Cecilia Vicuña is a multidisciplinary Chilean artist who describes her practice as dwelling in the not yet. Vicuña forms and disentangles meaning with poetry, oral performances, filmmaking, criticism and activism.
Christopher Soto (aka Loma) is a Brooklyn-based poet who has received several awards for his writing and activism. Most notably, he is the author of the chapbook Sad Girl Poems, which discusses his experiences with domestic violence and queer youth homelessness. Born in Los Angeles, Soto relocated to pursue, and then receive, an MFA from New York Univeristy. Since, he’s had a pronounced effect on the literary world.
Hazel de Berg’s recordings take place in the homes or work spaces of the subjects rather than a recording studio. This allows something of these places into the recording whether birdsong, traffic or an r&b song playing in the background.
After the panel, I arrived at Musa’s table in time to see him reach into a bag and pull out a stack of his new CDs and place them on the table for sale. ‘I don’t know if I’m allowed to do this, but I figure I can give it a go’ he said. Much like his art, Musa shifts and grooves between the personas of rapper, novelist and poet.
‘I lift the house / of language, allow doubt / to whoosh in’: A Conversation with Tommy ‘Teebs’ Pico
Tommy Pico is a Brooklyn based poet, originally from the Viejas Indian reservation of the Kumeyaay nation. He was the founder and editor in chief of birdsong, an anti-racist / queer-positive collective, small press and zine that published art and writing from 2008-2013. Pico is also the author of IRL (Birds, LLC, 2016) and Nature Poem (forthcoming 2017 from Tin House Books). IRL was Small Press Distribution’s best selling poetry collection of September 2016 and he was recently profiled in The New Yorker.
Jasmine Gibson is a Philly jawn now living in Brooklyn and a soon to be psychotherapist for all your gooey psychotic episodes that match the bipolar flows of capital. She spends her time thinking about sexy things like psychosis, desire and freedom.
I met Jasmine in New York earlier this year where she spoke as part of a panel with Commune Editions editors Juliana Spahr, Joshua Clover and Jasper Bernes, about activism and poetry. Her chapbook Drapetomania (Commune Editions) had me in its grip and I wanted to find out more from Jasmine about the themes in her poetry and work as an activist, and the way those two aspects of her practice reproduce each other.
David McCooey is a prize-winning poet and critic. His latest book of poems, Star Struck, was published by UWA Publishing in October 2016. His previous collection of poems, Outside (2011), was shortlisted for the Queensland Literary Awards, and was a finalist for the 2012 Melbourne Prize for Literature’s ‘Best Writing Award’.
August Kleinzahler’s latest book is Music I-LXXIV, and it’s his first book of music criticism. For his collections of poetry, he’s wracked up quite a trove of honours, including the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2008. Though he’s lived in San Francisco for decades, his poems wander the world, his forms and language ranging from mood to mood, his lines sinewy and learned and sonorous. One day in early July, I took the N-Judah over from the Sunset, where I live, to meet him at Finnegans Wake, a bar he likes that’s not far from his apartment. We drank beer and recorded a conversation.
Luke Fischer has been writing poetry since a relatively early age and has combined this deep engagement with ongoing academic studies in philosophy, along with an interest in music. His first collection of poetry Paths of Flight (Black Pepper, 2013) has been widely regarded as an outstanding debut and was commended in the FAW Anne Elder Award. In 2013, with his wife Dalia Nassar, Luke initiated the highly esteemed Poetry and Music Salon in North Bondi. The private salons have also led to public iterations, including: ‘Poetry and Music Salon: Do Poets Tell the Truth?’ at the 2014 Sydney Writers’ Festival and ‘Poetry and Music Salon: Poetry vs Prose’ at the 2015 Sydney Writers’ Festival.
It was a cool inner west Sydney evening in May 2015, alive with families out to dinner and bookshops open late. It was also one week after four Dalits were sexually abused, murdered, and their homes set on fire in Rajasthan, India, and three weeks before a Dalit girl in a village in Madhya Pradesh, India was beaten up because her shadow fell on an upper caste man. It was with the knowledge of such a blood-marked backdrop of systemic oppression, with the privilege of being innoculated from it, with the increasing awareness of its noxious roots and consequences, I began a conversation with Indian publisher and writer S Anand. He is the founder-publisher at Navayana, and co-author of Bhimayana and Finding My Way.
Eric Zimmerman is a game designer, academic and educator. He makes digital games, analogue games, installations, experimental narrative games, has written non-fiction books that are key texts in universities and is the founding faculty at the NYU Game Center.
While the prevailing formula for the contemporary essay seems to be information plus thesis – a collection of facts held together by authorial intentions – Eliot Weinberger’s approach is striking for a deceptively simple difference. Rather than drawing conclusions for the reader, he lets information become its own argument, however oblique. The resulting essays are open-ended, riddling things, many of which gain meaning in aggregate, like those in Wildlife – whose contents correspond between the animal world and ours – and An Elemental Thing – which come together to create a ‘serial essay’.