In July, 2014, the American poet Lyn Hejinian visited Australia to participate in two events – the ‘Women’s Writing and Environments: 2014 Contemporary Women’s Writing Association Conference’ at the State Library of Melbourne, where she headlined alongside fellow keynotes Alexis Wright, Chris Kraus and Deborah Bird Rose; and ‘Experimental’ at the University of Sydney, where she appeared alongside Carla Harryman and Barrett Watten.
Dr. Jordie Albiston is one of Australia’s premiere contemporary poets. She is the recipient of numerous literary prizes, and the author of nine collections of poetry, three of which are documentary in nature.
Conchitina Cruz teaches creative writing and comparative – literature at the University of the Philippines in Diliman. Her book, Dark Hours, won the 2006 National Book Award for Poetry. Cruz is also the winner of two Palanca Awards: one in 1996 for Second Skin, and another in 2001 for The Shortest Distance.
New Zealand writer Hera Lindsey Bird has been described as many things in recent times: an internet poet, a crisp new voice in a constantly shifting medium, the sole cause of poetry’s demise, a conspirator and revolutionary, historical necromancer, albatross, a stern jewellery thief.
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.