Month: February 2011

February 25, 2011 / / Culturelicious

Grief is a complicated emotion but also an inadequate word in many ways. Maybe it isn’t so much that the term fails to encompass a range of emotional states, but I think also death itself, as an event, as a limit, as a field of investigation, is too many things at once.It’s solid and it’s slippery. For me what I’m doing in A Toast is using language to walk through that field to find out about love, the collapsible body, what it means to be human, all of that. Also, I think that I am trying to transcribe rapture. I mean that in the ecstatic sense of the word. The opening poem, “In Aporia, ” is taken from Jacques Derrida’s exploration of the limits of a border, language’s inability to capture the tension of this impasse, death. The poems in the first section of the book are written directly from that impossible field where nothing seems grounded. I am in a state of seeking. Grief is a part of that seeking, but so is redemption and anger, the forgivable and the unforgivable, this ecstasy of being in a kind of light, the simple astonishment of the impermanence of absence.

– From an interview with BOMBLOG

Tell me about the lightness my mother told me to pick out the best
how it signals everything I ever wish to believe true just holy on my ship.
I jump all over his house. this is it [what i thought is thought only,
nothing more deceptive than]
I his body keeps thinking someone will come along, touch me,
As like human. Or lima bean.

I’m cradling you to my breast, you are looking out. A little wooden lion
you & Peter carve on Bluff Street is quieting across your cheekbone. Not
at all like the kind of terror found in sleep, on trembling grounds.

It is yesterday now. I have not had a chance to dance in this century.
Tonight I shall kill someone,
a condition to remember Sunday mornings.

– Excerpt from “In Aporia,” included in A Toast In The House Of Friends

 

Read the Post In Memoriam: Poet Akilah Oliver (1961-2011) [Culturelicious]

February 24, 2011 / / Uncategorized
February 24, 2011 / / art

By Guest Contributor Jorge Antonio Vallejos, cross-posted from Black Coffee Poet

Dub poet Lillian Allen continues to define the form and explore its leading innovative edge. She has performed her work in many major venues in North America taking poetry to larger and larger audiences. She has produced Juno award winning recordings, critical acclaimed publications, and she has performed her work for television, film, radio, and print media across the world. Lillian is also a professor of creative writing at the Ontario College of Art and Design, inspiring students to claim space for their dreams in the world and to use their creativity to make revolution.

BCP: Why poetry?

LA: You ask why poetry? To that I would say, why not poetry? Poetry is the deprogramming faculty we have as humans that they would like us to believe is, or should be the purview of only a few. With poetry we can create our own textures and our own picture of life, we can create community, name the nameless and put out a point of view, a way of seeing that says we are unique and we can think for ourselves. Poetry is the answer to the roll call those in control have forgotten to do. Poetry is the “present” to this imaginary roll call.

Read the Post An Interview With Lillian Allen

February 23, 2011 / / Uncategorized
February 23, 2011 / / class

By Guest Contributor Yvonne Yen Liu, cross-posted from Colorlines

Juan Baten came to this country from Guatemala seven years ago in search of a better life. A bus in Cabral, Guatemala, hit his father so Baten left home at the age of 15, to make the journey north. He made his way to Brooklyn, N.Y., where he found work in a tortilla factory in an industrial corridor along the Brooklyn-Queens border. He worked six days a week, nine hours a day, from five in the evening until two in the morning, operating the machines that churned out tortillas. The $7.25 per hour he earned was sent back to his family in Guatemala, supporting his four brothers.

Baten also found love. Seven months ago, his common law wife Rosario Ramirez gave birth to daughter, Daisy Stefanie. They dreamed of a day when they could move their family back to Guatemala.

However, one Sunday, Baten’s arm got stuck in the blades of a dough-mixing machine and he was crushed to death. The 22-year-old dad’s story splashed across the pages of the New York tabloids, and his death led to investigations by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration and state Department of Labor. The Workers Compensation Board discovered that the factory owner was not offering worker’s compensation to his employees and issued a stop-work order. The factory is now closed, pending payment of insurance and fines by the owner, according to news reports.

Read the Post America’s Food Sweatshops and the Workers of Color Who Feed Us

February 23, 2011 / / black
February 23, 2011 / / black

 

Compiled by Arturo R. García

There is a hardcore piece of the audience whose back goes up whenever you go into these issues, and they don’t even realize it. What kills me about it is, when they’re writing about it, they’re always hyper-rational: “Look, the fact is there are more white characters, and if you pick randomly, you would end up with all-white teams, and the fact that there are three black people on this team is statistically ridiculous. It’s obviously a quota.” And the quota arguments on fictional teams crack me up. I’m sorry, is somebody losing a job here? Which fictional character is losing a job? They’re not talking about what’s going on in the comic books – they’re talking about what they think is going on in their lives, and that’s not really going on, either.

– Dwayne McDuffie, in the video above (starts at 1:57)

The word “loss” encapsulates a lot of concepts, large and small. You lost that receipt with an idea on it — an irritation. You lost a job — financially crippling. You lost your mind at that club — not so shabby.

It is difficult to describe what it’s like to lose a person to the gaping chasm of death when you didn’t know them all that well. That’s some of my challenge with the passing of Dwayne McDuffie.

Hannibal Tabu, Operative.net

Read the Post Voices: Remembering Dwayne McDuffie