community literary arts invoke a sense of natural beauty combined with an ethereal effect that pairs perfectly with the musings of Harris. Quaerere feels like a book that should not only be read, but experienced on a higher plane, almost in a state of peaceful meditation or that sweet, fleeting moment before you enter the dream realm. At the same time, the poems in quaerere are powerful statements of individuality and truth, and the poet has succeeded in creating something purely of themself, and for the reader to experience the truths within. I found speaking with Harris to be an educational and enlightening experience. Harris’s thoughts and words are crucial to the overall movement against oppressive tyranny and hatred running rampant through our society today. ELEVEN: Can you tell us about the musical aspect of your performance? How do you create the sounds that accompany your works and how do they relate to your poetry? Jamondria Harris: My soundscapes are a part of the same flow that produces the words in my poetry, the sounds and the words arise separately yet in resonance with one another. The sounds when played while segments of the poetry are incanted serve as sonic-wave meditative breathwork to bring myself and those witnessing/co-embedded with the process of the performance closer to the multiple cores of meaning Photo by Tender Heart Productions
LITERARY ARTS Portland poet Jamondria Harris
that will mark our experiences of being in collaborative presence for the duration of the performance. 11: I understand that you're in New York promoting the new book. How has that gone so far and what do you have planned for Portland? JH: In New York City I am going to have another preofficial release reading at Berl's Brooklyn Poetry Shop on August 4th. New York and Harlem in particular, where
I'm staying while I am here, has a feeling of expansion and performance by Jamondria Harris is like nothing you’ve experienced before. As a multimedia artist, they use words, images and sound to project the feelings from a dream
state or reverie. Something that seems impossible becomes almost tangible to the viewer through the use of abstract tools of language and experimental music. It’s like having a daydream privately screened through some magically poetic technology. After writing four chapbooks over the last few years, quaerere (Magic Helicopter Press) is Jamondria’s first full-length work. The book implores the reader to seek, to ask, to desire in a collection of poems written from a black queer prospective. Astonishingly, the book came together in about a month. The poems are interspersed with images that
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beauty. People see and are seen but keep their energy to themselves unless there is something resonant between them, in hatred or in love. They connect in lines of fire that can light up everyone who surrounds regardless. Nonattachment is necessary and impossible and that struggle is very visible and present here. The official Portland quaerere release event is set to occur at Polaris/North Star Ballroom on September 20th, which is also when my accompanying album of the same name will be released. It is going to be a really exciting event and will be blessed by the presence and performance of Dolphin Midwives, ritual noise harpist Sage Fisher's powerful solo music project. 11: You have named Édouard Glissant, Aimé Césaire and Dionne Brand as influential writers. Why are they so important to you?