Tag Archives: CU

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!


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Front Range: Rocky Mountain Threshold

Front Range: Rocky Mountain Threshold

When I first rolled in to Boulder, CO last June to start my MFA at Naropa University, I stuck my head out the car window, inhaled an air that did NOT smell like mussel shells and marsh bottoms, and thought: Holy goodness those are some big mountains!  Yes, I thought the Flat Irons were the “Rockies.”  I had no idea what was behind these rolling foothills.  I am from sea level; I am from the sea—and if I were in water and looking up, they’d be some pretty big waves.  After a camping trip and hike (NOT to the keyhole) at Longs Peak, I began to see and feel the difference.  How is vertical ascension—altitude—a threshold of contour?

In the spirit of Naropa-ness, I will take this opportunity to be transparent.  I also have no idea how to “blog.”  Said it.  It’s out there: in the foothills of blogging and calling it Rocky Mountain High—in the Great Lakes and calling it ocean (playful poke to my new Mid-West friends 😉 ).  A deeply grateful thanks for Heather Goodrich and Katie Ingegneri for setting up the blog space and Jess Hagemann for being our first Bombay Gin blogger of Fall 2011.  Our editorial board will take turns posting (a two week rotation); so, hang in there readers!

The theme for issue 38.1 is Threshold.  As previously noted by Jess, threshold is and is not the following:  the thing you cross into/over, so as to discover what’s beyond/beneath/hiding in the liminal—the space of trans–the site of exchange–the wall, the ceiling, the carrying capacity of breath–the significance of space–the between place.  Threshold is also the doorway, the window sill, the mouth, Hwy 119: how does printing to the page make the idea of threshold in all its elusiveness a very real architecture?

The 4X4 Reading Series hosted by Naropa University, Denver University, Colorado University, and Colorado State University gathers the Front Range writers in academic programs and chooses four.  What are the thresholds that exist in a reading series?  How do sequencing and order and friction and placement start to create a threshold of-to-for?

On October 13th, the first reading in the series, Matt Wedlock (Naropa), Gabrielle Fuentes (CU), Derek Askey (CSU), and Meghan Dowling (DU) took the stage to read to us: 4th wall—another threshold—a scrim?  Poetry, essay, short story, and prose became our companions and in this collection a thread became evident—the use of water.  Wedlock’s water is salt; Fuentes’ water is ice; Askey’s water is glowing; Dowling’s water is the faucet: how is breaking water threshold—how is threshold conduit—how is bioregion liminal in the writer’s work?

The Beats crossed and recrossed the country from coast to coast and Denver/the Rockies served as the node for the infinite figure eight loops.  How is the heart of something—a country, a text, a person—entered?  I want to learn the passage to a place with no water, the high desert:  where does the flow come from, Continental Divide?  The space between two companions—threshold—not when, but how will we arrive?


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4X4 Reading Naropa University + Free Giveaways

Brush up on your Beats and join Bombay Gin at Naropa’s 4X4 Reading on October 13th at 7:30 PM in the Performing Arts Center (Arapahoe Campus). Bombay Gin will be giving away free issues to audience members who can answer trivia questions about our Rocky Mountain writing lineage.

Naropa University, CU, CSU, and DU will showcase students from their writing departments. Naropa will be represented by Matt Wedlock.

We look forward to seeing you tomorrow night!

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