Sophie Seita

Assistant Professor

  • Title Assistant Professor
  • Office 523
  • Education MPhil Cambridge
    PhD Queen Mary University of London

I’m an interdisciplinary researcher, artist, writer, and translator. My text- and archive-based practice spans poetry, performance, lecture-performance, video, translation, multimedia and queer-feminist collaborations. I regularly give talks about my academic and creative practice and work internationally on various projects. Before coming to BU, I held a three-year Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at Queens’ College, University of Cambridge, where I was one of the convenors of the Interdisciplinary Network ‘Re-’. During my PhD, I was a Visiting Scholar at Columbia and NYU, was involved with the Blue Mountain Project at Princeton (a digital modernist magazine archive) and with Archive of the Now (a digital archive of poetry recordings), and co-curated the 2016 Segue Series as well as the simultaneous and live-streamed ‘unAmerican Activities Transatlantic Reading Series’ between New York and London (2013-2015). For a full CV please click here

Research Interests

My research focuses on twentieth- and twenty-first-century Anglophone avant-garde poetry, art, and poetics; literary communities; print culture and periodical studies; contemporary experiments with performance writing, feminist and queer performance art, artistic collaborations, mixed media art, and practice-based research. I also have an interest in experimental translations (across languages and media), multilingualism, and Latin American art and writing.

My monograph Provisional Avant-Gardes: Little Magazine Communities from Dada to Digital (Stanford University Press, 2019) is a diachronic study of provisional avant-garde communities through the medium of the magazine, which rethinks received views of avant-garde ‘movements’ and their respective historical, social, and aesthetic boundaries. I’m particularly interested in aspects of a magazine’s production (including print technology and materiality), distribution (e.g. readings, mailing lists, social media), and reception, as well as wider theoretical questions about hospitality, feminism, sexuality, race, and canonicity, and what it might mean to be ‘avant-garde’ today.

My second creative-critical project Literary Live Art examines writing and text in, for, and through performance. The project involves literary analysis, archival research, interviews, and a practice-based approach through performances and performative lectures, and experiments with writing style, forms of publishing, and ‘making public’. In other words, I seek not only to describe contemporary performance practices but also explore my research questions performatively, collaboratively, and pedagogically, thus offering imaginative ways of producing and distributing knowledge.

I’m currently writing Lessons of Decal, a book of lyric essays on difficult forms, feminism, teachers of reading, abstract autobiography, alternative modes of learning and relating, embodied writing, visibility, slickness vs vulnerability in an institution, stickiness of knowledge, playlists as gifts, queer love poems, serious copying, and meaningful repetition. The book thinks about (and through) Barbara Hammer, Carolee Schneemann, Hito Steyerl, Judy Chicago, Jack Halberstam, Gordon Hall, Lisa Robertson, Gertrude Stein, Barbara Browning, Maya Deren, Sianne Ngai, Lauren Berlant, Diana Taylor, José Muñoz, Anni Albers, and Eve Sedgwick.

Creative practice

I work with language on the page, in performance, video, and through translation, often responding to older literary, archival, and philosophical materials and ideas, with a commitment to collaboration, formal difficulty, and queer politics. My first solo exhibition, My Little Enlightenment Plays, opens at SPACE Gallery in London in June. I have performed at the Royal Drawing School, Art Night 2018, the Royal Academy, Bold Tendencies, Raven Row, the Serpentine, Parasol Unit (all London), the Arnolfini (Bristol), Taller Bloc (Santiago, Chile), SAAS-Fee Summer Institute of Art (Berlin), Company Gallery, Issue Project, and La MaMa Galleria (all NYC), De Brakke Grond (Amsterdam), Kettle’s Yard and New Hall Art Collection (both Cambridge), Cité Internationale des Arts (Paris), and elsewhere. I’m currently collaborating with Naomi Woo on a research-based performance project that re-stages, re-imagines, or performatively translates work by neglected female artists, writers, musicians, and philosophers. You can learn more about my practice on my website and on vimeo.

AWARDS

I have received an Arts & Humanities Impact Grant, a Cambridge Vice-Chancellor’s Public Engagement Award, a Beinecke Fellowship at Yale, a Princeton University Library Research Grant, a Charles D. Abbott Fellowship (Poetry Collection, SUNY Buffalo), a Hölderlin Scholarship, the John Kinsella and Tracy Ryan Poetry Prize, a writing residency at The Guesthouse (Cork, Ireland), a collaborative mini-residency at Raven Row (London), as well as scholarships, grants, and awards from NYU, Queen Mary University of London, Lambeth City Council, Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD), Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes (multiple), the Judith E. Wilson Fund (multiple), the Cambridge Humanities Research Grant Scheme (twice), Cambridge Humanities Starter Fund, Columbia University’s Gatsby Foundation, the Arts and Culture Fund (QMUL, London), PEN America, and Asymptote.

 

Selected Publications

books

essays

  • ‘The Politics of the Forum in Feminist Avant-Garde Magazines after 1980’, jml:Journal of Modern Literature, 42.1 (Fall 2018), pp. 163-182.
  • ‘Tom Raworth’s Little Magazines: OutburstBefore Your Very Eyes!, and Infolio’, Critical Quarterly, 59.2 (Summer 2017), 11-33.
  • ‘Thinking the Unprintable in Contemporary Post-Digital Publishing’, Chicago Review, 60.4 (Fall 2017), 175-194.
  • ‘Lodging & Dislodging the Little Magazine: A Google Document Conversation in Fifteen Parts’, commissioned article, co-written with Danny Snelson, for the print and digital magazine Hotel(April 2017).
  • Two collaborative texts, co-written with a group of feminist poets, for a forum on ‘Sexism and Sexual Assault in Literary Communities’: ‘No Manifesto’ (pp. 221-232), and a hand-out from the NYC-based feminist collective Enough is Enough (pp. 201-203), Chicago Review, 59.1 (2015).
  • ‘The Ethics of Attention in Peter Larkin’s “Leaves of Field”’, Cordite Review, 44 (Summer 2013), online.

as editor

  • Centenary facsimile edition of The Blind Man(Ugly Duckling Presse/Beinecke Library, 2017). The boxed set includes the three issues of The Blind Man, my introductory essay as a separate booklet, a letterpress poster of The Ridgefield Gazook, and an offset printed poster for The Blind Man’s Ball, designed by Beatrice Wood. Named one of the Best Art Books of 2017 by The New York Times. Reviewed in the Journal of Artists’ Books, Hyperallergic (January and February 2018), the Brooklyn Rail, and on Douglas Messerli’s blog. My lecture performance inspired by Duchamp and Beatrice Wood is available here.

book chapters

  • ‘Contemporary Experimental Translations and Translingual Poetics’, in Reading Experimental Writing, ed. by Georgina Colby (Edinburgh University Press, August 2019).

interviews

  • ‘A “Xerox Coup d’Etat”:  Sophie Seita Interviews Kevin Killian about Editing Mirage and Mirage #4/Period[ical]’, Poets House(15 October 2018), originally published by CLMP: Front Porch Commons (September 2015).
  • ‘On Alembic’, Interview with Ken Edwards and Robert Hampson, Mimeo Mimeo, 9 (2014); republished online on Jacket2(January 2018).

literary publications

  • My Little Enlightenment: A Lecture Performance, a risograph artist book/chapbook, designed by Jack Henrie Fisher, forthcoming from Other Formsin Apr 2019.
  • Transpositions, a collaborative artist book with Jasmine Brady. Edition of 7. Part of a commission funded by the Wellcome Trust on queer kinship, corn, and reproductive technologies. Commissioned by Reproc Soc for the exhibition Reproductivities, in collaboration with an exhibition at the New Hall Art Collection.
  • Subsisters: Selected Poems, translation from the German of Uljana Wolf (New York: Belladonna, 2017).
  • Les Bijoux Indiscrets, or, Paper Tigers(Gauss PDF, 2017), performance text.
  • Meat(Houston, TX: Little Red Leaves, 2015), poems.
  • i mean i dislike that fate that i was made to where, English translation of Uljana Wolf and winner of the 2014 Wonder Prize (New York: Wonder, 2015).
  • Fantasias in Counting(Buffalo: BlazeVOX Books, 2014), poetic performance texts.
  • 12 Steps(Cambridge: Wide Range Chapbooks, 2012), poems.
  • Numerous magazine publications in the UK, US, Germany, and Ireland, such as London Review of BooksPEN AmericaThe White ReviewCambridge Literary Review, Lana Turner, Gulf Coast, Hotel, STILL, and others.

media and reviews

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