Poetry, Summer

Episode #130: Sara Borjas, author of Heart Like a Window, Mouth Like a Cliff

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Sara Borjas is a Chicanx pocha and a Fresno poet. Her debut collection of poetry, Heart Like a Window, Mouth Like a Cliff, was published by Noemi Press in March 2019 as part of the Akrilica series.

Sara earned a B.A. in English Literature from Fresno State and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and Writing for Performative Arts from University of California, Riverside. She is currently a lecturer in the Department of Creative Writing at UC Riverside. Her poetry can be found in The Rumpus, The Academy of American Poets Poem a Day Series, TinderBoxThe Offing, Entropy, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Cultural Weekly, The Acentos Review, and Luna Luna, amongst others. She co-hosts and produces The Lovesick Poetry Podcast — a west coast poetry podcast launching in 2019, alongside IRL cousin and award-winning poet, Joseph Rios.

She is a 2017 CantoMundo Fellow, a 2016 Postgraduate Writers Conference Fellow at Vermont College of Fine Arts, and a 2013 Community of Writers Workshop at Squaw Valley Fellow. She is the recipient of the 2014 Blue Mesa Poetry Prize. She lives in Los Angeles but stays rooted in Fresno.

She digs oldiez, astrophysics, aromatics, and tiny prints is about decentering whiteness.

 

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Poetry, Summer

Episode #125: We’re rebooting the podcast w/ new podcast producer and host, Muriel Leung!

Dear listeners,

Thank you for your patience as we’re undergoing major changes here at The Blood-Jet Writing Hour.

First, our biggest and most important piece of news: we’re incredibly happy to announce that poet and author of BONE CONFETTI, Muriel Leung, will be joining Rachelle as the new co-host and producer of the show.

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We’re so excited to have Muriel be a part of The Blood-Jet Writing Hour!

Next, the podcast will get back on a regular schedule, releasing episodes monthly.  Upcoming guest poets include: Kazumi Chin, Michelle Lin, Erika Ayón and more!

And finally, we’re launching our Patreon campaign to keep the show going and to cover costs, such as SoundCloud file hosting, website domain fees, podcasting equipment, etc.  There are tons of benefits, which include a Patron-only feed with writing and podcasting tips (this starts at just $1 a month!); signed copies of Rachelle and Muriel’s poetry collections; and manuscript consultations.  Help launch us into our 10th (!!!) year of podcasting and highlighting underrepresented writers and poets!

That’s it for now — lots of exciting episodes will be soon hitting your podcast feed — and as always you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (@thebloodjet)!

All best,

The Blood-Jet Writing podcast crew

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Interview, Non-Fiction, Summer

Episode #124 – Angela Garbes, author of LIKE A MOTHER, A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy

Episode #124 – Angela Garbes, author of LIKE A MOTHER

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Angela Garbes is a Seattle-based writer specializing in food, bodies, women’s health, and issues of racial equity and diversity. Garbes began writing for The Stranger in 2006, and became a staff writer in 2014. Her piece “The More I Learn About Breast Milk, the More Amazed I Am” is the publication’s most-read piece in its twenty-four-year history, and the inspiration for her book, Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy. Garbes is an experienced public speaker, frequent radio and podcast guest, and event moderator. She grew up in a food-obsessed, immigrant Filipino household and now lives in Seattle with her husband and two children.

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Interview, Poetry, Summer

Episode #117: Salt and Bone – An Interview with Muriel Leung and Grace Shuyi Liew

Episode #117!  You can listen here:

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Muriel Leung is from Queens, NY. Her writing can be found or is forthcoming inThe Collagist, Fairy Tale Review, Ghost Proposal, Jellyfish Magazine, inter|rupture, and others. She is a recipient of a Kundiman fellowship and is a regular contributor to The BloodJet Writing Hour poetry podcast. She is also a Poetry Co-Editor for Apogee Journal. She will attend USC’s PhD program in Creative and Literature in the fall. Her first book Bone Confetti is forthcoming from Noemi Press in October 2016.

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Grace Shuyi Liew is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Prop (Ahsahta) andBook of Interludes (Anomalous). Her work was chosen by Vancouver Poetry House as one of “Ten Best Poems of 2015.” Her poetry has been published inWest Branch, cream city review, Puerto del Sol, and others, and she is a contributing editor for Waxwing. Grace grew up all over Malaysia and currently resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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Poetry, Summer

Episode #116: Stephanie Barbé Hammer, author of HOW FORMAL? and THE PUPPET TURNERS OF NARROW INTERIOR

Episode #116! An interview with Stephanie Barbé Hammer, author of HOW FORMAL? and THE PUPPET TURNERS OF NARROW INTERIOR. Intro music by T. Fowler.

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Descended from Norwegian plumbers on one side, and broke bohemian Russian aristocrats on the other, Stephanie Barbé Hammer has published short fiction, nonfiction and poetry in The Bellevue Literary Review, CRATE, Pearl, East Jasmine Review, Apeiron, and the Hayden’s Ferry Review among other places. Stephanie’s prose poem chapbook Sex with Buildings, appeared with Dancing Girl Press in 2012. Her 2014 full length collection, How Formal? was published by Spout Hill Press. Her first novel The Puppet Turners of Narrow Interior appeared in March 2015 with Urban Farmhouse Press. A sometime performer, Stephanie can be glimpsed on the margins of  Erika Suderburg’s feature-length filmSomatography, as well as in her own short videos for writers starring her heteronyms: German organizational expert Mitzi Notnagel and her associate, polyamorous anarchist culture commentatrix Simone Baumbaumsziegfieldstravinskyshalom (neé Stein). A professor emerita at UC Riverside since 2014, Stephanie teaches at conferences and writers associations and divides her time between Coupeville Washington and Los Angeles California with her husband, interfaith blogger Larry Behrendt. She currently co-curates a monthly poetry series at Chevalier Books in LA with poet/performance artist Rich Ferguson. Stephanie is a 4-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize.

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Poetry, Review, Summer

How Many Ways to Arrive: A Review of not so, sea by Mg Roberts

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Durga Press, 86 pages
Reviewed by Muriel Leung

“tell me how to root in sentence form, to distinguish pain from sacrifice

                                                                                                   ::

tell me where to dissolve”

–excerpt from Mg Roberts’ not so, sea

For Mg Roberts in her wildly emotive first book not so, sea, poetry is an attempt to reconcile a messy story of origin. On the one hand, origin is scripted by geographical traversal as the speaker emigrates from the Philippines. However, geography in terms of nation and borders is just one narrative strain. For Roberts, geography is not only the stuff of maps but also the textured landscape of place, the angled hurt of memory, and the indefatigable strength of the mothering body that endures birth, death, and everything in between.

It is why the text within not so, sea appears in the form of non-linear narrative and fragments parsed by white space. Fragmentation is necessary to construct this particular narrative of origin. It disrupts a linear and hegemonic narrative that privileges order and coherency. For Roberts, these fragments are jagged shards that begin with a “cut” in the book’s cinematic opening in which the speaker watches the story of her birth through performative distance. The cut at once signifies the cutting of an umbilical cord as well as the filmic technique of moving from shot to shot. Though these gestures may seem like discordant parts, they are assembled together to forge a new meaning.

This undulating movement between distance and longing characterizes the tonal complexity of the book’s fragments. In between birth and death, there is the narrative of a rich intergenerational history between women—the speaker, her mother, her grandmother, and her daughter as well. There is also the militarization of Asian countries that include the Philippines and Vietnam as well as the violent forces of racism in the speaker’s everyday encounters in the U.S. Frequently torn between spaces and time, the speaker forces herself to engage with what is most difficult in order to better comprehend her own history. She self-flagellates by watching post-Vietnam War action movies “to be closer to” an unnamed American G.I. that she addresses in a letter whose only distinction is by the number one. She ruminates on the Barbie Doll’s proportions and the expectations the toy’s measurements have placed upon young girls, particularly for the speaker’s daughter. In each turn, the speaker attempts to grow closer to violence as a way of touching it—which is a unique way of attempting to know it and master it in the hopes that she could uncover something in return that might make the future safe for her and her children.

not so, sea is a brightly dappled landscape of a text that matches its moments of clinical removal with floods of unrestrained mourn. Despite that grief, it is also a text of hope. In the lines from which Roberts draws for the book’s title, she writes, “Perched on this location, bowed against this site and elsewhere—not so, sea./ Pages turn creating distance. I must retell myself until I can see us in color.” The site that she names is non-specific but the syntactical obfuscation of the phrase “not so, sea” tells us that the sea can be both object and figure of address. The multiplicity of meaning here in the physical landscape is very much a marker of the potential of text. The process of “retell[ing]” though it may be bleak and terrifying, it is also necessary. It needs to be said because the alternative of silence also cuts. But this act of retelling is powerful for it names a distinct suffering marked by the perpetual sense of transiency and distance after immigration, removal of one’s innate sensibilities through the damaging effects of colonialism, racism and misogyny, and the cultural and familial demands in response to all this discord. Though there is a palpable fear of how this suffering will be passed down to a future generation, Roberts offers this generosity—an inheritance of pain is not without the fortitude to persist in spite of it.

***

Muriel Leung

Muriel Leung

Muriel Leung is a multimedia poet and former teaching artist from Queens, NY. Her poetry and essays can be found or is forthcoming in Coconut, TENDE RLOIN, Bone Bouquet, Dark Phrases, and RE/VISIONIST. She is a recipient of a Kundiman fellowship. Currently, she is a MFA candidate in poetry at Louisiana State University where she also serves as the Assistant Editor of New Delta Review.

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