Tag Archives: poetry

BGReadingFlier

Tomorrow Night (12/10/14):

Our reading series closes for the season at Innisfree Poetry Bookstore & Cafe, in Boulder, CO–

with phenomenal artists Richard Froude and Junior Burke, followed by an open mic.

The reading starts at 7pm

The night will be filled with poetry and music and fun!

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Origin Story: Birth/Unbirth and Free Gin Giveaway

Ever wonder how Bombay Gin Lit Journal received its illustrious name? Here’s your chance to find out. Send a short poem or prose piece, citing or creating the birth of BG to bgin@naropa.edu by the end of this year. The winner will receive a copy of our forthcoming issue, featuring work by Anna Joy Springer, CA Conrad, Serena Chopra, and many others. In the meantime, here are some vintage BG covers to stir your imaginations.

http://www.poetspath.com/exhibits/bombay_gin/spring_1976.html http://www.poetspath.com/exhibits/bombay_gin/summer_1976.html http://www.poetspath.com/exhibits/bombay_gin/winter_spring_1977.html http://www.poetspath.com/exhibits/bombay_gin/summer_fall_1977.html http://www.poetspath.com/exhibits/bombay_gin/winter_spring_1978.html http://www.poetspath.com/exhibits/bombay_gin/summer_1978_spring_1979.html http://www.poetspath.com/exhibits/bombay_gin/summer_fall_1979.html

-Brenna Lee

Brenna Lee is the Art Editor of Bombay Gin and a current Writing Fellow at Naropa University. She is a second year MFA candidate and a Co-Editor of Blooming Plants, a multi-media conduit.

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A Toast to Autonomy: CA Conrad Interview

Hello lovely readers,

For your reading pleasure, we’ve decided to release an excerpt from Bombay Gin’s upcoming interview with the incredible poet CA Conrad. Look for the interview in its entirety in our soon to be released issue, 39.1, and check out CA’s poetry and (Soma)tics at caconrad.blogspot.com.

Brenna Lee: You’re work seems to explore elements of working class culture and white-trash culture. I’m interested in these ideas as history but also as archive and art. It reminds me in a way of Ilya Kabakov’s archives of trash as installation. Or Warhol’s film Trash. How do you think your interest in these cultures affects your own work?

CA Conrad: I won’t deny where I came from, but I’m not interested in it any more than I am interested in any small-minded group of mean-spirited people. There’s nothing romantic about homophobia and racism and an inane sense of power from alcohol. Trash may be an aspersion, but it’s accurate. I saw my mother arrested when I was nine, and her third husband was a pedophile, and by the time I was ten, I was completely paranoid from the task of protecting my younger sister from this creep. I hate where I came from. Hate’s a strong word, and I’ll use it. These people will always disgust me. I grew up in a part of rural Pennsylvania where the Ku Klux Klan has a foothold. Two filmmakers from Delinquent Films are making a documentary about me, and they went back to where I grew up to interview my father. I think they were wondering if I was exaggerating the details of this bigoted little town. They asked my dad about the KKK, and he closed the windows and drew the blinds before saying anything, and he talked about their resurgence in the 1990’s. In the 90’s, the coffin factory in town closed, a factory that had been there for over a century and was one of the area’s main sources of income. The Klan feeds a community’s financial fears with their illogical and frightening campaign to blame people of color. Meanwhile, it was President Clinton’s NAFTA that was to blame, of course. Anyone who lived in the initial era of NAFTA in America knows how the factories all headed south to use the people of Mexico as fodder for new factories with NO EPA standards, NO OSHA standards. Decades of labor rights to protect workers could be wiped clean in Mexico. So, the Klan was blaming immigrants and African Americans when the real people to blame were rich white men who owned the factories and bought their way through Washington. When I was outed in high school, the town’s hatred of homosexuals changed me. For me, there was life before I was outed, and then a very different life after being outed. It’s like one day no one will talk to you and this new way of living begins, and it’s amazing when that kind of societal switch gets flipped in your life. It’s most definitely a form of Hell on Earth with the ridicule, daily assaults, and the shunning. There was a bet about when I would kill myself. Junior year? Senior year? I wonder if someone bet that I was too strong for the tyranny? They were the winner! Being branded a zero gives you tremendous freedom though. In fact, it makes you freer than your oppressor will ever be, because you don’t have to follow their rules, because you are forbidden to signify the good citizen. Unless of course you’re one of those boring faggots or dykes who actually wants to assimilate. A toast to autonomy! Eileen Myles once said, “It’s good to be hated.” I understand that.

-Brenna Lee

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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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Electric Guitar Poet: Interviewing My Teacher Thurston Moore

by Katie Ingegneri

When I came to Boulder last January to start my MFA at the Jack Kerouac School at Naropa University, I didn’t know…anything. Even though I had been writing since I was a small child in Concord, Massachusetts (a trip to the Orchard House, home of Louisa May Alcott and her family, inspired my first ghost story when I was a student at Alcott Elementary School), and spent most of my only-child life devouring books, the desire to become a writer only hit me sometime around the end of my third year of undergrad. After a highly academic, theory-intensive college experience, and given my love of deceased writers like Kerouac, Vonnegut, and Ginsberg, I thought I knew writers and writing. I knew names, I knew concepts. But I didn’t know what the scene was going to look like in the world I was placing myself into at Naropa.

I was only a few months into my first semester when we had to sign up for our workshops for Naropa’s 2011 Summer Writing Program. Some of my classmates had eagerly spoken of the fact Thurston Moore was coming – and I had no idea who he was. I discovered quickly that he is a founder of Sonic Youth, a band I had definitely heard of but never really listened to, apart from the cover of Bob Dylan’s “I’m Not There” that they did for the Todd Haynes movie of the same name. But never one to miss an opportunity to come in contact with music legends, I signed up for his workshop – along with many other hopeful students – and got in.

The research commenced. I downloaded his solo album that had just come out at the time, Demolished Thoughts, and marveled at the fact he was performing it on shows like “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” right before he was to come to Naropa. The gorgeous guitar chords, cello and harp in the background, and poetic lyrics were beautiful, but didn’t provide me with a full picture of what to expect from this Thurston. People told me to download Daydream Nation, apparently Sonic Youth’s best-known album, but at first, it was easier to get into their famous cover of The Carpenters’ “Superstar” (another cover I was aware of through the movies, this time in Juno) than shrieking guitars and unconventional song structure. I would soon discover that those shrieking guitars were in the lineage of musicians that I had grown up adoring, like Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground.

As I had just become an associate editor of Bombay Gin for the next school year, and my fellow editors were planning interviews with writers I had no awareness of at the time, I latched on to the fact that I would be in a class taught by an underground music legend and decided to ask him for an interview after our first class. I had been cautioned to be careful of making demands on the time of a legend, to be respectful and not necessarily expect too much.

But when Thurston first came into our classroom, appropriately held in the largest space in Naropa, the Performing Arts Center where all of our readings are held, he did not have the demeanor of a diva rock star who kept the world at bay. For all intents and purposes, he could have been another student in the class, wearing Converse sneakers and carrying a beat-up guitar case, and I would never have guessed that he was closer in age to my parents’ generation than mine.

As he started talking during our first class, I quickly realized we would have lots to talk about in this interview (that I had not yet asked him for). Yes, he was a musician, known for being a musician, but he was also a poet, who had devoted much of his energy over the years to not only writing but archiving the writing culture of underground and small-press poets. He showed us examples of his own journal that he had started, the Ecstatic Peace Poetry Journal, created in the tradition of hand-written and photocopied, stapled zines. The students all received folders of editions of these journals, plus sheets of notebook photocopies where Thurston had written his poetry and various ideas for what we would do in the class.

Here’s a scan of what would we would be doing as our class project that week: writing poetry, reading it into a tape recorder as he improvised music on his 12-string guitar, and re-recording cassettes until the result was a new “hybrid” as only the founder of Sonic Youth can produce: a new experience of words, music, and feedback that defied categorization.

We ended up meeting for an interview on the one day we didn’t have our workshop during the week. Thurston is an incredibly laid back, down-to-earth individual for someone occupying a position in our cultural realm that would otherwise entitle him to be a standoffish rock star, and conversation flowed easily as we walked from Naropa to a local coffee shop and back again, before we sat down in a quiet conference room, the only air-conditioned room I could find to escape the sweltering Boulder summer heat.

During the three hours we talked, we discussed a wealth of subjects tracking how he came to be so knowledgeable about the counterculture, from his teenage years driving from Connecticut to New York to see the first punk bands, to his realization that many of the musicians he admired, like Patti Smith and Lou Reed, had artistic origins in their admiration and emulation of Beat Generation writers like Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs. His stories of documenting the culture of small presses and underground publications that exist below the awareness of the cultural mainstream reveal an expert level of understanding and engagement with a facet of American literary culture that few are truly aware of. And the fact he was there, hanging out with Burroughs in Kansas or seeing Ted Berrigan walking around the Lower East Side, makes him a figure with remarkably unique knowledge that would be nearly impossible to duplicate.

Like my fellow associate editor Heather Goodrich and her interview with Vanessa Place, I have a 26-page Word document of the transcription from our  interview. There was not a minute during those hours when I was not fascinated, and there was so much more I wanted to include in my published version. But I had to keep the interview in Bombay Gin focused on what was strictly relevant to the interests I had set out to investigate on behalf of the Jack Kerouac School: the importance of the archive, how writers and writing functions in other fields like music, and how someone like Thurston Moore fits into the lineage of Naropa through his association with our legendary founders and teachers of the Beat Generation, and conversely, how Naropa fits into the lineage of underground experimental art and culture that extends beyond the realms of writing and our little campus in Boulder.

Later on, after the interview and on our last day of class, the students indulged our inner fans and asked for autographs and pictures, and Thurston was an excellent sport about it.

The Interviewee and The Interviewer

I spent the rest of the summer downloading every Sonic Youth and Thurston solo album I could find, and they became my new writing music of choice, as I find guitar distortion oddly soothing in many ways (and always have, so perhaps this was all inevitable). A few months after our class, Thurston announced to the world that he would be starting a new poetry imprint called Flowers + Cream Press. I like to think that his time at Naropa this past summer might have contributed to his decision to embrace writing and publishing more, given how well-versed he is on the subject. I also look forward to seeing him with his new press at the upcoming AWP (Association of Writers & Writing Programs) conference in Chicago at the end of this month, where some of the other editors and I will be with our new issue. (He is also slated to return to Naropa for the 2012 Summer Writing Program, which is very exciting.)

See our new issue of Bombay Gin for two of Thurston’s poems and our (highly-condensed) interview. Perhaps I will cobble together a more music-centric version of it for another publication. The most interesting thing about him and this whole process was not, ultimately, his extensive knowledge of the counter-culture of the past 50 years, or his discussion of his vast archive of that culture; it was the fact that he, himself, Thurston Moore, is the most interesting object of the archive, containing a wealth of knowledge and experience interacting and collaborating with everyone from Ginsberg and Burroughs to Patti Smith and Kurt Cobain. But if we can’t put him in a punk-rock museum, giving lectures on Lester Bangs and d.a. levy, then we’ll just have to give thanks that the underground is still alive and well, because, as he told me, “the underground is where all the foxes are.”

Here is Ambrose Bye’s video of the poetry reading Thurston gave during the 2011 Summer Writing Program.

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Vanessa Place: Threshold, Failure and Stupid Challenges

An annoying thing about publishing is space; particularly, what is left out.

In our new issue, I interviewed Vanessa Place during the 2011 Summer Writing Program. Fifteen pages made it into this issue, but the other eight are collecting cyber dust on my computer. At Bhanu Kapil’s suggestion, she said this should be published as a two-part interview. One part Bombay Gin, the other part elsewhere…(Elbow, elbow, nudge, nudge: any takers?)

Yet, aside from this, there are still many details left out.

In our nearly 2.5-hour-long interview (which was incredibly generous of her to let me steal that much time) we laughed.

A lot.

Place is funny. I noticed this not only during our talk, but also when I was transcribing our interview. Among our serious discussion on threshold as a site for potential encounter, what threshold signifies, the futility of the Real, the desire of readers/of being human and more, we also laughed about stupid challenges, moving one step closer to hell, Blake Butler drinking as he read Dies: A Sentence, me stealing her definition of poetry and/or prose, Tweeting Gone with the Wind

You get the picture.

Other things that didn’t make it into our interview:

Place gave an incredible lecture on ECHO where she discussed radical mimesis. She did not speak during the first part of the lecture. What we heard was a recording as she sat silently on the stage before us. I have eight pages of notes on this with scribbles about how “speech calls for more speech…the real representation of the real…I’m a mouthpiece refracting.” The second part of her lecture was from Statement of Facts.  This is when she began to speak.  After the lecture, Place answered Q & A’s several times stating, “I’m placing hot content in a cold container” by curating the encounter of rape via public court records on rape: A rape is a rape is a rape.

After our interview, we discussed performativity and I asked her why she gave toasters and doughnuts to students prior to her performance, which were used. She said something to the effect of wanting the sense of smell in her performance.

Bhanu gave me a plastic baggie containing items Place selected: dirt, an orange colored pencil and an orange/reddish rock.

The last night at the SWP, Place gave an incredible performance, reading from several works including: Die Dichtkunst (u, u, u, u…), the pussy section from La Medusa, a section from SCUM Manifesto, Statement of Facts and another section that I don’t recall the name of, but I do remember it was about time. Or maybe that’s just my impression.

I cannot perform without thinking about Place’s performance that night and during the lecture. She has purpose in presentation and thinks about the form first. To her, as she said in our published interview, she always beings with form. It’s like making sausage, she said, first you must begin with the casing and then cram the other stuff in. See? Funny, yet simple. Banal or stupid, as Place would say. Either way, I like it.

And now, a snippet from what is not (yet?) unpublished:

VANESSA PLACE: Some of the most fascinating things happen by mistake.

HEATHER GOODRICH: The Big Bang.

VP: Yep, or mishearing. For me, all of psychoanalysis a fair chunk of psychoanalysis is about the slip of the tongue—the misstatement—the misunderstood—where the unconscious betrays itself. You can attempt to manipulate that or not and see what it happens. Why not?

HG: Yes, why not?

VP: One of the things I think is very important for, especially young writers to realize is this not brain surgery.

HG: Imagine that.

VP: There will not be a pile of corpses at the end for all of your little failures. (We laugh) It’s the dead baby thing. The metaphorical pile of corpses is fine. Just do it. See what happens. I do believe that.

Willem de Kooning’s Woman, I is one of my favorite paintings. He was the artists’ artist in his group. When Pollack was in ascension, de Kooning was older and couldn’t get a show. Then finally, he sells excavations to the Chicago Museum. All of his friends say, ‘This is great, Pollack is on his way out, you’re going to be the poster boy for abstract expressionism, good for you.’ de Kooning immediately spends the next two-and-a-half years painting Woman, I — which is not abstract expressionist in the strict sense. It’s not abstract — it’s figural. He paints this painting every day and at night he scrapes the paint from the canvas. When the canvases got too crusty, he threw them out and started over. The painting that became Woman, I — he had rejected. He stuck it out in the hallway to throw out the next day, and I think his gallarist came by that night, pulled it and said, ‘This is great. This is going.’

What I love about this story is he didn’t do what he should have, which is immediately do another excavation because excavation worked. He didn’t do that. He went back to another thing he was interested in solving. I also love this story for the willingness to humiliate one’s self and fail and fail and ended up creating a great work of art. But even if it hadn’t, the point of interest to de Kooning was the engagement between himself and paint; himself and composition; and composition itself.

If you want to make the world a better place, volunteer at a soup kitchen. If you want to have a therapeutic experience, go to therapy. If you’re really interested in doing stuff with text, then write and don’t worry about it. And fail. Just fail, fail, fail and you’ll be fine.

Heather

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Ana Bozicevic: “I love big cars. I fucking love to stuff them up my cunt.”

The fall issue of Bombay Gin will feature the marvelous work of one charmingly blunt Ana Bozicevic, Croatian-born poet and editor of the online journal esque <http://www.esquemag.com/&gt;. I got to know Ana when she was an invited workshop facilitator, along with her partner Amy King, at Naropa’s 2011 Summer Writing Program. The theme that week was cyborgian natures and the hybrid. In Ana’s class, we pieced together cyborg manifestos, crafted exquisite corpses, and culminated in the production of a group video depicting the simultaneous reading of twelve individual poems. What could the viewer piece together from that? Why, that ‘the human symphony is a cacophonous massage,’ no doubt–another of the provocative and lyrical statements that Ana spouts conversationally, as if to speak in poetry was the norm, and not the divine birthright of a few highly talented artist-writers.

To Bombay Gin, Ana has graciously gifted three new poems and a lecture delivered at Naropa University. A teaser from that material:

I filled the oilcloth bags with some
Gooey liquids – jam, baby oil, and Vaseline, and
I lined them up & called them
Perverts. People could squeeze them. It was a great exhibit

Check back soon for more previews of the fabulousness to come!

–Jess

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