Tag Archives: contemplative as transgressive

Win Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi’s Fra Keeler

Bombay Gin editors are excited to continue our series of book giveaways celebrating our latest issue.  I’m proud to announce the second of our Dorothy double-feature.

In collaboration with Dorothy, A Publishing Project, we are offering a free copy of Fra Keeler by burgeoning writer Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi.

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Naropa University M.F.A. candidate Denise Kinsley’s review of Fra Keeler appears in our latest issue. Denise has written grants for several non-profit theatre companies and most recently won an award from The National Endowment for the Arts. She has been involved with theater companies in New York, Portland, and San Diego.

From Kinsley’s review:

…Fra Keeler summons thinking that traces back through my own memories and propels me forward to dreams of future events. It is an extended, manic episode through an unnamed character’s exploration of what’s real and what’s true.

…Fra Keeler is an exploration and a performance of human consciousness. It reveals how the mind constructions illusion—such as momentary blindness—by attaching to dreams and memories.

To read the full review, along with the latest in experimental literature and art, buy a copy of Bombay Gin 39.1: The Contemplative as Transgressive.

For a chance to win a free copy of Oloomi’s haunting Fra Keeler, simply leave a comment below telling us why you’re interested.

The window to enter this giveaway will close at Midnight MST on Monday, March 11th, and the winner will be randomly chosen via random.org.

-Sally Jane

Please support the journal in which you want your work published. Bombay Gin can be purchased through SMALL PRESS DISTRIBUTION, on our website, or by sending a check for $12.00, made out to BOMBAY GIN. Thank you for your interest in our magazine.

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Reflecting on Reed Bye’s Contemplative Poetics

Because the theme of Bombay Gin 39.1 (January 2013) is “The Contemplative as Transgressive,” I thought I’d offer an interpretation of Contemplative Poetics, based on my course work with Reed Bye at Naropa University. The following are excerpts from an essay, “Transitioning Inbetween to Open Space: Three Gates of Contemplative Poetics.

Contemplative Poetics, an investigation of perception, mind, body and speech to join heaven and earth, is the foundation for discovering the true nature of being: open space (Trungpa). The practice of meditation and poetry, along with teachings by Buddhist and literary scholars, illustrates spaciousness, to remind the practitioner, “Are you breathing?” As Allen Ginsberg wrote in “Meditation and Poetics,” “real poetry practitioners are practitioners of mind awareness, or practitioners of reality, expressing their fascination with a phenomenal universe and trying to penetrate to the heart of it” (262). Mind awareness begins with understanding the nature of reality and the mind. In order to glimpse our true nature, or bodhicitta mind (enlightened mind), contemplative practices (e.g. poetry, sitting meditation, yoga, dance) enable equanimity as one begins to practice non-dualism and non-judgment. Contemplative Poetics also introduces the notion of human existence as pertaining to three gates: body, speech, and mind (Thrangu Rinpoche 19). Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche’s “The Six Collections of Consciousness” questions, “What is a body for?” and “What are the limits of the body?” While the elements of the body, speech, and mind differ, they cannot be separated from the whole and lead to an awareness of the roots of attachment and aversion. This understanding is our capacity for a stable mind, happiness and the ability to live in open space.

As we begin to recognize our ultimate state of being, slowly-slowly, dancing to the quality of our breath, writing what we notice: dust dance, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s teachings in “The Development of Ego,” further defines this ultimate awareness. “Fundamentally there is just open space, the basic ground, what we really are.  Our most fundamental state of mind, before the creation of ego is such that there is basic openness, basic freedom, a spacious quality; and we have now and have always had this openness”(74). Ultimately, contemplative practice can allow one to understand the poisonous emotions that rule the mind, and eventually opens the heart to truth.

Poet-Bodhisattva

Allen Ginsberg’s “Meditation and Poetics” bravely calls the poet to take up a position, to explore consciousness and garner awareness of the “nature of reality and the nature of the mind” (262).  Poetry becomes a “probe,” a tool to purify the mind and eventually one is free to “let go” of thoughts. This practice of shedding the ego is an on-going practice that may begin in stillness; the body becomes the vessel in which one can begin to cultivate awareness, instead of solely being in the mind. Trungpa taught the importance of synchronizing the mind and body in Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior, as “connected with how we synchronize or connect with the world…looking and seeing directly beyond language” (52). Thus, the poet may discover a vision that is beyond conventional language; cultivating space to wake up, to aid in the cessation of suffering. In this way, poets might live as bodhisattvas, those who are awakened and vow to live and work to awaken others who suffer. With the innovation of poetic forms, the poet begins to illustrate the three- interdependent gates of humanity: speech, body, and mind.

Birth of the Kerouac School

Awareness of open space containing human experience sparked the meeting of Trungpa and Ginsberg, and as a result, established the Jack Kerouac School, a ground for exploring humanity, including the five skandhas, or “heaps:” form, feeling, perception, concept and consciousness, which make up the ego, the gate of the mind and intellect (Trungpa 73). As poetry is a craft, a work of art that artists may attach a sense of self to, sentient beings can become overwhelmed with perception, “fascinated by our own creation, the static colors and the static energies. We want to relate to them, and so we begin gradually to explore our creation” (Trungpa 77). And yet as we engage in creation, Trungpa also wrote in “Joining Heaven and Earth” the absurdity of labeling oneself an “artist.” “We have to recognize how much neurosis comes out in works of art” (149). This identification as artist “prevents us from reaching beyond that particular scope” (149). “We begin to realize that the principle of dharma exists within us…relaxation can happen because such trust has become a part of our existence. Therefore, we feel we can afford to open our eyes and all our sense perceptions fully” (152). Since sentient beings have innate “basic wakefulness,” or “basic goodness,” a term Trungpa uses to describe our fundamental state of being that often becomes clouded by the ego, we have the capacity to end suffering by recognizing egolessness, through the renunciation of ego fascination. As we take up our pen to communicate our inner peace, we begin to bridge the gap between the inner and outer self, self and other, and realize interconnection.

Return to Open Space

When we realize open space, we realize the five elements: Vajra (white water) Ratna (yellow earth), Padma (red fire), Karma (green wind), and Buddha (blue space/sky). Contemplative Poetics investigates how the body, mind, and speech return to the elements, in life and death. With life and death staring me in the face, my body aches, my heart hurts, other organs feel tense, and yet, I find the means to breathe this tension into the earth, releasing the sensations from my grief. I can write to heal, I can sing, tone to move the energy through my body, to pay homage to life and death. James Schuyler’s “Hymn to Life” illustrates life as a delicate balance between suffering and awareness: “And someone/ you know well is suffering… I misunderstood silence for disapproval, see now it was/ Sympathy. Thank you, May, for these warm stirrings” (155-156). As I see my local and global community struggling with open space, the challenges it brings, the suffering, I look for the fine cutting edge that all at once illustrates the vastness and depth of reality. As we sit with these intense emotions, and study the dharma, through contemplative practices we return to the fundamental mind… bodhicitta mind.

-april joseph

Reflecting_Reed_Bye_Works_Cited

Please support the journal in which you want your work published. Bombay Gin can be purchased through SMALL PRESS DISTRIBUTION, on our website, or by sending a check for $12.00, made out to BOMBAY GIN. Thank you for your interest in our magazine.

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First Gin Editor’s Blog of the Fall: Sally Jane Smith

The Bombay Gin editorial staff is pumped.  We’re currently buried by the most glorious mountain of all: piles of submissions for issue 39.1: The Contemplative as Transgressive.  Thanks to everyone who wrote and submitted work for consideration in this issue.  It’s an honor to be an editor of Bombay Gin, and a beautiful opportunity to swim in the avalanche of your words.

So, Gin lovers, in honor of this issue’s theme, I’d like to make my blog debut by sharing my conception of contemplative poetics.

Contemplative poetics is a classroom in the Lincoln building with meditation cushions.  Contemplative poetics is Reed Bye ringing a quiet golden bell.  Graduate school in socks. It is Dharma Art, which is, according to Naropa University founder Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, “appreciating the nature of things as they are and expressing it without any struggle of thoughts or fears.” Or, according to Naropa professor and life poet Reed Bye, “what it is.”

Contemplative poetics is clearing the mind and standing in a circle to recite spontaneous poetry.  Abandoning the ego and giving up on designing a poem: simply giving voice to the poetics that arises.  Admitting that my thoughts are not gems to collect with nets and pens.

My writing process: never carry pens in pockets.  Meditate with open eyes every day.  Carry a backpack full of rocks and keep notebooks filled with fall leaves instead of paper.  Dip self in ink and then shower, and only record the ink that is left pooled around eyes.  Forget poetry when breathing, never look for words in the stream.  Be in the stream. Dream of the time before the vowel shift and practice saying those vowels. Read everyone else’s poems out loud.  Only then, write poems and edit them out loud in empty rooms.

icy juniper

tonic marginalia—

breathe between covers.

Thanks for reading.

And, finally, some New News:

In addition to working hard on our upcoming issue, our beloved editor-in-chief J’Lyn Chapman has taken us to an important milestone in archiving: every book review from past Gins is available now on the Naropa website: http://www.naropa.edu/academics/jks/bombay-gin/previous-issues/index.php.  Check out this incredible resource.

-Sally Jane

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Call for Submissions

BOMBAY GIN is taking submissions from September 1, 2012 through October 1, 2012.

THEME: Please send submissions that respond to this issue’s theme of the “The Contemplative as Transgressive.” Writers and artists are encouraged to question and define “contemplative” and to consider how the contemplative, in addition to silent and calm, might also be transgressive, radical, allowing for an encounter with another space-time, an absolute other. In addition to your interpretations of the theme, we encourage you to submit contemplative writing experiments as well as the product of such experiments.

We welcome manuscripts of fiction, essays, poetry, and cross-genre work; we will not read manuscripts submitted after the reading period ends. Poetry submissions should be comprised of 3-5 poems; prose and cross-genre manuscripts should generally consist of no more than 15 pages. Accompany each manuscript with a self-addressed stamped envelope for reply, and mail it to the following address:

BOMBAY GIN
NAROPA UNIVERSITY
JACK KEROUAC SCHOOL
2130 ARAPAHOE AVE.
BOULDER, CO 80302

Visual artists may submit images through email: bgin@naropa.edu. Accepted submissions will be printed in black and white only. Please submit the following:

  • Professional quality digital images in TIFF or JPG formats (if JPG, saved in “baseline” or “standard” format at the highest quality possible). Images must be Mac and PC compatible. Note: Please do not submit PPT or PPTX presentations.
  • A minimum of 320 dpi
  • Between 1200 and 2400 pixels in the longest dimension
  • Please title image files with your last name and first initial, year of the work, title, medium and dimensions (example: Doe_J_2009_Title_oil on panel_9x12.jpg).
  • Brief biographical/artist statement as either a text file (Word) or as a PDF. Please title the file with your last name, first initial, and the content of the file (example: Doe_J_ArtistStatement.doc or Doe_J_Biography.doc).

Sample copies of the BOMBAY GIN can be purchased through SMALL PRESS DISTRIBUTION, on our website, or by sending a check for $12.00, made out to BOMBAY GIN. Thank you for your interest in our magazine.

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