by Joyelle McSweeney on Jul.28, 2011
To celebrate the Iowa MFA’s 75th anniversary, the program has started a do-it-yerself Festschrift, whereby alums are writing little essays about the program for the websites of various journals. N +1-web- editor Carla Blumenkrantz invited me to participate on her site. The result, “Iowa Occult: A Mütter Pedagogy; Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Vomit Art”, is now up here, at n + 1.
“1. What is Knowledge? What shape does Knowledge take? It’s not a question we expect to find raised in an Iowa-style workshop, where we turn our attention to concrete things: form, craft, the page, the neat crosses and channels of a line break or an ellipsis or/and especially the poem’s earned/unearned ending. No ideas but in things—Wms. But the inverse of this craftiness, this roll-up-your-sleeves-and-work-with-your-hands shop-class affect of the Iowa-style workshop, is the unspeakable pressure of a counterpresence: an amorphic, powerful, hole-tearing, ravening, careless and gratuitous and excessive and unearned presence: that of Art itself.