The Showroom

Preservation and Formlessness: a Poetry and Poetics Workshop

Saturday 27 April 2019

No advance experience in writing poetry is necessary. Selected reading will be shared in advance of the session.


Led by poet James Goodwin, this workshop will respond to and activate the research archive that accompanies 4 Waters: Deep Implicancy, an immersive film installation by Denise Ferreira da Silva and Arjuna Neuman at The Showroom.

The workshop will consider four floating concepts – intuition, content, composition and form – in relation to the materials on display in The Showroom Studio.

The afternoon will involve reflexive and practical engagement with Ferreira da Silva and Neuman’s thinking. There will be a guided discussion of the selected reading set in advance of the workshop, a viewing of the film 4 Waters: Deep Implicancy, some time to read, look at and listen to the archive material, and individual and group writing exercises.

Together participants will contribute to and enact the preservation and formlessness of the archive by thinking, writing, reading, sharing and studying the poetry written during the workshop.


Selected reading:

June Jordan, ‘Poem on Bell’s Theorem, or Haying the Field by Quantum Mechanics’; ‘Poem Number Two on Bell’s Theorem, or The New Physicality of Long Distance Love’; and ‘Last Poem on Bell’s Theorem, or Overriding the Local Common Sense of Causes to Effect’, 2017

Gwendolyn Brooks, ‘We Real Cool’, 1960

Etheridge Knight, ‘Haiku’, 1986

Fred Moten, 'Poetics of The Undercommons', 2016

Denise Ferreira da Silva, ‘On Difference Without Separability’, 2016

Image: Archive research for Denise Ferreira da Silva and Arjuna Neuman 4 Waters: Deep Implicancy from Dr. Leonard P. Schultz's Log of Operation Crossroads, 1946. Courtesy of Smithsonian Institution Archives.


James Goodwin is a poet and PhD student in the Department of English and Humanities at Birkbeck, University of London. His research is focused on blacksociopoetics of marronage, breath, sacrality and emanation – an approach to reading applied to a poetic, philosophical, theoretical, critical and ethical understanding of the social life of poetry. Goodwin recently participated in Breaking into the Forbidden online fundraiser presented by Ignota Books featuring poets from the UK and North America to mourn, witness, dream, nourish and celebrate black life. His pamphlet, aspects caught in the headspace we’re in: composition for friends, is forthcoming with Face Press.

Poetry and Poetics Workshop Bibliography