Contributor Spotlight: Nancy Gomez

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I was teaching a poetry workshop at Salinas Valley State Prison. There’s so much sensory deprivation there—everything drab and colorless, but the men in the class are hungry for scholarly conversations. I shared an article on how language shapes our perceptions. In one study, children from a tribe whose lexicon didn’t include a word for blue were less able to “see” blue. This led to a discussion about how poets try to describe things for which words don’t already exist. Then someone asked, “Do they ever discover new colors?” Continue Reading

Contributor Spotlight: Leah Claire Kaminski

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These pieces were both written while sitting on a patio in Irvine, CA, the ur-suburb where I’ve lived since grad school. Irvine is a strange place, and not one I love unreservedly, but where I am, the area around the university, there’s some untouched riparian wilderness left (as well as a golf course and some sculpted parks where nature makes do) so outside the patio in my apartment complex was this fake pond and there would often be a Great Blue Heron pacing there and picking up sticks for its nest, or Cooper’s Hawks circling. When I wrote each of these two poems, I was sitting on that patio, watching that pond for signs of the next poem. Continue Reading

Contributor Spotlight: Julie Marie Wade

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At the time I wrote “Next,” the last poem in the series . . . , I was thinking a lot about posterity and lineage and visibility as a gay woman who was neither a wife nor a mother. I didn’t know in 2006 that I would ever be able to marry my partner legally—which I did (also in Bellingham!) in 2014—so one of the questions at the heart of the poem is “How will there be a record of our life together?” Continue Reading

Contributor Spotlight: Kristina Bicher

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Even now, I can so easily recall my bedroom at night as a child: the palpable texture of the dark, the changing shapes of shadows and the passing lights that felt supernatural. And even if a sister slept nearby, you were always alone in your fear. Fear being so powerful and yet so amorphous that we need to turn it into form in order to confront it. I think a lot about how parents try and fail or don’t try to teach us what to do with fear or oddly seem to want to acquaint us with fear. “House by the Road” is certainly concerned with that. But also how as a child, feeling unsafe can contain an element of thrill; you can almost delight in how small you are, how easily overcome, swallowed up even by the dark wave that can destroy you but will also spit you out and then who will you be? Continue Reading

Contributor Spotlight: Deborah Poe

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I have nine copies of “Wing,” the 3″x 2″ letterpress edition on fabric for “Beryllium & Wing,” that I intend to send out after publication of my piece to nine close artist/writer friends and on which to collaborate. I will invite them to mar, trample, nest, or collage the little book so that these become nine other pieces in the world, investigating the kinetic page even further. See my “Statement” for ideas on “translation” relative to my multimedia work. Continue Reading

Contributor Spotlight: Victoria Campbell

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This story is really important to me for a number of reasons, but most specifically because of form. Here, I moved away from more traditionally shaped narratives and started working with vignettes, the style I now most often find myself cleaving to. I see, remember, and interpret the world in images, so a story like this—one told in imagistic fragments—makes much more sense to me and was more organic to craft. Continue Reading

Contributor Spotlight: Amaranth Borsuk

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My contribution to “The Kinetic Page” is a kind of poetics statement about my collaboration Abra, with Kate Durbin and Ian Hatcher. Our goal was to make a book that pushes away from and beyond the notion of the single author, while also investigating the mutation of the book through history. It is a project that has many elements: a limited edition artist’s book, a free iPad and iPhone app, and a beautiful illustrated paperback published by 1913 Press. All three versions look for ways to animate language and to invite the reader to think of both the page and screen as touchable interfaces for creating their own texts. Continue Reading

Sitting in the Moment: A Night with Ruth Ozeki

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“I want everyone to sit zazen. Just for a few minutes. It’s probably going to seem like a long time, but we can do it. Everyone sit up, find a position that feels comfortable, and close your eyes.” Murmurs of confusion began, but within a few seconds all audience members were sitting still and listening to Ozeki’s voice as she guided a meditation starting on the head down to the toes. Continue Reading