Thursday, August 26, 2021

new from above/ground press: Listening Through the Body: An Exercise in Sustained Coordination, by Valerie Witte

Listening Through the Body: An Exercise in Sustained Coordination
Valerie Witte

Simone Forti’s Huddle (1961): A group of people stand facing each other, huddled. Together a cluster of limbs, torsos, heads, “a sculpture made of bodies.” Take turns climbing—one at a time up this “single structural entity,” feet, hands, knees finding surfaces—thighs, shoulders—to support their weight as they maneuver up and over, spontaneously, opportunistically. Move across, down the other side, before “rejoining the mass.” No planned sequence of who will climb. Yet knowing when someone has decided to be next. Operating in silence, intuiting when one is preparing to ascend, each member adjusting position, balance accordingly.

Author’s Note

This essay is from the collection One Thing Follows Another: Engaging the Art of Simone Forti and Yvonne Rainer, a collaboration with Sarah Rosenthal. In this project, we explore the work of dancer-choreographers Yvonne Rainer and Simone Forti—both at various inflection points throughout their careers and in this particular moment. Through a combination of chance operations and intentional artistic choices that push us to unexpected places, and via innovative forms and techniques—including collage, erasure, and our own inventions—we deconstruct the essay form to examine what we as poets, each with our own highly charged relationships to dance, can contribute to the conversation about these pivotal figures in postmodern art. 

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
August 2021
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

image credit: Valerie Witte

Valerie Witte is the author of a game of correspondence (Black Radish, 2015) and The Grass Is Greener When the Sun Is Yellow (Operating System, 2019), co-written with Sarah Rosenthal. Chapbooks include The history of mining (g.e. collective/Poetry Flash, 2013) and It’s been a long time since I’ve dreamt of someone (Dancing Girl Press, 2018). Her work has appeared in literary journals such as VOLT, Diagram, Dusie, Alice Blue, Interim, and elsewhere. More at

A further above/ground press title is forthcoming.

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