MARIA DAMON
July 2012

Minneapolis, MN – “I grew up in the Boston area in an intensely charged era of cultural and political challenges (the 1960s and early 70s), and in a household in which, for all its otherwise Victorian strictures, intellectual freedom and linguistic whimsy were hands-off realms of adventure and exploration. Language became both a private passion, a realm of internal freedom, and also a way to connect with others, be it immediate family members or the intriguing literary countercultures and subcultures proliferating at the time. I broke family tradition by attending the then-new, “experimental” Hampshire College rather than the Ivies, continued the experimental trajectory by getting my doctorate (1988) in Modern Thought and Literature, a small, interdisciplinary program at Stanford University, and have been teaching poetry and poetics at the University of Minnesota since then. “
     As a poetry scholar, I have published extensively on poetry subcultures, “outsider” poetries, and the poetry and poetics of ethnic, racial and sexual minorities in the twentieth-century US. My two single-authored books focus on the ways in which minoritized subjects create themselves anew in continuing experiments with language; my co-edited anthology, Poetry and Cultural Studies: A Reader, brought together classic and contemporary essays on poetry and the social. As a poet, my practice looks somewhat like that of my subjects. Collaborating on a series of digital and print booklength poems with DIY cultural anarchist poet and publisher mIEKAL aND encouraged me to understand my textile practices as forms of visual poetry. For the last several years, a series of residencies (two with the Electronic Book Review’s Electronic Text + Textile Project in Riga and Basel, one at the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Advanced Study, and one at the Banff Centre for the Arts) has enabled me to produce and then publish my “x-stitch vispos” in online journals and blogs, print anthologies, and a chapbook, meshwards, under the Dusie Kollektiv imprint–as well as participating in national and international exhibits both online and in real space/time. While there are several brilliant poets who work across the text/textile continuum, particularly Cecilia Vicuña, Jen Bervin, Jill Magi and Jessica Smith, my cross-stitch visual poems appear to inhabit a niche of their own.”

Visit the July 2012 residency homepage >