Archive for March, 2015

& 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.


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:

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!

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


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.

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

Join us! This is a free event.


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 at