Stephen Jonas is a poet I consider an ancestor since I become interested in both poetry and the occult while living in Boston during my late teens. I’m excited to gather us around The Tarot Diary which is a journal that was unpublished until recently in 2019. They are his meditations of the cards that run in all directions visually across the page, dense and exciting. I hope we can have conversations on divination and it’s relation to risk, eros, queerness and so much more while honing in on the strategies that Jonas employs on the page.
I love that Scroggins has described his poetry as “gay toilet grafitti.”
Charley Shively said “Stephen Jonas was a saint of poetry as well as of faggots.”
“The School of Boston, in poetry, middle this century, is an occult school, unknown.”
-Gerrit Lansing, 1968 preface to Exercises
Patrick James Dunagan: “Jonas is a figure who has often gone missed in discussions of his peers. He’s the outcast, the true outrider of this tradition who undeniably impacted the work of all those who surrounded him. His home provided a central gathering hub for poets from the 1950s through the 1960s, while also serving as a friendly crash pad for assorted associates trading in various illicit practices."
His is a poetry of refusal that’s free-wheeling, lightning fast arrows in the air like the 8 of Wands that I’m really excited to create a space for us to convene with his work. The scholarship we have on Jonas is still very little so I look forward to our workshop becoming a site of communal knowledge production as well as a generative space for new creative works of ours to emerge.
The 1st Hour and 20 Minutes:
I will lead us through selections from Stephen Jonas and his Tarot Diary poems. This workshop is actually going to be the most chatty so far. We will take turns passing off lines and bringing the poems through many voices. We will journal as we go through the poems. As an educator, it is always my intention to create a space in which we can think and learn alongside one another safely and experimentally. I am not here to tell you WHAT to think, but rather to get you THINKING.
I ask that you come to the workshop with respect for what we each know and do not know with an eye toward experimentation and questioning, and (ego-wise) a willingness (in the words of Algerian writer Houria Bouteldja) "to lower what rises."
The Last 40 Minutes:
We will begin our more hardcore writing time, I will present a variety of writing prompts based on the material (the most I’ve ever come up for a workshop) and we shall write together till about ten minutes before class ends. I will be DJ’ing and keeping the vibe throughout. In those last ten minutes, anyone who wishes to read out loud what they wrote may do so.
A bit about me:
My name is Óscar Moisés Díaz (any pronouns) and I’m a poet-astrologer, film curator, editor, lecturer, astromage, visual artist etc. I’ve exhibited art in places such as the 10th Central American Biennial, the International Film Festival of El Salvador, the Queens Museum, Museum of Art El Salvador, and a solo exhibit at The Museum of Contemporary Art Costa Rica among others. I was a 2020-2021 Inaugural Curatorial Fellow at the Poetry Project as a member of Tierra Narrative. Recently I was awarded a writing residency at the Atlantic Center for the Arts and also read my poems as part of the 2022 Whitney Biennial. Recent poems can be found in the September issue of Brooklyn Rail, The Mountain Astrologer, the tiny and Schlag Magazine. I currently serve as a Contributing Editor for Asphalte and a Poetry in Translation Editor for Fence. Some of you might know me from Terrible Angels: Poetics of the Impossible which was a three month “risk vessel” poetry/film/philosophy/art class that I co-lead with the great Emmalea Russo.
Instagram | Twitter
(please note these are my only official social media and beware of my imposters)
*Please note that our session will be conducted/recorded via Zoom, but ideally you can make it as gathering and conversing is a big part of what makes these workshop work! Video recordings will be shared within 48 hours after the workshop ends and will not be shared with anyone outside of the workshop or sold after the workshop and I ask that you also do not circulate the recordings out of respect for our lovely container.
I seek to always facilitate spaces that have zero tolerance for oppressive bullshit. I will interrupt oppressive behavior should it arise, defined as any conduct that demeans, marginalizes, rejects, threatens or harms anyone on the basis of ability, age, cultural background, education, ethnicity, gender, immigration status, language, nationality, physical appearance, race, religion, or sexual orientation etc. I reserve the right to remove anyone from the workshop at any moment. There are no refunds in general, but let me state it here that if you are removed from the workshop for any of these reasons, you will get no refund from me.
“It was generative, magical, intimate. Do you know how euphoric it is to meet a group with the same disparate and obscure interests as you? I thought it was impossible. To figure a group so close spanning the large realms of film, poetry, theory, art, astrology. We weren’t just talking about a book or poem or film, but the bridges between them, the places outside them. Out of bounds. 12th house stuff. Òscar and Emmalea are brilliant and absurdly generous. They gave us the backstory, the inside-out, showed us how it’s all woven together. I finally clicked with Walter Benjamin because Emmalea said Saturn. And Òscar showed us Kim Hyesoon. She changed my life, I remembered how to write with my ears. I wrote stuff outside my notebook for the first time in 4 years. I’m still writing.”
-K on Terrible Angels: Poetics of the Impossible
“Moisés is a divine guide thru vision & sense, sound & story. They open doors & help us contemplate the thresholds”-Drew L on Into The Dragon’s Stomach: Eclipse Poetics workshop
“I wholeheartedly recommend astrological poetry classes with @cielosueloastro! The first half tills the psychic soil and unearths treasures from art. The second half is for writing based on prompts. For me, the most important prompt was the music played during the writing phase!”-A.S K
MY SIGN UP EMAIL FOR WORKSHOPS:
include the following:
Name, pronouns, a little about your interest and/or background with poetry and tarot, how you will be paying (venmo or cashapp and if you are outside the USA I will take paypal if need be.) Everyone at all levels is welcome and there certaintly isn’t anything you need to already know, but I recommend getting a tarot deck or downloading a free tarot app prior to the class. Also let me know in this email if you wish to be added to a mailing list for the sole purpose of being notified for future lectures/workshops of mine. I will send a packet of the material a week before our meeting with a pre-workshop activity.
Title the email after your favorite of the Major Arcana Cards
I will cap the workshop at around 40-50 students.