Tag Archives: Bhanu Kapil

Influences: Discuss.

und jetz, Bhanu Kapil

Bhanu Kapil is a special animal. Author of The Vertical Interrogation of StrangersIncubation: a space for monstershumanimal [a project for future children], and Schizophrene, Bhanu travels the world for the advocation of experimentation. Her classes at Naropa have engaged architecture, somatics, biology and memory as ways to approach or navigate contemporary narrative and poetics. She keeps a blog entitled “Was Gertrude Stein a Punjabi?”

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How Bhanu Responds:

You asked about influence.  I want to say: talking with Andrea Spain about Groszian biologies.  She is a scholar working in/upon/through the anti-colonial spaces of Mississippi and the South.  For my last work, SCHIZOPHRENE, I centered the text in a wider, longitudinal conversation on migration and mental illness, through the cultural psychiatry work of Kam Bhui, Dinesh Bhugra and Peter Jones.  My teachers in an earlier time, when I first began my journeys in the U.S., were Anthony Piccione (deep image)and Laura Mullen (contemporary fragment).  Laura Mullen now something else but still that too, through her work. An influence.  To press. The page.  Melissa Buzzeo and I did a hypnosis/palmistry exchange over ten years ago: a relation that keeps opening space, every day, for a text of great “devastation,” as Melissa would say.  Bay Area comrades and air have been important.  Coastal company. The conversations that happen in the Naropa and Goddard classrooms. Texts: Cixous-Haraway-Spivak. I’m forgetting something.  Feel free to print this verbatim. A preliminary account.  I love the poems of Mei-Mei Bersenbrugge, read aloud to me in Brooklyn.  And the poems of Miyung Mi Kim, read aloud to me in Oakland. And at night, in Colorado, I enjoy discussing the night sky, zombies and Egypt with my son: a profound influence, in so many ways.

–Alice Virginia

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Springtime Inspiration from Lily Hoang

I have a confession: despite owning a copy of Lily Hoang’s The Evolutionary Revolution for over a year, I have yet to actually read it. The book was recommended to me by a classmate last spring when my writing was overtaken with evolutions of bodies and vocabularies. I bought it with enthusiasm, then failed completely in reading it.

My not reading this book is more an issue of time than it is desire. As a full-time MFA student with a habit of taking on far too many commitments, pleasure reading is a luxury I am rarely afforded. I can say that on several occasions, I’ve hesitated at this text, opened it to a random page, and absorbed some of Lily Hoang’s gorgeous words “rhizomatically” (to use a phrase of fellow Bombay Gin 38.1 contributor Bhanu Kapil). At the very least, these small moments I take with the text partially appease me, remind me of the worlds which wait on my bookshelf for the day when I finally have time. It is always the starting of something that is most difficult, isn’t it?

On the cusp of this 2012 spring, I am yet again drawn toward Lily Hoang’s writing. A recent blog post of hers spoke directly to what I (like many others) am feeling at the moment. There is an inherent and instinctual something about spring which makes us crave a new project, that clichéd fresh start. And along with it comes the anxiety of facing a fresh, open void of possibility. I am talking about my own writing. I am talking about the in-the-works next issue of Bombay Gin. I am talking about the garden I plant in my backyard every May which is officially dead by July. I am talking about that which you are on the verge of creating at this very moment.

May we all find some solace in Lily Hoang’s words (even if you only have time to scan them “rhizomatically”) so that we, too, can enjoy whatever bloom is about to occur.

– Jade Lascelles

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Threshold: Tenuous Proposition of

As has been the case for the last couple of years, this latest issue of Bombay Gin is thematic; yet this time around, that theme—“lunatic,” as the printer Wesley Tanner suggests in his interview—offers, posits, positions itself contingently. Threshold: a location with the tenuousness of proposition.

We chose to leave the threshold various, unstructured by classification or catalog but subject to its natural patterns:  four interviews—all conducted during the 2011 Summer Writing Program between Bombay Gin associate editors from the Jack Kerouac School and SWP writing and printing faculty—anchor the content. We have chosen to pair creative work—textual and visual—with the interviews and then to fill the matrix with the clay of individual pieces by some of our favorite writers. The section concludes with three poems and a lecture presented by Ana Božičević at the 2011 SWP and eventually available in the Naropa Audio Archives.  Then, as has been our custom, we end the issue with six book reviews, this time written exclusively by former and current JKS students.

It has been a pleasure to observe patterns form as if they operated within our design. That is, you will notice that some writers respond deliberately to the question of threshold, while for others the threshold is accidental—a silly word, “accidental,” because by tracking the presence of something, one, of course, engenders it.  Yet, these patterns strongly suggest a shared self-consciousness and anxiety about our unique moment in history, as if this moment is itself a threshold.

In early February, we will release Bombay Gin 38.1. Stay tuned for details regarding our release party. Until then, check out the writers who we will feature:

Vanessa Place
Lily Hoang
Dodie Bellamy
Ronaldo Wilson
Bhanu Kapil
DJ Spooky
Colin Frazer
Lara Durback
Julia Seko
Wesley Tanner
Christina Mengert
Erin  Morrill
Thurston Moore
Ana Božičević

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Calling all Front-Range Writers

J’Lyn Chapman here, writing from Chicago, Illinois, where I am about to celebrate Thanksgiving with friends and family. Per usual, my Chicago friends have been trying to tempt my husband and I to move to Chicago from Boulder, Colorado. For my husband, this would be a move back, as he grew up in Skokie, a suburb of Chicago. For me, it would mean a first-time move. Ironically, perhaps, I grew up in Colorado, and only moved away briefly and unhappily to attend graduate school in Florida. When I met my husband five or so years ago, I had been fondly dreaming of moving to Chicago, where I thought that surely I would be much happier. The neighborhoods, the train, the bloodymaries at the Matchbox, the many universities, and the literary scene appealed to me. I had attended a short residency at Wave Poetry’s Poetry Farm in southern Wisconsin, through which I met the mostly Chicago-based poets Lisa Fishman and Richard Meier. At the time, I had some good writer friends living in the area: Joshua Marie Wilkinson at Loyola University and Danielle Dutton and Marty Riker just a little south in Champaign-Urbana. When Josh recorded a video of me reading at the Art Institute for his video series Rabbit Light Movies, where I also discovered the Thorne Miniature Rooms, I felt like I needed to be here, in Chicago.

Of course Josh, Danielle, and Marty have moved away in the last year as people tend to do, but in those five years, I also found a very happy life in Boulder. I’ve been advising and teaching at Naropa University in what is now considered the Jack Kerouac School for nearly four years and have recently begun serving as the editor-in-chief of Bombay Gin. A few weeks ago, we hosted a fundraiser that demonstrated to me that I am not only part of a supportive community of students and faculty, but I also live in a gracious and considerate community of businesses that donated their goods and services to help out our program.

It’s absurd to list here the incredible opportunities that JKS has offered me. In addition to the consistently fantastic Summer Writing Program and working with writers like Michelle Naka PierceBhanu Kapil, and Anne Waldman, Reed Bye, and Jack Collom, I also get to bask in the wider community of Colorado’s Front Range. As the yearly 4×4 Reading Series makes manifest,  four writing programs anchor the Front Range; with these writing programs come dynamic writers and students, who operate presses and reading series.

I confess a failed attempt to list and link to all of these. Perhaps as today’s meal settles and the volume of the family’s teasing increases, I’ll sneak back to the computer and begin to list just a few of the many things that make Colorado’s Front Range a fertile ground for innovative writing. The point, however, is that even when Colorado’s maddening sun gets to me (some occasional cloud cover and rain is good for the mind and vegetation), I’m thankful I chose to live in Boulder, Colorado.

It is out of my and the Bombay Gin board’s appreciation for our fecund writing  and arts community that we invite Colorado’s Front-Range writers and artists to submit to the spring issue of Bombay Gin. Submissions are open until February 15, 2012. For more details, click on the Submissions link above. We look forward to seeing this community come together in the pages of our next issue.

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In the Current: A Night of Performance on the Threshold

This past weekend, I attended the CU Dance Department’s show In the Current. The second half of this show was dedicated to a piece entitled “VIofS,” which used questions inspired by Bhanu Kapil’s book Vertical Interrogation of Strangers.

For those of you who don’t know, Bhanu is an integral part of the Kerouac School. Our upcoming issue will feature pieces from her latest project, so it seemed almost too synchronistic that a performance which crosses the threshold of page to embodiment should occur the very weekend we editors completed our final proofreading.

The piece played with the line of structure and improvisation (a threshold in itself). Segments of set choreography were interlaced with moments where the audience members could approach a microphone and ask a question from a provided list (inspired by and working directly with Bhanu’s text). The performers would then break from the choreography to respond to the questions. The audience participation directed where the piece would go, and challenged the dancers to remain authentic in their improvised reactions.

During the discussion panel afterwards, the piece’s choreographer, Joan Bruemmer, noted the role bodies played in the piece — those of her dancers and of the audience. “They wrote the performance in their bodies,” she said, “And we just edited it.” There were themes of disassembly and repair in the conversation, with Joan reflecting on the challenge of “breaking the wall of performance and person.” Yet in this newly opened space, one dancer commended Joan’s ability to maintain an environment where one could “put the voice into the body (and still feel safe).”

We were so intrigued by the theme of threshold for this issue because of its multitudinous definitions. If you ask ten people to define “threshold,” you will get at least ten different answers. Seeing how Joan Bruemmer’s choreography approached the field of Bhanu’s page was yet another way threshold has appeared in my life lately. Despite what I am working on in the future, I imagine one type of threshold or another will always be pertinent in the tension of my writing, and possibly, eventually, in the translation of that writing into performance.

And what struck Bhanu most about watching her text cross the threshold into a performance space? “That little fragment that loops in the circularity of your creaturedom.”

Be sure to check out Bhanu’s blog  to keep up with her performance and writing projects, including the progression of the future novel we are highlighting in our upcoming issue!

Jade

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Move Over Barthes This Author’s Not Dead: Fantasy Threshold Cocktail Party

Issue 38.1 of Bombay Gin is featuring companion pieces from writers as a publishing expression of threshold; our theme.

Interviews, creative work, prints, lectures, essays, and more will be lining the pages as contiguous points of entry.  I, in turn, thought it would be fun to play hostess on this blog and pose questions between the writers that will be read between our lovely Bombay Gin pages.

Invitation: You—right now—theme is threshold, read accordingly, BYOB—welcome…

Vanessa Place & Colin Frazer: if Helvetica is the font of the mass message—the public space—what is the font of anonymous publication: what does anonymous look like in serifs and scripts?

Lily Hoang & Vanessa Place: pronouns as possession, permission, and binary—how do you flip your pronouns in writing without installing another duality?  In Evolutionary Revolution our values, our history, is rewritten—or perhaps, first written in this turn—Vanessa as publisher and Lily as writer, is this a template for discourse remediation in the world?  What thresholds are crossed in breaking glass, water, word, and light?

Lily Hoang & Thurston Moore: you say you want a revolution: in what compositional units would you measure writing’s evolution: notes, words, scales, breaths, shes, sentences, frets, paragraphs, lines, breaks, codas, space, story, chapter, track, kindle, disc, paper, room?  What thresholds do you cross when entering the page?

Bhanu Kapil & Thurston Moore: what is the sound of schizophrene?

Bhanu Kapil & Kirsten Kaschock: if you could build an architecture together what would it move like?  Where would you bury it and how would it grow?  If “sleight” is a western “purity” and palmistry and eastern divinity what would happen if your characters held hands—an architecture of.

Thank you all for coming and have a lovely day 😉

Kristen

*Revolution–the Beatles

**Actually, I deeply love and respect Roland Barthes and I don’t want him to go anywhere: a man who writes about jouissance just lends his spirit to play.

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