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So I was invited by Maya Weeks to participate in this “writing process blog tour,” and I’d been thinking that I should get back to thinking through things on this thing, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so.

The idea is that each person “tags” three other people (Maya was tagged by Francesca Lisette, and she tagged me, Nico Peck, and Ted Rees), so I decided to do a sort of generational survey with the people I’m tagging. Look for responses next week from Steven Hendricks, my Evergreen professor who taught me to print, showed me my first artists’ book (Humument by Tom Phillips), and essentially changed my life; Nicky Tiso, my classmate at Evergreen with whom I’ve collaborated a lot, both in tangible and intangible ways, and Beck Levy, my student this semester at Mills, who has taught me so much and who excites me so much with all of her talent and skills.

 

1.)  What am I working on?

I’m working on too many things at once. Where to start…

First off I’m teaching my first college course, so that’s been a lot of work, and a lot of anxiety and a lot of fucking up and a lot of success, and it’s almost over, but that feels like a book I wrote or something, about how to figure shit out by the seat of your pants.

Connected to that I’m using the funding from my teaching fellowship to turn Brittany Billmeyer-Finn’s beautiful manuscript The Meshes into an edition of massive artists’ books. This involves creating 10 books of varying sizes housed in a big codex box type thing.

the meshes diagram

I’ve never taken on a project so massive, with so many different components and so many things to plan. I have to: make 11 polymer plates to create 15 ft accordion, set 7 different long poems in type, bind a German case-bound book, design a print on demand book, and then construct the codex box to put it all in. 10-15 times (hopefully, edition size tbd). I also have to make some collographs and smaller plates for imagery, and dye yards and yards of fabric to handmake the book cloth it will be covered in. It’s a lot to take on, but Brittany and I have been talking about and thinking about this project for like 3 years now, so it’s amazing to actually have the opportunity (and funding from Mills College) to make it a reality.

In regards to my own writing, I’m writing a lot about gender violence, both physical and psychological/emotional. This is taking a few different forms, a long poem and a couple letters mostly, but I’m hoping to subsume them all into a performance that I’ve been obsessing about/tumbling in my head. It would involve a cathartic performance of violence, a large group of women, and a lot of blood (probably fake, but definitely not actually issuing from anyone’s body on stage). It’s still unclear as to how this will manifest, but I can’t get the notion out of my head.

Performance is really on my mind lately. I’ve been meeting with a small group of poets who are also interested in this, reading, talking about performance, and moving our bodies around together. We’re calling ourselves The Third Thing. We’re in the midst of organizing an event thinking about jobs/work (work as in a job, not work like your writing), a series of performances that would take place hopefully over an entire 8 hour work day. Check out our call for submissions here.

I’m also working on a project that I’m calling an “exercise in densities” titled Dark Matter. It’s somewhat hard to describe, but it’s actually very simple. It’s a series of squares of the letter “W” overlapping and shifting away from each other. Each page has two layers, a bottom layer that is stable and the top layer where each square of the grid shifts 3 pts away from the previous square as you move across the rows and down the columns. I’m working through as many different iterations as I can imagine (both layers right side up, one layer right side up, the other upside down, one layer turned right, etc…). Once I work through all of these iterations I’m going to start turning the top layers. 3 degrees at a time. I’m imagining this project to eventually live in a massive perfect bound book with full bleeds on every page.

Screen shot 2014-03-29 at 10.58.07 PM

 

I’m insane.

 

2.)   How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Hahahahahahahahahaha…I don’t even know what my genre is. “Intermedia book artist” is what I’ve been calling myself, which catches all the different things in one title.

Lately I’ve been feeling very alienated from the label “poet.” In one sense I feel like I’m a person engaging with language in a myriad ways, both semiotic and material, and thus the term “poet” fits, more so than even just “writer” in that I think there’s more of an implication of play there. But on the other hand I feel like “poet” is evocative of a whole history and culture that I’m only tangentially related to. Meaning that I kind of don’t really know a lot about poetry, and I’m actually not particularly interested in learning more at this point. I have my little niche interests, and every once in a while I get obsessed about a certain poet, but…I dunno. I feel strange connecting myself to a tradition that I feel somewhat ambivalent towards. Especially because I’m surrounded by poets who are POETS ie. they have direct and clear lineages, their writing could be contained under a sub genre of poetry, etc.

Sure, I can connect myself to traditions of visual or concrete poetry, to L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry, to video poetry, to poet’s theater/performance poetry…but those all feel partial, awkward, incomplete. I mean, my connections to high school theater, jazz, punk, d.i.y. culture, social justice movements, and teaching are just as important,

Which brings us back to “intermedia book artist” and thus I can avoid saying how I differ from anyone, because it’s an umbrella that could contain multitudes.

So, I guess my work differs from other poetry in that it’s book art…

 

3.)  Why do I write what I do?

Obsession. I’m obsessed with perception and language and materiality and communication and relationship and power dynamics. To me these things are totally bound up in each other. Every single thing I write/make is about this tangle

 

4.)  How does my writing process work?

In undergrad at Evergreen I started doing this language collecting/collaging process that has totally stuck. I “write through” things: a bus ride, a poetry reading, a conversation with a friend, a lecture, a performance, etc. little fragments or phrases, full lines, full paragraphs, etc. in my notebook, by hand, all the time. Every day, at least a little bit. That’s a lie, I don’t do it every day, but I do do it most days. At least a little bit. Then at some point I dump it all onto a digital document (I love the program WriteRoom! it blacks out the entire screen and the text is white, distraction free!) and I move shit around, look for connections, build poems that way. Cut and paste and move and cut and paste and edit and then I have a poem. Or poems. I often put a WriteRoom document into a Word document that I then flow into InDesign for further manipulation. I know that sounds like a lot of steps, but it’s all part of the process, and I’m also obsessed with process.

The other thing I do is that I play with letterforms on InDesign a lot, and then I often translate those into mock-ups for letterpress printing projects. This started with sigil making, which then led to things like the patterns that are forthcoming in 580 Split and the Timeless Infinite Light collection of Oakland poetry. I also did some hand drawn letterform patterns for Where Eagles Dare (page 23). These then led to this Dark Matter project. Who knows where that will lead…

shit, i just made a leap. texting with kate and looking at a picture of an oil spill on the nigerian river, how beautiful, thinking about all the broken glass around my feet in oakland and the piles of trash with zizek talking in front of them about beauty. how everything just is, we don’t have to make it mean, it just means, but meaning is just nothing, it’s just us. it’s just suffering. it’s just beauty.

i know i’m enlightened i just can’t be it yet. when your brain or heart or body is too fast for your brain or heart or body. how you forget that you can just write, yes, you can, and it’s all just nothing, just us, just suffering.

she said “are you a little sad?” and you said that you always were, a little. your motion says being under, into the best of our worlds, and you remember crying.

you think about the book you need to make about piles of blue garbage bags in brooklyn. how tom’s hair curls down over his forehead. how kate’s does too, but differently. how silly it was when you tried to eliminate all those people from your writing about writing.

repeating arthur russell.

what’s the deal with argument when everything just is? how can i write the same thing over and over? i think i already am. like watching your thoughts be clouds against the theater of your mind.

performing for you.

there was a platform, three to six feet high off the ground and jutting out from a proscenium arch. someone pitched themselves forward and nearly teetered off the edge, but didn’t. something caught them.

you read it again and it was good.

nobody wanted to be that thing. nobody wanted it, really, even though they thought that they did. there’s so much shyness here, really, so much longing without expression of longing.

keyboards too easy, erasable.

what it means to write oneself into being, straddling the low, fat limb of a sprawling oak tree in the dry grass hills. looking for lions, chasing the hare, getting a tiny rock in your shoe. contrasting. wild. kept the line moving forward, or the boundary, straight as an arrow but still drooping to one side. talking out of the side of the mouth. curling down over the forehead.

bloodied bird wings, no body anywhere in sight, but shadows of a body, bird wings, splayed out and red on the sidewalk. our shadows looming over, bodies. stopping, then continuing down the sidewalk.

we’ve taken it to heart, this notion of letting it wash over, flow. redirecting reception. always receiving and looking for where to redirect, you are a channel. she could be a channel, switching.

that time on the train tracks, that time melting, that time waiting, that time switching.

somebody thought hard about how to receive this message, the meanings, someone noted that the click would become important, monumental, even. and it did, it really did. but others piled on to, onto, on too, got created in tandem. drawn out images interrupted.

images of what, though? sketches of models of loving you. holding your face and turning it up in yellow sun that shines off your forehead, curls falling backward, eyes closed and yellow sun reflecting toward the yellow sun. who was it anyway?

always in that one place, hard to sleep there too, but usually trying to hear what to do. how to sleep there.

the feelings were all gestures, disgusting, wiping saliva from the chin, stopping to masturbate and not washing your hands before returning to the work at hand. feeling all gestures.

A marmoset,
does not fit on ur finger
forever only
as a baby,
they can reach a pound.

Is it legal where u live?
Is there a vet that treats monks where u r?
Can u afford $100 a month on food, diapers?
Clean there cage once a day,
they get smelly,
bath time isn’t easy.
Do u have good patients?
They can piss me off,
but I have to keep my cool,
u must be young so how will you handle school, friends and a monkey?

Monkeys take a lot of work.
There schedule:
I wake up at 11 am,
make they breakfast
(yogurt,
marmoset diet, special low iron formula),
I eat,
take them to monkey proof room which includes
a kitty condo,
ropes,
wood trees,
a tv and chairs for me,

I do some virtual school,
feed them again at 3 pm
(fruits like kiwi,
apple,
etc),
then we chill
I finger wrestle them,
they lick up my nose
which kills after a while,
I feed again at 7 pm
(plain noodles and
hard boiled egg)
then my mom comes home to give me a break,

I feed them again at 10:30
(same as breakfast)
then at 11 they know its bed time and go
to there cages which are full of
hammock,
ropes etc.
If its warm and sunny I will take
them for walks,
they need sunlight or uvb light
for At least an hour a day
so there bones are healthy.
I change there diapers every 30-60 mins.
They get mealworms 3 times a week
and get 15 worms each.

In the wild they chew trees
to get SAP
so be prepared for
ur wood furniture
and doors
to get chewed.

As babies they need around the clock care.
Feedings every 2-4 hours,
heating pad,
and to be held a lot for bonding.
Sewsimplymonkey.com
Marmosetmom.com
And you need an exotic vet,
not one that works
with dogs and cats

On the marmosetmom website go
to available monks and call him,
great healthy

Source(s): 15 yrs old, home schooled, monkey mom

I’m trying to resist the urge to begin every blog entry with some comment on how long it’s been since I posted the last one. It’s starting to feel redundant.

So I’ve been kind of thinking about this term “new sincerity.” By “kind of” I mean that I’ve just been thinking about the words themselves and what they, paired, might constitute as far as I can conceive of it for myself. I have done almost no research into how this term is being used widely, which on the one hand is sort of intellectually reckless, but on the other serves a particular purpose for me in that I’m actually trying to build a practice in my work, not adhere to some externally created genre, and for me, for now, the term “new sincerity” feels useful, and I don’t want to confuse it with an active discourse I may or may not want any part in.

This is an email that I wrote to a friend who does know things about “new sincerity” as it’s used in contemporary poetic discourse. I blacked out portions that were too revealing, either of myself or others. I also just like the way the blacked out parts look.

new sincerity

UNTETHERED, FOR MY ARMS TO RETURN

i.

i looked for my arms and was gone[1]
floated out of the container
holding my flesh, also known as
a body, my body, floating out

waiting, untethered, for my arms to return
my body, flesh contained, whole, known as
floating, looking for space
throughout far-reaching planes

always reaching arms
always flesh, my body

ii.

always flesh, my body
when floating, reaching
holding all the glances, all the notions
gathering discrete parts into a whole

through space, looking for the space
in which to construct a body, my body
flesh contained, but untethered
compounding different notions

i wanted to hold together
i looked for my arms and was gone


[1] Stacy Doris, Conference

 

can’t really put the poem here cause the blog formatting ruins the line lengths.

click here to read: gotta just go

As is common I’ve not written a blog in awhile. It’s Interational Women’s Day, so it seems like as good a reason as any to write a blog post.

How is it that we still live in a culture where it’s necessary to have a “International Women’s Day?”

How is it that the global culture is such that women all over the globe are supposed to always assume that they are under threat of attack, and that if they are indeed attacked they are at least in some small part responsible for said attack by not being better prepared for it?

Why do strangers still think it’s acceptable to approach me on the street to tell me that I’m disgusting for having body hair?

Why do you call me names when I don’t want to talk to you at the bus stop/bar? Why assume that a woman alone is just waiting for someone to come talk to her?

Why is it my job to explain to you why you’re fucked up?