.
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