Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Announcing Tender Buttons Resource Project


October 30, 2021
Announcing the Tender Buttons Resource Project
The Word Works announces the forthcoming publication in 2022 of Appreciating Tender Buttons: An Invitation to Play Volume I of III with poems by Karren Alenier and 36 other poets.

The purpose of this set of books in response to Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons is to establish a creative resource to make Stein’s Tender Buttons more accessible. Volume I addresses “Objects,” Section I of Tender Buttons.
Tender Buttons, published in 1914, was a one-of-a-kind work by Gertrude Stein. It is a book-length poem divided in three sections—OBJECTS, FOOD, ROOMS—and may be a love poem and the marriage contract between Gertrude Stein and her life-long partner Alice Babette Toklas. If so, the agreement was that, as a clandestine married couple, their offspring would be books conceived by Stein. This is one way of looking at Tender Buttons.
The format of Appreciating Tender Buttons Volume I is that each of the 58 subpoems of “Objects” has a response poem written by Karren Alenier or one of 36 poets who were invited to participate. Leading the invitation to play, Karren Alenier has contributed over 1/3 of the poems in this volume. Two appendices written by Alenier offer ways to enter Stein’s most mysterious poem and to invoke the Steinian muse. This collection is a study in the creative impulse.
Who is in this collection? Poets, teachers, or students of Professor Al Filreis’ popular Modern and Contemporary American Poetry course known as ModPo included in this collection are: Indran Amirthanayagam, Rae Armantrout, Mary Armour, Carrie Bennett, Margo Berdeshevsky, Julien Berman, Andrea Carter Brown, Susana Case, Grace Cavalieri, Nikia Chaney, Roberto Christiano, Henry Crawford, Michael Davis, Denise Duhamel, Amy Feinstein, Barbara Goldberg, Harold M. Greenwald, Don Illich, Jacqueline Johnson, Hiram Larew, JoAnne McFarland, Kevin McLellan, Nils Michals, Brad Richard, Margery M. Ross, Martha Sanchez Lowery, Roger Sedarat, Lisa Sewell, Margo Stever, Miles Waggener, Lillo Way, Nancy White, Carolyne Wright, Bill Yarrow, Burgi Zenhaeusern, and Jason Zuzga.
In early 2022, Alenier will issue a call for poets interested in responding to the subpoems of Tender Buttons, Section II Food. As with Volume I, participants will get a random assignment as the inspiration for their poems and also be asked to write a paragraph about their processes for these poems.
Founded in 1974, The Word Works is a literary nonprofit organization publishing contemporary poetry and producing public programs to support the life and love of poetry. The three volumes of Appreciating Tender Buttons will be part of a new Word Works educational imprint.
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