Amusements & Useful Devices from K. A. Wisniewski
Well, another semester has finally come to an end, which typically means a new transition–a new type of busy season–is about to begin. I can’t believe I haven’t formally posted since last winter, but I’d like to catch up this summer and, for starters, have a few belated drafts of posts to complete.
In January 2015, Hot Air Press (the artist co-op that also published my chapbook), published my broadside “For the Crows”. In the post announcing this, I also mentioned the idea of re-printing a broadside from Francis Hopkinson, the subject of much of my recent work–including my dissertation and a future biography. Some ideas fade away or get pulled to the wayside, replaced with newer, more pressing or do-able work, but I’m happy to report that this one was always bookmarked in my mind and will finally see the light of day soon. Details will follow in a subsequent post…
How I will present and share this work is still anyone’s guess. I’d love to share this with the Francis Hopkinson Society to post on their site, but there will only be limited prints, so this one may be donated to a few appropriate archives (and a couple to myself for posterity) rather than go on sale.
My idea behind this work goes beyond the concept of the re-print. The past few semesters, I’ve been thinking about ideas on the memory, performance and re-enactment of history as arts practice and as civic engagement. That is, I am working through ideas and projects that allow me and my students new access points to understand, challenge, and recreate people, places and texts in American history. I’m currently working on a series of articles related to this work, which also includes my experiences assigning digital storytelling and video essays in my classes and work on and with historical reenactors. On the latter, I was sorry to hear that Philadelphia Ben Franklin reenactor Ralph Archbold passed away this April.
In addition to these essays and printing projects, this summer I hope to complete my dissertation–and a few side essays–on Francis Hopkinson. A few are already forthcoming in selected publications. As I work through this, I’ll also be delivering a series of lectures, conference papers, and public talks on my favorite Founding Father, including one at the Baltimore Flag House. The public talks are always my favorite to do as it offers a unique chance to meet with an enthusiastic and curious group from the community and strip away all of the jargon and theory coating the academy, to (re)tell some of the amazing real-life narratives of our nation’s history and to remind myself why I continue to do this (to myself and loved ones) after all of these years!
In addition to these notes/posts, I’d like to add the some of these projects and a few forthcoming projects from Roving Eye Press will be, in part, funded by a grant for “applied research in publishing” awarded by the Language, Literacy & Culture PhD Program at UMBC and the Jodi Crandall Fellowship from the university. I think the next book issued from REP will be a reprint of Bob Brown’s long poem “Houdini” (1933), originally published as a pamphlet by Modern Editions Press.
All of these projects will unfold over the next two or three months, and I’ll be sure to post as I go! Let’s get to work!