Tag Archives: J’Lyn Chapman

Women of Naropa Event

WON

Bombay Gin editorial board would like to invite you to Thursday’s Women of Naropa Reading!

Along with the earth-shaking Anne Waldman, the night will include performances by Lisa Birman, HR Hegnauer, Maureen Owen, Andrea Rexilius, Laura Wright, and a collaboration between Michelle Naka Piece and Ariella Ruth.

Attendees will also enjoy readings by Bombay Gin’s own editor-in-chief J’Lyn Chapman and editor Jade Lascelles, as well as a collaborative performance by Bombay Gin editors and Jack Kerouac School (JKS) students June Lucarotti and April Joseph.

This event offers a rare opportunity for JKS students to share the stage with celebrated faculty, providing an exciting showcase. The audience will be graced by performances from additional JKS students Erin Likins, Rachel Newlon, Elizabeth J. Sparenberg, and a collaboration between Elyse Brownell and Tiara Lopez.

Please join us this Thursday at 7:30 PM in the Performing Arts Center on Naropa University’s Arapahoe campus. The event is $5 for Naropa students and faculty and $8 for the public.  All proceeds go to Bombay Gin and Friendship Bridge, “a nonprofit, non-governmental organization that provides microcredit and education to Guatemalan women so that they can create their own solutions to poverty for themselves, their families and their communities.” Together we can help make the community a better place and join Anne Waldman in keeping it “safe for poetry.”

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Letter from the Editor: Bombay Gin 39.1

When Art and Layout Editor Brenna Lee gave CAConrad a choice between fertility, transgression, and contemplative poetics, CA choose “transgression” and “contemplative poetics.” And so the theme of issue 39.1 is “The Contemplative as Transgressive.” Actually, the idea originally occurred as I considered a contemplative writing course I was set to teach this fall for the Jack Kerouac School’s low-residency MFA program. At the beginning of the summer, I posed it to the 2012-13 Bombay Gin board, and, as a thought will, it became spirit and then body.

All themed issues are a mix of constraint and spontaneity; the result is a rich interpretation of Bombay Gin’s unique contemplative heritage. Naropa University was founded in 1974 as the Naropa Institute by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, a lineage holder of both the Kagyü and Nyingma Buddhist traditions. To this day, Naropa identifies itself as a Buddhist-inspired university, committed to integrating the active life of scholarship and activism with the contemplative life of study and meditative practices. In the Jack Kerouac School in particular, we grapple with how to articulate the synergy between contemplative practice and “radical exploration and experimentation” (as our website boasts).

I think part of this difficulty lies in the necessity to (meta)articulate what is obvious: writing is already a contemplative practice, and, in this way, to write contemplatively requires both innovation and a conscious return to origin, whether this be self or intuition. As Marketing Editor Sally Smith brought to my attention, “radical” is one of those curious terms that contains in its definition the full range of extremes. Its Latin etymology means, “having roots,” while its more recent definition jettisons the term toward “extreme change from accepted or traditional forms.” I find this mongrel term especially fitting as a modifier not only because of its inclusion of the whole linear iteration of “exploration and experimentation,” but also because of the way that path becomes event, rupturing and redoubling (to use Derrida’s description of structuralism).

I suppose I originally proposed “transgressive” to mean something like “radical exertion”— transgression is what happens when the soul heaps “itself on that ridge” of “a self-evolving circle” and then “tends outward with a vast force, and to immense and innumerable expansion,” as Emerson writes in the essay, “Circles.” Western culture often understands the contemplative life as hermetic and isolated, bound, but this issue of Bombay Gin indicates that transgression is the inevitable trajectory of awareness. In the introduction to his five poems included in this issue, Reed Bye writes of  contemplative poetics, “What is ‘transgressed’ in such a contemplative approach are all the conceptual reflexes and boundaries mind encounters, beginning with biases toward oneself and extending out to judgments or ideas felt or perceived in the world.” Like the term “radical,” Reed’s insight both introduces and directs this issue of Bombay Gin, which, in ways we could have never predicted, follows the mind’s emergence from its backgrounds, its conditioning, its habitual responses.

One pattern of note is resonance with existentialism’s pour-soi or the conscious process of estranging the self from ideology and reification. In addition to CAConrad’s insightful interview with Brenna Lee, “(Soma)tic Disobedience,” I want to highlight Rebecca Brown’s “Transgressive Meditation”; Anna Joy Springer’s “Identity as Encounter: I as Thou in Discontinuous Memoir,” which directly references the existentialist theologian Martin Buber; Erik Anderson’s excerpt from Estranger; and Michele Auerbach’s essay on kari edwards, “Can I Do This Spiritual Drag.” Interfaith and interdisciplinary, these prose pieces push at boundaries of self, gender, and animal and suggest that while only the individual can do the work of revealing the reality of herself, she cannot access the truth of the self without also seeing herself in context of others.

The lovely “lyric” pieces (both prose and poetry) collected here also evidence this dialectic of self and other, even as that other fades into context of the poetic utterance. Barbara Henning, Mg Roberts, HR Hegnauer, Chris Martin, and Matthew Cooperman, to name only a few, express “a practice of active attention and direct engagement with things as they arise in perception, thought, or emotion, based in open curiosity and appreciation for experience as a whole,” to quote again from Reed Bye. In this same vein, we are also proud to curate two portfolios with art from Olivia Locher (whose photographs are on our cover), Debbie Carlos, and Ian Rummell. In a departure from our typical design, in which the image shares the page with its title and the artist’s name, we’ve allowed these images to saturate their space on the page, to be fully present lyric spaces.

Finally, we close the issue with several “experiments,” including CAConrad’s “(Soma)tic Exercise: Grave a Hole as Dream a Hole,” Angela Stubbs’ “Blue Ritual,” and Richard Cohen’s “Play the Platypus Game.” These exercises, rituals, games appropriately close the issue by opening a space for you, reader, to enter. To again, quote Reed Bye, “For the creative aspect of making (poetics), anything and everything happens from there.”

-J’Lyn Chapman

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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