Silicone Poetics with Jenson Leonard

Author Uwe Poekens defines plastic words as language which is so widely and imprecisely used as to lose its denotative power but not its highly emotive connotations. Vanderbilt University stretched this concept to its extreme when it had to apologize following the use of artificial intelligence to write an email condemning a mass shooting.

In this workshop, PW Resident Alum and exhibiting artist Jenson Leonard walks participants through the poem at the center of his exhibition at Pioneer Works, Workflow, and the craft of mapping poetry to visual media in the context of AI language models and “PR speak”. The workshop will culminate in participants crafting poems via the cut-up method, deconstructing the plastic words from corporate press statements in order to assemble their own verse.

Date: This one-time in-person workshop meets on Saturday, July 8 from 1-3 PM ET.

Price: $40

Audience: Open to all.

Materials: Participants will be provided.

Accessibility: Class will meet on the 2nd floor, which is accessible via stairs.

Drawn to ideas of flight, escape, and poetic blur, Jenson Leonard’s (b. 1990, Detroit, Michigan) work takes form out of the collapsed context of the internet—often critiquing its slippage of meaning and techno-capital excess more generally, while pointing out its attraction at the same time. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Pratt Institute, and has completed residencies at Obracadobra (Oaxaca, Mexico), Squeaky Wheel (Buffalo, NY) and Pioneer Works (Brooklyn, NY). His work has been featured in VICE Motherboard, Juxtapoz, AQNB, and Rhizome.

For questions, please contact

Classes at Pioneer Works are made possible by Sandeman Port.

This program is supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.