Violation Poetics, an interview with Shawnie Hamer

Our Senior Editor, Alexa Chrisbacher, sat down with Shawnie Hamer to explore “the experiment,” lineage, and body and sexuality in writing.

Alexa Chrisbacher: What kind of work do you usually make?  Who are your major influences?  Do you consider your work experimental?


Shawnie Hamer: My work tends to lean into trauma and the female body. More specifically, because of my background/upbringing, how dominant constructions have indoctrinated my views of the self, the body, and sexuality.  The things we carry (un)knowingly. Writing about these issues is an act of activism for me, as this trauma is not always exposed. Though my writing often comes from the personal, my hope is that there is a multiplicity within the lines that many female or female identifying voices can relate to.

One of my major influences is Jeanette Winterson’s Written on the Body. I am fascinated how bodies interact with each other in intimate relationships. I believe there is a stigma in modern poetry circles against writing about love, and yet it is the one thing we have in common. I keep it by my bed as a constant reminder of what I hope to accomplish in my work.

Other poets that are really influencing me right now are Bhanu Kapil, Samiya Bashir, and H.D.

Also, my cohort is the biggest influence on my writing. They are brilliant and beautiful and constantly pushing me to find a strength in my writing I didn’t know was possible.



AC: Are you working on any projects right now?  What are the motivating interests/influences behind it?  What are your visions for the end result?


SH: I am working on two big projects right now. The first was started in Bhanu’s Architecture class. It is an experimentation of reframing the “I” and “You” of a romantic relationship through the lens of an architectural structure, more specifically a geodesic dome.

The second project is my critical thesis, which is on a topic very near and dear to me. I am exploring/inventing a term I have titled “Violation Poetics.” This term dissects masculine language, its violation of the female body, and how by creating art the female body, in turn, violates the dominant conventions. I am focusing this theory specifically to populations in conservative/rural areas of the United States. Stay tuned.



AC: How has the JKS lineage interacted with your writing and other artistic endeavors?  Do you consider yourself part of this lineage, do you think your work is in conversation with it?


SH: Part of the lineage of JKS is that of pushing boundaries and leaning into the fray to enact change. It is about community. It is about holding yourself and institutions accountable. In this way, I do consider myself and my work a part of this lineage.



AC: Every generation of writers is classified into a group (ie Outrider, Beat, New School, etc).  What do you think the state of writing is for this current generation of makers?  How would you and your peeps classify yourselves in the larger scope of poetics and culture?


SH: I think this is a tough topic to navigate for a lot of the current generation. There is a desire to be like the writers that many of us have been so influenced by, but there is also an understanding of the issues these groups had. I think it boils down to the fear every artist has had since the beginning of time… we want to be relevant. However, that being said, it’s kind of all bullshit if you really think about it. It’s an illusion. I think my peeps and I would go for the “or not” option. Why should we limit ourselves and our work to a label? We want to write. We are passionate about change. We don’t need a name for that.



SH: To participate in poetics is to be in conversation with “the experiment,” as defined by each individual and group.  To you, what experiment are you interacting with through your work, practices and creative actions?


AC: “The experiment” is such a broad (and sometimes overused) term in modern poetics. I have thought a lot about this and all I can say is, to me, the experiment is subjective. It’s personal. A writer can smear shit and piss over their work and be in conversation with the experiment. A writer can work with traditional sonnets and be in conversation with the experiment. Personally, I find my experiment to be following intuition. Trusting myself and my writing when it needs to go too far, or stop completely. I think the experiment is truly pushing yourself to continue to learn and expand your work. If you think you are an expert and have no need for this anymore, you are involved with the experiment.

Issue #42 to be released unto the world!

We will be launching issue #42 this upcoming Wednesday at this year’s Summer Writing Program Staff Reading. This will be an evening of fantastic readers, the official release of our online content, and the chance to buy your own shiny, new copy of this latest issue. All while hanging out at the beautiful Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art. See the Facebook event page below for more details. Hope to see you there!


A Taste of Gin: issue five

curated by M Shea Lynch, Bombay Gin’s Marketing Co-Editor

bgFeaturing work by: Bruce Bennett, Judith Lavelle, and Jes Lyons

A Taste of Gin Editorial Feature:

Each month (or so) Bombay Gin Literary Journal presents an online feature by one of our editorial board members. We call this: “A Taste of Gin.” These tastes give us, as editors, the opportunity to share our individual artistic and aesthetic visions. We split our Bombay Gin third-mind temporarily in order to show you the nuances, quirks, and concerns we, as an editorial board, comprise. We hope you enjoy these future tastings.

Online Feature-Somatic Book Review of Beast Feast

Somatic Book Review of Beast Feast by Cody-Rose Clevidence

BeastFeastImageCody-Rose Clevidence
Beast Feast
Ahsahta Press

Before beginning, take a butter knife from the kitchen counter drawer and begin to saw off your breasts [or] before beginning, take a butter knife from the kitchen counter drawer and begin to saw off your penis and balls. A steak knife will not do, you really want to feel the irony here of the most delicate weapon in the vicinity causing the highest intensity of pain. DO NOT WASH THE BODY PARTS DOWN THE DISPOSAL ! I instruct you to use them as book marks. You may need time to rest your eyes in between pages, as the content is rather mindfully invigorating, and it will be appropriate while coming back unto a page to have a reminder of the parts of you that did not exists as parts, but as an extension of the whole, before you were so mercilessly dragged through the poetic forrest that is Clevidence’s mind. A book that makes you WORK. Red gatorade is not recommended for hydration, the dye stains your insides and we might need those for later. Water is best, unless you reside in a city where Whole Foods is more rampant than water supply, in which case certified organic coconut water will do (however, do not drink the milk of the actual certified organic coconut, which excessive consumption has in some cases been known to cause diarrhea, which will cause, most obviously, dehydration).
Furthermore, embarrassment is expected once the blood stains swim into abstract pool designs on your respective boob or ball areas, but this book is really not meant to be consumed in the corner crevice of a couch in your mother’s basement. It is meant, obviously, to be experienced in the presence of beasts.
Any preschool will do, really. I recommend volunteering for story-time around page 52. Scream (I do not mean this gently) SCREAM the words into their wild, absurdly bendy little human ears until they are satiated to the point of missing snack time. Before encountering the last page, run! (I do not mean this gently) RUN ! Nearing the end of the last page, you will be, physically, a deformed running beast, captured and consumed by the sticky hands of small beasts, booked marked in time of death by severed breasts and/or balls. This is, arguably so, the preferred state of being for whispering the last line, and truly offers such a visceral perspective for interpretation of the text as a whole.




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Somatic Comic Review of “Rat Poison #4” by Louis S. Whiteford

Louis S. Whiteford
"Rat Poison #4"
Self Published, 2014

For this one, find a primo back alley. The grimier the better. There should be plenty of trash on the ground, broken glass, oil-slicked puddles, abandoned needles; the whole lot. Plant yourself by a dumpster, preferably overflowing, with the most repulsive odor that you can possibly find. You should be unable to avoid deep whiffs of rotting produce, mold, decay. Take a quick look inside, there should be slime: if there’s no slime in the dumpster, move along and find an even filthier spot. This is a gross, dirty comic, and the environ should reflect that.
Light a cigarette. Even if you don’t smoke, just for the ambiance, as an incense of sorts. Light a whole pack on fire if you can, the air should be thick with gray, cancerous fumes. A 40 oz. would help too, getting a good buzz on will probably help with your enjoyment of the comic, but otherwise just sprinkle some malt liquor in a circle around your reading spot, as a sort of ritualistic sealing of the space with the scent of spilled beer, garbage, and smoke.
Now that you’ve settled into the most disgusting, gross space you can find, it’s time to crack open the comic. You’ll immediately be swept up into the wyrd tales contained within: Kelsey Grammar leading a bleak existence on a secluded vineyard; pissed off queer punks yelling at bourgeois children; fucked up scientists creating murderous, mutant animals with an insatiable thirst for beer and cocaine. Really gross, disgusting stuff; if you were able to manage to keep your dinner down over the sights and scents of the back alley haunt you’ve established for the reading, good luck making it from one cover to the other without retching at the contents within. The stories all tangled up with each other, no victories for any of the characters, misanthropy abounds, great for a wistful punk on a quiet evening who digs hanging around trash and being a trash person.


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Online Feature-Somatic Book Review of The First Bad Man

Miranda July book review coverSomatic Book Review of Miranda July’s The First Bad Man

Miranda July
The First Bad Man

Before reading Miranda July’s The First Bad Man, set up an airbnb or couchsurf account. Host someone younger and more attractive than yourself, preferably of the same sex.
The night before they arrive, put on a pair of sweatpants. Sit on the sofa and eat half a box of Oreos. Feel gross.
Put on a kickboxing video. Watch it while eating a few more Oreos. Watch another. Eat more Oreos.
Open the book. It is preferred that this reading takes place in one sitting. If one is to get up, it should only be to further stuff his or her face, to further the feeling of self-disgust. Occasional longer breaks may be taken, but only if they are used to watch another kickboxing video. Or, if that gets tiring, watching Jillian Michaels is fine.
Fall asleep on the couch in your own filth.
In the morning, be sure to arrange the house or apartment very meticulously. Put everything in its place. Make sure it is spotless. Have more fitness/fighting videos on in the background while this happens. Make sure to be constantly eating junk food. This is important.
When your guest arrives, act very awkward. Eventually, start a fight. Use the moves you learned in the videos. Be jealous of how attractive they are. Feel inferior.



Go-Find-Your-Father-300x113Micro Book Review of Go Find Your Father/ A Famous Blues by Harmony Holiday

Go Find Your Father/ A Famous Blues
Harmony Holiday
                                                       Gold Line Press 

Harmony Holiday’s Go Find Your Father/A Famous Blues is a curious compendium of mesmerizing montages derived from memory, nimbly memorializing a melodious, near musical-refrain, “imagining is remembering”, that creates an indelible, sonorous and syncretic impact on the reader’s mind. Holiday injects a generous modicum of vigorous energy in the text by tracing the roots of the Black myth through the ages and compiling a mythopoeic, subtly revelatory web of entrancing yarns, gutting and riveting in equal measure, authentic, raw, polyvalent and streaked with glorious nostalgia. Holiday’s various moods as borne by her authorial persona, her delicate, dexterous, deifying epistolary epistles, despite mythologizing and edifying her father, Jimmie Holiday, to at times caricaturish and stilted proportions, imbuing the ongoing psychodrama with unnecessary bathos, magnificently succeeds in evoking the grandeur of a bygone era. It is in the meticulous creation of a fascinating world of blues, the contextualizing of a girl’s psychic journey in the intricate tapestry of a surcharged musical ethos, that Holiday transcends the spatio-temporal limits imposed by the text on the page. Holiday effortlessly weaves together a world out of the ambiguous fruits of mutative memory, enthralling the reader with anecdotal references, charming poetic fallacies, paeans replete with fantastic lore, and a synesthetic text that bleeds into music.



Fundraiser Flyer


Come through and help support Bombay Gin!

Raffle Items include:

-$25 gift card to Trident Booksellers and Café

-signed copies of Brooke Gessay McNamura’s Feed Your Vow: Poems for Falling into Fullness, Sarah Schantz’s Fig, Richard Froude’s Fabric, Reed Bye’s Fire for Thought The Lune, Vol.1, No. 5

-records donated from Bart’s Record Shop

-Sean Fields Magazine copies

& more!

Silent Auction Items include:

-1:1 writing consultation with Anne Waldman

-2 hour card reading by Selah Saterstrom

-One Saturday in either Ritual Winter or Elemental Spring Workshop

-1:1 writing consultation with Reed Bye

-Custom essential oil blend (perfume,spray, or tincture)

-Life Skills coaching session for stressed writers

& more!

Online Feature-Micro Book Review of My Struggle

karl my struggleMicro Book Review of  My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgaard

My Struggle
Karl Ove Knausgaard
Translated by Don Bartlett
Originally Published by Forgalet Oktober (2009)
English Translation published by Archipelago Books (2012)

As many readers have stated, Knausgaard may be the progressive Proust of our century. He weaves an intricate web of day-to-day life without batting an eyelid. From divorce and the hatred of his own children, My Struggle achieves the honesty of the human heart, the absolutism of a daily rhythm that is locked within the bodies of any modern citizen of the world. While Knausgaard’s life story may seem petty and exceedingly redundant, it provides a wide scope of relativism and subtle criticism of the travails of the first-world human condition. It is difficult to place this book on the coffee table, it will make your thoughts tick and your mind hungry for more.


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