Wednesday, May 18, 2011


The Tolerance Project: A Collaborative MFA in Creative Writing has reached its terminus. We made it! And with a perfect 4.0 GPA...How surprising is that? (Not so much when an A- is considered a "bad" grade, but we're done with the polemics, aren't we.)

The Tolerance Project Archive will be available for the duration as a resource for future MFA poems that are hopefully better than ours.

Stay tuned for The Tolerance Project: A Commemorative Edition to be published this fall by No press.

And we may also post a behind-the-scenes look at the making of The Tolerance Project, with a lofty title something like "The Tolerance Project: The Projection of the Intimate Into the Historical."

Infinite thanks to all collaborators with, supporters of, and snipers at this project.

Yours, as always, for the duration,
Rachel Zolf
The Tolerance Project Coordinator

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Guest poem – Sponosored by Mark Bibbins

[Our beloved MFA teacher/sage Mark Bibbins has graced The Tolerance Project with an astonishing poem of his own, lovingly culled from sponsored search results in The Tolerance Project Archive]


Authentic eel wallets, did you mean ee

Everyone wants to get the best value for maternal

Explicit explicit hard to find Harrowing

Millions of products from thousands of Sneaking: Cheap

Stay ahead of discovery buy rachel $10 off your first Coach compliance order

Relax. Take a deep breath. We have the 10+ infant mortality

Martyr ad blowout Save on hotels in Palestine, TX

Find Language & Download your favorite Chatea con Latinos y Latinas en tu Ciudad

All Pain, Infertility, Aging, Stress, Nutrition & Beauty master 100% Gratis

Neighbour Neighbour Get What You’re Looking For / Go on a Blind Date now.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Poem 40 – American Picture

[One final collaboration. Ralph Kolewe asked The Tolerance Project to respond to the photo, "This isn't Whitman's country anymore" (see photo below) for his section, Frames. We collectively obliged, although various sources seem to attribute this poem to one of the following authors:

(A) Kevin Killian
(B) Dorothy Trujillo Lusk
(C) An unknown member of the Hobi [sic] Native American Tribe]

American Picture

Some words are tasteless

The dog accepts no treats from “Obama”

There’s no 13th floor because their God is a prolongation of ego

Founder of the little-known group known as “The Family”

Only turned up as “solid” in the denial column

What are you saying, Bob?

You are breeding from the lower side of the curve

Something American, Canadian, or viscous

How would you like to have a magic mirror?

Joan Retallack begins with geometries of attention

The class of mediocres has the right to an epaulette of red wool

I am the swift uplifting rush that happens once duration enters

The turtles speak to my bele chose

In order to distinguish the pictorial object from a readymade

Each participant reads their Behavioral Self-Portrait aloud

This is not to say that people with accents are haters, of course


My body is on the chair. I don’t shave my legs. 1 is already a stand-in for 0

This is a real-time engagement with form

I will never stop praising my Lord for this prosthetic

You’re branded by the objects you love

Everyone has one special sensation

A Neighbor is the one who by definition smells

Kyle, you have to keep making your macaroni pictures

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Poem 39 – A tongue listens to a war

[The Tolerance Project was asked to submit to another anthology, this one based on Sean Labrador y Manzano's McSweeney's column "Conversations at a Wartime Cafe", with the subtitle: a Decade of War. Sean's questions to contributors were: "How has the first decade of war [in the new millennium] shaped your social fabric? How has the anticipation of the next 10 years of war, a forever war, shaped your outlook?" The Tolerance Project contributors came up with the following response.]

A tongue listens to a war

Driven out of Lebanon warm air opens the lines
Slow moving vowels grip glottal, we pucker
Hiss of splayed gullets marks the gaps
Their right legs slightly forward and left feet turned out

The future blended American would be less intelligent
By definition shall be internalized by targeted anathema
They all run and play together, his eager body quivers
In coy reprisal, discursive suicide fits the niche

This polymer web of four-time relationships
With whom we cannot be reconciled in lamblike game
Scribling and Lying spread Faculties of Profit and Credit
A fantasy of tea & truth and there there below

These anarchists split a magnet for the Ignorance Frame
With the Assistance of a Friend in the Peak
A roving Fancy Burlesques that Sacred Rite
Porn for the whole soul goes to Issah as peace

Let me cruise the blue flame of you or shatter
Velvet curtain of culture deadly teevee scree 

Decorative laminates, moral recovery, picnic ware,
Just this side of heaven is a hole called Rainbow Bridge

Sean cannot rely on symbolic layers of hum
Guaranteeing that Christian will get the aphorism
Bright touch blood your earth language affect
Get ready for permanent enlargement of your dearest part

Monday, November 1, 2010

Poem 38 – "Child soldier"

[The Tolerance Project was asked to contribute a poem to a forthcoming anthology in response to Canadian "child soldier" Omar Khadr having been imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay for 8 years, since he was 15. Information on the anthology is here:]

"Child soldier"
(for Omar Khadr)

A child has an imposition from which he can redeem himself with six points

Planets move so that soldiers sketch with chalk over the singe

Women feel burning and pricking of heat inside

Tracing their hands or pictures of ships where paws and bellies hung

But sand has a terrible secret

I think plain, clear language could make it stronger

“Very good, only they breathe

In the background is a piece of classical architecture

He holds a small camouflaged pillow in his left hand

I forgive your ancestor’s beautiful thoughts

Statues representing dancing figures

What the Boardroom shoves through the porthole to sea

With this little soldier doomed grow monster

Tribunal earrings shown full face and aligned in depth

While writing this, I am bloody as well as greasy

Hot about the mouth of the womb

If the vest of childhood the thread of peace

Sometimes the colour of humid ashes

Outside the veins and in the hollowness

Small black bodies mingled with milk

If unable to deliver antibiotic borders

Inside and aching, pricking and hardness

And if such humours turn into cold wind

And they fly up to the heart and lungs

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Poem 37 – Satisfactions are gaps in desire [Response to Exchange Value #3 by Kai Fierle-Hedrick]

Satisfactions are gaps in desire

(for what's left)

Pass the object around and share its story
A placebo made of velvet, filled with sawdust and spores
A cluster of fruit flies in the heat of my chest
I trusted you with the bases pointing inward

Has the heart of shame grinned?
This is a portrait of a pale straight list if I say so
Two past lovers and a boss
Where I used to scratch to go out or in

Tough, hard and rigid produced in high-gloss colours
We do most of our thinking with our vocal cords
The composition must react to the edges
I didn’t mean to say anything about “docile”

Create a gap between the two parts of the logo
The solvent of the native gum and then the epiphany
When machines shift context the needless detail emerges
I never felt stupid before I took this test

Utilize proprioceptive surplus against the firm numb organ
No longer a procedure of heroization
In fact there was a blanket of hills, it saturates relief
Confusing or genuine magic pixel amazes me

Either way, this is a valuable purchase
Everyone must write a book called house
Assigning zones of immaterial sensibility to the various collectors
Forms and scales of high-creep-resistant “freedom”

Language is a part of orgasm and no paperwork is overwhelming
To preach anything is to give it away
Doing this experiment felt more like a translation
The plane is also emphasized and nearly single