Tag Archives: JKS

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
$18


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.

REVIEW BY MARIE CONLAN

 

 

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Anselm Hollo Call For Submissions

Bombay Gin Issue 40: Anselm Hollo Call for Submissions open May 1, 2013 through September 1, 2013.

In January, our friend and colleague Anselm Hollo passed away at the age of 78. A native of Helsinki, Finland, Anselm taught poetics and translation in the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado since 1985. Anselm was the author of more than forty books of poetry, including Notes on the Possibilities and Attractions of Existence: New and Selected Poems 1965-2000 (2001), which won the San Francisco Poetry Center Book Award; AHOE (1997); Corvus (1995); Finite Continued (1980); and Sojourner Microcosms: New and Selected Poems 1959-1977 (1977). He also published a book of essays, Caws and Causeries: Around Poetry and Poets (1999). His many translations include works by Paavo Haavikko and Pentti Saarikoski, for whose Trilogy (2003) Hollo received the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets.

In accord with Naropa University’s 40th Anniversary and in memory of our beloved Anselm Hollo, Issue 40 of Bombay Gin will include a section devoted to Anselm, which might include work dedicated to or inspired by Anselm as well as remembrances, essays, or critical responses to his work.

This call for submissions runs from May 1, 2013 through September 1, 2013.  In general, we welcome manuscripts of prose, poetry, and cross-genre work. Poetry submissions should be comprised of 3-5 poems; prose and cross-genre manuscripts should generally consist of no more than 15 pages. We accept submissions via Submittable. Please do not snail mail or email your work.

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.

BOMBAY GIN

NAROPA UNIVERSITY

2130 ARAPAHOE AVE

BOULDER, CO 80302

 

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Writing from the Body

As you write and revise to submit to Bombay Gin’s next issue, here are a few simple writing exercises and prompts to help you along in connecting to the body and “flesh memory.” Keep in mind that these are not required exercises for submission. They are simply exercises that can help in any and all of your writing. The italicized are parts of our submissions request. Below you will find the exercises and prompts:

With the late Akilah Oliver’s spirit and thought in mind, Bombay Gin invites submissions for issue 39.2 that explore “flesh memory.” We encourage contributors to extend Akilah’s “flesh memory.” Consider the following:

…what the body knows that the mind can’t hold, the DNA-memory of 500,000 years of human experience and 4 billion years of life on Earth, thinking is one way of knowing the world, the other is being…

Our heads are not directly attached to our spinal cords, so if there is a feeling of disconnection between the mind and body, you are not imagining it. Here are a few tips to connect with the body throughout the day and then begin to write in a new way:

Before sitting down to write, do a body scan. It is helpful to sit or lie down for this practice, with your feet rooted in the ground. Start by focusing on your breath and watching it move from the bottom of your spine to the top of your throat. Sometimes it is helpful to envision a ball of light moving up and down the spine or to chant while breathing. This focuses the attention. Then you can begin the body scan. This is as simple as focusing on each part of your body individually for a short period of time. First, start with your toes. Feel whether they are tense, tingly, numb, or any other sensation. Tell your toes, “I accept that feeling” and then allow them to relax. Allow them to melt into the floor. After it feels like they have melted, move up to the higher levels of your feet, then ankles, even up to elbows and crown of the head. You can continue this practice throughout the day with your whole body or just one part of your body. When you are especially busy, it may be helpful simply to touch one of your chakra centers – put a hand on the heart, on the belly, on the solar plexus below your chest – and ask to connect to that energy. The key is to write from that space once you have done the body exercise. Don’t put too much pressure on it. After you have done these exercises, just start writing stream-of-consciousness style and see what emerges.

…the memory of trauma, through repetition and the reinforcement of patterns, the body learns loneliness, self-destruction, body memory is paved into neural and muscular pathways….

Acknowledge the current patterns. In recovery circles I once facilitated, this was extremely important. The samsara cycle is a pattern of thought and suffering that sometimes gets etched into our brains like rocks being washed over by the same rocks continuously. The water deepens the etchings in the rocks. This is interesting to notice. Some of these patterns are helpful and some are not so helpful. This is interesting to notice. Also, don’t be afraid to build new patterns. I recently coached a friend of mine in doing a creative statement for a graduate school application. She was trying to see how the different parts of her life had connected. We had just seen an exhibit at the Brooklyn Musem titled “Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui” which contains a few pieces made entirely of linked together bottle caps and tin can tops. At first glance, the pieces are impressive, large tapestries and golden legs that reach outward like the roots of a tree. Upon closer look, we see the bottle caps and tin cans and realize the intricate details necessary in building these structures. We worked on a few of the following exercises: Observe your own patchwork. Draw a map – a map of your childhood landmarks, of what you think your neural connections look like, whatever emerges. Even if images don’t seem to connect at first, draw or write them anyway. It is important to do this exercise from the body or from other media – draw, paint, play music, dance – and you will be amazed at the connections you can make with words after reflection on these pieces. If you are stuck, go see an art exhibit, a concert, or a play. See what inspires your body as well as your mind. Give yourself time and space without words – set a specific time – and then set a time to only write after that experience.

… neuroplasticity—through consistent, positive action, dance, body work, we can heal the mind’s trauma that lies trapped in the body; like everything else, it is a matter of practice and patience, trial and error, repetition…

These are just a few simple exercises. If they seem frustrating or don’t work for you, don’t do them. In uncovering what the body holds, it is most important to be patient. Our bodies are holding some of these traumas and memories to protect us. Let them sit if needed. Or peel them away gently. Try to enjoy the process. Let yourself laugh. Or let yourself cry. And then wait for the writing to pour out.

-June

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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Rebecca Brown Profile

Rebecca Brown, an inspiring contributor in our upcoming issue of Bombay Gin, is also an open and authentically down-to-earth writer. From interactions with students at Naropa’s SWP 2012, it is also apparent that she cares. A lot. She cares about religion, about human rights, and about her students.

rebecca brown photo

I caught up with Rebecca recently. Here’s a bit of what she’s up to:

June Lucarotti: What books have you recently been excited about?

Rebecca Brown: I am excited by the new book (a first book) by Suzanne Scanlon, PROMISING YOUNG WOMEN, published by the Dorothy Project. It’s smart and brutal and funny and really speaks to a lot of stuff of interest to me – the female mind, the experience of quasi real or misunderstood ‘madness’, religious longing and its perversions. The prose is really excellent too. I am also reading Gary Wills’ work about Augustine and thinking about that stuff. I also love Bombay Gin and Anne Waldman and all you guys and gals.

JL: What is your current contemplative practice?

RB: I still try to work with my Sacred Silence group every week and wish I did so more.

JL: What inspires you lately?

RB: I am listening to Sunny Day Real Estate’s old music and right now have Bruno Mars on my CD player. I am awaiting a visit from CA Conrad, whom I have never met but whose work I TREMENDOUSLY admire. I have invited CA to visit my class where I teach at UW Botell in the new MFA in Creative Writing and Poetics program. He will read tonight too, and I hope he wears a tiara.

Look for Rebecca’s insightful reflection on “Transgressive Meditation” in Bombay Gin’s upcoming issue!

Rebecca Brown is currently writing essays, parables, and more. She is creating cut and paste altered books. She currently has an installation and an altered book exhibit up at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle. Her most recent book is AMERICAN ROMANCES (City Lights, 2009), and she has recent work in PAGEBOY, the Frye Museum blog, and elsewhere. Her writing also often appears online in THE STRANGER. Rebecca presently teaches in the MFA in Creative Writing and Poetics program at UW Bothell and the low-residency MFA at Goddard College.

-June

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Some Helpful Submission Tips from Bombay Gin

Submitting creative work to a publication can be nerve racking for a number of reasons, especially if it is your first time. Gaining publication is an essential part of a working writer’s life, so here is a list of tips to help you along the way to becoming established writers.

1. Do Not Fear Rejection

This tip is the most important one I can give. You cannot fear rejection; it is going to happen, and it is ok. This is the first thing you, as a writer, need to grasp and understand. It is hard to send off your own work to be judged and analyzed by various editorial panels, but you should never take a rejection too close to heart. A rejection doesn’t mean anything about the quality of your writing. You could receive a rejection for any number of reasons. For example, your piece might not have fit the journal’s theme, you didn’t follow the journals guidelines, or the journal might not even read your work, because there is just too much to read. Whatever the case, you just need to continue to send your work to a number of publishers. Just be patient and have no fear; your work will find a home.

2. Submit to Journals You Like

Do your homework. When you are looking to submit work for publication, you should always look at journals that you admire or enjoy. Submit to journals you are familiar with so you know what type of work they publish. Mention in your cover letter that you have knowledge of the publication; it presents dedication on your part. Just make sure, regardless of where you submit, you do your research and take the time to learn about the publication. Take the time to read their mission statement. Know to whom you are submitting.

3. Follow the Guidelines

Always make sure to read and follow the guidelines for each journal and magazine to which you submit. Each journal has specific submissions guidelines. A journal’s guidelines tell you things like when to submit, how many pieces/pages to submit, the format in which to submit, and whether they take simultaneous submissions, among other things. Not following the guidelines gives the publisher an excuse to recycle your work and give you an immediate rejection. This is obviously what you are trying to avoid so always make sure to read the guidelines carefully first before submitting anything.

4. Write a Good Cover Letter.

A strong cover letter is essential, and you should take the time to create a template cover letter you can use to submit to various publications. A good cover letter should do the following:

  • Tout your accomplishments without telling your life story. You should mention your achievements, such as other publications and awards, but keep it brief. Most editors do not want to read an autobiography, because they have enough submissions to read as it is. Always update your letter as you accomplish more.
  • Include your contact information (address, number, email, etc). This way, the editors can contact with you about your submission or know where to send correspondance.
  • Mention your prior knowledge of the publication. This shows that you have taken the time to examine the publication before submitting and that you have connection with that particular publisher.
  • Makes you more appealing. For example, use “completing” instead of saying “going for my degree” when talking about your education. “Completing” tells a publisher that you are hard at work toward your goal and loyal to your craft.
  • Be courteous. Thank the editors for taking the time to read your work. Editors have a lot of reading and work on their hands.

5. Submit to as Many Places as You Can.

Most publications allow for simultaneous submissions, which means you can submit work to them that you have already submitted to other publishers. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket, because what is not good for one journal might be good for another. If you do end up submitting work simultaneously, always make sure to contact other publishers after a piece gets picked up for publication so they know to disregard it from your submission.

6. Keep Track.

Create a chart or someway of organizing where you have submitted work. This is for your own personal record and sanity.

7. Be Patient.

Give the editors time to get back to you. If you submitted work to a journal two days ago, then don’t start asking them about the status of your submission. Likely, they haven’t even had a second to look at the majority of submissions they have received. It can take a few months for you to receive any word. If you haven’t heard anything from a publisher in over a few months then just assume your work was rejected and move on from there.

There is a lot of pressure, especially for younger writers, to gain publications in order to become more established. My hope is to help relieve some of that pressure with advice. Getting published is not easy; it takes a large amount of effort and persistence. These tips can get you on track toward gaining new honors and publications, setting you on the path toward becoming an established writer.

-Mike

Mike Malpiedi is a first year MFA candidate in the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics.  Mike also serves as Associate Editor, Graduate Assistant for Publications, for Bombay Gin.

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JKS Presents What Where Series II

Please join us for the second installation of the Jack Kerouac School’s What Where Series on Tuesday, October 23rd. A reading featuring Lidia Yuknavitch, Eric Baus, and Joanna Ruocco will begin at 7:30 pm in the Arapahoe Campus’ Performing Arts Center. This event is free and open to the public.

Lidia Yuknavitch is the author of the anti-memoir The Chronology of Water and the just released novel Dora: A Headcase: A Modern Farce, as well as three books of short stories and critical book on war and narrative. She is the recipient of an Oregon Book Award, a Pacific Northwest Bookseller’s Award, and was a finalist for the Pen Center Award in nonfiction. She teaches writing, women’s studies, and literature in Oregon with her husband the filmmaker Andy Mingo and their renaissance man son Miles. She runs the independnt press chiasmus (key-az-muss). She is a very, very good swimmer.

Eric Baus is the author of Scared Text, winner of the Colorado Prize (Colorado State U. Press), Tuned Droves (Octopus Books), and The To Sound, winner of the Verse Prize (Verse Press/Wave Books), as well as several chapbooks. His commentaries about poetry audio recordings, Notes on PennSound, recently appeared on Jacket2. He lives in Denver where he co-edits Marcel Chapbooks with Andrea Rexilius.

Joanna Ruocco co-edits Birkensnake, a fiction journal. She is the author of The Mothering Coven (Ellipsis Press), Man’s Companions (Tarpaulin Sky Press), A Compendium of Domestic Incidents (Noemi Press), and Another Governess / The Least Blacksmith: A Diptych (FC2).

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