Tag Archives: Michelle Naka Pierce

Women of Naropa Event


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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First Micro-Review of the Season: Continuous Frieze Bordering Red

In our continuing attempt to bring you a glimpse of some of the great content that will appear in our next issue, I’m delighted to present our first micro-review of the Fall blogging season:  an excerpt from Ashely Waterford’s review of Michelle Naka Pierce’s latest work, Continuous Frieze Bordering Red.  You can catch Ashley’s review in its entirety in our upcoming issue.  Enjoy, dear reader, and stay tuned for other exciting content.


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Michelle Naka Pierce

Continuous Frieze Bordering Red

Fordham, 2012

Reviewed by Ashley Waterman

Continuous Frieze Bordering Red by Michelle Naka Pierce first catches the reader’s eye with its cover art. Mark Rothko’s Black on Maroon, 1959 sets the tone for the book, representing a feeling of dislocation between Naka Pierce, her surroundings, her heritage, and being “boxed in” by all of these factors. She also uses Rothko to demonstrate her experiences in a painterly way.  The form requires the text to be read line by line, across each page, creating a flow similar to painting a picture.

Naka Pierce’s knowledge of Rothko is evident from the start.  The phrase “frieze bordering” in the title comments on the framing of Rothko’s Seagram Murals. Naka Pierce says, “The frame turns and paint drips in multiple directions.  This is how one navigates new geographical locations.”  An image of people dripping through the London Tube in different directions adds a layer to her experience as “Other.”  It also describes how Rothko painted the Seagram mural. Naka Pierce’s metaphors (such as this one) describe both Rothko’s art and her sense of “[dis]location” providing a strong connection to the inspiration for this book.

As a tourist, Naka Pierce applies Rothko-esque analogies to her situation.  “…The wall of red, the lack of breathing room when you stand inside searching for exits, which are painted over [they do not open]” is a comparison Naka Pierce makes to the crowding and alienation felt when in a foreign country.

Despite the art references, one does not need to be familiar with Rothko to enjoy Continuous.  The reader is presented with the knowledge they need to read the text the way it was intended through the title as well as the synopsis.

Clearly influenced by art, the words and structure become paintings themselves.  Naka Pierce’s identity as an Asian American is embodied with the use of brackets throughout the text, creating its own [dis]location to the surrounding text.

Naka Pierce also comments on lack of hyphens: “Fucking hyphen. Can you translate authority?  You do not identify as combined words, lined grammar, division of recognized sloth.”  Naka Pierce chooses not to use hyphens to recognize that she has and embraces multiple identities.  She challenges the reader to classify her in one category.

If you are looking for a text that is an innovative project in collaboration with artwork, challenges the confines of the page, and questions identity, Continuous is the book for you.  With this work, Naka Pierce has created a text that borders the reader as much as Rothko borders a canvas.


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and a Few of Her Favorites

Moving Right Along:  Michelle Nake Pierce

Born in Tokyo, Japan, Michelle Naka Pierce is the current director of the Writing & Poetics Department here at the Jack Kerouac School. She is the author of the collaborative text TRI/VIA, Beloved Integer, She, A Blueprint, and Continious Frieze, Bordering [Red]. Her work has been anthologized in For the Time Being: The Bootstrap Book of Poetic Journals and Saints of Hysteria: A Half-Century of Collaborative American Poetry. As well as Naropa, she has taught at Bard College and University of New Mexico. Her teaching interests include writing pedagogy, avant-garde poetry, and gender/women’s studies. Excerpts from her manuscript She, A Blueprint for InterSurface, with art by Sue Hammond West, have been published in American Letters & Commentary, Trickhouse, Mandorla, Upstairs at Duroc (France), and elsewhere.



Michelle’s Response:

Hejinian’s My Life and “Rejection of Closure”
The Poethical Wager by Joan Retallack–esp the Experimental Feminine
Donald Allen’s The Poetics of the New American Poetry
Frank O’Hara’s Personism
O’Hara’s Lunch Poems and Meditations on an Emergency
O’hara’s poem “Why I am Not a Painter”
Talking Poetry edited by Lee Bartlett–esp Michael Palmer’s interview
Lee Bartlett’s The Greenhouse Effect
Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons
Stein’s Composition as Explanation
Stein Stein Stein
Cezanne’s notion: “paint be paint”
Harryette Mullen: S*PeRM**K*T and Trimmings
Rosmarie Waldrop’s Lawn of Excluded Middle
Rachel Blau DuPlessis: Pink Guitar
Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge: Empathy
Christian Bok’s Pataphysics: The Poetics of an Imaginary Science
Raymond Queneau: Exercises in Style
Kristen Prevallet’s I, Afterlife: Essay in Mourning
Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictee
Beckett’s Waiting for Godot
Susan Howe’s My Emily Dickinson
Anne Carson’s Autobiography of Red
Gloria Anzaldua’s Borderlands
Woolf’s Orlando
Friere’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed
Joy Harjo’s She Had Some Horses and In Mad Love and War
Li-Young Lee’s Rose and The City in Which I Love You
ee cummings
The Beatles
Moving Borders: three Decades of Innovative Writing by Women edited by Sloan
Some Thing Black by Jacques Roubaud
The Language Book edited by Bernstein and Andrews
Perloff, Foucault, Barthes
Gordon Matta-Clark
bell hooks
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard
Hitchcock’s Rear Window
To Kill a Mocking Bird
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Hirokazu Koreeda’s After Life and Nobody Knows
The Pillow Book
The Tale of Genji
Chris Pusateri
Michiko Masuda Pierce Sensei
Naropa students
The Clinamen

–Alice Virginia


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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