Nothing Scarier than a Brown Titty: MILK AND FILTH, Prince, and the problem of Innovative Latin@ Writing: Vanessa Angelica Villarreal with Carmen Giménez Smith
Vanessa Angelica Villarreal: Hi Carmen! Thanks for agreeing to talk with me—I loved Milk and Filth. I’d like to focus the conversation around innovative writing, and what that term might mean, especially with respect to Latin@ work, which is often thought of as continuing to exist in that documentary, expressive, or lyrical phase. What does it mean to innovate as a Latin@ writer in your work?
Carmen Giménez Smith: Thanks for this question! I would begin by saying that I’m starting to get past the point of being in the conversation. The conversation doesn’t evolve, and it hasn’t evolved in years, not since Silliman. There are no contra-discourses with regard to this question. The avant garde doesn’t, and hasn’t, successfully addressed the implicit racism in the ideas surrounding conceptual writing vs. “expressive” writing and the problematic ways we think about the uses of language as a binary.
VAV: Why are they problematic?
CGS: Part of this question is how the term “avant-garde” is deployed, how conceptual vs. expressive modes of writing serve to create distance from the subject. Let’s take modernism, for example—this idea of the “erasure of the self” is actually American exceptionalism. Being “against expression” and “against nationalism,” if you’re already translucent, is easy. For instance, how does a black man become invisible in a culture where part of his existence is predicated by his visibility? Although his visibility is paradoxical, he is visible as Other. He is visible for his blackness, where invisibility is most valuable when it comes to existing within a hegemony.
VAV: Absolutely. This idea of the brown body as always being Other, as always being abject, as always being radically visible, radically embodied in a society where radical embodiment often means subjugation and isolation, that seems to be what Milk and Filthis in conversation with. In the book, your speaker is also radically embodied. She shits, she bleeds, she stinks, she lactates. The feminine body is a source of both magic and filth, as a holy thing because she is a creative force, but also an abject thing. Can you talk a little bit about this?
CGS: Sure. This book is definitely a second-wave book. It’s influenced by the politics of second-wave feminism, and how our teachers—or my teachers, since I went to school in the seventies and eighties—were students of original second wave feminists. This was a time when French post-feminism was making its way through women’s studies too, but at the end of the day the book deals with the central questions of the second-wave, those conversations that still never got answered.
VAV: Right, the assumption that somehow we’ve moved on from those conversations. I love the over-earnest sign-holding second-wave feminist in “Radicalization.” I almost picture a young Carmen. There’s an endearing, wry humor there.
CGS: (laughs) Well, actually, the young Carmen is the one seduced by the sign-holding feminist. It was very much a representation of my journey to feminism; I was raised in a very traditional Latino culture, and so therefore had to be kind of closeted about my feminist ideas. That’s why there’s that homoerotic scene at the end of the poem—I am seduced, in a very literal way, by feminism. The anti-feminina eroticizes that impulse. But yeah, it’s meant to be funny—there’s UGG boots in it! And to me, those boots conjure the idea that feminists now are encouraged to be egalitarian consumers, to buy into this idea that equality happened already instead of continuing to make sure our daughters aren’t sexualized and raped, that they’re properly respected and cared for, that they make the same amount of money as men do, those old conversations, the “old problems” of the second wave.
VAV: Right! I think this is the kind of central conflict of the speaker in Milk and Filth, this idea that the brown female body both is both a little bit magic and little bit filth, both holy and radically sexual and human. What are the conflicts you see central to that speaker?
CGS: Well, this goes back to some thinking I’ve been doing about Prince—who I love—and thinking about Prince in contradiction to Michael Jackson. Part of what Michael Jackson did to become as successful as he did (which is also different from Stevie Wonder, who had also been working since he was a child, just as Michael had always been as a young boy) was that he totally desexualized himself. He had to completely desexualize himself to do something to counter the racial narrative of the black male body being dangerous. Even though it was possible that he was a sexual predator, his public image was sexless, and that is what made him really palatable to the masses.
What Prince did, though, which is what I’m more drawn to, and interested in, is that he played into his identity fully. Even with Purple Rain, which is a record about class-based positioning, he took his invisibility as a black man and worked fully with it, which is why he was able to reinvent himself with every new record. And I thought, “that’s hot! That’s smart!” So to bring it back to the book and the spirit in which I wrote Milk and Filth—I don’t want to de-eroticize my body or erase my body. Prince made his body and sexuality a central part of his work. Every single one of his albums is a reinvention, like David Bowie, but even David Bowie desexualized himself like Michael Jackson.
VAV: I totally see that. But I’d say that David Bowie’s desexualization was more radical, since he was playing with a sexualized androgyny, whereas Michael Jackson’s sexlessness was safe and sanitized for public consumption.
CGS: Exactly. Every single one of David Bowie’s songs is about sex. He was definitely singing about sex, and I remember listening to that when I was young and thinking, “I really shouldn’t be listening to this.” (laughs) Whereas Michael Jackson, even his voice and his affect is safe and desexualized.
Other major influences are Ana Mendieta, who was was very much a vanguard in that she used her body as a text. Her own blood, her own body as a text. Her work is not just a feminine embodiment, but also a Latina embodiment. She deals specifically with the details of biography, exile, and how she put her body in all these painful, physical spaces and infiltrations. That work was also super-influential. I wanted to write a book that did that. That did in poetry what Ana Mendieta, Gloria Anzaldúa, Francesca Woodman, Cindy Sherman, did—women who really used the self in an almost abject subjectivity to make arguments and claims about the female body. I was also pointing to second wave discourses.
For instance, the anthology No More Masks was so transformative in the way it tracks all kinds of feminine subjectivities. I’m not lampooning, but rather I’m adapting them in my book. It’s part of how I’m idealizing these old subjectivities, rediscovering them.
VAV: I only just discovered Ana Mendieta while reading your book. I feel like I’m just discovering so much about innovative Latino art recently. Like, I know all about John Cage and Laurie Anderson and other performance artists in that very white, middle-class, “avant-garde” lineage, but why have I never heard of Ana Mendieta? Why isn’t this part of the canon?
CGS: Right. It’s incredibly hard for artists of color to connect to this lineage because there’s nothing scarier than a brown titty. It goes back to this kind of puritanical ethic, and luckily, there are lots of poets who work against this, most importantly Dodie Bellamy, who is truly navigating female sexuality in an uncoy way. There’s a kind of performative aspect to being scandalized by the female body, by the brown body that is problematic, overly coy. Coyness reads to me as squeamish. That’s why Joan Rivers is in this book. She’s not squeamish, not coy. The Joan Rivers I’m talking about is the classic feminist comedian Joan Rivers from the seventies and eighties—not the Joan Rivers now who is kind of problematic—but who, nonetheless, addressed the shittiness of the female body and the cultural disgust with it in this funny, unpretentious way. The female body has always been a source of filth and disgust. It’s a cultural-historical disgust—I mean, it even comes from the bible. It’s not an invention, it’s real. And this is why feminism has to be an ongoing civil rights movement.
VAV: I like this idea of Milk and Filth as a kind of activist text. I see current Latin@ writing as a kind of activism as well. Which brings me back to this question about innovative Latin@ writing—how does an emerging Latin@ writer navigate the writing world as a writer of color? What does it mean to be an innovative writer of color?
CGS: To me, it seems very easy to suggest that writers of color are “expressive,” which is really just saying that their otherness is an obstacle to that very desirable translucency of hegemony. To me, it’s white privilege when white writers feel they can write about race. It’s scary to them, race and its issues. But still, white writers aren’t doing enough. Being inclusive and generously including people of color in their anthologies and canons isn’t enough. It’s still a very small list, and you need very specific qualifications to get on that list. Some of them are social. That’s the great problem, the paradox of the poetry world. It’s a class-based world, with class-based expectations. It’s an expensive and frivolous profession that only a few can afford to risk. If you’re getting an MFA, you’re probably going to adjunct for 10-20 years if you’re lucky and know the right people, which puts people of color at a disadvantage in that world to begin with. People of color are taught not to take risks, even when they have access to public forums, access to agency. This is why the ball is in the court of the “avant-garde.” We’ve done the work, written the books that should be in the canon, books that everybody should be reading.
This is why I think the Nuyorican school is so disturbing to the poetry world. Here are these poets, these artists, that despite their class position, continue in the tradition of the spoken word with no schooling or training, and they’re out there making art without anybody’s permission.
VAV: It’s funny you mention the Nuyorican poets. I remember picking up a big fat anthology of Nuyorican writing and being told much later that it was trash, that I should be reading real poetry. Which brings me to Noemi Press—what role do you see Noemi Press in? Does it fill any gaps in the poetry world that you see?
CGS: Noemi Press really just came out of wanting to run a small press. In some ways, it was my own narcissism at work, but it was also because there are so few small presses run by women of color. That’s a problem. Right now the thing that’s most exciting to me about Noemi is that it still has no identifiable aesthetic. We publish all kinds of books, and we have a very diverse staff—culturally, ethnically—which is what makes Noemi so open and flexible.
VAV: Now that Milk and Filth is out in the world, what can we look forward to from you in the future? Any new projects on the horizon?
CGS: Yeah, I definitely have some pet projects. The Akrilita series I run with Francisco Aragon at Letras Latinas is definitely one of the projects I’m most excited about, as well as the Infidel Poetics series (named after a book by Daniel Tiffany). With regard to Noemi, it definitely took up a lot of my own money before it became self sustaining in the last couple of years. I definitely have credit card debt because I was stupid about how to run a small press. But I’m really happy with how it’s progressed, and I see it as being a part of a literary citizenship.
Carmen Giménez Smith is the author of four collections of poetry, Odalisque in pieces (University of Arizona Press, 2009), The City She Was (Center for Literary Publishing, 2011) and Goodbye, Flicker (University of Massachusetts Press, 2012), Milk and Filth (University of Arizona Press, 2013) and a memoir, Bring Down the Little Birds (University of Arizona Press, 2010). She is the recipient of a Juniper Prize for poetry and a fellowship from the Howard Foundation for creative nonfiction. She is the publisher of Noemi Press, the editor-in-chief of Puerto del Sol, and an assistant professor in the MFA program in creative writing at New Mexico State University.
Vanessa Angelica Villarreal is a writer, editor, and designer. Her work has appeared in DIAGRAM, The Western Humanities Review, NANO Fiction, The Colorado Review Online,Almost Five Quarterly, The Potomac Review, and is forthcoming in Caketrain. She earned her MFA from the University of Colorado Boulder, where she currently lives and works. Her hometown is Houston, Texas, as in that H-town, coming coming down.
23 June, 2014
let my syntax be content
make it a method
of seeing you
let letters pull down sky more literally
puckering of a mouth
before speech becomes
together with image
a word: I see Apollo wilt
is this a worthy emergency?
locate the pasture
locate the ink
pull it from my love
how do you hear me name you?
Eclogue: Desert Mass
I want to sing a mass
for how the sun husks
the earth and appears
some sun spools on the dirt
candied to earth’s lap
I want the desert’s
breath on my wrists
now you—reach to touch me
I pull apart
as a ruin—birdrot settling
a method to un-right
my inky hands naming winds
stuck to the harvest fit for these lands
I am tilling up the sun
for a drink
I am tilling up the sun to live
between the ink and
a real naked hand reaching
up my arm
I am more simple than the desert
I slice a blood blister into
my dream wooing the Orphic
how can I make us
a little closer in here?
vision inked out
on the cold
I have a hand
on the front of your hip it’s not
such a baroque tug
let me bathe the storm
lolls around me
I will write the sky
no more poems
spotty versions of nocturne
I paste together
around your shoulder
bumbles and I count
so bad upon you—
like the dead use to
the water rill down my hand
to my pocket
real naked smudge
on my skin here it is lit
up grass consoled
how close can we get in here?
a clot of Virgil
sewing up some
dusty blood into
the meadow clog
of flute music concussed
around the poet, the wind
what ink settles like this
to know your naked feet?
it’s a place
to wrest back
from the meadow
mad wilting along the grass
forms lines between each of your ribs
the lyric drips a bruise
and the garden drips
back to me
I want you
to show me how
the coughs of flute music take
you up—and collapse
the letters lapsed into the deer hooves
it’s a touch
your hands into my collar
here, my hands lift
the dead from me
the dead from me—
collapse the eclogue
to splash a bruise
cored little melody
to touch with
a split gum
lulled back into my
breath, tucking a moon
Eclogue for Beatrice
this dark is a ruin
for the dead to sing
a lung lengthened to hold you in it
now I can breathe
I can breathe back and my pasture
will find its borders
the blood in my feet knows its grass
dripping sleepy over the earth
a swollen tree grinding out
splinters for my palm
they prick a freshly dead poem
I can’t see you, but my blood
still turns to a fever soft
a fever can still kill a poet
your soft fingers
can dot bruises on my back
I want to pull them off in chorus
I find it looped on your ribs
I find it in the grass, bleeding up
to touch me
memory’s soft tugs
on each of my teeth to singing
memory’s blood the blood
making a rill down my hand
as weather might
warm lightning over the desert
rolling lulls before its holy song
Charles Gabel earned an MFA in Poetry from Boise State University; he works at the Cincinnati Public Library.
7 May, 2014
(in the kitchen watching
the silk of dark wear itself
when I was nine
I once went
wrongly to a dance class
who knew how
pulled my mother
at that moment
I was leaping
in her pale
is to love
even if I am not loved here I’ll live here.
I do not want to be loved.
once you have it you want more,
that dark pulp berry,
fruit hawked at night by the river.
the street will not contain you,
once you start staring at windows.
I came to the city
hoping I would see only the city
and not myself, heat of all I turned away from,
Grasping Song (March)
silver needle scraping the
sometimes you wake
in your life
and you’re lost
a black thicket tangle
a hand-smeared doodle
sometimes you wake
and a high school friend now age 27
has hung herself in an Irvine
from a shower curtain that was supposed
waiting, silt of tea
silt of what day brought about
I’m sorry to tell you this,
once I walked on a strip of boardwalk
stained salt and sun
near a green sob of pines
glitter face paint on my face
insatiable candy to eat
now I’m here, half-brave night
if confusion’s a pawn with which
to settle the night
I don’t believe that night becomes settled
who’s lived in this house
who if night is
untethered then over
as all things are over
watch the glitter
in the water
hassle itself then give up
she was sick,
I hadn’t known her for years
“her liver and kidneys
were removed for transplant”
“her heart and pancreas
went to research”
girl pulling hair over
her face under the bed
ragged as anything makes itself
“we are glad she can live
in the lives of others”
where will I go, first white
you knew someone at
fourteen. you knew her again
seven. no. I didn’t know her
but I got an e-mail about her death
cup of half-scarlet,
cup of half-shivered stars
after J., 1985 – 2013
Shamala Gallagher‘s recent poems appear in VOLT, Verse Daily, Word For/Word, Copper Nickel, The Offending Adam, Unstuck, and elsewhere. This spring she lives in southwest Missouri, teaching composition and staring out at the prairie, and in August you’ll find her in Athens, Georgia.
Arturo Ramírez Lara & Laura Cesarco Eglin
7 May, 2014
Poetry by: Arturo Ramírez Lara
Translation by: Laura Cesarco Eglin
mas no los dos son uno que no puede olvidar ni tú ni yo en el aire pasando por el ápice de aquel que dobló las almas de tus multitudes es ése que extraño como un brote de dios mohoso y dulce desde el pequeño perfil bajo tu piel y mineral y pálida sonora
but not the two of them are one that cannot forget either you or I in the air going past the apex of he who bent the souls of your multitudes it is that who I miss like the sprouting of moldy and sweet god from the little profile under your skin and mineral and pale sonorous
Un oscuro sueño suave que floreció por debajo de un muro multicolor fuiste de mañana donde el mínimo cerraba la boca para no teñir de aire los sonidos entonces se avejentaron y un soplo hecho el corazón obtuvo un ahora cargado de agua de sol de olor a del tiempo ha
A dark dream smooth that bloomed beneath the multicolored wall you went this morning where the minimum closed its mouth so as not to dye the sounds with air so they aged and a breath the heart turned into obtained a now heavy with water with sun with the smell of with time has
La horda el cielo lo miserable todo pobló en mal tiempo amarillo en que fuimos ahora lo que hay mudo y voraz clava apenas surca parte cae como un circo del color dos debajo de dos no fue suficiente lo que surgimos no cobró hambre o túnel de ti o lánguido murió de entre los arcos míos aquello de los puentes marchitó
The horde the sky all the miserable populated in bad timing yellow where we were now what there is mute and voracious stabs barely grooves leaves falls like a circus colored two underneath two was not enough what we arise has not demanded hunger or tunnel from you or languid died from between the arcs mine that about the bridges wilted
esa llama negar dejaba el blanco con sus enormes tú fuimos lo suave doloroso yo con un molino probaba inútil salivaba al latir tuve el impulso el libre frente poblado tú no pusiste fuimos los circos del vacío estando los dos no fuimos
that flame to deny would leave the target with its enormous you we were the smooth painful I with a mill proved useless I would salivate when it beat I had the urge the free front peopled you did not try we were the circuses of the void both of us being there we did not go
Arturo Ramírez Lara is the author of the collection of short stories, Antología del verde, which won the David Alfaro Siquieros Prize in 2001, and the collection of poems, Nanas para dormir a Jonás (Fondo Editorial Tierra Adentro, 2009). His poetry and critical literary essays have appeared in different anthologies, such as Anuario de poesía mexicana 2005, and journals, including Palabras sin fronteras and Oráculo. He is currently the coordinator of Spanish Language and Spanish and Spanish American Literature, as well as the chair of Control Escolar, at Escuela Preparatoria Central de Ciudad Juárez A.C.
Laura Cesarco Eglin is a poet and translator from Uruguay. She is the author of two collections of poetry, Llamar al agua por su nombre (Mouthfeel Press, 2010) and Sastrería (Yaugurú, 2011), and a chapbook of poems, Tailor Shop: Threads (Finishing Line Press, 2013), co-translated into English by Teresa Williams and her. Her work has been published in a variety of journals, including Modern Poetry in Translation, MiPOesias, The Acentos Review, Puerto del Sol, Turbulence Magazine, Periódico de Poesía, and Metrópolis. Cesarco Eglin’s poems are also featured in the Uruguayan women’s section of Palabras Errantes, Plusamérica. Her poetry and translations have been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize.
28 April, 2014
This thing remains a weird, sonic, psychological oddity to me. I spent 2-3 months one summer working on almost nothing but this poem alone. A couple months after finalizing it, I happened to be reading Clayton Eshleman’s Juniper Fuse and came across this excerpt, which now I think could almost serve as an epigraph: “Some images of the labyrinth have not a Minotaur but a rose at their center, a sign that a transformation has taken place.”
Click Here for Audio (opens in pop-up window).
Read Syersak’s wonderfully formatted work here:
In the Key of Of – Tracing Continuums of a Rose thru Picasso’s Bull (Stages I-XI)
Jake Syersak is an MFA Candidate in Poetry at the University of Arizona. His poems have most recently appeared or are forthcoming in Phoebe, Ninth Letter, H_ngm_n,and BlazeVOX. He is the author of the chapbook Notes to Wed No Toward from Plan B Press. He serves as Co-Managing Editor for Sonora Review and is the Co-Editor of Cloud Rodeo.
18 April, 2014
excerpt from Armory Notes — originally written alongside Ann Hamilton’s installation Event of a Thread
A sound made by a living animal is a voice. We begin
by stating the obvious. Sometimes pursuit is
an animal. A swing toward the essential
scream. A scream also is fire.
An unpleasant consumption. We identify
the scintillate avoidance of the soul which must answer,
wavering. The hordes clamor at the entrance. It’s up to place
and forms, early admittance. Half of my people are gone
because of you. I recognize
what everyone knows and everyone knows you.
If only the smiling faces could swing you out. If only it could
turn out better than estimated. I worry
about my posture. I swing from small
worry to large, the lead a chain I write with.
I write across the white.
I am not afraid of being seen. I prepare myself
to not be. I don’t fear being ignored; a comforting
fact. A tempered knowledge. We have
always been intimate, dear fear. Today and tomorrow
are not the end. The past isn’t dead, Faulkner said; it’s not even past.
True or false, you crawl into the moments
like dust. You are made up of skin. Your priority
is sometimes potential. Actuality as potentate. You are carbon.
You are irascible. You are forgotten, like traffic
we choose when you are an annoyance
and when to fall in step with you, when to have somewhere
to go. On a slant, you stand still and point
with hard white fingers. The mirror swings. I leave fingerprints
reflected in the glass. Desperate
to hold down what I want to express. Soon I will need to sharpen.
The vices become ghostly,
surrounding. The bodies encroach
Dear fear, I have sharpened the leadened blade of my voice. Coupled men pause. Guards keep watch over small children.
Someone delivering sound takes it away.
I know it may have something to do with you.
A fan of entropy and encroachment.
Sometimes stillness is a mask; to mask how much of you has taken over
a body. Sometimes it’s void. Passersby moving through with you,
throwing off sparks of your impossible eternities. I have to stop
thinking of them that way, but it’s hard to not witness. I have witnessed my whole life.
Fear, I have to become who I am without you.
I think I’ve discovered your secret and a secret weapon against you, which isn’t a secret if you listen. Not you, fear, but us, as you, deciding how to exist.
Khadijah Queen is the author of Conduit (Black Goat/Akashic Books 2008) and Black Peculiar, which won the Noemi Press book award in 2010. Individual poems appear in jubilat, Aufgabe, Best American Nonrequired Reading, Villanelles (Random House 2012), The Force of What’s Possible (Nightboat 2014) and many other journals and anthologies. Her digital chapbook, I’m So Fine: A List of Famous Men and What I Had On, was recently published by Sibling Rivalry Press. She currently works as an editor for a finance company and is raising a teenager. Visit her website:khadijahqueen.com.
18 April, 2014
I have been 22
for a day now.
What palms what
roses combust into
leave me a bone.
The girls in the wetsuits make me feel strong.
I am next to my sister in the sand. Jesus
Christ the girls are now holding
their boards and then dropping them.
Who is across the country
on a train thinking of me
as though a live goat
were bleating inside of me.
Annie Paradis graduated from Pratt Institute in May of 2013 with a BFA in Creative Writing and a focus on poetry and performance. She spent the past summer teaching as a scriptwriting T.A. at the UVA Young Writer’s Workshop, and is currently traveling the U.S. working for AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps as a media relations specialist. Her work has appeared in LUNGFULL!, Packet Biweekly, and Ubiquitous. She seeks to include glitter, various kinds of dog breeds, and important things like Christopher Walken in her poems.
18 March, 2014
Leaves and wind in their vague nightly synthesis
Unable to sustain a memory
Or conflate a distinct moment
With the windows cracked
Here in the room with the machines turned off
The tearing of the stars has lingered
Too long to influence
The floor unscrubbed
No sentence to turn the husband back to bed
In another house
The children have dreamed of murders
If I walk past each front door I understand
The disaster simplified by economics
First you cut off one finger
Then the entirety of poetry must go
I decided not to drink my lifespan down
Nor to make my days coherent
By sublime calculation
In money words and time
Nor would I get in a car
To drive randomly as if out of my brain
Or to enact sentiment across a landscape
Nevertheless found a forest that had remained a forest
The actual land stood in partial making
I will not miss the roads gone
Nor the integrity of soot
Between finger and thumb
Rubbing a rag clinging to the sink
Its crevices like land holy and full of trees
After the grimace the fade ends
skunked else of other pleas
found in the street
brick work in the thought of
asphalt what words pretend
against and sotted
survive as stripped paper
Daylight sopranos a manly
angel into sentence
heedless of beginings
The first word doesn’t matter when
Dr. Bloodhead steps
across the creek
Night vacuums sound out of water
trees and the song
Doctor imagines his angel
sings in the canopy
of finite catapults and the single
about to cry
Matthew Henriksen is the author of Ordinary Sun (Black Ocean, 2011) and a few chapbooks, most recently “Latch Down the Dark Helmet” (Wildlife Poetry, 2013). Recent poems appear in Toad Suck Review, N/A, Apartment and Yalobusha Review. For Fulcrum #7 he edited “Another Part of the Flood: Poems, Stories, and Correspondence of Frank Stanford.” Since 2003 he has with Adam Clay co-edited Typo, an online poetry journal. He runs The Burning Chair Readings and works at the Dickson Street Bookshop in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
18 March, 2014
What isn’t reducing is increasing its percentage of wind.
I am increasing having lived this long
as a tourist preoccupied by authenticity.
Inauthentic by the time I arrive.
To read the inscription below the field.
To have a field of vision enveloped by other words
for you. Yellowed and signifying age.
In the distance are smaller things faintly stirring
my senses. Like the sound of passing
into sight. Onto the side of a falling house.
My mouth awakening words. Waking
what I want to know is spoken there
about you. If you are fallow or if you grow tall.
If my interest in you belies what you are.
A broken wheel still turns on a shaft
of light. Validating my hands.
I carry you in a basket atop my head,
so that my head becomes a part of my neck.
In this way we are extending
and fleeing what our head holds near.
Christopher Kondrich is the author of Contrapuntal (Parlor Press, 2013) and a recipient ofThe Paris-American Reading Series Prize. New poems appear or are forthcoming inAmerican Letters & Commentary, Boston Review, Colorado Review, cream city review,Guernica, Gulf Coast, Drunken Boat, Sixth Finch, 32 Poems, Washington Square andWestern Humanities Review. He is a PhD candidate at the University of Denver and an editor for Denver Quarterly.
18 March, 2014
Thirty Tiles Away
I bought 307 horses and
Gave them to the oldest
Asian lady I could find on the
She didn’t look at me
she just took them and
swallowed them with her eye
and got swept in too
now I live in her eye and play
guitar while I watch her
neurons play on a
silent silver screen
I wouldn’t ever want to
ask her to spend some time
even though she’s my landlord
and I’m in her mind
– she’s far too occupied
writing about blades of
grass that I drew on the
Jack Dillé is a native of Denver, Colorado. He graduated in May from University of Colorado at Boulder. He currently lives and works in San Francisco at Venables Bell & Partners as a Presentation Artist. Read more of his poetry at LawnOctopus.com.
ClassRemix: Academic Interludes
1 February, 2014
photography by Carmen Marxuach
“Hip Hop Interlude” w/ Reiland Rabaka
music written, performed & remixed by:
Click Here for Audio (opens in pop-up window).
“What would happen if we would consciously remix what it means to be American?”
Reiland Rabaka is an Associate Professor of African, African American & Caribbean Studies in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he also has affiliations with the Women & Gender Studies Program, Humanities Program, and Center for Studies of Ethnicity and Race in America (CSERA). He is the author of ten books, including Africana Critical Theory; Against Epistemic Apartheid: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Disciplinary Decadence of Sociology; Forms of Fanonism: Frantz Fanon’s Critical Theory and the Dialectics of Decolonization;Concepts of Cabralism: Amilcar Cabral and Africana Critical Theory; Hip Hop’s Inheritance; Hip Hop’s Amnesia; and The Hip Hop Movement.
“Excerpt” w/ Aaron Angello
music written, performed & remixed by:
Click Here for Audio (opens in pop-up window).
“Power is essentially a codification of flows that represents itself as truth, as reality, as the only option.”
Aaron Angello is a Denver-based poet and multi-media artist. His poetry, videopoetry and installations have been seen at galleries across the country, in print, and on the web. He also the author of the entries for “Sound” and “Remix” in the Johns Hopkins’ Guide to the Digital Humanities. He is currently pursuing his PhD in Literature at the University of Colorado Boulder, where he also teaches literature and digital media studies.
“PSA” w/ Sara Roybal
music written, performed & remixed by:
Click Here for Audio (opens in pop-up window).
“Understanding where everyone has come from gives you a nice base to give yourself and identity, but also to work with each other to build up.”
Sara Roybal is currently an MFA Candidate of Dance with a secondary emphasis in Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. While her main focus and emphasis in dance is Mexican Folklore she also enjoys experimenting and learning other genres of dance as well as learning and exploring world cultures.