Category Archives: Uncategorized

TBJ at AWP in Washington D.C.!

We took the show on the road to AWP (Associated Writing Programs) Conference in D.C.!  Check out our flash episodes (or flashisodes) here.

No Walls AWP

Interviews with Rio Cortez, Janice Sapigao, Joseph Legaspi, Esteban Rodriguez, Clem Heard, Dolapo Demuren live at the conference.

Open Invitation for Recordings of Refusal and Resistance on The Blood-Jet Writing Hour!

The Blood-Jet Writing Hour’s mission has always been to “spotlight vibrant and (aesthetically, culturally and linguistically) diverse and underrepresented voices from the literary world.”
 
We continue stand in solidarity with immigrants, refugees, people of color, LGBTIQ people, women, people with disabilities, women, and the Muslim community. It is more important than ever to amplify these voices.
 
If you are a poet, artist, writer, critic, and/or educator from these communities, we’d love to invite you to send a recording of a poem, quotation, and/or reading recommendations of refusal, resistance, and love.
 
You may also reflect on your experiences of recent events in the recording. For those of you who teach poetry/creative writing, how are you going about this in you classroom? For those of you writing/not writing, what are you reflecting on? How are you finding the words?
 
In the recording, please introduce yourself – you can mention what you do (I.e. educator, writer) and if you’d like, your publications and website/Twitter so folks can find your work. Feel free to record previously published work; just cite the journal / lit mag.
 
Don’t worry about length. I’ll post them as soon as I receive them.
 
You can record on your phone on “Voice Memos” or any other convenient recording app, then send it to me (rachelle.a.cruz@gmail.com) as an MP3.
 
Please feel free to send this request to any other writers/poets who would like to contribute.
 
My best to you,
Rachelle

Episode #118: Angela Peñaredondo, author of ALL THINGS LOSE THOUSANDS OF TIMES

Born in Iloilo City, Philippines, Angela Peñaredondo is a Pilipinx/Pin@y poet and artist (on other days, she identifies as a usual ghost, comet or part-time animal) . He book, All Things Lose Thousands of Times is the winner of the Hillary Gravendyk Poetry Prize.  She/Siya is author of the chapbook,Maroon (Jamii Publications). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in AAWW’s The Margins, Four Way Review, Cream City Review, Southern Humanities Review, Dusie and elsewhere.

She/Siya is a VONA/Voices of our Nations Art fello, a recipient of a University of California Institute for Research in the Arts Grant, Gluck Program of the Arts Fellowship, Naropa University’s Zora Neal Hurston Award, Squaw Valley Writers Fellowship and Fishtrap Fellowship. She/Siya has received scholarships from Tin House, Split This Rock, Dzanc Books International Literary Program and others. Angela resides in Southern California, drifiting between deserts, beaches, lowly cities and socially engineered suburbs.

Also, here are Angela’s video poems from the Center for Art and Thought:

2015 Favorites: Stephanie Hammer

It’s that time of year!  We’ve asked guests and contributors we’ve featured on The Blood-Jet Writing Hour in 2015 to share with us their favorite books, literary magazines, and reading series from the year.

This post features poet Stephanie Hammer.  She writes:

Favorite magical realist novel: Ryka Aoki, He Mele A Hilo

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Favorite self-destructing poetry collection: Chiwan Choi, GHOSTMAKER

Favorite fictional dog book: Andre Alexis, Fifteen Dogs

Favorite somewhat sexual podcast about fictional crushes: hearteyes

Favorite poetry writing prompts blog: John Brantingham’s 30 Days til Done

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Favorite town visited in China with huge Buddha statue: Laitan

Favorite about to be published poetry chapbook by former student: Angela Peñaredondo, Maroon

 Favorite new literary journal: mud city

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Favorite reading recommendation: Vickie Vertiz recommending Reyna
Grande’s The Distance Between Us

Favorite performance art podcast series about global warming: Heather Woodbury, As The Globe Warms

 

Favorite local bookstores:

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Los Angeles: Chevalier Books

Port Townsend: Writers Workshoppe

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Stephanie Barbé Hammer has published work in Mosaic, The Bellevue Literary Review, Pearl, NYCBigCityLit, Rhapsoidia, CRATE, and the Hayden’s Ferry Review among other places. She has been nominated for a Pushcart prize 4 times in poetry, fiction and nonfiction categories. She published her first novel in 2015, THE PUPPET TURNERS OF NARROW INTERIOR (Urban Farmhouse Press). Her other books include the prose poem chapbook Sex with Buildings (Dancing Girl Press, 2012) and a full length poetry collection HOW FORMAL? (Spout Hill Press, 2014). Stephanie is an award winning teacher and Professor Emerita of Comparative Literature at the University of California, Riverside. She now teaches at writers’ associations, conferences, galleries, bookstores and most recently, at two private universities in China.

“Safekeeping the Stories We Cannot Turn Out into the Night”: On Michelle Peñaloza’s Landscape/Heartbreak

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By Leah Silvieus

Some years ago, the Scientific American[1] published a piece on a study that showed that music has the ability to affect the human heartbeat. Like a Verdi aria that causes the heartbeat to synchronize with the music, Michelle Peñaloza’s Landscape/Heartbreak (Two Sylvias Press 2015) walks beside us through journeys of loss across the city of Seattle. As she writes in the opening essay of the collection:

And what happens to words when walking with someone? Walking changes the quality of conversation. Your bodies have something to do: the distance you traverse together, the observations you make, fill any silence, and yet—silence becomes more acceptable. Even comfortable. Walking side by side for miles, your breath and stride fall in time together. Your heart works in tandem with the other heart walking beside you.

Peñaloza’s idea for the project began simply enough, as she writes on her website: “my heart broke and I went on a very long walk.” What has followed is a frank and tender meditation on trauma, memory, and the relationship between inner and outer landscapes:

What kind of story can a city tell if this isn’t just the corner of Broadway and John, but the corner where X learned that Y never really loved him? Or if this isn’t just the hospital across the street, but the place where Z told her mother she loved her for the very last time? How does access to the narratives of the people in a city change the way we experience that city’s physical landscape?[2]

During the year Peñaloza worked on the project, she accompanied 22 friends, friends of friends and strangers as they retraced the paths across Seattle where their hearts had been broken. All of the walks began at the Hugo House in the Central Capitol Hill neighborhood and covered almost 120 miles.

Throughout this collection, Peñaloza walks alongside her readers, encouraging them to listen – not only to what did happen, but also to what did not: “The plot is over but still we mull / the coulda, woulda, shoulda / even as the oceans rise and the petals fall. You might have stayed with him forever.” There are myriad traumas ghosting behind these poems: “people who’d lost children and mothers and fathers and lovers, who’d been traumatized by the hate of others, who’d been cheated on and lied to, who’d cheated and lied, who’d been fearful and brave.” (“Notes from the Field”) Landscape/Heartbreak also addresses those heartbreaks we cannot name: “Of course I pray to you. Bending low my head / silently pleading for what I can’t ever seem to find: / the few, right words, the ones that could be enough,” she writes in “Prayer to the Patron Saint of All Lost.”

The beauty and raw precision of the language in Peñaloza’s collection evokes the feeling that one is physically and emotionally walking beside her and her fellow heartbreak walkers. “We touch the Scotch broom and lilacs / erupted in spring, notice the renegade ferns / growing upon the stumps of old docks,” she writes in “We Walk a Heart Around Lake Union.” The cadence and clarity of Peñaloza’s images carry an almost palpable weight: “Because of the lentils in jars, the hydrangeas drunk on pennies, the grafted apple trees, the Italian plums, and Rainier cherries,” she writes in a prose poem, “A Strange Constellation of Desires,” “Because he told me he loved me. Because I believed him.”

We can never feel the losses of Landscape/Heartbreak as acutely as those people who suffered them firsthand. Peñaloza, however, gives us these sorrows in the form of hydrangeas, neon signs and rusted nails and asks us to hold them, to sit with them, to feel the weight of their stories – even, or especially, if we aren’t sure what to say in response. As she says in her introduction: “Don’t say you understand. Don’t say everything is going to be okay. Do not ever say that things happen for a reason. Say nothing. Listen.”  Reading this collection is as heartbreaking as its title promises, but it is also a prayer of intercession for lost things and for the aspects of ourselves that we lose along heartbreak’s journey. Everything might not be okay. We might never understand. We might not find a reason behind our suffering. Landscape/Heartbreak knows all of this and still accompanies us along the difficult way, assuring us that we need never walk alone.

 

[1] http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/music-therapy-heart-cardiovascular/

[2] http://www.michellepenaloza.com/theidea/

***

leah1

Leah Silvieus

Leah Silvieus is a poet and interdisciplinary artist whose work has been featured at the O, Miami Poetry Festival and at the Asian American Women Artists Association in San Francisco. She also has received grants and fellowships from Fulbright, Kundiman, US Poets in Mexico, and the Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation. Her writing has been featured in Asian American Poetry & WritingCURAThe Collagist, and diode, among others. Currently, she divides her time between Florida and New York where she works in the yacht hospitality industry. You can visit her athttp://leahsilvieus.wordpress.com/

The Life of a Missing Woman: A review of Carla Kaplan’s Miss Anne in Harlem

missannie2

Reviewed by Heather Buchanan

The Harlem Renaissance was populated by talented and ambitious poets, writers, and dramatists. In the background stood their patrons, mostly white men whose contributions and support were well documented. Behind these men stood another group of patrons and promoters who, until now, lived in the shadows. Collectively, they were known by one name: “Miss Anne.” In Miss Anne in Harlem: The White Women of the Black Renaissance, author Carla Kaplan casts light on these shadows and explores the reasons behind Miss Anne’s omission from history.

Kaplan opens Miss Anne in Harlem with, “I did not set out to write this book,” a fitting irony to a story full of ironic twists about this little-known history of the Harlem Renaissance. A Distinguished Professor in American Literature and a Guggenheim fellow, Kaplan realized she was on to something while working on her previous book, Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Letters. Her inability to locate information on the white females in Harlem that Hurston had befriended led to the creation of Miss Anne in Harlem.

Miss Anne held a precarious position in American society, for she was never completely accepted in any one social sphere. Her entire existence (or lack thereof) was dependent upon her acceptance by others. To her fellow whites, she was viewed as obsessed with “slumming” with Negro men and most likely insane; to the Negro poets, writers, and dramatists she supported, she was their flippant and self-appointed savior. In the 1920s, it was considered scandalous for white women to spend time on W. 125th in Harlem, but “Miss Anne” did exactly that, and much more.

At the outset, Kaplan outlines the familiar categories of white women of the Jazz Age that we are fairly familiar with: the Flapper, the Gibson Girl, and the Bohemian. At first glance, it would appear that Miss Anne would simply be considered a subset of one or all of these categories. However, after having conducted a considerable amount of research, Kaplan argues that “Miss Anne” deserves a category of her own.

Kaplan does not lay every reason for Miss Anne’s “absence” at the feet of race and gender politics, however. There is another issue to consider: There were white female patrons and activists who consciously chose to remain in the shadows, women like NAACP founder Mary White Ovington. This factor could arguably be the key characteristic that creates a subset of Miss Anne, or yet another type of Jazz Age woman altogether who was taken a little more seriously—a woman who chose to stay in the shadows for the sake of the “cause.”

In addition to reconstructing Miss Anne, the book also provides interesting background information on turning points in Harlem Renaissance history, most notably the complicated four-way professional relationship between Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Alain Locke and patron Charlotte Osgood Mason, their “Godmother,” over the play Mule Bone. The Mason case serves as an example of how Miss Anne could be construed as a domineering, disruptive force if someone made the mistake of getting on her bad side.

Scholarly merit aside, Miss Anne in Harlem reads like a great mystery novel, as it reconstructs the life of a missing woman. Thanks to Kaplan’s considerable storytelling skills, the reader finally gets to know something about this enigmatic woman. Whether or not her involvement in the Harlem Renaissance is to be lauded or condemned, Miss Anne finally has a place in history.

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Heather Buchanan

Heather Buchanan is the owner of Aquarius Press, now celebrating its 15th year. Willow Books, its literary division, develops, publishes, and promotes writers typically underrepresented in the field; recent collaborations include the publication of Cave Canem XII. A graduate of Wayne State University and the University of Michigan-Dearborn respectively, Heather has taught Composition, English, African American Literature, and World Literature at several colleges and universities. In addition to teaching, Heather presents on arts and literature at conferences across the country, most recently for the Ragdale Foundation. She has directed many events and conferences, including LitFest Chicago, Midwest Poets & Writers Conference, and the Idlewild Writers Conference. A Poet-in-Residence emeritus for the Detroit Public Library system, Heather also served on the Board of Governors for UM-Dearborn’s College of Arts & Sciences Affiliate and was the COO of the Wayne County Council for Arts, History & Humanities. A musician, she is currently working on a World War I centennial book and music project honoring the Harlem Hellfighters. She has been a reviewer for BlogCritics and MyShelf and has blogged for publications such as Poets & Writers.

Episode #104: Feliz Lucia Molina, author of UNDERCASTLE

Episode #104! Featuring Feliz Lucia Molina and music by El Amparito.

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Feliz Lucia Molina was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles. A Kundiman and MacDowell Colony Fellow, she holds a BA from Naropa University, an MFA from Brown University, and is a PhD candidate at the European Graduate School. She is an editor at Continentand lives in Los Angeles. UNDERCASTLE (Magic Helicopter Press, 2013) is her first book.