Archive for February, 2013

Revolution Starts at Home @ UW-Madison + Bonk! Reading Saturday

February 21, 2013

Hi friendlies,

Here’s where I’ll be this week!

Giving a public talk on The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Partner Violence Within Activist Communities, 7-9pm Thursday, February 21 @ U-W Madison’s Multicultural Student Center Lounge (Red Gym, 2nd Floor) with Jessica Vega Gonzalez (who co-facilitates Milwaukee’s Transformative Justice learn-to-action group with me)! We will be talking about transformative justice strategies to end violence within our communities.

Thanks to the amazing organizing efforts of fellow poet, Nick Demske, I’m reading at Bonk! 53 this Saturday!

Hope to see you!


BONK! 53
6PM (doors open 5:30)

musician              Kiran Vee
poet                    Quraysh Ali Lansana
poet                   Ching-In Chen 
KIRAN VEE (aka Bellse Soneek) is a writer, musician, producer, and youth advocate from Milwaukee, WI. He is best known for his powerful and engaging live performances with hip hop fusion quintet, Fresh Cut Collective. Winner of the Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI) award for best hip hop group, Fresh Cut Collective has been building a substantial regional following for the past few years, and has had the honor of performing with such hip hop legends as The Roots, De La Soul, and Slick Rick. In 2012, Kiran was named Most Influential Milwaukeean in the area of arts and culture. He is currently working on his thesis project for the Master’s program in the Liberal Studies department at UWM. The project is a film built around nine original songs that explore the rights of passage that individuals go through in asking the question “Who am I?” and how those personal quests for authenticity–for truth, for the real–fit into a larger picture in an increasingly connected global society.
A graduate of Case High School, Kiran is very excited to come back to Racine and perform.
QURAYSH ALI LANSANA is author of They Shall Run: Harriet Tubman Poems (Third World Press, 2004) and the poetry collection Southside Rain (Third World Press, 2000); The Big World, a children’s book, (Addison-Wesley, 1999); and three poetry chapbooks, bloodsoil (sooner red) (Center for the American Land, May 2009), Greatest Hits: 1995-2005 (Pudding House Publications, 2006) and cockroach children: corner poems and street psalms (nappyhead press, 1995). His work has been published widely in journals and magazines across the country and internationally, including Callaloo, American Poetry Review, and Crab Orchard Review, among others. He is Associate Professor of English/Creative Writing at Chicago State University, and a former faculty member of the Drama Division of The Juilliard School. Passage, his poetry video collaboration with Kurt Heintz, won the first ever Image Union/Bob Award from WTTW-TV (PBS).  Quraysh earned a Masters of Fine Arts degree at the Creative Writing Program at New York University, where he was a Departmental Fellow.  He has been a literary teaching artist and curriculum developer for over a decade and has led workshops in prisons, public schools, and universities in over 30 states.
CHING-IN CHEN is author of The Heart’s Traffic (Arktoi Books/Red Hen Press) and co-editor of The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities (South End Press). A Kundiman and Lambda Fellow, Ching-In is part of Macondo, Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation writing communities, and Sharon Bridgforth’s Theatrical Jazz Institute. They have been awarded fellowships from Soul Mountain Retreat, 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. They are cream city review’s editor-in-chief.
BONK! 53
6PM (doors open 5:30)

Performance & Violence Against Women panel @ Midwest Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference!

February 15, 2013

Today, The Midwest Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference begins!


I’ll be participating in tonight’s evening of performance (description below) & a roundtable panel tomorrow morning on Violence Against Women, where I’ll be sharing my thoughts on how transformative justice contributes to the discussion!


Happy Friday!


FRIDAY Feb. 15


Re :: Circulation: a re-cycled pecha kucha, re-assembled by Ching-In Chen, explores unplugging from current systems of monetary exchange// a futuristic gift economy, where services (creations) are exchanged without the possibility of immediate or future rewards. This project re-circulates the “wealth” of other writers and artists (including Van Tran, Bhanu Kapil, Sylvia La, Noah Purifoy, Flora Kao, Thomas Matsuda, Myung Mi Kim, Chantala Kommanivanh, Pepón Osorio, Soyeon Cho, Kristin Naca, Chelsea Wait, Susu Pianchupattana, and the re-assembler’s past creations) by engaging in acts of alteration, collage, sampling, re-mixing, collaboration and re-purposing.



An Evening of Performances

The Gasthaus Pub on the lower level of the UWM Student Union

(with pizza/drinks for registered conference participants at 5:30pm)

Introduction by Brittany Cavallaro, UW-Milwaukee (Creative Writing)

  • Transition 2B” by Collette Stewart, UW-Milwaukee Peck School of the Arts (Dance)

  • Act Natural!” by Toby Wiggins, York University (Gender, Feminist, & Women’s Studies)

  • Currently untitled film, by Ben Balcom, UW-Milwaukee Peck School of the Arts (Film, Video, Animation & New Genres)

  • Comedy Routine” by Andrew Salyer, UW-Madison (Art Theory and Practice)

  • Poetry reading by Kara van de Graaf, UW-Milwaukee (Creative Writing)

  • Nostalgia” by Kiam Marcelo Junio, visual and performance artist

  • Emergent Economies, Queer Circulations” by Ching-In Chen, UW-Milwaukee (English, creative writing)



Violence Against Women, Interdisciplinary Approaches and Failure at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM):  Discussion Panel, Curtin Hall 108

Moderator: Lorraine Halinka Malcoe, UW-Milwaukee School of Public Health

  • RaeAnn Anderson, UWM, Psychology

  • Ching-In Chen, UWM, English Creative Writing

  • Nelida Cortes, UWM, Urban Studies

  • Jessica Milli, UWM, Economics

  • Laura Voith, UWM, Social Work



On the Radio & poem in Eye to the Telescope

February 10, 2013
Thanks to Aimee Suzara for inviting me to be a guest for Pinay Poet on Setting the standard w/Luis Rodriguez, Lee Herrick & Vickie Vertiz! We’ll be talking about getting our work out there as writers & cultural workers & sharing some work! Tune in to KPFA, 94.1, 1am PST or
Also, “Leaving the Shiny City” was recently published in Eye to the Telescope’s Asian American Speculative Poetry issue, edited by Bryan Thao Worra, alongside fellow poet-friends, Kenji Liu, Wei-Ming Dariotis, Lee Ann Roripaugh, among others!

Next Big Thing

February 7, 2013

The Next Big Thing

Thank you to Rosebud Ben-Oni — co-editor of Her Kind, the blog of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts and the author of Solecism (Visual Artist Collection, 2013) — for tagging me in The Next Big Thing, a blog-tagging project for writers to interview themselves about an upcoming project and tag other writers.  Not only is Rosebud a wonderful gatherer of writers & community, she’s a writer I look to for reading guidance (check out her mini-love poems from the 7Train!)

What is the working title of your book?

Dialektik Skool

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A re-write of the global histories of “coolie” labor vis-a-vis a futuristic Coolie World (aka Epcot Center meets cruise ship) where snakehead mothers lose daughter-sons, where orphans re-shape their tongues and bodies into tour guides for the coolie-hungry ….

What genre does your book fall under?

blurry (incorporates fiction, non-fiction and poetry!)

Where did the idea come from for the book?

When I was 16 years old, I was part of an Asian American youth program called Youth Writes. We learned about Asian American histories — in relation to the histories of other communities — and I remember that sense of bewilderment and anger that I had no idea, never heard any of this information, any of these stories before. Since that time, I’ve been obsessed with collective histories, especially those that are sunk or disappeared and swimming their way to the surface. But as I’ve gotten older — and my memory seems to be able to contain and retain less and less — I’ve also become interested in the faultiness of memory and also in the desire of our imaginations to grow beyond what might be. I’ve become interested in the idea of what happens when histories are projected into a future time and space, when histories are revisited, re-written, transformed. Is it possible to grow into something else?

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I have been writing various versions of this book for the last five years, but it’s so large that it’s spilled over the boundaries of other manuscripts.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The 16 year-old angry little me who wanted to know why I didn’t know.

Who will publish your book?

I’m still in the dreaming stages, but many who have seen the work grow have told me that they see the work in an alternative format (living on the web, for instance), not in a traditional book format.

What other works would you compare this book to within your genre?

I’ve been looking for them and have seen pieces of this work reflected in Larissa Lai’s salt fish girl, Bhanu Kapil’s The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers, Sharon Bridgforth’s Love/Conjure Blues, Sesshu Foster’s Atomik Aztex, M. Nourbese Philip’s Zong!, Cathy Park Hong’s Dance Dance Revolution, Wong Kar-Wai’s 2046. But also in the work of assemblage visual artists such as Mark Bradford and Noah Purifoy and others such as Sylvia La.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Jenny Shimizu for the snakehead mother; Toni Sideco for the daughter-son; Flo, one of the interview subjects in The Aggressives documentary, as Octave, one of the orphans who befriends the daughter-son.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Think history/story mash-ups — different poems/stories/voices sharing/inhabiting/competing for space. Check out a sample here.

The next writers I tag in this project are:

R. Erica Doyle (Proxy)

Aimee Suzara (Finding the Bones)

Mitchell L.H. Douglas (\blak\ \al-fə bet\)

Vincent Toro (StereoIslandMosaic)

Randall Horton (Pitch Dark Anarchy)