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    Kaf Collective
    April 1-May 31, 2017

    Wendy's Subway is pleased to announce the third in a series of one to two month-long residencies designed to host artists, publishers, special collections, and libraries. In April and May, Wendy's Subway will host the Kaf Collective.  

    During their residency at Wendy’s Subway, the Kaf Collective will make available a selection of titles selected by the members of the collective: Miriam Atkin, Tom Haviv, Rami Karim, and Öykü Tekten. 

    A number of public programs will be organized in conjunction with the residency, including workshops for "overdisciplined educators," and discussions on borderless citizenship, as well a panel on poetics and higher ed justice. Kaf and Wendy's Subway will launch two new chapbooks by Miriam Atkin and Rami Karim, designed by artists Gerardo Madera and Nicholas Weltyk. A full schedule of events is available below. 

    About Kaf

    Kaf began as a meditation on Palestine and an inquiry into the archeology of its present and possible futures. Kaf wanted to create a place for artists and activists in and out of diaspora to share ideas and reimagine community, to consider ways of unbinding from history and its expectations, ways of embracing, in tenderness and rage, the words we called home, and shaking off those same words to see anew. 

    The project became a home for experiments in language, dedicated to developing work that moves toward and away from text, work that interacts with body, image and sound, work that values the space between words, letters and languages.

    In 2014, against the backdrop of the Gaza siege, Kaf hosted their first event on the work of Mahmoud Darwish. Kaf has since hosted exhibitions, readings, workshops, conversations, performance work and long-term research projects; we’ve published books, chapbooks and a quarterly journal.

    Looking ahead, Kaf aims to erase the fabricated gap between poetry and history, to recover a sense of collective existence, and to respond with urgency to the ongoing war that has reduced our lived experiences to scattered impressions, hot takes and isolated fragments of feeling and memory.

    Kaf is an experiment in community without borders, citizenship, and passports.

    More online here

    On the word Kaf

    Kaf means palm in Arabic, Cuneiform, Farsi, Hebrew, Phoenician, Urdu, and many other languages. Kaf is the letter K in each. It signifies touch, vulnerability, intimacy. The hand lifted before it is clenched.

    Kaf shares its name with mount Qaf, the fabled goal of the Hoopoe and its followers in the Sufi poem The Conference of the Birds.  It is half of Kafka, the Czech author of empirical impasse, cruel absurdity. Like the Hoopoe and Kafka’s K., we travel by wandering, without preconceived destination.

    Kaf is an inquiry into the very possibility of itself, as well as a sustained meditation on the political, geographic and cultural borders that obscure this possibility.

    About Kaf Collective members

    Tom Haviv
     is a writer, artist, educator from New York. His first book of poetry, A Flag of No Nation, is being published this summer by The Operating System.

    Öykü Tekten is a poet, translator, and editor living between New York and Granada. She is one of the founding members of Kaf Collective and is pursuing a PhD degree in English at the Graduate Center, CUNY.

    Miriam Atkin is a writer whose work has been largely concerned with the possibilities of poetry as an oral medium in conversation with avant-garde film, music and dance. She teaches writing at CUNY and is a PhD candidate in English literature at The Graduate Center.

    Rami Karim is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn. 

    About Gerardo Madera and Nicholas Weltyk

    Gerardo Madera is a graphic designer and self-publisher. He is an adjunct professor of design in SUNY Purchase’s New Media program.

    Nicholas Weltyk lives in New York City and works independently on commissions for graphic design. Under the name Cooperative Editions he also offers friends, authors, and artists assistance in publishing. www.weltyk.comwww.co-ed.us

  2. Public Programs

  3. Poetics and Higher Ed Justice: The Role of Writers in the Struggle for a Freer University
    Panelists: Makeba Lavan, Conor Tomás Reed, Zohra Saed, Meghann Williams
    Moderated by Miriam Atkin

    Friday, May 5, 7-9pm

    For this round table discussion, CUNY writers, teachers and activists will speak about the history of poets' involvement in mobilizing locally for higher ed access and equality, as well as visualize how writers and artists today can help in shaping the culture of our public institutions to better address the various economically, racially, and intellectually repressive tactics of the current regime.

    Makeba Lavan is an instructor at Lehman College and a doctoral student in the Department of English at the Graduate Center, CUNY, where her research focuses on (African) American Studies, Speculative Fiction and Popular Culture.

    Conor Tomás Reed is an archivist, doctoral student, educator, and organizer at the City University of New York, and a co-founding participant in the Free University of New York City.

    Zohra Saed is a Brooklyn-based Afghan American poet who works as an Assistant Professor in Literature at Bard High School Early College, Queens.

    Meghann Williams is a poet and an instructor of creative writing at Hunter College, where she is also the Graduate Student Association president.
  4. Chapbook Launch: Miriam Atkin and Rami Karim, with Suzanne Goldenberg and Stacy Skolnik
    Wednesday, May 24, 6pm

    Please join us for the launch of Fours by Miriam Atkin and Smile & Nod by Rami Karim, two new chapbooks published on the occasion of Kaf Collective's residency at Wendy's Subway. 

    Readings and performances by Miriam Atkin, Rami Kari, Suzanne Goldenberg, and Stacy Skolnik.

    The chapbooks are printed in an edition of 100, and designed by Gerardo Madera and Nicholas Weltyk. 

    Miriam Atkin is a writer whose work has been largely concerned with the possibilities of poetry as an oral medium in conversation with avant-garde film, music and dance. She teaches writing at CUNY and is a PhD candidate in English literature at The Graduate Center.

    Rami Karim is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn. 

    Suzanne Goldenberg received a B.A. in Film/English from McGill University and an M.F.A from the Maryland Institute College of Art. She attended the Aljira Emerge Program, NJ and has received residencies from LMCC's Swing Space program; Rotunda Gallery/BCAT Residency, NYC, NARS Foundation, NY and the Edward Albee Foundation. She is a recipient of The Gottlieb Foundation Grant. Her work has been exhibited internationally, and in New York, most recently at STOREFRONT Gallery, BK, Art in General, NYC and CANADA Gallery, NYC. In October 2013 she was invited to present her poems at the ANGUISH LANGUAGE conference under the auspices of UDK in Berlin.

    Stacy Skolnik is a poet, educator, and editor at Montez Press. She lives in Windsor Terrace.

  5. Borderless Citizenship Workshop
    Thursday, June 1, 6:30-8:30pm

    Facilitated by Tom Haviv and Naomi Dann.
    Capacity: 15 participants
    Free, donation suggested to support public programming.
    Register here.

    This writing workshop is designed for a small group of writers and artists to develop projects that cross physical, geographic or political borders. In the process, we will meditate on the formal elements of “border” in the construction and shaping of: nation, family, social group, self, citizen.

    The workshop is divided into two: 

    Following the question: What is Borderless Citizenship? Part One is a presentation on the concept, history and formal possibilities of borderless citizenship and its application in places like Western Sahara, and art collectives like NSK.

    Following the question: How Do You Build a Borderless Community? Part Two is a facilitated writing workshop that will include map-making and dyadic writing exchanges to explore our relationships to borderless community (of being dispersed, in diaspora, in exile, etc.) and to begin imagining what kinds of creative community could exist to question, test, break and re-envision these borders, followed by a conversation of what resources and projects might be necessary for doing so. 

    Naomi Dann is an organizer & writer focusing on Israel/Palestine, interested in concepts of home, homelands, diasporas, self-determination & ideas of security. She is the media coordinator of Jewish Voice for Peace.

  6. Uncertainty in Practice: A Healing Workshop for Overdisciplined Educators
    Facilitators: Miriam Atkin, Robert Kocik, Melanie Maar
    Sunday, April 23, 3-6pm
    Limited capacity: 10 Participants
    Free, donation suggested to support public programs

    Register here.

    The departmentalization of intellectual work is a force in place to legislate certainty: if one can “master” the data set and skills required by a particular discipline, one is insured against the shame of unknowing. In fact, schools seem to exist for the very purpose of punishing uncertainty with aims to exterminate it. But the anxiety in treading new ground and questioning one’s center is not only a prevalent experience for teachers to have, but a necessary and transformative one. How can we re-think uncertainty as a decisive emotional stance and pedagogical approach? How might interdisciplinarity help to welcome this?

    This workshop will be cofacilitated by teachers in different fields who will lead group activities which investigate various forms of knowledge transmission. Attendees will participate both as students poised to receive new information and as pedagogues reflecting upon how knowledge is being presented to them and what it takes to accept it.  

    Questions we'll think through as a group:  what were the methods employed by each instructor for opening up the mindbody to new information? what did it feel like to grapple with the ideas/practices presented? Any particular moments of resistance? Did they resolve?

    There will be movement involved in some of the workshop activities. Please make sure to wear comfortable clothing.

    Miriam Atkin
     is a writer whose work has been largely concerned with the possibilities of poetry as an oral medium in conversation with avant-garde film, music and dance. She teaches writing at CUNY and is a PhD candidate in English literature at The Graduate Center.

    Robert Kocik is a poet, architect and economic-justice activist who studied poetics at the New College in San Francisco and engineering at the Ecole Polytechnique IBOIS in Lausanne, Switzerland.

    Melanie Maar is a New York-based dancer, choreographer, and teacher originally from Vienna, who has been a faculty member of Movement Research since 2014, where she has taught workshops and classes for professional performers, seniors, and others.

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