Austerlitz, NY March 2017
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Letter from the Editor Edwin Torres, Silent Runners Shira Erlichman, Ode to Lithium #419: Perfect Akihito Izumi Danniel Schoonebeek, Poem With a Gun to its Head Antonio Sa Dantas, Various Scores and Sounding Garden for Millay Ariel Goldberg, Liquid Gel Feelings Bronwyn Haslam, from LA MATIÈRE HARMONIEUSE MANOEUVRE ENCORE Muna Gurung, Aama, 1978 Bronwyn Haslam, WHAT LINKS Larry Krone, Then And Now Circles Cross Street Flowers, Peaceful Valley, and Mountain Pine River Kendra DeColo, Sober at the Waffle House, Low-End Theory, and Quickening Debra Kreisberg, from Mosholu Barbecue Keith Wilson, fieldnotes and black matters Saad Haddad, Dohree LeVan D. Hawkins, from What Men Do Quintan Ana Wikswo, CARCASS, from Out Here Death Is No Big Deal Rowan Buchanan, Upstate Maxe Crandall, UNDERWATER WEDDING Edwin Torres, Heptathlete List of Contributors
Hello readers! We took a year off but we’re back with a new issue of EDNA, edited by my fine self with poet and Millay alum Wo Chan. Behold work from our family of alumni artists, workshop leaders and participants, jurors, and friends in court. There is so much here, we welcome you to revel in it with us. We begin the issue with this quote from Keryl McCord, Operations Director, Alternate ROOTS: Equity, diversity, and inclusion in the arts is more than important, it is critical to our field, and our country particularly now, when we are so deeply divided by issues of race, homophobia, Islamophobia, immigration/migration, and class. Now more than ever, we are committed to that equity, diversity and inclusion. We believe the arts in all their forms, in all the formations of artists, help us reckon with ourselves and one another. Never has it been needed more. We hope our campus and our programs are havens, inspirations, and sanctuaries for reckoning and reasoning, relating and ruminating. We hope the variety of gorgeous voices that have always beautified and enlivened our campus will continue to do so evermore. And we welcome you, readers, in. Please enjoy some of what Millay is and has been in these pages. And if you are curiouser and curiouser about us, you can find us on the cyber waves. But…don’t stop there. You know we love visitors to our Upstate campus. Visit! Experience a magical world apart, a world dedicated to all of us and our voices – and nothing else. Because that is everything. With love, Caroline Crumpacker, Executive Director and all of us at The Millay Colony for the Arts
Shira Erlichman Ode to Lithium #419: Perfect ...I needed to do something about my moods. It quickly came down to a choice between seeing a psychiatrist or buying a horse...and since I had an absolute belief that I should be able to handle my own problems, I naturally bought a horse. - Kay Redfield Jamison I didn’t seek the horse. Didn’t put out an advertisement. They say it can smell you from sixty miles away, which means if I’m in Toledo & the horse ain’t she can smell black tea & more than a dollop of shame. The way that one famous octopus could predict the winner of the World Cup by putting a particular ball in a particular basket, that’s how much my horse loves me. Nine out of ten times. & By love I mean nearly destroys me for the sake of her own path. She’s yellow-eyed & insolent, my Perfect. I didn’t name her, she came that way. Her coat is Van Gogh’s Starry Night, oil on canvas, post-impressionist, you know the one because you’ve seen a tote bag. What most don’t know is it depicts the view from the east-facing window of his asylum room. What most don’t know is he added an idealized village. Only the villagers know why. Perfect is the kind of bitch-horse to remind you Starry Night’s moon is not astronomically correct. I ride until she’s raw & the moon chips a nail on the dark. I ride until my breaths tie 0-0. Paul. That was the octopus’ name. May we all deserve such simplicity & too many hands. On Wikipedia you can find Paul’s entire life story from his egg hatching in England to present day affairs. But find me manic & you can’t find me. I’m a knobless door. I cook meals for the dead & they eat. I ride the casket like a car, step into traffic like a car but I’m a body. No body can look both ways simultaneously. Except me. I’m an eighteen-layer lust-cake. I prefer Perfect to my own mother, begging. I prefer Perfect’s confetti plaque, raining & raining. I ride until her jaw breaks off. It’s a type of singing. Fire follows me around like a pet sister. I should be able to handle my own problems is something my mouth once said to my brain. If my funeral hatches soon you can bet it will be well-attended by horses. Muscular, mudslick, expertise sluts. Bucking, exquisite & murderous. Perfect is a terrorist disguised as a horse. I prefer choosing terror to a terror I didn’t choose.
Danniel Schoonebeek Poem with a Gun to its Head This appeal for the allocation of government surplus money to pay for the execution of the following work, which will be staged in a warehouse marked for demolition and of the author’s own choosing, will be ventured via submission of the above-named work itself, a poem oftentimes troubled by an undetermined malaise, entitled “Poem with a Gun to Its Head,” in which the author, 23% of an unsavory person named Danniel Schoonebeek, 30 years of age and rumored to be a resident of an unincorporated village populated solely by a fringe network of radio hijackers (and hereafter known as “the client”), puts forth the following terms, necessarily on the grounds that, quote, “already a new death is here to bargain with you,” and, quote, “already this new death,” in the client’s own addendum, is, quote, “already already rebranding itself in your garden”: (1) that the client will be provided with a scrubbed work desk, scoured preferably by a machine that is capable of manipulating either steel wool or sandpaper in what will henceforth be known as its “claws”; (2) that the client will be provided with one single red ballpoint pen and a roll of third-generation organic toilet paper priced at $4.67 per unit, on which the client will undertake the writing of a poem entitled “Poem with a Gun to Its Head”; (3) that the rules, toxicity, patrolled borders, whiteness, stench, duration, blurriness, foul language, flammability, intolerability, subject-verb
insurrection of this poem will be determined under the following criteria; (4) that the client’s childhood friend,
Nicholas J. Frandsen, a platoon sergeant of the United States Marine Corps (who will have served no less than two tours of Iraq, and wearing his Marine-issue fatigues, and rumored to have once beaten two men unconscious with his bare hands, necessarily on the grounds that they tipped their waitress below 5% on a bill of $117), will aim and press a military grade AK-47, purchased illegally with money earned via time served in the U.S. Marine Corps, at the back of the client’s skull, necessarily while the client writes, in red ink on a roll of toilet paper, a poem entitled “Poem with a Gun to Its Head”; (5) that the work in question must abide by at least three of the following terms; (6) that the client must include, at least once in the poem, and in the following rank and file, the words “only rifles have souls”; (7) that the client’s childhood friend, Nicholas J. Frandsen, while aiming a loaded AK-47 at the client’s skull and wearing his fatigues, may feel himself moved to speak the following words in rank and file: “you must work from yourself, like working a scarf of dried blood from a thistle, a morsel of sour bread that casts the world in copper light, a kind of penny-light that announces to the world, quote, ‘I will meet death unafraid,’” whereupon the client’s childhood friend, a platoon sergeant of the U.S. Marine Corps, will remember the following terms of his two tours of Iraq; (8) the tedium, the mess tent, the chemical burns, the gun cleaning, the new fish, the rank, the sleeping in holes, the fraternal, the smart-alecky, the choruses, the trap music, the religious boredom, the ague, the commandant, you kill or be killed, the flight home, a sunburnt cheek, hysterical laughter, the birthday cards, the gun cleaning, and whereupon the client’s childhood
friend will be moved to (9) fire a single round of 7.62 x 39 mm ammunition into the skull of the client, necessarily on the grounds that (10) for Nicholas J. Frandsen, “irreconcilable” & “incontrovertible” are no longer words in the English language but rather the phantom pain of two claws, most likely those of a bear, impaled on either side of his ribcage, and what will hereafter be referred to as “the irreconcilable claw” will be described on the following terms; (11) that the governing body that started the war in which I fought is the same governing body whose morals and laws I took an oath to protect and simultaneously the same governing body who will decide, upon receipt of this appeal, if a poet who is free to make art in the United States, necessarily because of men and women who serve in the armed forces, will be allocated the same government money I received, the difference being the allocation of his government money will fund a work entitled “Poem With a Gun to Its Head,” a work in which I am necessarily cast because of time I served as a platoon sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, simultaneously a role in which I dress in the same fatigues I wore while enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, and hold an automatic rifle to the temple of my childhood friend so as to force him to create art, which is to say these facts are “irreconcilable” insofar as they pierce me away from the world in which I live, and what will hereafter be known as “the incontrovertible claw” will be described on the following terms; (12) that it is undeniable and indisputable that I learned to disarm, dismember, and kill human beings in order to defend the rights of artists to create works in which I am cast in the not unaggressive role of someone who will be
taunted and also tested, necessarily because of my training in disarming, dismembering, and killing human beings, taunted not only to murder a poet out of irreconcilable disgust but also to murder my childhood friend because it is undeniable that I fought a war in order to allow him the freedom to create this work, which is to say I find these facts “incontrovertible” insofar as they pierce me away from the world in which I live and cannot be removed, whereupon (13) as stated above, the client’s childhood friend, Nicholas J. Frandsen, will be moved to fire a single round of 7.62 x 39 mm ammunition into the skull of the client, whereupon (14) the work will be completed and the above-named warehouse will be demolished by an anonymous third party (hereafter known as “the demolisher”), who will destroy the warehouse by means of finding a dead switch in the woods and pushing a red button, whereupon (15) any persons whosoever who find themselves in the position of witnessing this work entitled “Poem with a Gun to Its Head” (and hereafter known as “the audience”) will be given the option, by way of detailed instructions written by the client prior to the execution of the work, of robbing the nearest Bank of America at gunpoint and demanding the sum total of $90,000, which will effectively cancel all execution of this work, barring an act of god, and be divided among the client and Nicholas J. Frandsen as follows; (16) $45,000 to the client, necessarily on the grounds that this is the same amount of money that he is proposing to be paid for creation of the work entitled “Poem with a Gun to Its Head,” and about which he states, quote, “it’s more or less the number at which I price my life,” and this is
subsequently the same amount of money, before taxes, on which the client survived for one calendar year in 2016, and thereafter $45,000 to Nicholas J. Frandsen, as this is the amount of money the client believes the United States government still owes his childhood friend, and furthermore the client is fairly convinced that, quote, â€œif it means not having to make art in the United States of America, any honest person can live off a meager sum and be happy.â€?
Antonio Sa Dantas Various Scores and Sounding Garden for Millay
Ariel Goldberg Liquid Gel Feelings A garbage bag inside out floats above the metal net moody air parachute still anchored to the ground exclamation points of old liquids drain upwards are you ready…to be my barber? spike the graph so the sidewalk rips open, unfinished A breathing guide in my ears while dismantling extra wire clutter technology with journalists which do you prefer, this name or that name the larger audience looms elsewhere communicating liquid gel feelings through a photo out of order signs cascade, their adhesive enough for multiple machines to be malfunctioning at once my tofu got slimy! let’s diffuse the argument by looking up together our algorithms ask the ceiling: what did the permission look like, how did it sound? did they warn their subjects they would be obscured the flash weak, roped off in a red velvet droop matching the stamina of the banister I notice a new exercise shop the movement -- the in small letters -- movement in all caps to stain a shirt with a pen mark unbuttoned onto fitted sheets the ink a permanent drool puddle there remember when advertisements were more of an idea than every other image the link broken from a power outage soliloquies pump institutional ripples staring becomes an emergency alert for precariousness only the malicious gossip occurs to me in the shower also, switching banks, booksellers, and travel plans how to get rid of going to the gas station franchise new deposit mixing with what oil’s already in the tank art on the wall includes the shadow of my cell phone the public album belongs to a little white drainpipe attached to a brick exterior if I reread my lists would they not repeat? just a few pictures in the book make all the pages glossy pages scaffolding stops the rain in a double umbrella hat trick is the paint uneven or is it just wet? her fbi files spread out on the bed ready for pleasure
and the thundershirt comes off, one diminishing bar of soap attaches to the hard edges of the new bar of soap Iâ€™m telling my story of going to a female ejaculation workshop again how the bodily fluids were dumped into a bucket attached to a dirty mop email signatures emit epigraphs or farewells: rage and love, in this way you say it, thereâ€™s no way out of how you say it.
This is a translation of the final poem from a suite of ten (altogether titled La matière harmonieuse maneouvre encore) written by the incomparable Québécoise poet Nicole Brossard. It is with her generous permission that her original and my peculiar translation are published here. This translation is an anagrammatic translation—that is to say that the poem uses the exact same number of letters, and the exact same number of each letter, in its English translation as in the French original. Though French and English share the same 26-letter alphabet, each language uses it distinctively. In comparison to English, French uses a lot of Qs, Us, Ls and Es comparatively few Hs, Fs, and Bs, and almost never uses its K or its W. Translating anagrammatically means that the translation can never use words like like nor words like words, nor words like knowledge and writing. The constraint means also using a more Latinate vocabulary and a rucked up syntax, without linking words like with or when. This work nevertheless makes every attempt to translate the original, though with inevitable and obvious losses. The constraint yields a more French English and a translation that has irrevocably absorbed the language of the original.
from LA MATIÈRE HARMONIEUSE MANOEUVRE ENCORE
à cette heure tardive où nommer est encore fonction de rêve et d'espoir, où la poésie sépare l'aube et les grands jets du jour, et que plusieurs fois des femmes s'en iront invisibles et charnelles dans les récits, je sais que tout n'est pas dit parce que, entre la conversation urbaine et la tradition, il fait froid dans le vertige et que parfois dans la matière volatile des larmes une étrange sueur de vrai s'installe comme si la vie pouvait toucher à ses métaphores
“ La matière harmonieuse manoeuvre encore” 10 from Typhon Dru (Reality Street Editions, 1997)
at this late hour, as to name ever requires a delicate jump, a dream, ideal dust, as poems ever let sunrise secede from sun's creased jets and often she'll queue up invisible or jut carnal in novels and even so persevere, I'm sure not all's been said, not via a reduplicate verse, in articulate tête-‐à-‐têtes nor odes, octets, it gets so cold in vertigo and sometimes in a tear's labile liqueur a queer eerie perspiration of true seeps out as if life could finger its metaphors
Muna Gurung Aama, 1978 “I could read my nonexistence in the clothes my mother had worn before I can remember her. There is a kind of stupefaction in seeing a familiar being dressed differently.” Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida
Photos: Nepal Picture Library: Bhimi Gurung Collection “If we didn’t wear a sari, word would reach the main office that ‘so and so’s wife was not wearing a sari today,’” Aama says to me between fits of laughter over the phone. “Then they would call our husbands to the office.” She’s laughing now because she doesn’t have to be afraid anymore. She isn’t in Singapore, living in an all-Nepali camp, one of the hundreds of women taking care of their homes and children while their military husbands served the country as Gurkhas. She’s told me this story before, but never with such lightness. Aama and I don’t often laugh together. It’s not like we are serious all the time, but laughing together requires that we let ourselves be a little soft, a little silly. “Later, the newer chyamas started wearing pants. To think that I used to be so shy in a maxi!” A maxi is exactly what Aama is wearing in this photo, taken in their kitchen in Block A in 1978. The maxi wraps around the waist and stretches all the way to the ankles, sometimes even kissing the floor. Aama says she was probably making rice in the photo. She imagines it’s 9am and that Baba is waiting for his packed meal for the day. When I ask her who took the photo, she shrugs and
says, “I don’t know.” And then after a long pause, “Maybe your father?” Aama is quick to start every answer with “I don’t know” or “I forget.” It is her way to keep me at a distance, to buy herself time so she can figure out just how much of the story she wants to allow. Of course the photographer is Baba. But the fact that Aama has to pretend to think, or pretend not to know (when she had just said that Baba was waiting for his lunch in the photo) irritates me. As a younger person, an exchange like this would be enough to set me off. I would storm past her while she reasoned with astrology: “Your planet and my planet, Muna, they just don’t align.” Writer Marianne Hirsch once said “to look is also, always, to be seen.” And I sometimes wonder if Aama’s pretend-uncertainty about who the photographer is comes from a place of vulnerability. Maybe she can’t bear to justify to her grown daughter the way she is looking at the photographer. Her mouth slightly open starting or ending her protest of not wanting to be captured on film in the kitchen, in the middle of cooking, looking like that. But in this soft protest there is pleasure budding in her right cheek; a dimple is waiting to cave in. It’s not like Aama is unable to love. She is just careful about her loving—whom to love and how much. She doesn’t show it in the way Baba and I do: with wide smiles, high-pitched voices and touch. I have only seen Aama and Baba share affection—in the way I understand it—once. I was 12 and we had already moved back to Kathmandu from Singapore. It was late afternoon and I was coming home from school. I walked in through the door calling out “Aama!” as I always did. They groaned from their bedroom to tell me where to find them: Aama and Baba were lying in bed, fully clothed, arms around each other, sleep still lingering in the distance between his nose and her hair. They didn’t get up when I walked in. I don’t know how our conversation led to this, but as I was standing over them in my school uniform and they were talking to me with their eyes still closed, I remember asking them if theirs was an arranged or love marriage. Baba said, “Love, of course.” To which Aama opened her eyes, got up to retie her hair and said to Baba, “What nonsense!” Then turning to face me, she said to me, more as a reminder than anything, “We will always have arranged marriages. We are not those white people you see in movies who wear shoes to bed and marry whomever they want only to get divorced.” Years later, Aama and I will battle over love and whom you choose to be with, why and how. *The full version of the essay is forthcoming in Go Home! an anthology out from the Feminist Press in March 2018.
WHAT LINKS (After Nicole Brossard and Edna St. Vincent Millay)
I know not all’s been said. What links, what likes, what licks. It’s not all been said, I know it. What tips, what lips, what’s slick, what clicks, what slickens. It’s not all said. And the body’s on time. What silk, what wilts, what walks, what chalks, what shock. It’s late. All has not been said. So I throw headlong, heartlong, headfelt. What hacks, what thwacks, what lacks, what lasts. I know all’s not been said. The ribs compress. What ticks, what’s talk, chalk, what claws, gnaws. It’s getting late. I know all has not been said. What alias, what sails, what wails, what waits, what will. It’s cold. It’s as though. It’s borrowed. It’s long ago. I know, it’s not been said. What wrote, what’s wrong, what wants, what’s wanton.
Then And Now Circles Cross Street Flowers
Mountain Pine River
Kendra DeColo Sober at the Waffle House I want to be where the syrup jars glint like lanterns, diaphanous and tinted as the amber glaze of a parked Chevy’s windshield on a Friday night. I’ll sit at the counter and listen to the short order cook argue with the waitress about proper ways to please a woman, sipping from thick-rimmed cups of weak coffee, wondering if anyone knows where I am, 2 a.m. at this rest stop, deep in rural Kentucky, near the Holiday Inn where I won’t spend the night, but will finish my coffee and watch a feral cat stalk a wounded sparrow in the parking lot, wings fluttering like fake lashes of a woman knocking back cheap champagne, trying to remember the last time she pursued anything with equal parts curiosity and hunger. Or was it cruelty. Or was it delight.
Kendra DeColo Low-End Theory Love, I’m a musky vermouth, palm of discount stars, instruction manual for low-end vibrators which is to say, my frequencies have slowed down to the flutter of a junebug’s libido, slow but steady, now that I’m with child and cast my desires across the earth like a plastic lure. I think the earth is obscene sometimes, its jeweled ligaments and glands bedazzled with poisons, designed to seduce us into curated oblivions. I’ve been sober five years and still don’t know what to do with all this beauty, my serotonin receivers cracked and humming. Even the news playing on a deli’s small TV set is a pleasure I will one day miss, how the blonde host’s lips are opulent as bloodworms at low tide shimmying under a full moon, and the footage of protesters looks like believers frothing to be sedated with holy touch, even the one who carries a sign that says “If we killed fetuses with guns, would the liberals care then?” But I still can’t help thinking that someone made this sign with their own hand, that it’s possible to love an idea until you forget what love means, and doesn’t this light show of vitriol remind me that I, too, am dissolving back into the earth,
that we are just pre-ejaculate glittering on godâ€™s ornate tip that will keep spurting long after weâ€™re gone? Let me love even this anchor asking, donâ€™t all lives matter. Let this love be enough to keep me going, trudging through a spectacle that shimmers like shit flecked with gold, a rancid honey whose sweetness obliterates as it shines.
Kendra DeColo Quickening Sticky as a film of blue pollen on a windshield, flash of half-notes, clustered aphids jeweling a leaf, your movement is microscopic, breakbeat and blossom, language of brine shrimp and halfopened shells pulling syllables from the moonâ€™s alkaline throat. You are more memory than dream, the fog I wake into, cloudy as the thawed water of street geraniums pulsing in a white bucket, bright sting I want to put my lips to and drink when you buckle like a star, as I want to keep everything beautiful intact when my insides start to tingle with this midnight code, go back and lift the bird I once found into its nest, return music and blood and reverb to the body before it knew how to feel, to be brave enough to claim this small joy, your silk and drizzle synchronizing with the thrum of my lopsided heart.
Debra Kreisberg excerpt â€‹from Mosholu Barbecue
Keith Wilson fieldnotes 1 in physics dark matter isn't “made” of anything. it's a free citizen that passes unburdened through the field, through itself, through you— 2 it helps to observe from a distance: the field, for instance, as a statement the south has chosen to make, the way whiteness too is often rhetorical, as when an older student remarks in those beginning days that only he observed mlk’s holiday while his black friends, working, did not 3 sometimes love is a black dot in a field sometimes, suddenly it is not. 4 or how can black be the absence of all color? take this cruiser. see the light strike blue off the car like copper through a fountain 5 there is a difference between what is fair and what is just, for instance,
it is fair that i try to love your skin even when it is not touching my own 6 whiteness is an alibi, the way the officer was like a steamliner only I could see 7 inside where nothing shows I am of course not black but that does not matter to the field 8 some colors are indistinguishable at night. â€‹put your hands behind your back a different cop once asked me. it was so sincere. he was so polite 9 as a boy you learn to know the inside without being required to feel it as when, now, I understand a bucket or a hood 10 he asks my girlfriend not if she is white since even in this light what we are is obvious but instead he speaks philosophically: maâ€™am he asks are you here of your own free will
11 sometimes whiteness is a form itself of hyperbole. try this: sit in a field. then try reading andrew jacksonâ€™s quotes on liberty only pretend they are being written by his slaves 12 look at the word black on the paper & you will see a certain black, a kind, a certainty, or if you see nothing at all that of course is a kind of black too 13 by the road my father showed me cotton once look at that he said
Keith Wilson black matters after D.H. Lawrence shall i tell you, then, that we exist? there came a light, blue and white careening, the police like wailing angels to bitter me. and so this: dark matter is hypothetical. know that it cannot be seen in the gunpowder of a flower, in a worm that raisins on the concrete, in a man that wills himself not to speak. gags, oh gags. for a shadow cannot breathe. it deprives them of nothing. pride is born in the black and dies in it. i hear our shadow, low treble of the clasping of our hands. dark matter is invisible. we infer it: how light bends around a black body, and still you do not see black halos, even here, my having told you plainly where they are.
Saad Haddad Dohree
Dohree can be heard here: â€‹http://www.saadnhaddad.com/dohree.html
LeVan D. Hawkins Excerpt from the memoir W hat Men Do A few weeks before my high school graduation, my mother’s brother Ralph died unexpectedly. During his wake, I noticed a man standing respectfully at his open coffin. A t first, all I saw was the man’s back. To my seventeen-year-old eyes, he was just another man in a suit at my uncle’s wake. A cheap suit at that. Straight-legged pants, tiny lapels, and the cloth was shiny from wear. It looked like something you’d buy at Sears, Penney’s, or Target. What made me pay special attention to the man was the amount of time he lingered at my uncle’s coffin. Most of the other mourners, especially the men, took a respectful look then quickly turned to the front row on their right where members of my immediate family sat: Ralph’s son and daughter, my maternal grandmother, my two aunts, and my two remaining uncles. The mourners shook their hands, embraced them, gave blessings to them, or had a short conversation with each family member. This man stayed at the coffin, head bowed, staring at my uncle’s face. Whoever he was, he knew my uncle well. Finally, he ruefully shook his head and turned. It was Johnny, my father. I leaned forward and took a hard look at his face to be certain. Then I glanced at Ernest, my brother, age sixteen, who sat frozen next to me, transfixed by the ghost gently kissing my grieving grandmother. The three memories of Johnny that I had held on to for over a decade joyfully filled my head. My pounding heart shoved me against the pew as Johnny smiled and shook the hands of my uncle’s thump thump thump. I was surprised at how much he looked like Ernest son and daughter. Thump despite my mother often saying he did. Both Ernest’s and Johnny’s faces were long and narrow, blockish with lots of forehead. I looked like a Hawkins—my mother’s side of my DNA—with my round dark face, side profile at an incline, chin jutting forth. Johnny, smiling, reached down and hugged my Aunt Florence. About a dozen rows behind them, I watched them exchange a few friendly words. Thump thump thump thump. His eyes took in the row behind Florence as he released her, stopping when he found my mother, still unaware of his presence, deep in conversation with an elderly couple from our church. Johnny’s eyes continued searching through the large family section of the congregation. My aunt swiveled in her seat and joined him. THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP. They were looking for Ernest and me. I reathe. considered waving, but moving my hand was too complex a task for my pulsating body. B Breathe. Florence finally spotted us and motioned in our direction. THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP. Johnny smiled and waved. Ernest nodded; my lips trembled as I attempted a feeble smile.
THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP. Johnny squeezed my aunt’s hand in gratitude then hurried down the aisle nearest us, his smiling eyes fixed on his two sons, our eyes fixed on our father. The closer he came, the harder my heart pounded until it felt like it was going to rip out of my suitcoat. I pressed my hand to my leaping chest, praying it would soothe me. It didn’t. My chest turned hot and my body began to spasm as Johnny arrived at our row. Come on, breathe. Johnny greeted my cousins sitting beside my brother and me and then reached over them, grabbing Ernest’s hand. “God bless you,” Johnny said to Ernest in a soft-spoken voice that revealed his Arkansas origins. I was surprised how well I remembered it. “Thanks,” Ernest said. As Johnny stretched his hand towards me, I flung my spasming hand into his. “God bless you,” he said to me. I nodded, unable to speak. Instead of reaching over our cousins, we should have been moving to the aisle to be closer to Johnny but I didn’t think I was capable of moving. “God bless you,” he repeated, still smiling, waiting for a response. I nodded once again. Most likely, he had uttered those same words to my uncle’s son and daughter—they were standard words of comfort to the bereaved at our Southern Baptist Church—but he seemed genuinely moved when he said them to Ernest and me. And, perhaps, relieved. His little boys had grown into healthy young men in spite of his neglect. Not murdered. Not in jail. Clean-cut church boys seemingly unaffected by the urban streets. He started to speak but lost his balance, stumbling over one of my cousins. “Sorry,” he apologized. “My sons,” he said, proudly gesturing toward us.
My sons. Another wave of joy rushed over me. My sons. In the midst of my ecstasy, my stomach dropped. My joy turned to anger. Before I could make sense of my feelings, a pop from the minister’s microphone crackled from the speakers as he shuffled through his papers. The undertaker began making preparations to close my uncle’s coffin. The wake was over; the funeral was beginning soon. Johnny gestured he’d see us afterwards and rushed down the aisle. Ernest and I turned our heads in unison and watched our father as he headed to the back of the church and sat behind our family. +++
After Uncle Ralph’s funeral, I sat on my grandmother’s front steps eating, barely looking at the food I shoveled from the plate in my lap. The food, lovingly cooked by friends and family and most likely quite delicious, may as well have been from a rusty can. My attention was on a sight I must have seen as a toddler, but couldn’t remember as a seventeen-year-old: my mother and father together. Nothing dramatic. Just the two of them talking. Though the exterior house light was on and the yard overrun with family and guests—it was a warm June night in the Midwest—everyone was in shadow except my mother and father, my eyes acting as their spotlight. As I observed my mother and father, I contrasted them with the picture my mother had placed in both Ernest’s and my rooms when I was fourteen, something that surprised me—a professionally shot and framed 8x10 of my mother and Johnny in their twenties. Lovebirds in an oval. In the photograph, my mother’s face gently rests on Johnny’s cheek. The twinkle in his eye, the self-assured half-smile from the son of a Chicago minister, must have been irresistible to my mother, a faithful small-town church girl and Sunday School teacher. A hint of satisfaction from her full, upturned lips played on her placid face. The man and woman in front of me were, of course, older than the couple in the photograph and, in my mother’s case, sadder, her face shrouded in shock and grief, her smile pained. The hope and physical intimacy in the photograph were also missing from the scene before me. That night, my mother’s thin frame was tight, her hands determinedly at her side. Johnny, still in great shape at forty-nine, still flashing the self-assured half-smile from the photograph, leaned his body towards her. As he talked, he inched closer and closer, hammering away at the invisible wall my mother had erected. After one of his lean-ins, he spoke into her ear, his lips almost touching, his breath close enough for her to feel. Suddenly, her wall collapsed. Her face panicked then went slack. She looked helpless and uncertain. In just a week, my world had fallen apart. My uncle was dead, the first death in our immediate family in my lifetime and my father had returned from the dead. My mother was the general, the boss—tough, blunt, and consistent. She rarely let her guard down. The tears she shed when the doctor at the hospital informed us her brother had died and later, at his funeral, were reasonable but jolting aberrations. To see her now at the mercy of the man she kicked out of their home years ago shattered my foundation. I removed my plate from my lap and plopped it on the stairs as I rose to … what? Take my father to task? Shove him away? Run interference? I didn’t have a plan. I just wanted to get to my mother. The food from my plate spilled onto the stairs. “Damnit.” The man eating next to me offered his napkin. My hands shaking, I began to gather up my mess, keeping my eyes on my parents. Before I could finish, my mother jerked away from Johnny, her move emphatic but ladylike, reflecting her
personality, a strong woman determined that her personal life never be on display. Her face muscles determinedly returned to place. Order returned to my world. Three nearby women in their church finest caught my mother’s eye. She squealed in recognition, her voice full of pleasure, perhaps too much so as she dismissed her ex-husband and embraced each of them. Johnny eased down the driveway towards the back yard. I grabbed my paper plate and rushed into my grandmother’s crowded house, made my way through the bodies, threw my plate into the garbage, and met Johnny at the back door. He was smiling and shaking hands. A seasoned politician making his way through his rally. “Hello, son,” he smiled at me. I froze. Thump thump thump thump. My world shifted. Again. Pure delight to anger in seconds. Son? You can’t act like you’ve never been away!!! Where have you been? How could you leave us like that? If you showed up for our dead uncle’s funeral, why couldn’t you show up for us? For a second, a brief flicker of panic clouded his face—could he read the questions on my mind? He seemed as helpless as my mother had been in the front yard. I grinned at him and let him drown in his panic. He looked away for a moment then returned to me, his eyes twinkling as if he were going to ask me to dance. He smiled his now-familiar half-smile as if long ago, he had discovered it gave him the power to get his way: The more seductive the smile, the more he could deflect my questions. He had no need to fear any questions I might ask. During the funeral, I had gone over each one, then rejected them as childlike and needy, questions to be pondered but unasked. Both my grandmother and Aunt Florence, the strong women who helped raise my brother and me, had greeted him with enthusiasm. My no-nonsense mother had given his photograph a place of honor in my bedroom. I wasn’t mature enough then to view the photograph as a message from a woman who sought out her relatives across the country: I don’t want you to forget your father; this is where you come from. My brother also seemed accepting of Johnny’s behavior, though he spent most of his time after the funeral with our neighborhood friends. Even I challenged my resentment: My childhood memories of Johnny were full of a child’s pleasure at the rare sight of Santa Claus. Those memories sent me scurrying through my grandmother’s house to find him. As Johnny and I stood near the back door, we were steadily interrupted by those waiting to get into the only bathroom available in the house, those passing through on their way outside for fresh air, and those stopping to say “hello” to their long-lost and obviously well-liked in-law. Johnny spoke to everyone as if any other action would have been rude, his words cordial and full of southern
charm. I had no more standing than an acquaintance who hadn’t seen him in years. I stood quietly at his side observing him, my emotions in conflict. I could smell a hint of cheap cologne. His skin glowed. There was a tiny smudge of grease on his collar. Did Mother turn you on to Vaseline as moisturizer when you were married? Or did you turn her on to it? “So how’s school?” he asked, smiling during a break in traffic. “It’s almost over,” I said. “I graduate in two weeks.” “Good. Good. I heard you made good grades.” You heard? You talked about me to someone who knows me? Who? You have been keeping up with us and didn’t bother to communicate? We seemed a standard plot from a TV episode. Usually, it involved an athlete. He meets his long-absent father who’s been keeping track of all his triumphs. I paid special attention to those stories. Anything with a fathers and sons. They always ended in reconciliation. I ended up in tears. “What college are you going to?” “University of Illinois in Champaign. Accounting.”' “Good,” he smiled. Nothing of depth was exchanged between us. We were two strangers circling each other: he, polite, wearing his never-changing smile; me, self-conscious, struggling with light conversation, yearning to penetrate the grinning mask in front of me. I began to fidget, my few sentences full of stammers, long pauses, and “uhs.” “Oh Lord, look who’s here!” One of the guests, a man Johnny’s age, exclaimed upon seeing him. Johnny bobbed his head and laughed, embracing his buddy. “This is my son,” Johnny said proudly, introducing me. Would that ever sound natural? “My oldest one.” He turned to his friend and asked about his family. I watched them talk for a few more moments then interrupted, gave Johnny a fake smile, and excused myself. Later, he went next door to my mother’s middle brother’s house, the stop for most of Ralph’s childhood friends and the men who drank. The church men, the nondrinkers, and male friends of my mother’s and aunt’s socialized at the family house where I spent most of my time making trips to the food-laden table. Without the distraction of my mother and father, the food was delicious just like I knew it would be. Still, next door with all the laughter and loud voices bellowing from my uncle’s kitchen window seemed much more alluring than the restrained Christian environment at my grandmother’s. Whenever there was a new outburst from next door, I glanced at my uncle’s house, imagining Johnny partaking of the festivities. After much deliberating (torn between being a “good
Christian boy” and being a young man doing manly things), I removed my tie, shoved it in my pocket, and made my way next door. Outside of my uncle’s kitchen, in the dark of his mudroom, I listened as the men’s laughter rise to a crescendo. I couldn’t stand missing another moment. I rushed into the harsh light of the kitchen. The room smelled of cigarette smoke, alcohol, and motor oil. Not unusual for my uncle’s house; there just seemed to be more of everything. The men sat in chairs, stood along the wall, and leaned against the appliances. Johnny, beer in hand, leaned against the refrigerator. Ernest stood in a doorway drinking a beer with one of our neighborhood friends. Bottles of alcohol, full and empty, and a plate of cigarette butts covered the dirty kitchen table. An auto part, perhaps a carburetor—I wasn’t good on what was what in a car—rested on an oil-soddened newspaper on the sink. Disappointingly, there wasn’t any food. Johnny grinned and saluted me with his bottle as I looked around for a place to stand. This time, his spell succeeded. His acknowledgment delighted my chest. I grinned at him. Had I been alone, I would have broken into dance. I leaned back on the sink near the carburetor to catch my breath, not noticing until the end of the night that the elbow of my suit coat rested on oily newspaper. The men took turns sharing scandalous stories involving my larger-than-life deceased uncle. “I know you got a story,” one of Ralph’s childhood friends said to Johnny. Johnny laughed. “A lot of ’em. Not for sharing in front of the kids though.” “Ain’t no kids in here. These boys grown,” the man snorted. “Ok, a clean one. One time somebody owed him money,” Johnny began. “And he got me to go along with him to get it. Without telling me.” Johnny laughed, some of the men along with him. His eyes blazed from drinking, his voice was edgier than it had been earlier. I could sense he was uncomfortable being the center of attention; he spoke quickly without pauses or gestures, his eyes on the floor. “‘We will eff you up,’ he told them. What??? We???” The men laughed. “I didn’t have a choice but to stand there and look tough.” He affected a comical tough-guy pose, his face frozen in menace, his chest puffed out. His face lit up at the men’s laughter; he slowed his pace and continued with enthusiasm. “One point, I had to put my hand inside my coat like I was packin’.” He frowned like a tough guy and put his hand into his suit coat. “Thought I was going to shit in my pants. Half the time I was with him, my life was at risk. It was excitin’ though. He was always getting me into some mess. And when he wasn’t doing that, he was dragging me out the house all times of the night putting me on the outs with the wife. ‘But baby, I was with your brother.’ That only made her madder. My life still at risk!” The men laughed.
I hadn’t been aware Johnny and Ralph were close. My family took the “Don’t let everybody know your business” credo seriously. Most weren’t sharers, griots, or storytellers. “I’m too busy struggling in the present to talk about the past,” Aunt Florence once told me after I asked about her college days. In less than an hour, I understood why my mother had loved Johnny and why she divorced him. My uncle was a drunk—“an alcoholic” is too polite a word; he was six-feet-five-inches of stagger and sour alcohol, full of shenanigans, the father of four by two women, an active father to none. “You are judged by the company you keep,” my mother always warned us. I alternated between being fascinated with the men and being disappointed. I didn’t realize they were working through their grief. There was no praying, or Bible verses exchanged, no wiping away tears, no embraces. Just drink, laughter, wild stories, and more drink. I considered returning to my grandmother’s—one of Aunt Florence’s friends had placed a butter pound cake, one of my
favorite desserts, on the table as I was leaving—but my grandmother didn’t have Johnny. I decided to stay and make an attempt to talk to him again before the night ended. Despite my proximity to my father, he didn’t spend any more personal time with me. When he informed Ernest and me he was leaving, we walked him to his car in silence. When? When? When? When will we spend some time together? When will I see you again? “Well, this is my Cadillac,” Johnny joked when we reached his car, a beat-up Ford at least ten years old. He turned to us. “It was so good seeing you boys,” he smiled, offering Ernest his hand.
“See you later,” Ernest told him, shaking his hand. I was standing at Ernest’s side and twisted my body to get a view of his face. He was the worldly one. I would take my cue from him. Did he mean “see you later” like Johnny would be back? Or was it like what he would say to some stranger he knew he’d never see again? Ernest’s eyes remained on Johnny as if he were intentionally ignoring me. Maybe if he had looked at my questioning face, his façade would have broken. Johnny smiled at me and offered me his hand. I gripped it firmly, ardently returning his smile. “Good seeing you,” I said. Come back when all these people aren’t around. Let’s spend more time together. “See you later.” “It was great seeing the two of you. God bless you,” Johnny said, as he opened the door and slid into his car. He started the engine and took a long look at his sons. His miracles. My insides jerked with the revving engine. “I’ll see you soon,” he said through the window as he pulled away from the curb. We didn’t have his telephone number. We didn’t know where he lived. We watched his car
disappear down the street, towing my unanswered questions behind it. When his car was no longer in view, we crossed the street to my grandmother’s. I said nothing to Ernest about what I was feeling as we entered my grandmother’s house. He said nothing to me. I sat down in my grandmother’s dining room and had two slices of pound cake.
Quintan Ana Wikswo excerpt from Out Here Death Is No Big Deal CARCASS
CARCASS / Madrid, New Mexico My girl and I walk into the café. No, that’s not how it begins. We were in an old mining town. Coal in the soul of every angry body we met. That’s how it feels, hauling up the corpses of dinosaurs every day. Carcass. That’s what made us hungry, the memory of flesh, too long dead to still be angry. Just a piece of meat. No other women around, just us, and so we toed the road. The only road leads to the café and we ate it fast. Ankles in the dirt, boots in the long black mud, we ate up that long hungry road to the café and there’s a man inside said sit right down just anywhere really, I’ll find you, just take a seat where you want, ladies, nothing to worry about, and he wiped intestines off his knife and onto his apron and there was blue calico tossed like tarps as far as we could see over tables. My girl says, What’s that smell, she says, she touches my arm, my wrist, and as always my small fur stands up for her, and she holds on. What is that odor? It is not appetizing. O The man calls out, Sit where you want, he calls out. Ladies. He is re-sharpening his knife. Sit where you want, I’ll find you. My girl holds onto my wrists, it smells in here, she grasps my neck in her fingers, it stinks. This smell, this blood red fear smell is something rotten, or maybe just unwashed. Sit yourselves down, he says, ladies. On the blue oilcloth calico are long strands of hair with the roots still on. You ladies, he says, you ladies sit down where you please, he says, I always find my ladies. It smells of flesh and death and he must not have let her wash first, that must be it.
O A man walks in. He has a face of a stirrup. Too many feet have put themselves there - wedged in his face is the look of it, and he turns his head and he has an eyepatch. There is a purple stain down the side, a slice, it’s a cut, a bash, a gash, stew’s gonna be good, he says to the other man, he doesn’t see us, the bitch got it, she got it and my friend - sometimes people call her that - she stands beside me and she says it stinks in here, it is rotting, whatever he wants to feed us it is rotten and it smells. She winds her fingers through the fur between my legs. There in her hands is my seashore, my gums of a cat, but out here is a dead thing, a bloated udder, a piece of meat, she’s been cut and killed. The man fingers his eyepatch. He sees us with his eye. He says, I gave it to her and the bitch took it. Let’s leave, she says, I don’t like how I feel here. O The butcher doesn’t say a word. He is in the back behind the calico curtain covered in strips of skin and the man with the eyepatch, he sees us. With his eye, he fixes us, he says, I’ll fix you, bitches, we put your kind in ditches and from behind the curtain the butcher laughs overtop the sound a throat makes trying to draw air through a tunnel filled with blood. It stinks, my girlfriend says. She and I are the only women in town. She digs her claws through the shoulders of my black leather jacket and she flies up and she carries us away. Ladies, he says from down below, our long strands of hair in his hands, with the roots still on.
Rowan Buchanan Upstate In the orchard, I ran my hands over apples as lumped as my knees. I drunk tea at the picnic table and picked at the finish, too lazy to carve my name. I didn’t learn it was coyote country until we heard them howling—long and hungry. It was dark out by then. We’d been warned of smaller predators, mosquitoes, ticks, and the rest. It was impossible to see into the trees, but all night they called. Nothing sounds so like desire as a coyote after the rain. A year has gone by. And now in garden-hemmed streets or standing in front of glossy rows of Coca-Cola at the store, a slice of me is still waiting. Waiting for the coyotes to come out of the woods.
Maxe Crandall UNDERWATER WEDDING CAST Mary, Future Spouse ……. Elizabeth Koke St Joseph the Diving Coach ……. Lonely Christopher Juliet Wet-Nurse of Bushwick ……. Diana Cage Holy Friar ……. Theodore (Ted) Kerr David ……. Aldrin Valdez Spartacus Boy Wonder ……. Stephen Ira Video Sets by Ethan Weinstock Photography by Grace Moon
[The Proposal] ST JOSEPH THE DIVING COACH Oh Mary, will it be like this forever? MARY, FUTURE SPOUSE I imagine so. ST JOSEPH THE DIVING COACH Did you ever think we’d be so happy? MARY, FUTURE SPOUSE Everything’s so normal and feels so good. ST JOSEPH THE DIVING COACH I love being a normal straight couple. MARY, FUTURE SPOUSE Me too. We barely have to do anything. We can just be. ST JOSEPH THE DIVING COACH Normal, except of course for my extraordinary diving career.
[The Wedding Contest]
MARY, FUTURE SPOUSE Juliet, I love being engaged to no one. With Joseph, engagement felt a little one-dimensional, if you know what I mean, but now I’m liberated. I feel like I could marry anyone, anyone at all! JULIET, WET-NURSE OF BUSHWICK Truly, you might! But you’ll still be tied to a man. MARY, FUTURE SPOUSE I hadn’t thought about that. JULIET, WET-NURSE OF BUSHWICK Child, because of your silly idea, your fate now depends on a diving competition. MARY, FUTURE SPOUSE WHAT? JULIET, WET-NURSE OF BUSHWICK I thought you knew. There’s to be a diving contest at 2:00 p.m. and anyone can enter. And I do mean anyone. MARY, FUTURE SPOUSE (wistfully,) Soon a complete stranger will break the surface of my heart.
[A Sudden Plot Twist] DAVID I’m all air for you, Joseph. Practically flying by the side of your face. ST JOSEPH THE DIVING COACH David. It is with great urgency that I’ve decided I want to marry you. DAVID I never thought I’d say this because of my political leanings, however: I’d like to marry you too. I’ve always dreamed of having an underwater wedding. SPARTACUS BOY WONDER But everybody knows that David’s Bridals will cease to exist unless you remain unwed. You are forbidden to marry. That is the cornerstone of the myth! ST JOSEPH THE DIVING COACH Oh my god, is it true? DAVID That may be the law, but I love you.
Rowan Buchanan Rowan Hisayo Buchanan’s novel Harmless Like You is published by Sceptre (Hachette) in the UK, Canada, & Australia. In the USA, it’s published by Norton. Rowan is Japanese, British, Chinese, American, a fiction writer, an illustrator, and a list-maker. She has a BA from Columbia, an MFA from the UW-Madison, and too many cardigans. Rowan holds a BA from Columbia University, an MFA from the UW-Madison, and a 2015 Asian American Writers’ Workshop fellowship. Nicole Brossard Nicole Brossard was born and lives in Montréal. Poet, novelist and essayist, twice Governor General winner for her poetry, Nicole Brossard has published more than forty books since 1965, many of which have been translated into English. She cofounded and co-edited the avant-garde literary magazine La Barre du Jour (1965-1975), co-directed the film Some American Feminists (1976) and co-edited the acclaimed Anthologie de la poésie des femmes au Québec (1991; 2003). She has also twice won le Grand Prix de Poésie du Festival international de Trois-Rivières (1989; 1999). In 1991, she was attributed le Prix Athanase-David (the highest literary recognition in Québec). In addition to being a member of l’Académie des lettres du Québec, she has also won the W.O. Mitchell Prize (2003), the Canadian Council of Arts Molson Prize (2006), the Prix international de littérature francophone Benjamin Fondane (2013), and was made an Officer of the Order of Canada (2010) and chevalière de l’Ordre national du Québec (2013). Her work has influenced a whole generation and has been translated widely into English and Spanish and is also available in German, Italian, Japanese, Slovenian, Romanian, Catalan, Portuguese and Norwegian. Her most recent book translated into English are White Piano and Ardour. Maxe Crandall Maxe’s play Together Men Make Paradigms (Portable Press, 2014) was a finalist for the Leslie Scalapino Award and premiered in the NYC Hot Festival at Dixon Place. Additional creative work includes the short play Underwater Wedding, and the poetry chapbook Emoji for Cher Heart (Belladonna, 2015), as well as poetry and essays in SFMOMA’s Open Space, Jacket2, the Recluse, and Vetch. Maxe is a Lecturer in the Program in Writing and Rhetoric at Stanford University and a tutor in the Hume Center for Speaking and Writing. Maxe works in the intersections of genre/literary
studies, queer theory, transgender studies, and experimental poetics and performance. His current project is a critical biography of Gertrude Stein titled Gertrude Stein and Men. Kendra DeColo Kendra DeColo is the author of My Dinner with Ron Jeremy (Third Man Books, 2016) and Thieves in the Afterlife (Saturnalia Books, 2014), selected by Yusef Komunyakaa for the 2013 Saturnalia Books Poetry. Her poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Gulf Coast, Ninth Letter, Bitch Magazine,VIDA, Verse Daily, and elsewhere. She has received awards and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, the Millay Colony, and the Tennessee Arts Commission. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.
Shira Erlichman In Hebrew SHIRA means “song” & “poem.” Born in Israel, living in Brooklyn, SHIRA is a songwriter, producer, writer & visual artist. She has shared stages with CocoRosie, Mirah, TuNe-YaRdS & Andrea Gibson. A three time Pushcart Prize nominee, her work has been published in PBS Poetry, Buzzfeed Reader, The Huffington Post, BUST Magazine, Winter Tangerine, The Massachusetts Review, as well as alongside Patricia Smith in Bull-Gouging the Matador, in the anthology Courage: Daring Poems for Gutsy Girls and the Lambda award winning LGBTQ anthology Glitter and Grit. She received her BA from Hampshire College, a Millay Colony Fellowship & a James Merrill Fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center. Her latest album “Subtle Creature” is forthcoming in August 2016. Ariel Goldberg Ariel Goldberg’s The Photographer was published by Roof Books in 2015. Their book length essay The Estrangement Principle was published by Nightboat Books in 2016. Other publications include the chapbooks Picture Cameras (NoNo Press, 2010) and The Photographer without a Camera (Trafficker Press, 2011). They are the recipient of a Franklin Furnace Fund grant for a series of performances and slideshows and have been an artist in resident at Headland’s Center for the Arts, The Invisible Dog, n/a gallery, Residencias Artísticas Intercambios and SOMA, Mexico City. Ariel is a curator at The Poetry Project and teaches at Pratt Institute and Parsons.
Muna Gurung Muna Gurung is a writer and educator based in Kathmandu, Nepal. She received her MFA from Columbia University where she was a teaching fellow. Her fiction, nonfiction and translated works have appeared in The Margins, H imal Southasian, Words Without Borders, No Tokens, PIX Quarterly and La.Lit. Muna was a 2015 Asian American Writers Workshop Margins Fellow, and is the founder of KathaSatha, an initiative that fosters a storytelling culture in Nepal. munagurung.com
Saad Haddad Saad Haddad (b. 1992) is a composer of orchestral, chamber, vocal, and electroacoustic music who achieves a “remarkable fusion of idioms” (New York Times), most notably in his work exploring the disparate qualities inherent in Western art music and Middle Eastern musical tradition. His music delves into that relationship by transferring the performance techniques of traditional Arabic instruments to Western symphonic instruments, while extending their capabilities through the advancement of technology. Born in Georgia and raised in California, Haddad studied composition with Donald Crockett, Stephen Hartke, Frank Ticheli, and Bruce Broughton at the University of Southern California (Bachelor of Music) and with John Corigliano and Mari Kimura at the Juilliard School (Master of Music). For more information and updates, please visit: www.saadnhaddad.com, follow his Facebook page, www.facebook.com/saadhaddadcomposer, and/or subscribe to his online newsletter. Bronwyn Haslam Bronwyn Haslam is a poet and translator who lives and works in Montréal, Canada. Her poems and translations have appeared in Asymptote, The Capilano Review, Aufgabe, Matrix, and Dandelion. She holds a BA (hons) and BSc from the University of Calgary and an MA from the Université de Montréal. With Lianne Moyes, she edited a special issue of Open Letter on the work of the Montréal novelist Gail Scott. She is presently at work on a manuscript of experimental translations of the work of Nicole Brossard.
LeVan D. Hawkins LeVan D. Hawkins is a Chicago-based performance artist and published poet and writer, formerly of Los Angeles. His most recently-published essay is “Race On the Brain” at Antioch University-LA’s Lunchticket.org. His MFA in Creative Writing is also from Antioch University-LA. In Chicago, he has read or performed at Homolatte Reading series, Filet of Solo Festival, Outspoken series at Sidetracks, This Much is True Storytelling-Chicago, Links Hall, Gerber-Hart Library, The Center On Halsted, AltQ Music Festival at the Old Town School of Music. In addition to Millay Colony, LeVan has received fellowships from MacDowell Colony, Marble House Project, Lambda Literary Retreat, and Renaissance House of the Helene Johnson and Dorothy West Foundation. He has also received a grant from the Durfee Foundation and has attended Mailer Writing Colony and Tin House Summer Workshop. He is currently completing “What Men Do,” his memoir.
Akihito Izumi In 2015, 2 of Akihito IZUMI’s paintings were selected and exhibited in Quay Arts Open 2015. He did solo exhibition as an independent artist in Gekkosou Art Material Shop, in Ginza, Tokyo in 2014. From 1989 to 2014, he was a freelance illustrator and cartoonist while he worked for The Overseas Human Resources and Industry Development Association in Japan. As a freelance illustrator, cartoonist, many works were used on the commercial magazines including “Midnight” (Magazine House, Ltd. “Comic Ale!” 1997). In 2016 he took part in 2 artist in residencies in U.S. including Millay and In 2017 he is going to have solo exhibition in Gallery Shimada in Kobe in coming April.
Debra Kreisberg Saxophonist/clarinetist Debra Kreisberg performs, composes, arranges and records with the New York City-based Latin jazz ensemble, Los Mas Valientes and the award-winning klezmer ensembles, Metropolitan Klezmer and Isle of Klezbos, with whom she has toured in the U.S., Canada and in Europe. She is the leader of two jazz projects, East Harlem Trio, and The Highliners Jazz Quintet, and is a member of the
Latin-jazz quintet Esencia and the Latin-jazz big band, Bronx Conexión, led by master percussionist/composer Victor Rendón. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music with a masters in jazz performance from Manhattan School of Music, Debra has performed with renowned singer-songwriters Natalie Merchant, Jill Sobule and Rachelle Garniez; jazz luminaries Harvie S, Chuck Redd, Sheryl Bailey and Tommy Campbell; the Rochester Philharmonic; the world-blues project Hazmat Modine; and Taylor Mac in the world premiere of Taylor Mac's 24-Decade History of Popular Music at St. Ann's Warehouse. Her playing and compositions have been heard on CBS Sunday Morning, CNN Worldbeat, WBGO, SiriusXM Radio, Ebru TV’s Rhythm and Roots and on Showtime's The L Word. Debra is a teaching artist with Arturo O'Farrill's Afro Latin Jazz Alliance and 92nd Street Y, and serves on the faculty of Bronx House School for Performing Arts and Trinity School in Manhattan.
Larry Krone Larry Krone is a visual and performing artist whose exhibition history includes solo shows at The Sheldon Art Galleries and project+gallery, St. Louis (2015), Pierogi Gallery, Brooklyn (2013), Contemporary Museum Baltimore’s project space (2011), The Museum of Contemporary Craft project space, Portland, OR (2007), and Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (2006). Larry’s performance work has been seen at art and music venues including Joe’s Pub, The Whitney Museum, and PS122 in New York. He can be seen performing his song “It’s Hard to Live” in the independent feature film “The Purple Onion”. Larry actively collaborates with other performers, designing and fabricating costumes and sets and sometimes appearing in their productions. Most recently he designed and produced set and costumes for Neal Medlyn’s In the Champagne Room presented at NYLA. As House of Larréon, Larry is the exclusive designer of gowns and stage costumes for Bridget Everett. Larry recently self-published “Look Book,” an art book documenting his costume work since 1997 with photographs by Todd Oldham and Kevin Yatarola. Larry does graphic design work for his own projects and has done album art and packaging for Clint Michigan “Hawthorne to Hennepin” Bridget Everett’s “Pound It!” The Foil Swans’ single “Cover My Section” and Jim Andralis’ “Your Dying Wish Come True.” Larry is a 2017 Yaddo Fellow, a 2015 recipient of the NYFA fellowship in Interdisciplinary Arts, a 2014/15 Artist in Residence at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater, a 2013 Millay Colony Fellow, a 2012 and 2011 MacDowell Colony Fellow, a 2009 recipient of the NYFA fellowship in Craft, and was awarded the Peter S. Reed grant in 2006.
Antonio Sa Dantas António Breitenfeld Sá-Dantas studied composition and orchestra conducting in the University of the Arts (KUG) in Graz with Beat Furrer and Martin Sieghart, respectively. He has written numerous pieces for different instrumentations including solos, chamber music, ensemble and orchestral music as well as music theatre and installations. His works have been played by Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto, Remix Ensemble, Perspective Trio, OrquestrUtópica, CantAnima as well as soloists like Luís Madureira, Marie Friederike Schoeder and Zinajda Kodric in venues including S. Luiz Teatro Municipal and CCB in Lisbon, Casa da Música in Porto, Minoritensaal,Helmut List Halle and Stefaniensaal in Graz. His work as a conductor has always been balanced with composing, thus being in contact with a wide range of music, not only creatively and interpretatively as well. For the past years he has been the conductor of the female choir FrauenStimmen as well as the medical university student Choir and Orchestra with whom he interprets music from gospel, jazz, pop to classical. During his residency at the Millay Colony for the Arts (USA) in the summer of 2016 he composed the radio theatre piece Eine Schwalbe falten (“folding a swallow”) written on a text by Margret Kreidl. This piece, commissioned by the Austrian national radio Ö1 was composed for Soprano, Clarinets, Percussion and Harmonica and will be premiered by broadcast in Ö1 on the 24th of January 2017 at 21:00 (AT time). He is currently composing Chama (“call” or “flame”) for solo tuba, commissioned to be the obligatory piece for the Jovens Músicos competition in Portugal for 2017. Danniel Schoonebeek Danniel Schoonebeek’s first book of poems, A merican Barricade, was published by YesYes Books in 2014. It was named one of the year’s ten standout debuts by Poets & Writers and called “a groundbreaking first book that stands to influence its author’s generation” by Boston Review. In 2015, he was awarded a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry fellowship from the Poetry Foundation and his second book of poems, Trébuchet, was selected as a winner of the 2015 National Poetry Series and was published by University of Georgia Press in 2016. Recent work appears in The New Yorker, Poetry, Kenyon Review, The Believer, and Tin House, and has been featured in the anthologies Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poets for the Next
Edwin Torres Edwin Torres was born in New York City. He has traveled the edge of numerous poetry affairs, performances, educations, sit-ins, sound-outs, web-offs, jams, jumps, and institutions. He is recipient of fellowships from NYFA, The Foundation for Contemporary Performance Art, and The Poetry Fund, among others. His books include The PoPedology of an Ambient Language, The All-Union Day of the Shock Worker, and Fractured Humorous. His CDs include Oceano Rise, Novo, and Holy Kid.
Quintan Ana Wikswo Hailed as “heady, euphoric, singular, surprising” by Publisher’s Weekly, “universal and personal, comforting and jarring, ethereal and earthy” by Electric Literature, and “one of Brooklyn’s most engaging literary voices” by Greenlight Books, QUINTAN ANA WIKSWO is recognized for adventurous transdisciplinary projects that integrate her original fiction, essay, memoir, and poetry with photography, film, and performance. A human rights worker for twenty-five years, her text-based projects surround human rights issues and are published, exhibited, performed, and toured at prominent institutions throughout Europe and the Americas. She is the author of an acclaimed debut collection of short stories and photographs The Hope Of Floating Has Carried Us This Far (Coffee House Press, 2015) and a hybrid narrative novel with photographs: A Long Curving Scar Where The Heart Should Be (Stalking Horse Press, forthcoming 2017). Her work is featured in anthologies and books including QDA: Queer Disability Anthology (Squares and Rebels), Emergency Index (Ugly Duckling Presse), One Blood: The Narrative Influence (University of
Alaska), Rituale Gegen Das Vergessen/Rituals Against Forgetting (Kehrer Verlag Berlin), Schwarzer Tod and the Useless Eaters (Catalysis Projects) and Procession for the Extracted (California College of Arts). Her writing appears regularly in Tin House, Conjunctions, Guernica, Gulf Coast,The Kenyon Review, New American Writing, Golden Handcuffs Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Confrontation, Denver Quarterly, WITNESS, and many others. www.QuintanWikswo.com
Keith S. Wilson Keith S. Wilson is an Affrilachian Poet, Cave Canem fellow, and graduate of the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop. He has received three scholarships from Bread Loaf as well as scholarships from MacDowell, the Millay Colony, Poetry by the Sea, Ucross, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Keith serves as Assistant Poetry Editor at Four Way Review and Digital Media Editor at Obsidian Journal.
The Millay Colony for the Arts 454 East Hill Road Austerlitz, NY 12017 www.millaycolony.org
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