Kundiman @ MA Poetry Festival, Couplets Multi-Blog Poetry Tour & Riverside Chinatown poems in New Sound

Dear friendlies,




This weekend, I’ll be back home in Massachusetts to attend the Massachusetts Poetry Festival with the Kundiman poets for:


Ritual & the Supernatural: the Aura of Poetry-Writing

Sat, April 21, 12:30pm – 1:30pm

Peabody Essex Museum, Bartlett Gallery


Featuring Tamiko Beyer, Ching-In Chen, Joseph O. Legaspi, Bushra Rehman, R.A. Villanueva


Walter Benjamin explains that “the earliest arts works originated in the service of a ritual—first the magical, then the religious kind. It is significant that the existence of the work of art with reference to its aura is never entirely separated from its ritual function.” A group of Kundiman poets will explore the “aura” of artworks by examining how they engage ritual and extend into the realms of mysticism and religion. With its witch trial and supernatural history, the town of Salem serves as a compelling source from which to investigate the relationship between art and ritual and, in particular, how rituals like art-making and poem-writing activate magic and the spirit. We will delve into the art collections at the Peabody Essex Museum, and consider how various works embody aspects of the mystical, mythical, and ceremonial. In particular, Asian American poets have historically mined the supernatural to ex plore otherness and invisibility. In our dynamic and creative reading of the museum’s artworks, we aim to create a dialogue between two divergent cultures of ghosts, marrying an Asian American voice to voices of Salem. Our exploration will thus culminate in the writing and presentation of ekphrasis, a poetic form that responds to and interacts with other art forms. Ekphrasis is often rooted in wonder, and we hope to interrogate wonder as it can be expressed in faith, culture, and superstition, and as it illuminates the parallels between art-making and human rituals.





This month, in honor of National Poetry Month, I’m participating in Couplets, a multi-author poetry blog tour organized by Joanne Merriam and Upper Rubber Boot Books. Earlier this week, fellow poet Mary Alexandra Agner hosted me for a guest blog on poetry of the queer, which you can read here: http://www.pantoum.org/entries/2012/04/11.shtml


There are lots of other great posts from a wide range of poets including old friends Neil Aitken, Bryan Thao Worra and Jericho Brown. Find the full schedule here: http://www.upperrubberboot.com/couplets-a-multi-author-poetry-blog-tour/




Received the new issue of The New Sound, a Journal of Interdisciplinary Art & Literature, in the mail! Thanks to Randall Horton for including my Riverside Chinatown poems – “Chinese Workers at USDA Lab, 1904” and “Parable of the Shiny City” – in the issue.


http://www.facebook.com/TheNewSoundJournal for more information about the journal


Will see you again in a few days to host poet Celia Lisset Alvarez for Couplets!


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