[-empyre-] Robot Poetics, Ephemera, and Other Concerns: Participant's Bios

Margaret J Rhee mrhee at uoregon.edu
Wed May 3 03:08:08 AEST 2017

Welcome to May 2017 on –empyre soft-skinned space

Robot Poetics, Ephemera, and Other Concerns

Moderated by Margaret Rhee (US) with invited discussants

Week 1:    May 1 -  Teaching Radio Heart (US)

Susan Vanderborg (US), Mike Widner (US), Sunny Xiang (US), Sean Pessin 

Week 2: May 8 - The Practice of Poetry: Roboticist, Scholar, and 
Programmer Poets

Dmitry Berenson (US) Neil Aitken (US) Tung Hui-Hu (US)

Week 3: May 15 - Why Westworld?: Utopias, Dystopias, and and 
Refashioning Dialogues
Lawrence-Minh Bùi Davis (US), Betsy Huang (US), Sarah Mirk (US)

Week 4:  May 22 - Machine Dreams ZINE Contributors

To Be Announced


"Week One: Teaching Radio Heart, and Other Cyborg Poetry"

Sunny Xiang

Sunny Xiang (US) is an Assistant Professor of English at Yale 
She received her PhD in English from the University of California, 
in 2014. Her work engages 20th-21st-century Asian Anglophone literature, 
world literature, U.S. ethnic literature, postcolonial literature, human 
rights discourse, and narrative
and novel studies.

Susan Vanderborg

Susan Vanderborg (US) writes about contemporary experimental and 
speculative poetry, artists’ books, and bio poetry, with articles on 
texts by Fiona Templeton, Darren Wershler, Johanna Drucker, Rosmarie 
Waldrop, Steve Tomasula, and Christian Bök. She teaches classes on 
American cyborg literature, poetry collages, palimpsests, and book art 
as an Associate Professor of English at the University of South 
Carolina. She is currently working on an article on transformations of 
the lyric in Radio Heart and other cyborg poems.

Mike Widner

Michael Widner (US) is in the joint employee of the Division of 
Literatures, Cultures, and Languages and the Stanford University 
Libraries, where he works as an Academic Technology Specialist. He works 
with faculty and their research assistants as consultant or collaborator 
in DLCL-based digital humanities and instructional technology projects. 
He also helps organize and present events for the Digital Humanities 
Focal Group.

He received his Ph.D in English from the University of Texas at Austin 
in 2014. His dissertation, titled "Genre Trouble: Embodied Cognition in 
Fabliaux, Gawain, and Bury St Edmunds."He is also the project director 
for Bibliopedia, an NEH-funded platform for gathering, displaying, and 
discussing humanities scholarship that employs linked open data (among 
many other technical features). His period specialization is in medieval 
Britain and France with a focus on romance, fabliaux, and Latin 
chronicles. He works in Middle English, Old French, Latin, Old English, 
Python, Javascript, Perl (deprecated), PHP, a few other machine 
languages, and on the command line.

Prior to entering graduate school, he worked for too many years as a 
UNIX Systems Administrator at a local ISP that was eventually absorbed 
by the corporation now known as AT&T. He can set up a LAMP stack in his 
sleep. He's learning to ride a skateboard and can do a few tricks.

Sean Pessin (US)  has lived in Los Angeles his whole life; he earned an 
and M.A. in English at CSU Northridge (where he teaches), and an M.F.A.
from Otis College of Art and Design. He is the founding editor of agape:
a journal of literary goodwill and editor-at-large for Magra Books. His
work has appeared in The Sigma Tau Delta Rectangle, Interfictions
Online, The New Short Fiction Series, and is always fabulous and strange
and queer.

Week Two: "The Practice of Poetry: Roboticist, Scholar, and Programmer 

Dmitry Berenson

Bio: Dmitry Berenson (US) is an Assistant Professor in Robotics 
Institute and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at 
University of Michigan, where his research focuses on motion planning, 
robot manipulation, and human-robot collaboration. Previously, he 
obtained a PhD in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University and was a 
post-doc at UC Berkeley. His poetry has appeared in The Worcester 
Review, Poet Lore, MiPOesias, and the anthologies Don’t Blame the Ugly 
Mug, and Best Indie Lit New England (BILiNE). He won the Worcester Mega 
Poetry Slam in 2014.

Neil Aitken

Neil Aitken (US) is the author of two books of poetry, Babbage’s Dream 
(Sundress, 2017) and  The Lost Country of Sight (Anhinga 2008), which 
won the Philip Levine Prize. A former computer games programmer and a 
past Kundiman poetry fellow, he holds an MFA in Creative Writing from UC 
Riverside, and earned a Ph.D. in Literature & Creative Writing from USC, 
where his dissertation examined the conceptualization and representation 
of artificial intelligence in the 19th century. His poetry has been 
published in the Adroit Journal, American Literary Review, The 
Collagist, Southern Poetry Review, and numerous anthologies.

Tung Hui Hu

Poet and media scholar Tung-Hui Hu (US) is the author of three books
of poetry, The Book of Motion (2003), Mine (2007), and Greenhouses,
Lighthouses (Copper Canyon Press, 2013), as well as a study of digital
culture, A Prehistory of the Cloud (MIT Press, 2015). His poems have
appeared in places such as Boston Review, The New Republic,
Ploughshares, and the anthology Family Resemblance: An Anthology and
Exploration of Hybrid Literary Genres. Hu teaches at the University of
Michigan, where he is an assistant professor of English.

Week Three: "Why Westworld?: Utopias, Dystopias, and and Refashioning 

Lawrence-Minh Davis

Lawrence-Minh Bùi Davis (US) is a founding director of the Washington, 
DC-based literary arts nonprofit The Asian American Literary Review, 
serving as co-editor-in-chief of its critically acclaimed literary 
journal and overseeing development of its global digital education 
project, the Mixed Race Initiative. He is also a Curator of Asian 
Pacific American Studies for the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American 
Center, responsible for developing the Smithsonian's first nationally 
touring pan-Asian Pacific American exhibition, "I Want the Wide American 
Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story," and for coordinating the 
ongoing Smithsonian Asian-Latino Project, a collaboration between the 
Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and the Smithsonian Latino 
Center. Since 2005 he has taught Asian American literature, Asian 
American film, and mixed race studies for the Asian American Studies 
Program at the University of Maryland. He earned a Master of Fine Arts 
in Creative Writing from San Diego State University in 2005 and a PhD in 
English Language and Literature with a focus on Asian American 
literature at the University of Maryland in 2014. His fiction, poetry, 
and creative nonfiction have appeared in Gastronomica, McSweeney's 
Quarterly Concern, Kenyon Review, AGNI online, The Literary Review, New 
York Quarterly, Louisville Review, and Fiction International, among 
other journals.

Betsy Huang

Betsy Huang is Associate Professor of English and incoming Director of 
the Center for Gender, Race, and Area Studies at Clark University. She 
is the author ofContesting Genres in Contemporary Asian American 
Fiction, published in 2010; co-editor, along with David Roh and Greta 
Niu, of the essay collection Techno-Orientalism: Imagining Asia in 
Speculative Fiction, History, and Media, published in 2015; and 
co-editor of a forthcoming volume titled Diversity and Inclusion in 
Higher Education and Societal Contexts. Her work has appeared in Journal 
of Asian American Studies, MELUS, the Cambridge Companion to Asian 
American Literature, and The Asian American Literary Review, and she has 
guest curated for the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center's 
Culture Labs. Her current book project is a study of racial erasure and 
racelessness in fictive futures.

Sarah Mirk

Sarah Mirk (US) is a social justice-focused writer and editor based in 
Portland, Oregon. Beginning her career as a reporter for alternative 
weekly newspapers The Stranger and The Portland Mercury, from 2013 to 
2017, she was been as the online editor of national feminism and pop 
culture nonprofit Bitch Media. In that role, she edited and published 
critical work from dozens of writers, ran social media pages with a 
reach of 1.5 million readers, and hosted the engaging feminist podcast 
Popaganda, whose 10,000 listeners tune into episodes on topics ranging 
from environmental justice to reproductive rights. Starting in January 
2017, she transitioned to becoming a contributing editor at Bitch Media 
and also became a contributing editor at graphic journalism website The 

She is the author of Sex from Scratch: Making Your Own Relationship 
Rules (Microcosm, 2014) an open-minded guide to dating that is heading 
into its second edition. Sarah also writes, draws, and edits nonfiction 
comics, including the popular series Oregon History Comics, which tells 
little known and marginalized stories from Oregon's past. She is a 
frequent political commentator on Oregon Public Broadcasting and has 
given lectures on feminism, media, and activism at colleges around the 
country, including Yale, Skidmore, Grinnell, University of 
California-San Diego, and University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is an 
adjunct professor in Portland State University's MFA program in Art and 
Social Practice, teaching a graduate seminar on writing and research.

Week Four: "Machine Dreams ZINE Contributors"

To Be Announced

On 2017-05-02 09:31, Margaret J Rhee wrote:
> Dear all,
> Many thanks to Renate for her kind invitation and introduction. I have
> been a long time admirer of Renate's formative artistic work,
> incredible presence, and inspiring curation on -empyre-, and it a
> great pleasure, and humbling to convene a conversation on robot poetry
> here. I have placed the introduction to the forum below, and look
> forward to introducing our Week 1 guests shortly.
> best,
> Margaret
> ---
> Welcome to May 2017 on –empyre soft-skinned space
> Robot Poetics and Other Concerns
> Moderated by Margaret Rhee (US) with invited discussants
> Week 1:	May 1 -  Teaching Radio Heart (US)
> Susan Vanderborg (US), Mike Widner (US), Sunny Xiang (US), Sean Pessin 
> (US)
> Week 2: May 8 - The Practice of Poetry: Roboticist, Scholar, and
> Programmer Poets
> Dmitry Berenson (US) Neil Aitken (US) Tung Hui-Hu (US)
> Week 3: May 15 - Why Westworld?: Utopias, Dystopias, and and
> Refashioning Dialogues
> Lawrence-Minh Bùi Davis (US), Betsy Huang (US), Sarah Mirk (US)
> Week 4:  May 22 - Machine Dreams ZINE Contributors
> To Be Announced
> *
> The conference, the email, and the poem
> as ephemera.
> The disappeared email, the disappeared poem.
> How to think about robots in our contemporary times?
> Intellectual thought, begins by listening
> We develop by talking.
> What is a poem? Is it a thought, or a dream?
> Our bodies, maybe?
> Now, what is a machine?
> ***
> "A poem is a small (or large) machine made of words." - William Carlos 
> Williams
> This forum of –empyre- is interested in exploring robot poetics, and
> how the poem and the machine can be understood intersectionally. More
> specifically, and loosely, concerns include pedagogy, hybridity,
> science fictional dialogues, and dreams. More specifically, while the
> central focus of this forum includes questions on the intersection of
> robots, literature, pedagogy, dystopias, hybridity, and poetic
> practice, the respective weeks are organized by way of how robot
> poetics emerge and develop  through ephemera.
> If Friedrich Kittler surveyed how the gramophone, film, and typewriter
> transformed language and writing during the nineteenth century, this
> forum also reflexively asks, and embodies how ephemeral spaces--such
> as a listserve--fosters the exchange and development of intellectual
> and creative thought/acts around the robot and machine. With this in
> mind, perhaps there is no other space than
> –empyre- to hold such a digital forum.
> Empyre curator, and artist Renate Ferro kindly invited me to organize
> an –empyre- forum around my chapbook, Radio Heart, or; How Robots Fall
> Out of Love, published in 2015 by Finishing Line Press. I have long
> admired Renate's incredible artistic work and curatorship, and the
> –empyre- ethos and logics that fosters conversation and community. I
> have participated twice as a guest on previous forums, and I realized
> like –empyre- my poetry chapbook, Radio Heart, or; How Robots Fall Out
> of Love emerged similarly by way of conversation and collectively.
> Rather than explore the content of the poems, I felt it would be
> generative to explore the larger set of concerns surrounding the
> poetry, pedagogy, and robot poetics. Question: What is robot poetics?
> Pedagogy? Poetic practice?
> This month –empyre- subscribers and guests will inhabit the spaces
> between and within robots and poetics, exploring uneasy questions
> around transgression, and soldering libratory practices through
> dialogue. All of our featured guests, have formatively inspired and
> influenced my poetry, art, and thinking of robots, and it is a honor
> to be in conversation together here.
> The first week, "Teaching Radio Heart, and Other Cyborg Poetry,"
> features a discussion on the pedagogical implications of cyborg poetry
> within a variety of disciplines and approaches, and features
> participants, scholars, and artists Susan Vanderborg, Sean Pessin,
> Mike Widner, Ari Rotramel, and Sunny Xiang.
> The second week, "The Practice of Poetry: Roboticist, Scholar, and
> Programmer Poet" features Dmitry Benerson, Neil Aitken, and Tung Hui
> Hu, and reflects on the inspirations behind my robot love collection,
> and a discussion on hybrid roles as roboticist, progammer, and scholar
> and poetic practice.
> The third week of –empyre-, "Why Westworld?: Utopias, Dystopias, and
> Refashioning Dialogues," continues to think reflexively on robot
> conversation through a larger collective dialogue on Westworld, with
> the uncanny pairing of Sarah Mirk, Lawrence-Minh Davis, Betsy Huang,
> and myself. Earlier this year, I spoke with Sarah for her podcast for
> Bitch Magazine on Westworld, and Lawrence and Betsy proposed to engage
> in dialogue about Westworld for the Machine Dreams Zine. I look
> forward to discussing the television show, and other concerns all
> together.
> This leads us into the last week, which features contributors to the
> Machine Dreams Zine. The Zine will be published later this month and
> shared on –empyre-. Machine Dreams Zine is a collection of creative
> and critical works drawn from a conference I co-organized with Lucy
> Burns and Neil Aitken at UCLA in 2015, and other contributors who add
> greatly to our discussion on robots, machines, difference, and art.
> The participants for this last week will be announced later on in the
> month.
> All of the participants are artists, scholars, and activists that are
> formative in their own work, and those I greatly admire, and have
> shaped my own work and thinking. Many thanks again to Renate for her
> generous invitation and this space, and to all the participants for
> their time and for participating in the dialogue here. It is with
> great excitement to continue learning from and with formative
> scholars, and artists on poetry, and the machine, and continue the
> conversation by way of ephemera and empyre.
> +
> Continue in this texture.
> The specter of the machine, echoes throughout all of our writing,
> thinking, poetics, and difference.
> At the dream institute, I was asked to interpret what this machine 
> dream meant.
> Yet, our aim here is less about answer, but more about questions,
> that shadows the contours of
> haptic that endures even if we
> can't measure how.
> On 2017-05-01 15:08, Renate Terese Ferro wrote:
>> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>> It is with the greatest of pleasure that I introduce new media
>> artist/poet Margaret Rhee to the -empyre- listserv.  Margaret has
>> agreed to shepherd the May discussion on empyre and I could not be
>> more excited.  Her book, Radio Heart or How Robots Fall Out of Love
>> (Finishing Line Press, 2015)” caught my eye a few months ago when I
>> noticed my old friend and poet Cecil Giscombe’s blurb about Rhee’s
>> RADIO HEART.   Previously, I knew of Margaret’s work both as a gifted
>> writer but also an artist engaged in the complications of technology,
>> race, gender and the body.  I was thrilled when she agreed to be our
>> guest and to organize a group around her interests.  This month our
>> discussion “Robot Poetics, Ephemera, and Other Concerns” will bring
>> together writers, artists, activists, technologist’s and more. I want
>> to thank Margaret for her creative, open, spirit and invite other
>> empyreans to join in.  I hope you enjoy this month.
>> Margaret Rhee is a poet, artist, and scholar engaged in the poetics
>> and technologies of difference. As a poet, she is the author of
>> chapbooks Yellow (Tinfish Press, 2011) Radio Heart; or How Robots Fall
>> Out of Love (Finishing Line Press, 2015), and the forthcoming
>> full-length collection, Love, Robot (The Operating System, 2017). She
>> is the recipient of poetry fellowships from
>> the Squaw Valley Poetry Workshop, Les Figues Press, Hedgebrook, and
>> Kundiman. Her academic writing has been published in Amerasia, Cinema
>> Journal, and GLQ, and she is completing her monograph How We Became
>> Human: Race, Robots and the Asian American Body. With Dr. Brittney
>> Cooper, she co-edited a special issue of Ada: A Journal of Gender,
>> Technology, and New Media on “Hacking the Black/White Binary.” As a
>> new media artist, her project The Kimchi Poetry Machine was selected
>> to exhibit at the Electronic Literature Collection Volume 3, and in
>> 2014, she was awarded the Chancellor’s Award for Public Service for
>> her collaborative and social practice feminist HIV/AIDS digital
>> storytelling project in the San Francisco
>> Jail(www.ourstorysf.wordpress.com).
>>  Currently, she is a visiting assistant professor in the Women’s and
>> Gender Studies department at the University of Oregon. In 2014, she
>> earned her Ph.D. in ethnic and new
>> media studies from the University of California, Berkeley.
>> Renate
>> Renate Ferro
>> Visiting Associate Professor
>> Director of Undergraduate Studies
>> Department of Art
>> Tjaden Hall 306
>> rferro at cornell.edu
>> _______________________________________________
>> empyre forum
>> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
>> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
> --
> Margaret Rhee, Ph.D.
> Visiting Assistant Professor
> Women's and Gender Studies
> University of Oregon

Margaret Rhee, Ph.D.

Visiting Assistant Professor
Women's and Gender Studies
University of Oregon

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