Faculty News

Levato’s Semi-peripheral: Spaces of Deviation, Abjection, Madness published in New Academia journal

My critical theory/poetry mash-up, “Semi-peripheral: Spaces of Deviation, Abjection, Madness,” was recently published in the journal “New Academia.” It can be read online here:



Semi-peripheral: Spaces of Deviation, Abjection, Madness, is a mash up of critical theory, poetry, science, and an examination of the works of H.P. Lovecraft as an (other)world-system, through the theoretical frames of world-systems analysis (Immanuel Wallerstein), heterotopic spaces (Michel Foucault), and abjection (Julia Kristeva). The work is a move towards blending my creative and critical texts in a more seamless whole; creating resonances between different texts, paratexts, practices and entities, while simultaneously attending to creative, critical, and materialist concerns. The poems are based on chance operations that use (other)world texts (fictional books located in Lovecraft’s mythological system) as a seed text, and a series of source texts including the Collected Works of H. P. Lovecraft, and a combination of obscure books referenced in Lovecraft’s stories. Language from the source texts is collected via procedure, then reworked to shape the final poems. The prose sections blend critical theory with quotations from Lovecraft’s short story, The Call of Cthulhu.

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Buffalo Poetics List moves to CSoP

When it was announced that the Buffalo Poetics List was shutting down, list members responded with understanding, thanks for the years of engaged discussion, and a desire for the list to continue in a new form. After some discussion about what this new form might be, I decided to try and incorporate the various ideas presented into this Poetics List 2.0 at the Chicago School of Poetics. This is just a beginning and if it proves useful to the community I’ll continue to host it and work towards improving it.

Visit the Poetics List 2.0 at:

Francesco Levato
Director, Chicago School of Poetics

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Vertigo Diary: New Book by Larry Sawyer

Larry’s poetry gives me the best kind of vertigo: the kind where you’re afraid of falling, but when you do you fall into a soft, meaty, sensual, smart ravine that shakes you pretty good, but instead of killing you it turns you into a Thinking Cocktail. What a scary and fine artist Mr. Sawyer is!

—Andrei Codrescu

Click here to read more or to order.

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Francesco Levato at Project for Innovative Poetry

Francesco Levato was recently added to the Project for Innovative Poetry.

“The idea behind the Project by its founder, writer, editor, and publisher Douglas Messerli is seen as an attempt to gather, in coherent form, biographies, complete bibliographical listings in both the original languages and in English translation, and a selection of poems by over 2000 major international poets from the turn of the 20th century to the present. To date the Project has gathered in anthologies (published by Green Integer) and on its on-line site (PIPPoetry.blogspot.com) about 600 informational sites on poets, poetic groups, presses, magazines, critics, and numerous other related poetic organizations, along with extensive linkings to internet essays, sound recordings, films, and other commentary aimed at helping students, scholars, and general readers to comprehend the interrelatedness and potential connectivity of poets and writers of/about poetry throughout the world.”

Read his full profile here:

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Francesco Levato’s “My Sunset Gun” published in Certain Circuits

“My Sunset Gun” is collaged from the novels “The Sorry Tale” by Patience Worth and “To Have and to Hold” by Mary Johnston. Patience Worth was an early 1900s writing prodigy who was celebrated for her novels, poetry, and prose. She was considered “A prolific charmer who was known for her flashy verbal stunts and quick wit,” but more interestingly, she was a ghost. Her writings, which would issue in a prolific stream, were actually channeled through Pearl Curran using a Ouija board. I found Patience while researching another project and became fascinated with the idea of the invocation of this spirt author, this disembodied voice given somewhat of a physicality through Pearl. I later found out that the name Patience Worth actually comes from a character in the novel “To Have and to Hold” by Mary Johnston which was published thirteen years before the appearance Patience Worth, the spirit writer. Thinking about this idea of disembodiment/invocation I thought it would be interesting to “invoke” Patience textually through weaving together language from Patience’s own novel, “The Sorry Tale,” and language from Mary Johnston’s novel, “To Have and to Hold,” where the character Patience Worth has her origins. The multimedia performance is an extension of the idea of invocation (with my own disembodied image and voice serving as that being channeled) as well as an unpacking of my poetry films into more dynamic live presentations while maintaing my visual aesthetic.

To view the video, click below:

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New book by Lina ramona Vitkauskas

Poetry. A NEON TRYST is a collection of ekphrastic poems featuring the films L’Eclisse (director Michelangelo Antonioni); Seconds (John Frankenheimer); and Wild Strawberries (Ingmar Bergman). Though divided in three separate sections by film, the collection stands as one, cohesive piece, as all main characters share an internal conflict—losing identity with the passage of time. One flees an unhappy marriage and throws herself into fleeting, cold relationships against a rigid and futuristic atomic backdrop—all of her apocalyptic decisions revealing the “time bomb” within. One alters his identity completely by committing pseudocide, then undergoing an intense surgical transformation, only to return to his “old” life. The last, a retired professor in his golden years, takes a journey to his alma mater to be honored for lifetime achievement, only to discover along the way that his life has been anti-climactic at best. The three pieces as a whole illustrate that human tendency is to erase before evolving—as Daumal said, “I become conscious of myself by denying my existence”—and that this is dangerous, liberating, and necessary.

Click here to read more

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Outsider Institution: the Avant-Garde Pedagogy of the Chicago School of Poetics

By Alli Carlisle for Newcity Magazine

We’ve all said it: a poetry degree just isn’t what it used to be. That’s why Chicago poet Francesco Levato started his own poetry school.

Levato is himself an avant-garde poet whose work draws on cinematic and documentary techniques—in his own words, “engages subject matter through disruption of content and form, fragmentation of narrative and radical juxtaposition of visual and textual elements.” His poems, truly products of postmodern culture, sample: they collect, cut and redistribute pieces of other poems into new configurations…

Click here to read full article

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New poems from Francesco Levato’s sequence “Aurora” in Otoliths

“Aurora” is a poem sequence collaged from “The Ring and the Book” by Robert Browning and “Aurora Leigh” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Through radical juxtaposition, language from each book is interwoven to reveal a palimpsestic dialogue of isolation, discord, and violent beauty underlying the original texts.

Click here to read.

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Larry Sawyer is chosen as Best Poet by the Chicago Reader

Chicago School of Poetics faculty member Larry Sawyer is chosen as Best Poet by the Chicago Reader in its 2012 annual Best of Chicago reader’s poll.

Read more at: http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/best-poet/BestOf?oid=6702063

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New Faculty Member: Barbara Barg

The Chicago School of Poetics is happy to welcome Barbara Barg to our faculty.

Barbara is the author of two books: Obeying the Chemicals (Hard Press) and The Origin of the Species (Semiotext(e)). Her poetry, short stories, and strong opinions have been published in many magazines and anthologized in The L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Book (Southern Illinois University Press, edited by Charles Bernstein and Bruce Andrews), Poems for the Nation: A Collection of Contemporary Political Poems (Seven Stories Press, edited by Allen Ginsberg with Andy Clausen and Eliot Katz), AM LIT: Neue Literatur Aus Den USA (Edition Druckhaus/Germany, edited by Gerard Falkner and Sylvere Lotringer), American Poets Say Goodbye to the 20th Century (edited by Andrei Codrescu and Laura Rosenthal.) Read more here.

She will also be giving a new workshop:

Pulse Poem Pulse

Language is a poet’s instrument. This class focuses on developing dexterity and creativity with the rhythm, texture, and tonal qualities of language. Students will break language down to its melodic and percussive elements, and explore rhythms and sounds from diverse, sometimes unusual sources. Exercises are designed to broaden students’ rhythmic palettes and their sense of play with the grain and weave of their works. Attention is also paid to vocalization strategies. Read more here.

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