Tag Archives: threshold

The Hotcake Issue, Threshold: Tenuous Proposition Of

Before the Front Range issue sweeps us away, I should update you on the state of “Threshold: Tenuous Proposition Of.”

This issue sold like hotcakes. Our first run sold out immediately. At the time,  AWPwas less than a month away and we need issues to sell there.

Bombay Gin 38.1

My issue of Bombay Gin 38.1, Threshold: Tenuous Proposition Of. Please don’t ask to buy this off me because I won’t sell it…

So: we did a second print run. Again, hotcakes.

When I was setting up the Bombay Gin table at the Violence & Community Symposium reading, there were no issues left. Dunzo, threshold. Not to worry, I told myself, we still have at least 30 issues at Small Press Distribution (unless they sold).

Well, no. Not quite.

As of today, we have 16 Threshold issues left. Hotcakes.

And, before opening my big blog mouth, I had to double check there were absolutely no more issues tucked away in the Bombay Gin office. Good news: Diana McLean found our last TWO issues!

Overall, we have 18 issues left (unless more sell on SPD while I type…). Get your copy of “Threshold: Tenuous Proposition Of” or someone will…

All of this success is due to you, dear readers, for your generosity and reception of Bombay Gin. Thank you all so much for all that you do for us whether you contributed to this issue, helped us fund raise, bought an issue, supported our  release party, submitted work, ad infinitum.

Thank you. This is all for you.


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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.


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.


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Welcome Back, We Missed You

This holiday break has been exceptionally long. It felt endless. Perhaps because I read Jane Eyre for the millionth time, along with every essay about Dora’s Case, and the fact that when it snowed I became obsessed again with the falling snow in “The Dead.”

Or maybe I’m all-too-aware, along with my peers, that this is our last semester with Bombay Gin and our time as graduate students is half over. Thankfully, there’s a lot of work to do. Hopefully that won’t go by too quickly.

Alas! Enough melancholy. I have great news:

Bombay Gin, Threshold: Tenuous Preposition Of, is back from the printers! 

I haven’t yet snuck a peek, but I know the boxes have arrived. A release party for this issue is in the works. In the next week, I’ll have more solid details so you can mark calendars and celebrate this fantastic issue with us!

And in other excellent news: we are accepting submissions for our Front Range Writers issue. Deadline is February 15.

Mail submissions to:

Bombay Gin
Naropa University
Jack Kerouac School
2130 Arapahoe Ave
Boulder, CO 80301

We look forward to reading your work!


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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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Mapping the Threshold through Affinity

Exciting editor’s meeting last night! We discussed how to organize our threshold issue.

Our concept of threshold begins as an intellectual and creative convergence. We asked contributors for companion pieces on their interpretation of threshold. This worked out as: creative work, hybrid forms, visual-text work, altered texts, interviews, critical essays and more.

What is the best way for these companion pieces to speak to themselves and among each other?

Solicitations taking over my room.

We decided to organize the issue by using the four interviews with Vanessa Place, Ronaldo V. Wilson, Thurston Moore and the four printshop gurus (Julia Seko, Lara Durback, Colin Frazer and Wesley Tanner). Then, our all-female editorial board mapped the rest of this piece through affinity. We crossed walls and bridges with affinity, like Cixous, Ronell and Butler did weeks ago (side note: if anyone has a video of this lecture…send it over, pleaseplease).

This mapping happened easily. A threshold talks. It is a gesture that holds and blurs borders. It is the gap and the transition. A pause. A real or imagined space. And now, the pieces are talking among each other as we proofread.

Have a wonderful evening,


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The window’s open this morning and the dawn is cool

There’s a trendy little coffee shop in downtown Boulder called the Laughing Goat; affectionately, ‘the Goat.’ The baristas make a mean bhakti chai there, with lots of ginger, perfect for these cooler, early fall mornings. The warm lighting and the art on the walls, the smells of fresh coffee and strong tea, mean it’s also a great place to hold meetings. It was at the Goat that the editorial board for the fall issue of Bombay Gin got together yesterday, to discuss our progress on solicitations and fundraising ideas.

This fall, we’re going with the theme of ‘threshold,’ variously interpreted as any or none of the following:

Threshold–the thing you cross into/over, so as to discover what’s beyond/beneath/hiding in the liminal.

Threshold–the space of trans–the site of exchange–the wall, the ceiling, the carrying capacity of breath.

Threshold–the significance of space. The between place.

Over the next few weeks, the work we’ve solicited will begin to trickle in, slowly, companion pieces flanking ribs filling inboxes defining threshold obscuring space. Then will begin the work of editing, of suturing the threshold as wound, unearthing the threshold as secret, letting fall the wrecking ball into the threshold as crack, sliver, liminal i-need-you-i-want-you-oh-baby-oh-baby-space of impossible seduction.

Let’s talk about seduction. The window’s open this morning and the dawn is cool. Air wafts in chilly and scented with leaves that refuse to turn as of yet but will do so, inevitably. Seduced by autumn. My maté sends up spirals of steam that sing and dance and dissipate. Seduced by a wide, pink sky. Ginsberg: “I’m with you in Rockland / where you drink the tea of the breasts of the spinsters of Utica.” Seduced by Apollinaire, at the threshold of reality.

What say you, dear reader, of seduction, of threshold?


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