We are excited to share a new round of responses. Our September edition features Kristen Gallagher, Dan Thomas-Glass, Ariel Goldberg, and Monica Peck. To download a pdf of all three, please click here.

Thank you for your interest and solidarity - see you in October!


Ariel Goldberg has worked as a babysitter, a door to door salesman, artist assistant, hebrew school principal's assistant, the country's best yogurt server, photo transporter, and teacher. Recent publications include the chapbooks Picture Cameras from NoNo Press and The Photographer without a Camera from Trafficker Press. More work is online at

Quasi-symmetrical Limbs Attached to a Whole Body


The jobs I supposedly want are the ones where art and work are not in a dynamic war over time and energy but operate as quasi-symmetrical limbs attached to a whole body. Like in Maggie Nelson’s book The Art of Cruelty, she keeps referencing her class called The Art of Cruelty. Perhaps this looks better than it is, but it seems like a gift. In order to wrap her head around what to say about artists and writers she’d mention in her book, they became part of a syllabus.

In a fit of inspiration and life transition, I’ve decided to invent a class called Writing as Photography that will frame my artistic obsession. It could be for photographers, or writers, or people not identifying as anything. This class can be formatted to a quarter or semester schedule. It could even be just a daylong workshop. It’s flexible. I should mention here that I don’t have a book length work published. And I'm pretty young. Maybe Maggie Nelson would tell me all about how teaching her class that shared the title of her book was hard work and she never wants to do it again. How teaching an invented class still wouldn’t get me a contract longer than a semester or health insurance. But I figure I should just go for this.

I’d like you to read a draft of my syllabus. Pretend like you want to hire me when you read it. Keep in mind that I’ll go anywhere to teach. I have six years of classroom experience. I can diffuse bad attitudes, as well as explain grammar, which may not seem relevant but is. I feel passionate about how seating arrangements create situations where people feel they are challenging hierarchies inherent to institutional environments. Here it is:

The objective of Writing as Photography is to consider how and when language can replace cameras. The premise of this class is a response to how photographs are haltingly ubiquitous, as well as agents of change in our consciousness. The relationship between language and photography will be explored not as symbiotic but as in conflict. The invisibility of watching without a camera will be employed.

The assignments for this class will explore various poetic forms for language to replace photography. These forms include:

The Letter

The Caption

The Press Conference

The Annotated Inventory of Photographic Detritus

The class time will be both seminar style and critique. Just as photos of our contemporary landscape often include people taking pictures, we will consider how people photograph to perform an action, as opposed to produce a printed picture. We will examine types of photographs that appear in our lives daily, and types of photographers. You can choose to write in any supposed genre or hybrid form. The final assignment will be a portfolio of writings from the weekly assignments, or a directed project.

Discussions will be centered on these themes:

Impulse, consumer markets, and dematerialization

The myth of the photographer as hero and the contested ethics of Photojournalism

How to look at art photography when everyone is a photographer

Reckoning with Photos that Depict Loss

Readings will include selections from:

Towards a Philosophy of Photography and Into the Universe of Technical Images by the philosopher Vilém Flusser

The Journalist & The Murderer, by Janet Malcolm

The Photographer: Into War-torn Afghanistan with Doctors Without Borders, by Emmanuel Guibert

The film Born into Brothels, directed by Zana Briski

The Civil Contract of Photography, by Ariella Azoulay

Slide lectures will focus on Gustav Metzger, Ehren Tool, Oreet Ashery, and the text fields on photo sharing websites.

The class will also take trips to heavily photographed places to watch photographers and photographs.


When I try to make a narrative out of it, my job history reflects a string of disillusioned attempts at how I can make money doing something that will help me be a better artist. Standing up in front of people and practicing something, or attempting an explanation, became attractive because it felt like performance art. I formed this conceit when I was determined to be an autodidact performance artist, shortly after a very expensive BFA in the obsolete skills of analogue photography and English literature. At this time, I also decided to decline an offer to become a New York City Teaching Fellow, a full time job as a public high school teacher that came with a free masters in education. I decided I wanted to really be an artist.

Just trying to put art first by filling my schedule with unstable part-time jobs was only possible because of my fancy education and the ability to live on a low-income. I didn’t have any debt. My whole family saved so I could go to a “good” college. I was incredibly lucky to get this undergraduate degree without any loans, and my family did it as if there was pride in buying this thing. Does how my family paid for it matter? My grandfather’s savings from a frugal life as a garment worker and war reparations from the German government paid for most of it. Then it was my dad working as an accountant, my mom as a social worker, and my brother dying when I was a kid. Even though he died at eight, I still feel like I got double what I deserve.


Kristen Gallagher is an Associate Professor of English who specializes in Creative Writing at City University of New York LaGuardia Community College. She received a Ph.D. from the SUNY Buffalo Poetics Program in 2005. Her first chapbook, Operator, used documents, materials, and information from her job as a call center operator. She was co-editor for a five years, with Tim Shaner, of WIG: A Journal of Poetry and Work. She is currently co-editor, with Chris Alexander, of Truck Books ( and her book We Are Here came out in 2011. She lives in Queens.

My Emails for This Week

Number of words written for professor job this week: 2408
Number of words written related to Poetry outside of school: 278
Number of Exclamation Points: 38

That's a very helpful message. Thanks! KG OH! So is it in E-242, as the poster says, or in the Little Theatre? If it's in E-242, then I don't think we have quite as much worry about audience! Tho we should still get the word out asap if we want quality participation. Hi All, I agree with Chris that we should use Rosemarie's Room and have an intimate chat over free snacks. I think asking students to go out to the Diner will end with us losing them. We have to make sure Rosemarie's Room is available. Just FYI, it always says it's reserved every Weds 9-5 for administrative use, but the truth is that it's almost never actually needed. Lenore is the person who gives the go-ahead on use of that room Wednesdays, so it may be useful to email her soon if we decide to go with the Rosemarie's Room idea. Also, I think we should send a "Save the Date" email to the English Department ASAP, then re-send a slightly more targeted version of that email to the current creative writing instructors. People need time to plan. I'd hate to resort to that thing people so often do--which is at the last minute beg people to bring their classes--then you get a bunch of random students who don't quite know what they are seeing and any number of them chat and text and move around through the whole thing. KG Hey, I am giving a paper on OCT 27. Should I apply now or after? Does it matter? Did I already miss the fall deadline? Thank you so much for handling all the massive amounts of committee emailing and minutes typing and everything. Aside from making my life easier (!), I think it's great that you are visibly taking the lead on these things. It's important to have your name associated with highly valued things. Now we need to find you some kind of college-wide stud-level contribution so you can get promoted asap! As a matter of fact, I wonder if you and Carrie shouldn't think about pursuing an articulation for our CW track with somewhere...Queens? Brooklyn? Let me know what you think! That is considered VERY valuable college work. Hi Lizzie, I have two pretty good not-so-good first drafts of applications/personal statements. Here they are!! zoiks, we have an administrator's meeting that day. i'll see what i can do. Hi Phyllis, Gail, Sue, and Sandra, Each of you spoke about something substantive at yesterday's meeting and as the minutes-taker I'd like to know if I represented your words in a way that feels right to you. If you have anything to add, or even want to correct my grammar or ponder my word choices, please share. These things happen fast, so I may have missed something. I'd really appreciate anything you have to add. Attached. Have a great weekend, KG It looks like this Sunday walk is not going to happen for us because of this panel I am slated to moderate. I really really wanna go on these walks, so keep me in the loop. It just looks like this panel may be more complicated than I realized, and I'm a bit nervous about carousing renaissance style, getting high on turkey legs and all that, and then being ready to moderate well. I am TOTALLY BUMMED about missing you guys tho!!!!! It sucks. Now it's me who has a scheduling problem. A conference I'm presenting at has scheduled my panel on Friday 10/28 at 9 am. The only flight from NYC to where I'm going leaves on 10/27 just around the time of our seminar. Could we try rescheduling a meeting for 10/20 or 11/10? Sorry!! Are you sure? that would be great! We should probably alert the group? Hi Marisa, After meeting with Paul this morning, Arianna Martinez and & I are charged with doing a large scale assessment of the Urban Studies program and would like to meet with you at your earliest convenience to figure out exactly what we need to do. We're anxious to get the ball rolling. Please send us some times that are good for you for next week, if possible. Thanks, and looking forward to working with you-- KG How about Wednesday 10/5 at 4 pm? Thanks Marisa! I am almost there! I basically scrapped my first idea, then wrote an entire second thing, then scrapped that. I am now doing a statistical analysis (wink wink) of my time. I do think I can have it to you by Thursday night. Would that work for you? School is actually canceled Weds and Thurs, so this time there really should not be interference! Dear Ann, We've attached our revision to the curriculum for the Creative Writing Track of the Writing and Literature Major. Here are the changes we made: 1. Eliminated Liberal Arts Cluster requirement to accommodate the new additional Natural Sciences credit 2. Moved HUA167 Introduction to African Art from a required to an optional Humanities course 3. Eliminated ENG/HUC238 Screenwriting from Humanities to minimize ENG999 English Blanket Credits transfers 4. Eliminated ENG235, ENN240, ENG268, ENG/HUC272, and ENG280 to minimize ENG298 Special Topics conflicts (since only one class may transfer as ENG298, and additional classes in this category revert to ENG999 English Blanket Credits) 5. Eliminated ENG205 to minimize ENG399 Special Topics conflicts (since only one class may transfer as ENG399, and additional classes in this category revert to ENG999 English Blanket Credits) 6. Restructured English electives to require Creative Writing Track students to take a genre course (ENG260, ENG265, or ENG270) Please let us know if we've made any missteps! And thanks again for your help in this process. Cheers, Chris and Kristen Hi Ann. We were just reviewing the original articulation agreement, and it seems like York left out a group of courses in the Social Sciences category. Here's the Social Sciences category as it appears in the articulation agreement:

> Social Science: 9 credits
> SSY101 General Psychology                             3
> Select one of the following courses:
> SSH101 Themes in American History to 1865             3
> SSH102 Themes in American History Since 1865          3
> SSH103 Western Civ from Ancient to Renaissance        3
> SSH104 Western Civ from Renaissance to Modern         3
> SSH105 World History from Ancient Times to 1500       3
> SSH106 World History from 1500 to Present             3
> SSH110 East Asia Civilization and Societies           3
And here's the group that was left out:
> Select one of the following courses:
> SSA101 Cultural Anthropology                  3
> SSE104 Introduction to Macroeconomics                 3
> SSP101 U.S. Power and Politics                        3
> SSP250 Political Ideas and Ideologies                         3
> SSS100 Introduction to Sociology                      3
Would it be okay for us to go ahead with the agreement as is and make the students choose two courses from the list of SSH courses to fulfill the requirement, or do we need to correct the error so that the SSA/SSE/SSP/SSS courses appear in our curriculum and then run it back by York? We are concerned that they will not be able to get this done in time for the next Curriculum Committee meeting. Cheers, Chris and Kristen Hi Everyone, Just a reminder, our next meeting will be 10/13. We also need to reschedule one of our dates from 10/27 to 10/20. It's my fault. I double booked against a conference presentation. I seriously apologize for the scheduling drama! So our meeting dates for Fall are: 10/13, 10/20, 11/3, 11/17, 12/1. Let us know if you have a problem with this new date.Kristen You are sitting on the cusp of C plus / B minus. I expect you to revise. You have some good ideas, but the writing really needs work. It feels like a first draft. Remember to engage the recursive process--get on to your main point right away, stay on it, keep circling back to it, and keep going over your writing looking for fullness of detail, adequate transitions from idea to idea, and detailed follow-up commentary and explanation after quotes. You have one week to revise. DUE Monday, 7 days from tomorrow, on your blog. Good Luck! Just the one I handed out at the very end and forbid you to read. Off the top of my head, the 7th is a Weds, right? That shld be good. And I'm happy to meet the doula any time. I have no current plans for January. Not teaching, no conferences, no readings. So I shld be ready to go! Yay! Kevin and Eric! On Nov. 1 in the after noon I will be presenting on Creative Writing at LaGuardia: our new major that begins in spring, the club, and our upcoming events. I think Laura may have already asked you to show up on behalf of the club, but we've also been invited to have a couple of you read your work. Are you up for it? KG Let me figure out how long we have and then you pick whatever you want to fill the time. Thanks Irwin! This is actually very helpful. That's totally ok with me. But since it isn't due til Tuesday, you can have more time if you like... It's not sad, it just wasn't indicated anywhere in what you sent me, so I didn't know. Just FYI, nothing was due today. Last class (this past Tuesday) the thing due was a piece of your choice: either the page or the bed or the bedroom. Last week I asked people to turn in a writing they did just wandering around LaGuardia. Next Tuesday (next class meeting) the thing due is either the apartment or the apartment building or the street--choose one. It's a good basic start, but you have to work on getting concrete description. Here are my ideas for how to improve this: 1. Don't use passive voice. When you say "green grass is seen" there is no actor in this sentence. Who sees? And since it turns out that it isn't grass after all, but weeds, this whole part of your piece should slow down and lay out exactly what you perceive and in what order. What exactly happens that you thought it was grass but then somehow realize it is not grass? For example it might go something like: "When I look out the window, I see a field of green grass surrounded by sidewalk. There is one tree in the middle. This open green space seems a welcome place to write, so I head out of my house, around the corner to check it out. But when I arrive there I realize there is no grass at all, just weeds, dirt and cigarette butts. I am so disappointed. I look around for somewhere else to go and realize there is nowhere to go except the McDonald's on the corner, or back home." Give us the blow-by-blow account of exactly what gives way to this scene unfolding in your experience. 2. Stick to the facts. This is a concrete description of a space. What exactly does the gate look like. Color? Shape? size? what is it surrounding or leading to? Gates do not sing. And how can anyone possibly know what strangers feel? You can only know what you feel. So never assume what anyone is feeling, but show, when you actually have the evidence to do so, behaviors, movements, expressions, etc., that will lead to your reader perceiving the feeling you perceive as you look at this scene. Your job here is to re-create a scene in words, so that a reader will perceive and feel what you perceived and felt when you experienced that scene in the first place. 3. Where are the stone pillars exactly? What makes you say they seem designed for sitting? Can you show me what they look like? do people sit on them? Show me what you see that leads you to this conclusion. Show us the evidence. 4. I think the line "The front porch __two chairs vacant of bodies yet still manage to seem in conversation as they point to each other" is the best one in this piece. It paints a clear picture, and you don't make assumptions or generalizations. I really like how your phrased it, and it gives a really great feeling to read it. I like these empty chairs facing each other! Strong work! 5. An example of an assumption that doesn't fully reach our goal of description would be  "the creatures that seem to not care for the railing." In stead of telling me they don't care, show me what they are doing that leads you to this conclusion. What kind of creatures are they? Alley cats? What are they doing? Through an exact description of their behavior, their movements, their expressions, etc., you can create a feeling of their not-caring...or is it really not-caring that they exhibit?? as you look more closely and find the words to convey exactly what is happening, you may find yourself shifting in your understanding of what is happening. Sometimes as we look more closely, we find they all our first assumptions were wrong, and only then are we beginning to truly SEE. 6. The last few lines are getting closer to real description, but I'm sure you can add more detail and fill this whole piece out more. Remember what I said in class: the length requirement for all these pieces is NOT a word count or number of pages, but to be EXHAUSTIVE. We require an exhaustive, detailed account. No stone shall be left unturned/undescribed. Write til your hand hurts, observe til your brain and eyes are so exhausted that you pass out. 7. Overall, I really feel like it would help to know where you are. Just tell us. I'm not geting a clear picture. Is it an apartment building? Something about all these pillars and creatures makes it seem like an old manor or an old library or a haunted house. Good luck! 10/9 shld work for me. Check this out: Scientists at UC Berkeley have figured out how to make videos of images from the brain, so that a video can be made of whatever you have dreamt based on tracing the activity in the visual cortex. What a exciting future we have! I'm sure they'd go viral. As you've probably discerned by now, we can't make it to Beacon with you. But we really really wish we could have!! We've never met Cheryl and would love to meet her and also learn more about her work. But we're swamped with craploads of our own non-art work. And it's turned out to be such a nice day, too. I really wish we could be out there with you guys instead of grading papers. I hate grading papers more than just abt anything. I think I'm going to hire some young poet to start doing my grading for me. Maybe Kareem needs a job? Argh. Wish we were there... KG John! Hi! I told you on the phone this summer I'd come to a training but I seem to have not written it down! Ah summer... Can you remind me what day/date I signed up for? And maybe also what the other day was that was an option, just in case I've since screwed up and cross-scheduled the day and time I originally signed up for? Sorry for the blankout. KG Hi, No, *I'm* sorry for not keeping better track of my situation! But of course reminders are always helpful. I'm really sorry I missed it. Last year I had off in spring for research release, but this year I am hoping to do way more union stuff. I will be at the rally Monday, so hopefully I'll see you there! KG Hey I recall you said you blurbed him? do you have a copy of his book? maybe even a digital one in your email you cld fwd me? i'd like to try to prepare a little for next weekend! kg


Monica Peck lives in San Francisco and works in San Jose.

on the clock

things i want to write about for the poetic labor blog

gender discrimination in the workplace, esp. re non-normative gender being told that i can “get away with wearing anything” the non-productive vs. the productive vs. anti-productive, esp. re being an artist art i’ve made at work, i.e. clip art comics, poems, ppt. “movies” horrible art i’ve been paid to make on the job: a musical mash-up of the wizard of oz & the loma prieta earthquake, poems about facial expressions for preschoolers, a poem for an ex-boss that she published under her daughters name in an ad post-it note fetishes using a grant to be anti-productive and a drag on the economy, i.e. not make commodity art, but converse in a leisurely way or wander or day dream or “research” or cruise how i wrote my first poem at my first job on the clock at st. anne’s church about chewing gum the various ways bosses have kept track of my time & “their” money: spread sheets, charts, clip boards, time sheets, sign-in logs being scammed when looking for work: the western union scam for a tutoring gig, the ice cream truck scam, the postal worker classified ad scam bleeding on the job: performing “worker” while having brutal menstrual cramps eating on the job, esp. the logistics of various workplaces: teachers’ lounge politics, cubicle lunches, and the politics of “shared” food in corporate zones unions spontaneous work signage, i.e. passive-aggressive notes, esp. in bathrooms being asked to “compose” bathroom signage re: flushing it all down work drag making magic totems to protect from mean co-workers and abusive bosses, esp out of the office supplies at hand: thumb tack & dry eraser shaman dolls morale boosters and fake morale boosters, i.e. corporate office art & kitsch vs. a view of a beautiful tree inappropriate/illegal job interview questions that sought/implied/assumed socio-economic class, race, gender, ethnicity, marital status, health, or other personal background info or are otherwise memorable for how uncomfortable they made me feel:

why do you like children what is your favorite book how would you react if someone said, “fuck you” are you a vegetarian how would you handle a difficult parent did you have trouble finding parking how did you get here do you feel comfortable driving a truck how often do you eat yoghurt is anyone in your family a lawyer do you have any children can you lift forty pounds do you mind getting your fingerprints checked do you mind getting a TB test what brought you to san francisco how are you with money what interests you about mobile technology have you ever worked with dry ice can you cut an onion do you have an allergy to bleach when can you start do you have your own computer do you have access to the internet do you know how to type have you ever done a mailing can you answer the phone how did you hear about this job what do you like to write about are you and [current employee] friends would you be willing to do a partial trade are you a “real” teacher do you have a cell phone can you help me get a good grade can you fit thirteen boxes in your car can you write quizzes do you have cash register experience are you familiar with microsoft office how are you with the public have you read mencken’s “the joy of monotony” can you pull it out with the root can you make a decent chowder

queer resume: an interesting oversimplification

this is a list of all jobs (in reverse chronological order) and approximate wages per hour taking into account actual hours worked for salaried position and including tips for service jobs, followed by my age, whether or not i was “out” on the job, and my gender presentation.

job title, wages, age, “out-ness” and “gender” presentation

adjunct lecturer: 25, 35, out, queer
lab experiment subject: 25, 35, out, queer
babysitter: 15, 35, out, queer
focus group participant: 75, 35, out, queer
private tutor: 25, 34-35, out, queer
mock juror: 30, 35, out, queer
teacher: 25, 34-35, out, queer
house sitter: 2, 34, out, queer
graduate teaching assistant: 15, 33-34, out, femme
administrator: 35, 32-34, out to some co-workers, femme
writer: 35, 30-32, out, queer
vegetable delivery driver: 15, 30, out, queer
teacher: 35, 28-30, out to some colleagues, queer
assistant teacher: 17, 26-28, out, queer
bookstore clerk: 13, 26-28, out, queer
associate editor: 25, 25, closeted, queer
editorial assistant: 12, 24, out to one co-worker, queer
electronic cartographer: 10, 24, closeted, queer
sprout farm laborer: 10, 23, out, queer
artist model: 20, 23, out, queer
cook: 10, 23, out, butch
coat check person: 25, 23, out, butch
book clerk: 8, 23, out, butch
ice cream vendor: 10, 23, closeted, butch
cartoon editor/ad sales: 1, 22, out, butch
baker: 8, 22, out, butch
dishwasher: 8, 22, out, butch
cashier 8, 20-23 out, butch
cooler freezer stocker: 7, 20-23, out, butch
farm laborer: 5, 19-21, closeted, butch
archive assistant: 5, 18-19, closeted, femme
teacher: 20, 18, closeted, femme
book editor: 10, 17-18, out, queer
lab assistant: 10,16-18 out, queer
actor: 30, 13-16, out, femme
busker: 4, 15-18, out, butch
receptionist: 4, 14, closeted, femme
drill press operator: 5, 12-13, closeted, butch
babysitter: 2, 8-12, closeted, femme
weeder: 1, 7, closeted, butch


Dan Thomas-Glass lives in Albany & works in Palo Alto. He is a teacher, communications director, & department chair at a progressive all-girls middle school. He & his wife Kate, along with their almost-three-year-old Sonia, just welcomed baby Alma into the world. He is the author of 880, Seaming, & Total Noise: Language Poetry, Hip Hop, & Urban Collapse. In spare fragments of time he edits With + Stand & The 30 Word Review. You can find recent poetic labor at

[Drive] [to] [Work]

Freeways are our cathedrals. I sit in awe, marvel at the scope, feel the impossible majesty of capitalism’s moving so many bodies through space. I sit in my car, in awe. We bought a new car, one moved through space in a line to assemble, a history of capitalism’s moving so many bodies in the movement down that line to assemble our new car that I sit in, in awe. Our new car is assembled to consume “natural” gas, so I sit in awe in a special lane on the freeway for HOVs PZEVs & ZEVs so I can get home faster. I am in the front row of the cathedral, we bought this proximity, I atone for the 90-mile roundtrip daily sin by buying this indulgence. I sit in awe, in proximity to capital’s glow, thinking of the dead bodies poured into the Great Wall, what bodies under this pitch & gravel. What majesty.

Where I live there are many poets. Where I work there are many venture capitalists. I traverse this distance in awe, daily, so as not to forget this distance. Or this proximity. In awe. Awe comes from an Old Norse word that also meant terror or dread. We retain these meanings in awful. I am in terror & dread. The Old Norse speakers traversed the North Sea in terror & dread to rape & pillage & then live among the Angles & Saxons & Jutes, & because of that traversing Old English lost its gendered nouns & various other trappings & so a car is not a boy car like other European languages because those Vikings spoke the Old Norse/Old English version of Spanglish which in its simplification did not include a gender for a noun like car. So in my genderless car I traverse this distance in awe but my driving is not genderless.

Did you know it is very expensive to live in the Bay Area? It is very expensive. We are waiting for our second daughter to be born & because we have decided it is important to us for one of us to stay home with our young daughters I drive to work. I am a school administrator as well as teacher now so that we can afford to live here at all. We decided my wife would stay home with our young daughters which was an easy decision because it resonated in the echo chamber of our world, in a compound modifier like stay-at-home which was gendered female. This was an easy decision to make because of this resonance. My wife works (when she is not a stay-at-home worker) in non-profit management & development & I am a secondary school teacher/administrator, so our “earning power” is very proximate. The decision for me to drive to work in awe was one we both felt very comfortable about & our feeling comfortable with it was not genderless in the way that my driving is not genderless.

In these gendered decisions in this language on these freeways I sit in awe & marvel & my poems are about these things: movement & family & the yawning proximity of this awe to all of us. What majesty.