Monthly Archives: March 2012

This Bloomsday, Start a ‘Ulysses’ Dialogue

Admirers of Ulysses are very lucky. James Joyce’s decision to craft the book around one specific day gives us reasons a’plenty to revisit, reJoyce, and reflect on Ulysses each and every year come 16 June.

The resulting Bloomsday celebrations around the world are often rich with public readings. Last year a few dozen fans of the book, including myself, converted that Bloomsday tradition into an online “tweading” by posting strands of Ulysses on Twitter for 24 hours nonstop.

Readings are great – a pleasure for the ears – but they are a limited way of engaging the book and its intricacies. The complex Ulysses experience for readers cries out for discussion: a chance to debate, dissect, and decipher the book’s daunting universe.

Where outside of the classroom or the rare reading group can you express your take on Ulysses and hear from others about how this Joycean juggernaut has made them groan and grow? So here’s an idea: This year let’s start a new Bloomsday tradition – Ulysses Dialogues – and engage with each other to dig deeper into the book and what it means to us. All you have to do is shut your eyes (open your mouth and ears) and see.

Let a thousand Ulysses Dialogues bloom this Bloomsday! Make them local in pubs, living rooms, and parks. Make them in two’s and three’s and twenty’s. Make them global through the expanse of Google+, blogs, and vimeo. There’s no shortage of ways to connect. Let’s put them to good use.

To help get this Ulysses conversation started, I’ll be taking the LiberateUlysses project to the International James Joyce Symposium at Trinity College and University College Dublin (10-16 June) to connect Joyce scholars with the rest of the world through webchats, live tweeting, and Facebook (LiberateUlysses). And with any luck we’ll also stir up Ulysses Dialogues in other Dublin venues throughout Bloomsday week.

But it’s up to you to make this a global conversation. Last year 44 people from a dozen countries contributed to the “Ulysses Meets Twitter” experiment, and that was just on one social media platform. And so the call goes out to Ulysses lovers everywhere to get a conversation started this Bloomsday on the scale, venue, and platform you’re most comfortable with.

The LiberateUlysses project offers support and promotion to help you connect with others through this blog and our 4,000+ @2lysses Twitter followers. If you’d like to work with us to host an in-person or an online Ulysses Dialogue, write to us and describe your choice of venue, platform, and dates. Or if you’d just like to participate in a Ulysses Dialogue, let us know and we’ll try to connect you with others. Our goal is to distribute a list of worldwide Ulysses Dialogues by 2 June 2012.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED IN DUBLIN!

We are seeking new media specialists (video, livestreaming, podcasting, photos, etc.) in Dublin to help with our Bloomsday week activities in the Hibernian metropolis from 11-16 June. If you’d like to volunteer your skills to bring Dublin’s Ulysses Dialogues to the world, write to us by Friday, 20 April.

Interested? Write to Steve Cole at sc11ysses@yahoo.com.

** Here’s a full-size poster (in glorious PDF) of the Ulysses Dialogues announcement suitable for printing and posting to an actual plaster wall. **

** And here’s a quick video of he Ulysses Dialogues poster. **

Project No. 7: A Poetic ‘Tour-de-Bloomsday’

(Seventh in a series of summaries of each of the LiberateUlysses projects we received from around the world. Look for project updates in the “Works In Progress” section and posting of the final projects in the “Gallery” on Bloomsday, 16 June.)

Who – Wade Linebaugh, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA. A poet, graduate student, teacher, Joyce fan and enthusiast of modernism, utopias, small-scale publication and PBR. Twitter: @wadelinebaugh

What – A(n attempted) poetic tour-de-bloomsday done in a refried prosody of plagiarism. A series of poems in the mode of poets like Kenneth Goldsmith who use assemblage of the modern world to create their work. (Joyce did much the same thing in writing Ulysses.) My goal is to use a “plagiaristic” poetics, in the sense that it makes free and dynamic use of Joyce’s own words, to create a highly personalized account in a variety of verse forms.

Project No. 6: Poem, Painting, and Macedonian

(Sixth in a series of summaries of each of the LiberateUlysses projects we received from around the world. Look for project updates in the “Works In Progress” section and posting of the final projects in the “Gallery” on Bloomsday, 16 June.)

Who – Marija Girevska, Macedonia. I am a translator at Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, teaching Modern English at the Faculty of Orthodox Theology. My key interests are Joyce’s work, the French surrealists and fantastic fiction.

What – The project consists of three parts: a poem, a painting, and a translation. The first is my poem “Plenty of Stories” inspired by my first reading of Ulysses and The Portrait of the Artists as a Young Man. The second is a painting illustrating a certain atmosphere or scene from Ulysses. The third is a Macedonian translation of that scene that I want to paint. It is a great challenge to translate Ulysses into another language, as English is perhaps the richest language in terms of wordplay that Joyce mastered in Ulysses.

Project No. 5: ‘Ulysses’ Strands, Letterpressed

(Fifth in a series of summaries of each of the LiberateUlysses projects we received from around the world. Look for project updates in the “Works In Progress” section and posting of the final projects in the “Gallery” on Bloomsday, 16 June.)

Who – A transatlantic collaboration between (from left to right) designers Jamie Murphy and Mary Plunkett (Dublin) and letterpress aficianado Steve Cole (Baltimore). Jamie and Mary represent Distillers Press, the letterpress workshop of the National College of Art and Design in Dublin. Steve is a volunteer at the Baltimore (Md.) Museum of Industry’s print shop and creator of LiberateUlysses. Websites: http://distillerspress.com, http://www.fjord.ie, http://www.maryplunkett.ie. Twitter: @fjorddesign @maryjplunkett @earth2steve

What – A limited edition series of letterpress posters printed with handset wood type that weave together a collection of tweet-length excerpts from Ulysses. Our vision is to create a visual exploration that shows the richness and complexity of Joyce’s work through variations in type, composition, and color.

 

Project No. 4: ‘Wandering Rocks’ to Meet in Dublin

(Fourth in a series of summaries of each of the LiberateUlysses projects we received from around the world. Look for project updates in the “Works In Progress” section and posting of the final projects in the “Gallery” section on Bloomsday, 16 June.)

Who — Sister and brother Ana Ramos and Carlos Ramos. Carlos saw his sister read so much when they were kids, he couldn’t wait to learn and follow in her pagesteps. Ana (who now lives in Madrid) and Carlos (Luxembourg) have lived in over 30 different places in the span of their lives. Twitter: @carlosramosfra

What — Our project, “Wandering Rocks,” is a sister and brother sharing from afar the experience of reading Ulysses and then celebrating June 16 together in Dublin. As we approach Bloomsday, we will exchange our thoughts on what the book provokes in us as we get deeper into it. The project culminates on Ana’s birthday when we share in the experience of letting the story guide us through Dublin.

 

Project No. 3: Steampunk Bejewelled ‘Ulysses’

(Third in a series of summaries of each of the LiberateUlysses projects we received from around the world. Look for project updates in the “Works In Progress” section and posting of the final projects in the “Gallery” section on Bloomsday, 16 June.)

Who – Samantha Extance, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA, steampunk artist, Ph.D. student at the University of Tulsa, and book review editor of the James Joyce Quarterly. I upcycle things I find at flea markets & thrift stores into wearable art. As a doctoral student in English Literature, my research interests include transatlantic modernism, James Joyce, scenes of teaching in literature, and postcolonial theory. Website: www.bohemianromance.wordpress.com. Twitter: @boho_romance

What – I will make steampunk jewelry pieces & decorations representing each of the episodes in Ulysses from found objects.

 

Project No. 2: Print Passages from ‘Ulysses’ Episodes

(Second in a series of summaries of each of the LiberateUlysses projects we received from around the world. Look for project updates in the “Works In Progress” section and posting of the final projects in the “Gallery” section on Bloomsday, 16 June.)

Who – Royal Vandal Academy (Andrew and Trevor), Vancouver and Toronto, Canada. We are an art and design collective created by two close friends who were divided by school to opposite sides of their home country. We thumb our noses at distance and work together to create jewelry, visual art, websites and print media. Website: royalvandals.com. Twitter: @royalvandals

What – A love-letter to the language of Ulysses in the form of a series of prints, one for each of the sections of Ulysses. These prints will be purely typographical. We want to celebrate the materiality of Joyce’s language. What better way than to pick the most striking, bizarre, beautiful passage from each section and luxuriate it in the form of the letters themselves?

Project No. 1: A Visual Poem Film of ‘Ithaca’

(First in a series of summaries of each of the LiberateUlysses projects we received from around the world. Look for project updates in the “Works In Progress” section and posting of the final projects in the “Gallery” section on Bloomsday, 16 June.)

Who – Paige Gresty, a London-based, Washington DC-bred writer by day, filmmaker by night, and slightly obsessed James Joyce fan all the time. I wrote my dissertation partly on the “Ithaca” episode of Ulysses and am looking forward to letting this project parallactically drift like so-called fixed stars. Twitter: @belishabeacons

What – I tackle issues of identity and violence in the “Ithaca” episode with a visual poem set to Joyce’s own words. The short film will focus on dream-like images that progressively blur, using quotes that correspond to the key images in the chapter.