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The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center hosted “CrossLines: A Culture Lab on Intersectionality” at the Smithsonian’s historic Arts and Industries Building Saturday and Sunday, May 28–29, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., in celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Featuring the works of more than 40 artists, scholars and performers, “CrossLines” exhibited array of art installations, live performances and interactive maker spaces.
Lawrence-Minh Bùi Davis said, “We had a “poetry listening salon” with an iPad station set up with the video as well as several audio poems–by Juan Felipe Herrera, Arlene Biala, Rigoberto Gonzalez, Brandon Som, and Tarfia Faizullah. Response was great; 12,000 people came through the event, and a lot of people sat in the salon and used the station.”
At the de-installation of the exhibit, Lawrence sent this picture of Clement Hanami and Sojin KIm checking out the video by Arturo Romo-Santillano of a poem of mine, “Hell to Eternity: The Movie Version.”
Clement Hanami and Sojin Kim
the city conflates time, conflates 1960s East Bay with 1970s Seattle Lake Union
where we once lived in an apartment building under the freeway
above the industrial flats on the lakeshore where I couldn’t find work
of course it was all long ago
now I drive through it in my Toyota 4-wheel drive, and that was in the last century
my kids (who weren’t born then) are grown up and I don’t know, I drive forward into whatever this new life is about
at night, you know how night conflates one night with some other nights
conflates the twilight dusk with deep midnight, conflates this regular night
with those long nights when I had worked as a bouncer in a strip joint
till 3 or 4 AM and then went out into the Bay Area to find someplace to sleep
these avenues sleek with shiny dark fur of of night (or it’s just my dirty glasses, it’s just the windshield wet with rain), these streets and boulevards shine with black light
of the incipient universe immediately beneath all surfaces
ready to well up like pools of obsidian tar in the L.A. tar pits adjacent to Wilshire Blvd
these avenues and blvds “run through my mind” “drive thru
my thoughts” shimmering with refractions of distant headlights and street lamps
in soft vague blackness of distance ahead of all this
mixing, in flux, churning, alive—all surfaces like the coastline against the infinite sea of night
night universe, I’m driving through this city (which conflates Seattle, Brooklyn, Oakland, L.A., etc.) all these boulevards of course connect, you can get there from here
if—if—I can find the onramp for 5
past several bright liquor stores or gas stations in the otherwise dark blocks and streets (these office buildings, these warehouses and industrial blocks that used to be the long ago landscape I lived above—several flights up—in the apartment bldg which took a flight of stairs up to the big front door, up on the hill—are dark
and empty at night) I decide I might as well stop and ask for directions
it might save time (though I am not in a rush, I am just driving who knows how far)
(whatever the distance might be, just go), I turn in and park
at the fluorescent glare illuminating the little glass booth of an old 1930s-style gas station, where I can see a couple guys inside talking
a couple of sinewy grizzled guys in baseball caps (about my age)
they eye me warily, smirking as I enter and ask where I can get the freeway
“The 5?” one raises his eyebrow; the other guy makes some remark I don’t catch;
they both laugh—”Yeah, the 5,” I repeat—
they give me some weird, patently useless directions (“Well, yep, go back down to the main boulevard, the main thoroughfare back down about a mile,” etc.) that are more in the nature of some joke between them than information directed at me
so, feeling foolish, I say “thanks,” and shrug, and their laughter follows me out into the night—but somehow I wind around those “south of Market” streets
I find an onramp and take it—not knowing whether I’m heading north or south, at least I am on the freeway!)—heading south, it seems
—speeding down empty lanes of the late night freeway like 101 south through San Francisco—
arriving, if you can call it that, at some Stanford University or immense private library
(wide expanse of grassy lawn, like the Seattle Asian Art Museum on Capitol Hill, with its low wide steps leading to the massive entrance with its tall columns, or the old De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park, which you don’t even remember, do you)
inside maybe 100 folding chairs set up in the immense hall with daylight coming through the vast windows (so it’s a new day, after all, try to remember that)
the usual crowd of white people ignoring me as I enter (by not ignoring me entirely, shooting me looks now and then)—someone’s at the podium, reading
do I know them? I don’t know if I know them, it’s a sparce crowd, I suppose I am there for a reading—I’ll carry out my obligations as they instruct me to
meanwhile, I’ll stroll out under the dim cool vague northern sky
tired of driving all the time or whatever I’ve been doing these days
I have my book of poems (that is a book of poems by a friend that I am carrying around, waiting for a chance to read), a skinny tan poetry book
semi-distant, down the steps and down the walk out by the lawn—perhaps a bit too far to get called back by whoever’s in charge of whatever it is
(whenever I’m out driving through like this, I’m thinking of people I could see—for example, I could have visited my brother—not too far from here—that is, when he was alive)
in the daytime however, the concrete walkways, well-clipped broad swaths of lawn, neatly trimmed hedges don’t have that transcendent immanence
as if you might pass through them into the universe
instead by day the universe is all palpable surface, tangible and concrete, immediate
(even if the Pacific is out there, churning, oxygenated and blue, boiling with living kelp forest off Point Lobos, off Garrapata Beach)
“Hey,” a slim young guy I know as a poet catches my eye
maybe he’ll tell me a specific word
instead we talk about the poetry book I have in my hand, I hand it to him, tell him I like it (as it’s by a friend of mine)—”though I haven’t really sat down to read it yet”—he nods noncommittally, cool like these hipster urban poets—
I get a subtle hapa vibe like David Lau or Brian Kim Stefans or somebody
I’m sure he and they’re hip, they can tell me what’s going on (or somebody will)
and I’ll be on my way (as usual)
2011, Nightboat Books
THE BOOK OF FORGOTTEN BODIES
The reader who opens the Book of Forgotten Bodies finds nothing. There are no horses galloping through deserted villages in search of the men who used to ride them. There are no children crying for their parents who were thrown out of airplanes and into the sea. There are no soldiers who had their arms sliced off for refusing to obliterate innocent bodies. There are no rich men leaning against paradise trees as the drunk bodies of poor men stumble up to their houses to kill them. There are no bodies of hopeless virgins smashes on city streets by Mercedes-Benzes cruising through the gentle drizzle of a foggy day. There are no bodies abandoned on beaches. There are no corpses floating down rivers. There are no bodies hanging in the military barracks on island XYZ off the coast of nation ABC. There are no bodies that pound rock against rock. No bodies that stand on one leg with hoods over their mouths mumbling words we don’t understand. No bodies covered in mud murmuring to the bodies that lie on top of them. There are no bodies that smell of chemicals and rest in puddles in the rain waiting for flowers to fall on their heads. No blind bodies that are painted by artists who value aesthetics over breath. No bodies that imagine their children’s bodies as ghosts and cadavers and skeletons. No bodies that fall from windows as they try to catch a glimpse of the bodies that have fallen before them. There are no bodies discovered by rabid dogs in houses abandoned before they could even be built. No bodies surrounded by barbed wire as countries die in the distance. No bodies whose skin burns in the strange machines that buzz like tropical nights. No bodies that burn in buildings that have been set on fire by bodies with no reason to live. There are no bodies that fry in the sun, that drown in the shadows, that roast on gas, that ooze algae and moss, that are covered in black rags as the lakes and the mountains die. No bodies that hunt or are hunted, that murder out of charity, that are murdered out of charity. No bodies that shutter the windows and hang themselves in libraries of their favorite books. There are no soulless bodies, no frozen bodies, no bodies gnawed to death by insects. There are no practice bodies, no transient bodies, no empty bodies, no blank bodies that twist between forgotten body and dream.
see also http://jacket2.org/commentary/talking-daniel-borzutzky
ONE SIZE FITS ALL
See that immigrant freezing beneath the bridge he needs a blanket.
See that torah scroll from the 16th century: it sprawls on the floor like a deadbeat; the Jews need to wrap it in a schmatte.
The problem, you see, is “exposure.”
Thje poet forgot to shake off his penis and pee dripped on the manuscript that he submitted to the 2007 University of Iowa Poetry prize.
The literary scholar took off his tie and lectured the class on the post-humanoid implications of the virtual cocktail.
He put a pistol on his desk and told the students he was going to kill himself if they didn’t do their homework.
Everything in his “worldview” was exposed.
The data-entry specialist imagined new forms for the senior administrator who was only a temporary carcass, an anti-poem: a budding literary movement that communed with master works by committing suicide while reading them.
The temporary carcass of the bureaucrat, dry as Vietnamese Jerky, called out for “gravy” as it “peppered” the eloquent field of syntax.
Abrupt exposure to ordinary language may result in seriously compromised intelligence, implied the carcass as he lipped the trembling lily which hid the police officer, who said: if you look at me one more time I’m going to zap you with my Taser gun.
I liked the former “Language Poet” for the speech act he attached to the back of my book, which reminded me of Charles Olson on human growth hormones.
The problem, said the critic, remains one of imagination and its insistence on the distinction between thought and action.
“I let him touch my wooden leg,” she said, “and when I unscrewed it I was stuck legless in the hay.”
Which is to say the detachable penis was and has been compatible with family values.
“He was a seriously hardworking boy with a fetish for glass eyes and wooden legs,” she said, “and I really loved him.”
The poetry era reached its nadir as the housing market plummeted, said the professor, as he repeated for the umpteenth time the anecdote about the boy who met an underwater woman as old as the hills.
“Does Poetry live here,” he asked. “Poetry lives here,” she replied, “but he will chop you up and kill you, and then he will cook you and eat you.”
My ideal reader has neither a name, a body, nor an online profile.
Which is not to say that I am not concerned with customer satisfaction.
Dear Reader, Because we value your input, please take a moment of your busy time to answer the following question, which will greatly assist us in our mission to produce cultural artifacts that will further meet your aesthetic and spiritual needs.
Which of the following statements most accurately reflects your feelings about the writing which you have just read:
a. This is a splendid poem, distinguished by the clarity of its thought, the force of its argument, and the eloquence of its expression.
b. This poem is conceptually vapid, artistically shallow, and contributes nothing to the world of letters. It is little more than a collection of bad sentences and poorly formed ideas.
c. I like this poem, but I wouldn’t spend money to read more poems like it.
d. When I read this poem, I feel frustrated and annoyed.
e. When I read this poem, I feel nothing.
transcribed at “Type Writer: An Afternoon of L.A. Stories Typed Before Your Eyes” with Marisela Norte and Lynell George
How do we start?
I came to L.A. from Minneapolis
and I’m a shoemaker and I work for myself
I’ve literally only been here for three—no, four hours
A couple months ago I met this awesome dude
he’s with the L.A. Philharmonic
and I just need a reason to move
things were really picking up with this dude
they were. And they kept escalating, but they
came to a full stop, he was supposed to come visit me
and he didn’t. I don’t know what I’m doing
I could stay in Minneapolis… but I don’t know,
I didn’t decide…
he’s getting a divorce, he’s not really helpful
he’s emotionally embroiled in something I don’t want
to get involved with
I’m leaving on Friday, I’m just here for a week
it would be a big deal, to move all my equipment
but maybe, in Minnesota there’s 3 shoemakers
in L.A. there’s a lot more, but most of them are hobbyists
There’s a lot, in L.A. and New York, they charge
about $2,000. In Minneapolis my price point is about a third of that
Do you want the real story or the one I tell people?
I’ll tell you both
I was in grad school, in the MFA program at the
Art Institute of Chicago, I was a book maker, a writer, a photographer
I’d always done a lot of writing, editing
I got into a serious car accident,
I couldn’t write anymore
but shoes, I could follow
I made my MFA project shoes
they altered the way people had to walk,
you know, I didn’t have to say anything,
I didn’t have to explain, they sort of mimicked the healing process
you know what I mean?
I wrote a lot, I had a blog
but I lost it, a friend of mine said he found it
I wrote and wrote and wrote, but I lost it again
I couldn’t read anything for a long time
I wrote but I couldn’t read
I just started reading again
Are we taking off?
Are you going to put it in your archive?
No I don’t need it, I’ve lived it.
We’re going now, thanks
Nice to meet you
with Lynell George and Marisela Norte
Sunday, April 17 | 2:00–5:00pm | Craft and Folk Art Museum courtyard | Free and open to the public
5814 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 937-4230 | www.cafam.org
Bring your favorite Los Angeles stories to share with favorite local writers Lynell George, Sesshu Foster, and Marisela Norte, who will transcribe your words into poetry and prose using one of our typewriting stations. Participants are encouraged to bring their own typewriters to join in this special type-in event. This event is part of the cultural programs in conjunction with this year’s Big Read, honoring the work of Ray Bradbury. The Big Read is a program in partnership with Arts Midwest.
for more information: http://www.cafam.org/programs
L.A. TIMES FESTIVAL OF BOOKS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
Seeley G. Mudd (SGM 123)Ticket required; Signing Area 4
SATURDAY, APRIL 9, 2016
Juan Felipe Herrera in conversation with Sesshu Foster
Juan Felipe will also be reading at the festival’s Poetry Stage at 2:30 PM
Indoor Conversations require free tickets.
There are two ways to get Conversation tickets:
Advance Conversation tickets will be available from the website starting April 3, 9 a.m. A $1 service fee applies to each ticket. See http://events.latimes.com/festivalofbooks/tickets-and-schedule/ticket-info/
At the festival
A limited number of tickets for each Conversation is distributed at the festival ticketing booth on the day of the Conversation — free of service charges. The booth will open at 9 a.m. each day.
Guests with Conversation tickets must arrive 10 minutes before the scheduled Conversation start time to ensure seating.
a poem by Juan Felipe:
Blood on the Wheel
Ezekiel saw the wheel,
way up in the middle of the air.
TRADITIONAL GOSPEL SONG
Juan Felipe Herrera, “Blood on the Wheel” from Border-crosser with a Lamborghini Dream. Copyright © 1999 by Juan Felipe Herrera. Reprinted by permission of University of Arizona Press.
Source: Border-crosser with a Lamborghini Dream (University of Arizona Press, 1999)
on / with Antena / Antena Los Ángeles
¡El AntenaMóvil ya está instalado! Ven a nuestro evento bilingüe este sábado no solamente para compartir comida rica y conversación rica, sino también para ver/leer/comprar libros de muchas editoriales pequeñas y micros de Latinoamérica y Estados Unidos — incluyendo las maravillas locales Kaya Press, Phoneme Media, Ricochet Editions, Seite Books, y Writ Large Press. El Antenamóvil es un triciclo de carga adaptado, equipado con libros que están a la venta y para leer aquí. La selección se enfoca en obras bilingües y multilingües, textos en traducción y textos innovadores de escritorxs de razas marginadas.
¡The AntenaMóvil is installed! Come to our bilingual event this Saturday not just to share delicious food and delicious conversation, but also to see/read/buy publications from many small and micro presses from Latin America and the U.S. — including local wonders Kaya Press, Phoneme Media, Ricochet Editions, Seite Books, and Writ Large Press. The AntenaMóvil is a retrofitted Mexican cargo trike stocked with books that are for sale and for reading on-site. The selection features bilingual and multilingual works, work in translation, and innovative texts by writers of color.
Justicia laboral alimentaria + Justicia del lenguaje: Un intercambio bilingüe
Food Labor Justice + Language Justice: A Bilingual Exchange
con / with Antena / Antena Los Ángeles, Cocina Abierta & ROC-LA
12 marzo / March 12
12pm – 3pm
Gratis / Free
Se proporcionará comida, pero si deseas, ¡trae una receta o un plato para compartir!
Food will be provided, but if you like, bring a recipe or a dish to shar e!
Por favor RSVP / RSVP Please
(¡pero ven aunque no puedas RSVP! / ¡but come even if you can’t RSVP!)
10899 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90024
The Worker Body / El cuerpo trabajador, Cocina Abierta & ROC-LA, July 2015 / julio de 2015.
Photo/Foto: Heather M. O’Brien
Antena y Antena Los Ángeles, artistas en residencia con el programa de Public Engagement (Participación pública), junto con artistas, organizadorxs y trabajadorxs restauranterxs de la colectiva Cocina Abierta y El Centro de Oportunidades para Trabajadores de Restauranterxs de Los Ángeles (ROC-LA), invitan a lxs visitantes del Hammer a compartir comida, ideas y conversación en un espacio bilingüe. Les invitamos a escuchar las historias de trabajadorxs restauranterxs y posteriormente participar en un diálogo bilingüe durante una comida estilo familiar. Se proporcionará la comida, pero cualquier plato o receta que quieran traer será bienvenido.
¡Colabora compartiendo una receta para nuestro recetario!
Las recetas que logre recolectarse serán utilizadas por Libros Antena Books para crear una pequeña publicación DIY (Do-It-Yourself o hazlo-tú-mismx), que será distribuida a todxs lxs participantes.
Public Engagement artists-in-residence Antena and Antena Los Ángeles, along with artists, organizers and restaurant workers from the Cocina Abierta collective and Restaurant Opportunities Center of Los Angeles (ROC-LA), invite Hammer visitors to share food, ideas, and conversation in a bilingual space. Visitors are invited to hear the stories of restaurant workers and afterward engage in bilingual dialogue over a family-style meal. Food will be provided, but feel free to bring a dish or recipe to share.
Participate by contributing a recipe for our recipe book!
The collected recipes will be made into a small DIY publication by Libros Antena Books and distributed to all participants.
Jen also notes, NEWLY AVAILABLE:
- Pomona College
- Ena Thompson Reading Room
- 140 W. Sixth Street
Acclaimed Los Angeles poet, novelist and current visiting Pomona College Creative Writing Instructor Sesshu Foster reads from his work. Sesshu won a 2010 American Book Award and a 2009 Asian American Literary Award for World Ball Notebook. His book Atomik Aztex won the 2005 Believer Book Award, and his poems have been included in several anthologies.
In front of a live audience at Book Show on October 30, 2015 in Los Angeles, CA as part of Vermin on the Mount, an irreverent reading series hosted by Jim Ruland.