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Huge male sea lions hogging the dock by the Highway One bridge, on the other side, gulls, terns, great herons, white egrets, a flock of pelicans on a small bluff over Elkhorn Slough. I paddled my arms off, resting by otters—otters rest with their paws on their bellies pressed together as if praying (and when munching, each one followed by a seagull slurping up the trailing debris), as I drifted by, the otter rolled over in the water, looking at me with his paws pressed together in front of his face.
Mergansers, gannets, plovers, curlews, pelicans, gulls, terns, great flocks of tiny shorebirds wheeling, seals and sea lions sleeping on the banks, otters lolling in the wash off underwater grass beds, frayed clouds wisping across the sun, the water glinting choppily, ducks, cormorants’ whiskers and blue green eyes, Canada geese, grebes, and a Union Pacific locomotive with a dozen boxcars and an oil tanker blowing its air horn under tall eucalyptus green hills.
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Where does all this dust come from? I’ve been gone since the first week of December and when I get back in January, dust motes swirl like always in the bathroom window light. Dust bunnies pile in corners around my bed. I haven’t been around—nobody has come in or out—where does it all come from? Is this apartment some vortex, a crack in the universe I can’t see? This town seems fresh in winter, chilly breezes and rain. But the rugs are saturated with dust. A fuzzy softness to the sunshine in oblong rectangles from the windows. Maybe it comes from my mind, from a lifetime of dirty thoughts? From the daily crude sledgehammering of ideas on the rocks and stones of dullness, stupidity, and bullshit in my own mind? Maybe it’s released, minute by minute, from all these books? That can’t be it. Ah that’s what the broom is for.
Japanese American National Museum, Little Tokyo, Los Angeles
JAPANESE AMERICAN NATIONAL MUSEUM
369 East First Street
Los Angeles, California 90012
When the Mango Hits the Fan: A Tag Team Poetry Read-off
Celebrating Indivisible (U. Arkansas Press 2010), the first anthology of South Asian American poets, we’ll be having a unique “read-off” featuring a team of contributors from the book and a team of Japanese American poets. Join us for this lively and hilarious tag team contest, as poets from the respective teams attempt to barter metaphors, and switch off line breaks. Just how much rice and mango imagery can you sustain in one afternoon?
The teams have just been announced…
Karen Anhwei Lee
Pitzer College, Claremont
Monday, January 24: Poetry Reading with Sesshu Foster.
4:15pm in the Gold Multipurpose Room.
Sesshu Foster’s books include World Ball Notebook, Atomic Aztex, and City Terrace: Field Manual. He is the winner of the 2010 American Book Award and the 2009 Asian American Literary Award for Poetry.
Monday, March 4: Amina Cain. Fiction Workshop 10 – 1. Reading 4:15pm.
Amina Cain is the author of I Go To Some Hollow, a collection of stories that revolve quietly around human relationality, landscape, and emptiness, and an upcoming chapbook, Tramps Everywhere. She is also a curator and a teacher of writing/literature. She received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and now lives in Los Angeles.
Monday, April 11: Bhanu Kapil. Workshop 10 – 1. Reading 4:15pm.
Bhanu Kapil writes at the intersection of poetry, prose, and experimental documentary. She is the author of The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers; Incubation: a space for monsters; and most recently, Humanimal, a project for future children. She teaches writing at Naropa University.
The Creative Writing program at Pitzer College is housed within the English and World Literature field group. We believe that student work has meaningful literary and intellectual value, and we foster a supportive community of writers among our students.
As writers, our practice is to listen for the poems and stories that exist in the world before they are written. The aim of the writer is not to make a precise replica of experience, not to degrade the world in such a way, nor its ever-changing nature, but to build a door. If we are lucky, our readers walk through that door, arriving at a room we could never have predicted alone.
Literature stirs us and is stirred by us; it is not something to be experienced at arm’s length. For this reason, we encourage our students to practice becoming engaged readers and writers of literature. We also hope our students will explore other disciplines, in order to broaden the sources for their own writing. Students will find a diverse offering of courses in creative writing and literature at both Pitzer and the other Claremont Colleges. They will also find many opportunities in the vibrant literary culture of the Los Angeles area.