Writing Live: An Introduction to Documentary Poetics

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Writing Live: An Introduction to Documentary Poetics
May 15, 2014 7:00 PM
May 15, 2014 9:00 PM
646 457 0859
March 5, 2014
Bureau of General Services–Queer Division
646 457 0859
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83A Hester St., New York, NY, 10002, United States

I let my hands become weapons…and I feel prepared for the rest of my life. – David Wojnarowicz

What happens to documentary practice when we turn our hands into weapons? What happens when we start writing history with a sense of urgency, rather than a sense of detachment? A brief introduction will be offered as we read excerpts from texts by David Wojnarowicz , Juliana Spahr, Maggie Nelson, and Muriel Rukeyser. In exploring techniques these authors use, we can understand documentary writing as “writing live,” the process where we piece together various strands of personal and community history as means of searching for possible futures. The remainder of the evening will be spent on individual projects, where we will actively cut and paste together material into larger narratives.

All writing levels are welcome, as documentary poetics encompasses a variety of different interests. Since this requires active participation, please come with some previous writing, a news story, a magazine article, or other kind of ephemera you feel comfortable repurposing.

Please email Kyle at to let him know you will be attending and what your topic might be. He wants to keep the group intimate and be aware of any possible sensitive topics in advance.


Kyle Bella currently resides in Brooklyn, where he works as a Social Media Fellow at Alternet and does freelance writing. Previous work has appeared in Jacket 2, Buzzfeed LGBT, Truthout, [wherever] magazine, and nomorepotlucks. Forthcoming work is expected in hello mr. magazine and Radioactive Moat Press. His newest book project Viral Legacies, examining HIV/AIDS histories, begins in May.


Art work by David Wojnarowicz, Fuck You Faggot Fucker, 1984, black and white photographs, acrylic, and collage on masonite, 48 x 48 inches, courtesy of PPOW Gallery.