Monday, November 25, 2013

November 24, 2013: Miranda Mellis Live

This past Sunday, Miranda Mellis met with us to talk about her books None of This is Real (Sidebrow Books, 2012) and The Spokes (Solid Objects, 2012). Miranda's short fiction is compelling in its surrealist narrative. Her background in poetry is evident in her incredibly beautiful prose. Her stories seek to illustrate our habits, our interactions with time, the goals that propel us into action and the ways in which we make sense of our places in the world. At the same time, her stories are political in how they mirror how we are caught up in the wheel of capitalism or how we look away when we know we are acting as part of a societal machine that may be harming others. Miranda's characters seek knowledge, seek approval and are sometimes not sure why they do the things they do. In this way, we can relate to them, even within the surrealist landscape of her worlds. Her stories deal with death, family dynamics, ancestral powers and the growing line at the cafe. She talked about the things she resists in her narrative, like locating the events in a specific time and place. At the same time, she is able to work through a sentence that perfectly represents her character's emotional state in the same way a poet will work through a line until it's just right.
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Sunday, November 24, 2013

November 17, 2013 Jackqueline Frost Live

On November 17th, we welcomed Jackqueline Frost into Lightrail Studios to discuss The Antidote (Compline 2013). The book is a long poem divided into four sections. The content deals with the economic and social critiques of the Occupy movement, as well as the pondering of how gender and queer-ness interact with that movement. She talks about how when reading the book now, new meaning surfaces for her from when it was written. The poem emerged after she had done a good deal of critical and theoretical writing, "trying to engage critically with the events that were going on." The fact that the poem was written in reaction to a social movement is evident in the way it interacts with Jackqueline's writing community. She includes other writers in the book through epigrams. She and Evan Kennedy wrote their books (Kennedy's book Terra Firmament just came out from Krupskaya) at the same time and they exchanged their work throughout the process. As has been discussed on earlier shows, we talked about if art and/or poetry can be transformative in the larger society.
At the end, Jackqueline gave information about the queer reading series she is curating, called Red Element, at the n/a gallery in Oakland.
David Brazil's The Ordinary (Compline 2013), is the "twin" book to The Antidote. Jackqueline, Evan and David books are being framed as a trilogy, so check them all out!
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Monday, November 4, 2013

November 3, 2013- Camille Roy Live!

This past Sunday we had the great pleasure to welcome Camille Roy to Lightrail Studios to discuss Sherwood Forest (Futurepoem, 2011). We began our interview talking about the relevance of Sherwood Forest and how this fictional place represents a possible underworld or counter-culture. Camille wanted to capture how these spaces are both intimate and under-represented in mainstream art and media. "Sherwood Forest is about what can't be assimilated." This is a wonderful and surprising work of poetry that reveals the fluidity of human identity and experience. She wants to represent narrative in a way that captures actual human interaction. Camille talks about how we never truly know each others complete stories and yet contemporary narrative often assumes that the reader should know the story in totality. Her book works towards a more realistic retelling of story. The book is filled with peril and what she calls the "purity of dread" that we encounter when we are so involved in a situation that we cannot have a distanced perspective. The poems foreground experience rather than intellectualization. In this work, humans, and human bodies are presented in their natural state, as opposed to the stripped down version we tend to present when we privilege the image/visual rather than the sense of smell. We also found out that Camille has a very soothing reading voice, when she shared a few pieces from her book.
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Sunday, November 3, 2013

October 20, 2013- Avery Burns discusses the Iliad

On October 20th, we had our first reunion show when Avery Burns returned to talk about Homer's The Iliad. We learned how the story is still relevant today. We started off talking about the varied translations and even began the show reading from four different versions. Avery assigned us certain passages to read and questions to ponder in preparation for the show. We talked about the ways in which we as readers may feel disconnected from the characters and moral code in this story. Avery  helped us see the themes at play in The Iliad and how they connect to our more contemporary concerns, as well as how the story surprises the reader by running contrary to typical hero tales. Here, we see an argument against war, an argument that is very present in our modern-day psyche. Towards the end, we got a little Trojan geography lesson. Thanks Avery!
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October 27, 2013 The Evelyn Avenue Reading

Former guest and all-around beautiful poet, Susanne Dyckman, was gracious enough to invite the three of us to read at her Evelyn Avenue reading series.
Thank you Susanne and everyone who joined us!
Here's what happened:

Jay Thomas 10-27-13

Delia Tramontina 10-27-13

Nicholas Leaskou 10-27-13