Francesco Levato

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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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 ( 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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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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CAR Interview with Francesco Levato

The Chicago School of Poetics: A Different Kind of Workshop

The Chicago School of Poetics was created to foster innovative poetics and provide a community, both physical and online, for critical discourse and the exploration of craft. The program offers instruction in the form of visual web conferencing, as well as face-to-face workshops, and acts as a more affordable alternative to—and a community beyond—the Creative Writing MFA. CAR Literary Researcher Erica Schwanke discussed the school with founder and director Francesco Levato, who is an accomplished poet in his own right.

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“Endless, Beautiful, Exact” by Francesco Levato


A series of texts, remixed from appropriated oral and written source material, that explore interpersonal conflict through a fragmented and implied narrative. The author seems to have a clampdown on what he is willing to express, and what few words are allowed through are charged with emotion and tension.

Available as a free ebook here:

Full Argotist Ebooks catalogue here:

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Francesco Levato in collaboration with Philip Glass

Francesco Levato collaborated on a live performance of his cinépoem “Variations on Want” with composer Philip Glass for the “Days and Nights Festival” at the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur, California on August 31st.

About the festival:

World famous composer Philip Glass presents a one-of-a-kind arts festival in Carmel Valley and Big Sur, California. Featuring music, dance, poetry, theatre and film. Premiering this summer, Aug 19 to Sept 4, 2011. (read more…)

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War Rug reviewed in Jacket2

Politically charged investigation raises the stakes of poetry for both the poet (as producer) and the poem (as art object). This type of poetry not only invokes the bardic practice of speaking the wisdom of the group, but also uses the poem as a type of activism. When critics question the role of poetry in the real world or what it can accomplish outside of its own existence, activist poetics that enters conversation with contemporary political happenings offers one of the better answers. This activist poetry can reveal knowledge about real happenings through the conceptual relationship between the real and the world of art.

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