& Those Who Don’t Survive? at &NOW 2015 Blast Radius conference Fri, March 27!

March 26, 2015

Join Soham PatelCarina Gia & me for a collaborative, improvised performance focused around this question: “can we migrate from our fates?” This takes place during &NOW 2015 Blast Radius conference @ CalArts (F200), this Friday, March 27, 2:30-3:45pm!

& Those Who Don’t Survive?

The waste of ourselves: so much meat thrown at the feet of madness or fate or the state.” – Gloria Anzaldua

Can we migrate from our fates? As descendants of liminal communities, we practice diasporic poetics. Can such improvised, junked and scrapped histories be archived? Using these questions as prism and seed, our collaboration will be informed by our creative and scholarly pursuits. It will traverse multiple threads, such as transgenerational trauma, fragmented historical narratives as well as notions of exile, ghosts and monstrosity. We plan to amass, dismantle and disperse scraps of our (un)recorded histories in the cities (neighborhoods, seas, streets) we inhabit, and in the various cities and non-cities invoked as memories, monsters or ghosts. Additionally, we will consider relevant historical texts as well as other re-presentations of historical events, including absent, unwritten, overheard narratives and (ir)retrievable re-collections. Our project will be comprised of a multi-media installation and culminate in a collaborative performance. As a part of the &Now conference, we will choreograph part choral intervention, part carefully calibrated improvisation with a focus on collecting histories with whoever is in the room, (however temporarily) in exile from their lives. It is our intention to engage the audience in a structured improvisational score in order to create a communal text, illuminating refractions and investigating mutuality within the collaborative process.

Collaborators:

Ching-In Chen is author of The Heart’s Traffic and co-editor of The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities. A Kundiman, Lambda and Callaloo Fellow, they are part of Macondo and Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation writing communities, and was a participant in Sharon Bridgforth’s Theatrical Jazz Institute. They have been awarded fellowships and residencies from Soul Mountain Retreat, Ragdale Foundation, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Millay Colony, and the Norman Mailer Center. A community organizer, they have worked in the Asian American communities of San Francisco, Oakland, Riverside and Boston. In Milwaukee, they are cream city review’s editor-in-chief, senior editor of The Conversant, and serve on the board of Woodland Pattern.

Soham Patel is a Kundiman fellow. Two of her chapbooks, and nevermind the storm (Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs), and Riva: A Chapter (kitchen-shy press) came out in 2013. Her work has been featured at Fact-Simile Editions, Copper Nickel, Denver Quarterly and various other places. She is currently a PhD Candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

Carina Gia Farrero, writer and interdisciplinary performer, is a PhD student in Creative Writing at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, and holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She was a co-founding member of the dance/theater company The Turnbuckles and the poetry-collective Poetry for the People, and a member of the performance-collective, Sister Spit. One of her plays was produced as part of Performing Arts Chicago, and her work has appeared in Verse Daily, Windy City Queer: LGBTQ Dispatches from the Third Coast, Arsenic Lobster, The Encyclopedia Project and elsewhere. In 2008, two of her poems were nominated for the Pushcart Prize. When she’s not writing, she’s collecting strays from the side of the road.

This takes place during &NOW 2015 Blast Radius conference @ CalArts. More info about the conference here:

http://andnow2015.com/

https://www.facebook.com/events/1555872574697670/

Voices of the Middle West 2015 Bookfair: A Celebration of Writers & Independent Presses!

March 21, 2015

Cream City Review‘s all set up at Voices of the Middle West 2015 Bookfair: A Celebration of Writers & Independent Presses! We will be here until 5pm on the East Quad at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor! Stop by our table for special book fair discounts on issues featuring Midwest writers & more!

https://www.facebook.com/events/820285824700156/

Thinking Its Presence: The Racial Imaginary: Race & Creative Writing — Baraka poems//Poetics of Anguish, Gender & Variant Constructions//Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation Dismantle reading

March 13, 2015

Grateful to be able to come this year to Missoula, Montana for THINKING ITS PRESENCE: THE RACIAL IMAGINARY, A CONFERENCE ON RACE, CREATIVE WRITING & LITERARY STUDY: http://cas.umt.edu/tip/raceandcreativewriting/

Now in its second year, Thinking Its Presence: Race, Literary Study, and Creative Writing examines innovative creative writing and scholarship that re-thinks the complex and inseparable links between literary forms and the racialized thinking, processes, and histories that have shaped this country since its founding. The conference brings together the discipline and teaching of creative writing with perspectives from critical race theory, poetics, performance studies, literary theory, literary history, ethnic literatures, and Native American and Indigenous studies. We intend to foster a dynamic exchange among creative writers and scholars. To that end, the conference will include readings, panels devoted to scholarship, and panels devoted to critical discussion of pedagogies and institutional practices.

The title of this conference comes from scholar Dorothy Wang’s book Thinking Its Presence: Form, Race, and Subjectivity in Contemporary Asian American Poetry (Stanford University Press, 2013). Wang’s book makes the larger case “that aesthetic forms are inseparable from social, political, and historical contexts when it comes to the writing and reception of poetry.”

I’ll be participating in three events at the conference:

1) Amiri Baraka: Responding to an SOS: A Conversation with Paul Vangelisti (Friday, March 13, 3:45pm – 5:00pm, UC 333)

I’ll be reading some Baraka poems with Ed Pavlic & Metta Sama during a conversation with Randall Horton & Paul Vangelisti

2) On the Poetics of Anguish, Gender, and Variant Constructions (Saturday, March 14, 11-12:50pm, UC Theatre)

Soham Patel, Ching-In Chen, Bhanu Jacasta Kapil & MG Roberts

Can violence, the bifurcation/trifurcation of gender, and the line speak to impossibilities of saying and arrival? Is monstrosity’s fluidity and multiplicity contained in a poetry’s body? Do the pathways of grammar, our variant/queer/violent/diasporic sentences/lines/sounds–reflect the risks and failures of our experiments? In this conversation, Ching-In Chen, Bhanu Kapil, Soham Patel and Mg Roberts investigate gender and its constant relation to a non-resolution and to anguish by exploring the self’s push against structures of possibility, grammar, and the body itself.

3) Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation Reading (Saturday, March 14, 3:45-5pm, UC Theatre)

Rae Paris, Ching-In Chen, Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela & Kenji Liu

The VONA/Voices Writing Workshop, founded by Elmaz Abinader, Junot Díaz, Victor Díaz, and Diem Jones in 1999, is the only workshop in the U.S. dedicated to the aesthetics of writers of color. In 2014, Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela of Thread Makes Blanket Press published Dismantle: An Anthology of Writing from the VONA/Voices Writing Workshop. Dismantle brings together voices of writers of color from VONA
workshops across the years, alumni and faculty. Join us as we read writing from the anthology, and as we talk about the important role of Thread Makes Blanket Press in publishing.

The first ever VONA/Voices anthology, Dismantle, includes creative work from established and new authors who have either taught at VONA, or are alumni of the program. In spring 2014 the New York Times re-published a version of Junot Díaz’s introduction in Dismantle in which he discusses his experience in his predominantly White MFA program. While many of us have been having conversations about the overwhelming Whiteness of MFA programs (faculty, students, curriculum), Díaz’s essay encouraged a larger conversation about the overall lack of racial and ethnic diversity in
these programs. Dismantle’s importance in bringing together the voices of writers of color, and in highlighting the work of VONA/Voices of Our Nation and Thread Makes Blanket Press cannot be underestimated.

Poets Celebrate International Women’s Day + March’s Conversant

March 8, 2015

I’ll be reading at People’s Books Cooperative on Sunday, March 8 to celebrate International Women’s Day!  Thanks Freesia McKee for organizing!

Sunday, March 8, 3pm at People’s Books Cooperative, 804 East Center Street, Milwaukee, WI

International Women’s Day is a holiday celebrated around the world with political roots in the struggle for social and economic determination for people of all genders. As poets, we celebrate.

ft.
Ching-In Chen
Freesia McKee
Margaret Rozga
Mikey Cody Apollo
Nikki Wallschlaeger
Suzanne Rosenblatt

Join us! This is a free event.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1607829739450113/

***

Also, if you missed it, check out this month’s The Conversant, which features Woodland Pattern  presents Oliver Bendorf & Trish Salah; Housten Donham with Josef Kaplan; That Which Quickens the Pulse: Neelanjana Banerjee, Lisa Chen & Sunyoung Lee on KAYA Press; Flying Object Presents: Trinie Dalton; Rolling Around On Carpets: Danielle Susi with Ocean Vuong; Manifestation 2: Anaïs Duplan & Kione Kochi; Joseph Kalscheur with Seth Abramson; The People‘s Mathew Timmons & Ben White: Jennifer Moon & Lindsay Tunkl (Ep. 18); Negotiating Academic Constraints: Clara S. Lewis with Louis Bury; and Philip Metres with Dmitry Kuzmin. Check it out athttp://theconversant.org/

UC Riverside’s Writers Week reading + Feb issue of The Conversant (I interview Gregory Pardlo about Digest)

February 3, 2015

This week, I’m leaving snowy Milwaukee to return to UC Riverside for the 28th annual Writers Week as the alumni reader. I’ll be reading 10406704_1025308504151333_6838358957773050954_nWed, Feb. 4, 1:30pm in the UCR Bookstore Lounge.  Thanks to Tom Lutz, Writers Week director!  

Here’s the full Writers’ Week schedule here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1552679325000052/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular

Also, February’s issue of The Conversant is live.  I was very happy that Gregory Pardlo took some time out to chat with me about Digest.  The issue also features ManifeStation: Anaïs Duplan & Kione Kochi, Caleb Beckwith w/Tom ComittaDanielle Susi w/Leigh Stein, Stephanie Anderson w/Jaime Robles, Zach Savich w/Andy Stallings, Amy Lawless w/Tyler Brewington & Kelly Schirmann, Ivy Johnson w/Robert Grenier, Jeff Alessandrelli w/Trey Moody & Joy Katz w/Sarah Vap.  Happy reading!

Women’s & Queer Hour @ Woodland Pattern Poetry Marathon

January 31, 2015

Dear friendlies, I’ll be reading this Saturday in the annual Woodland Pattern Poetry Marathon.

Over 150 poets and writers from Milwaukee and environs will participate from 10am-1am at Woodland Pattern – 720 E Locust St in Milwaukee.

I’ll be reading during the 10pm Queer Hour with Soham Patel, Tobias Wray, Noel Pabillo Mariano, Todd Wellman, Siwar Masannat, Liz Weinstein, Carina Gia Farrero, Rachel Niemann & Elisa Karbin.

I’m hosting the 9pm Women’s Hour (where Cassie Nicholson, Chelsea Wait, Nakeysha Roberts Washington, Dawn Tefft, Freesia McKee, Albulena Shabani, Bethany Price, Wendy Vardaman, Sarah Busse & Ryder Collins will read)!

The point of the marathon is to raise money for Woodland Pattern (a great bookstore & community center which sponsors community readings & workshops & carries a lot of small press titles). If you haven’t pledged or sponsored & are willing to do so, you can make a pledge here at http://woodlandpattern.org/marathon_2015.shtml via PayPal (see the left side of the webpage). If you do pledge, be sure to let me know & thanks for those who already have! Hope to see you there!

Poetry Out Loud!

January 19, 2015

If you’re near Burlington, WI, check out POETRY OUT LOUD! featuring students from Catholic Central H.S. TONIGHT at 6:00 p.m @ The Coffee House at Chestnute & Pine (492 N. Pine St., Burlington, WI). I’ll be reading some work with Peter Burzynski, Tobias Wray, & the POET LAUREATE of Wisconsin, Kimberly M. Blaeser. Come out & support CCHS students and enjoy an evening of poetry!

Woodland Pattern’s Shift: Guest Curators from the LGBTQ Community featuring Trish Salah & Oliver Bendorf

January 16, 2015

Woodland Pattern Book Center is happy to present Shift: Guest Curators from the LGBTQ Community, a series of readings, performances, and exhibitions curated by local LGBTQ artists and focused on sex and gender diversity in the contemporary arts.

Saturday, January 17, 7:00pm, Woodland Pattern – 720 E Locust St, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53212

Our first program, curated by Ching-In Chen, will feature readings by Trish Salah & Oliver Bendorf.

Here’s a sample of their work:

“Presents I might give you:
blood urgent with hunger, measured

be longing, the comfort and cut
of teeth, these two bodies (male, female),

graciousness with other lovers, fresh bread,
argument hot with Arak, stories, resilient regard.”
– from Trish Salah’s “Wanting in Arabic.”

“Call me tumblefish, rip-roar, pocket of light, haberdash and milkman, velveteen and silverbreath, your bitch, your little brother, Ponderosa pine, almanac and crabshack and dandelion weed.” – from Oliver Bendorf’s “Split It Open Just to Count the Pieces,” published in //The Spectral Wilderness//, winner of the 2013 Stan & Tom Wick Poetry Prize.

Bios: Trish Salah is Assistant Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Winnipeg. Her current research, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada’s Insight Grant, investigates the emergence of Transgender and Transsexual Minority Literatures. In 2014 she co-organized and hosted, Writing Trans Genres: Emergent Literatures and Criticism, a 3-day conference on Trans and Two Spirit Literatures and co-edited the fourth issue of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, focused on Trans Cultural Production. She is the author of the Lambda award winning poetry book, Wanting In Arabic (TSAR 2002, 2nd edition 2013) and of Lyric Sexology: Volume I (Roof Books 2014). Currently she is working on a book of essays on trans literatures, and a novel.

Facebook link to invite: https://www.facebook.com/events/644023199074929/?pnref=story

Oliver Bendorf is a teaching artist and writer. His book of poems, The Spectral Wilderness (Kent State UP), won the 2013 Wick Poetry Prize. His poetry, comics, and essays can be found in Alaska Quarterly Review, Best New Poets, Buzzfeed, Indiana Review, Original Plumbing, The Rumpus, Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics, and elsewhere, and he has received fellowships from the Lambda Literary Foundation, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin, where he teaches, reads about, and makes animation, poetry, color, comics, gender, ghosts, and zines.

Ching-In Chen is author of The Heart’s Traffic and co-editor of The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities. A Kundiman, Lambda and Callaloo Fellow, they are part of Macondo and Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation writing communities, and was a participant in Sharon Bridgforth’s Theatrical Jazz Institute. They have been awarded fellowships and residencies from Soul Mountain Retreat, Ragdale Foundation, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Millay Colony, and the Norman Mailer Center. In Milwaukee, they are cream city review‘s editor-in-chief, senior editor of The Conversant, and serve on the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission. www.chinginchen.com

Many thanks to our community co-sponsors at FORGE! & Genderqueer Milwaukee!
$8 General / $7 Students & Seniors / $6 WPBC Members; $25 for a series pass

Future SHIFT series events: Guest curator Freesia McKee will present poet Danez Smith – Saturday, February 28th at 7 pm. Guest curator Josie Osborne will present David Trinidad & Marilyn Annucci – Saturday, April 25, 7pm. Guest curator Carl Bogner will present a program with dates and times to be decided. For series updates, please visit us at woodlandpattern.org. This reading was supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Our Favorite APIA Writing at Hyphen!

January 7, 2015

Thanks to Hyphen magazine editor Karissa Chen for asking Tina Bartolome, Matthew Olzmann, myself, Kirstin Chen, Michelle Peñaloza, Cathy Linh Che, Chang-Rae Lee, Eugenia Leigh, Ed Lin,Janine Joseph, Kimarlee Nguyen, Celeste Ng & Denis Wong for our favorite APIA writing. Glad I got to recommend the work of Mg Roberts & Monica Ong Reed & to see Joseph O. Legaspi, Sejal Shah,Vanessa Hua, Todd Kaneko, Cathy Hong, Chiwan Choi, Nicholas Wong & more on this list! Happy APIA reading!

Check out the list here:

Our Featured APIA Poets and Writers Recommend Their Favorite APIA Writing

local ground(s) Midwest Poetics anthology

November 19, 2014
local ground(s) Midwest Poetics, edited by Sarah Busse & Wendy Vardaman

local ground(s) Midwest Poetics, edited by Sarah Busse & Wendy Vardaman

Thanks to Sarah Busse & Wendy Vardaman for co-editing Local Ground(s)–Midwest Poetics: Selected Prose Verse Wisconsin 2009-2014 (Cowfeather Press) & including my zuihitsu on the Kundiman community as part of it! ‪#‎MidwestPoetics‬

Here are some snippets from the anthology which I posted during the digital launch party to celebrate the publication earlier tonight:

“… I have always been drawn to the spaces between languages, cultures, countries, emotional and mental states (like waking and sleeping, for example)–the interstitial spaces, and the hybrid or syncretic ones that result when the two merge. For me, this is to embrace the transformation, flux, and becoming that is life.” – Brenda Cardenas in “local ground(s) Midwest Poetics,” edited by Sarah Busse & Wendy Vardaman ‪#‎MidwestPoetics‬

“‘I am writing,’ I explain, ‘a poem.’ ‘ Would it help?’ Would it hurt? There are all kinds of arts unfolding spontaneously–not sloppily–here at the Capitol. In the signs by protesters, in the posters. In the display of signage on the walls and hanging from the balconies. In the drumming of the student groups that have loudly led days of chanting. In the costumes of, for instance, a man who dresses up as an Imperial Walker. In the chants. In the bagpipes played by the firefighters who joined the protesters early on, who themselves slept over a few days ago. In the musicians who came with their guitars and cellos and saxophones. In the musicians who come with only their voices when instruments are banned around Day 19. In the knitting and crafting circles that meet at specific times. In the chalkboard at Ian’s, amended daily with a new color for the names of more countries from which donations have come. In the pictures and videos that people create and share on web sites, blogs and Facebook pages. In the little campsites of those who have been here many days, with their home-made quilts and arrangements of stuff to create a place. In the Post-Its that will cover the Capitol doors when they close to Wisconsin’s citizens on Day 28 ….” – Wendy Vardaman, from “The Essay That I Begin Writing While Walking to the Wisconsin Capitol Trying to Discern the Right Question 2/24/11″ #‎MidwestPoetics‬

“Some of the places I liked to visit in my imagination were from the stories that my mother told me. She was the first person to tell me that the name of her town, Cuicatlán, meant land of the song in the Mazatec indigenous language.” — Moisés Villavicencio Barras, from an interview conducted by Sarah Busse for local ground(s) ‪#‎MidwestPoetics‬

“One night a poet from Jakarta prefaced his reading of a poem called ‘Going Home’ by explaining that when he wrote it he had returned home after having been away for ten years. What he didn’t say was he had been in exile because of his political activism, his work for democracy in Indonesia. A haunting line in the poem has lived in my memory as image: a faded and tattered sign bearing his name and the message ‘come home whenever.’ The memory of the poem, the image, the circumstances of the reading, the backstory, etc.–all these now always color my own reading or writing of poems about home places.” – Kimberly Blaeser, interviewed by Wendy Vardaman for “local ground(s)” ‪#‎MidwestPoetics‬


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