Jen Karmin

recorded in Chicago, IL

 

Patriarchal Poetry by Gertrude Stein

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Jennifer Karmin

Hi, my name’s Jennifer Karmin. I live in Chicago, Illinois in the Humboldt Park neighborhood—that’s northwest in the city. I’ve lived here, actually, in this apartment, for 11 and a half years, now. When I first came to Chicago, I came for graduate school at the Art Institute to go to the writing program, which was a really great experience for someone interested in both writing and art and creative practice. I thought I could live here for two years, that it would be an exciting place to live. I didn’t know much about the city or the creative community. I’ve found it a really wonderful place to be a working writer, to be a working artist. Just the very basic logistics. The rents are still affordable, there are a lot of DIY art spaces where you can make and show work. Our location is great—we’re in the middle of the country—for someone who’s trying to do readings and put work out in different cities; it’s pretty easy to travel around. In the last couple years the writing community, the poetry community in particular, has grown a lot. It’s exciting to see that not only is it an academic based community, with all the MFA programs, but there are a lot of independent presses, journals, and series happening in the city. A lot of writers come through to give readings and talks and see what’s  happening in Chicago.


The Knox Writers’ House

What drew you to sounds? You read Gertrude Stein and aaaaaaaaaaalice; what brought you to the audio?


Karmin

I think what brings me to audio and sound has something to do with how I think about language. [Her dog, Walt, barks]. There he goes.


KWH

He just wanted to get on the recording.


Karmin

Yeah, what Walt said. But I’ll even move past language and say perception itself is a creative act. Right now, how all of us are experiencing this moment is a creative act. This is what I often will say to people when they say, “Oh, that’s nice you’re creative, but I’m not a creative person.” We’re all creative. Some of us use our skills and develop them into talents in different ways. I think sound work allows me to play with perception more. Not just on the page, but in a live moment. And I think it allows the listener more options for exploring imagination and consciousness.