Thursday, January 28, 2016

Something to share

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! Also, read the Frank Sherlock poem.


Monday, January 25, 2016

Reading Moby-Dick, Pt. 2

I ran into Elizabeth Schultz last Thursday at a poetry reading at The Raven. She commented on how she didn't enjoy Why Read Moby-Dick because, as she says, "It's all about the whale!"

She is also looking for poems about Moby-Dick for an anthology:

Dear Colleagues--In Moby-Dick, Melville describes his tattooed harpooner, Queequeg, as "a riddle to unfold; a wondrous work in one volume." In this description, Melville challenges readers to try to unfold or understand his own "wondrous work in one volume." Since the Melville Revival of 1930, Moby-Dick continues to inspire a multiplicity and diversity of interpretations and readers—critics, artists, dramatists, cartoonists, politicians, film-makers, dramatists, poets—to use a mosaic of means to respond to his novel.
In the anticipation of publishing an anthology of poems responding to Moby-Dick, we would like to invite poetry submissions of one-to-five pages (this may include several poems or one long poem), totaling no more than 1400 words. So many media offer viable modes of response to Moby-Dick, but perhaps it is in poetry that we might weave most intricately, dive most deeply in response to his novel.
Please send your submissions to Kylan Rice ( and Elizabeth Schultz ( by July 1, 2016.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Novel and Hybridity

"Bhabha includes interpretations of hybridity in postcolonial discourse. One is that he sees hybridity as a strategic reversal of the process domination through disavowal. Hybridity reevaluates the assumption of colonial identity through the repetition of discriminatory identity effects. In this way, hybridity can unsettle the narcissist demands of colonial power, but reforms its identifications in strategies of subversion that turn the gaze of the discriminated back upon the colonist. Therefore, with this interpretation, hybridity represents that ambivalent ‘turn’ of the subject into the anxiety-causing object of “paranoid classification—a disturbing questioning of the images and presences of authority”. The hybrid retains the actual semblance of the authoritative symbol but reforms its presence by denying it as the signifier of disfigurement—after the intervention of difference. In turn, mimicry is the effect of hybridity. First, the metonymy of presence supports the authoritarian voyeurism, but then as discrimination turns into the assertion of the hybrid, the sign of authority becomes a mask, a mockery."


"“Anything has once been memory and can be placed beside anything,” Scalapino writes, or types—the difference is irrelevant here. She might have copied it from Gertrude Stein or Zhuanzi or Thalia Field, or she might have heard it on TV. Set two things next to each other, and they trade traits. ‘Purity’ is hatred, Scalapino reports. We live in a world similar to the one in which Field and Scalapino lived when they wrote these books, and we’ll recognize the world through the language they borrow, steal, and bend to their own ends. Their ends are ours as well."

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Novel, cont

Whiteness is a construction build for colonization, domination, and supremacy, much like how Chapter Two follows Chapter One.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


I am still on this kick about novels. Something being a novelty, a disguise for a European-based form of colonizing cultures.

My novel will actually be a disguise for a story told in prose poems, flash fiction, poetic memoir, appropriated non-fiction, conversations real and imagined, maps, letters, histories, primers, historical fictions, Quindaro, Bleeding Kansas, White fear, White privilege, and protection for the vulnerable. It will be a war where all violence is felt, but not shown, in order to not re-injure. It is where the n-word stays as [Negro] when set before the Civil War, because I am not going to be a writer who is a white, straight male and re-injure with that word that rises in my neighborhood faster than the Confederate flags last year.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

What is a novel?

As an undergrad, when I heard the novel was a European export--in other words, a form of colonization--it gave me a new context to look at my own reading experiences. I was never taught the longevity of reading a novel, nor the joy of what a good story can bring, so I hated stories. I never understood narrative, how it worked, what a story was really "about," when others could critically look at a story as a whole and not its parts. My love was for comic books, just as many other poets I know.

So as I am sitting down with my outline for a novel about Bleeding Kansas, it hit me--the parts I have enjoyed writing are the small moments, not in trying to mimic what a novel "is," how it is "written."

Why am I trying to employ the same colonizing methods in telling a story about the violence and horror of colonization?

Then I pick up the book I am in love with: Family Resemblance: An Anthology and Exploration of Eight Hybrid Literary Genres, edited by Marcela Sulak and Jacqueline Kolosov. It is basically the things I have loved reading this past decade, all in one, never putting together why I love flash fiction, prose poetry, etc. Well, the hybridity of these things--I am in love with how hybrid writing becomes metaphor, becomes meta-, and why did I not think of this sooner?

In the novel, I wanted the works of literature of 1856 to be a part of the story. I wanted the protagonist to think of his story, with him as a narrator as he is narrating.

Now I have my method of how I will finish. I was too busy concerned with what "chapters" would be, and trying to force the story in these compartments: that something should begin and end in a chapter that propels the story forward.

That's not my style. That is the box those teachers tried to show me, but couldn't, as they hadn't discovered the value of comic books, and I hadn't discovered the real poetry being written--not the interpretations.

It comes down to what I love about Deb Olin Unferth's Vacation. I loved that "novel." When I show parts of it to students, they hate it.

We've been trained to box up our genres. We've been trapped in a continuing colonizing culture. Post-colonization is the myth that colonization has ended. It is White privilege.

The main reason I wanted this novel is to provide my voice in the Black Lives Matter Movement. I do not want to re-enact the power of novels, like those White settlers saying, "Look at this high literature."

Maybe that is why Moby-Dick, circa 1856, is powerful. His hybrid writing not only challenges the model of the novel, but his subversion includes abolitionist viewpoints. Yes!

Monday, January 11, 2016

David Bowie

passed away today. I spent my time in the Eighties listening to his music from the Sixties, then my Nineties relistening through the Eighties. Ziggy Stardust became my anthem, just as for a lot of people. I remember renting the VHS tape of The Man Who Fell To Earth from The Butler Did It, as they had a variety of Sci-Fi classics I was happy to view.

The most awe-inspiring, heartbreaking thing for me is his latest Blackstar. I want to spend some time with this music. It's sold out on amazon, so I went to

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Reading Moby-Dick Pt I

I owe a lot to comic books for my reading and spelling skills, as books were difficult for me to get through when I was younger. In the Eighties, as both heroes and villains could be intelligent, the writers chose to use complicated vocabularies to demonstrate their "genius," so off to the dictionary I went.

Comic book artists like Bill Sienkiewicz also changed my perceptions about art--that art can be directly accessible and inexpensive. One title that proved this was a Classics Illustrated book (put out by Marvel) of Moby-Dick.

I loved how Bill Sienkiewicz, given only a certain number of pages, applied his unique style he had developed over the years 1984 through 1990 (when the book came out).

Right now, you can buy a copy for $4 on amazon. I am going to revisit mine as I begin the reading of the classic.

I found this copy to be interesting, and I am waiting for it to arrive: