Edward Mendelson Moderated by David Lehman at The New School, 11/22/2013, audio, reading and interview. The Audiograph series broadcasts digital audio about the people, publications, and events of Writing at The New School.
The visceral nature of Reines' poems spurred the audience to ask which of the five senses she could do without. “Sometimes I have olfactory hallucinations. Smell is really important to me. I often find myself asking these questions, would I rather be blind or deaf? But for now, smell seems to act as my muse.”
Ariana Reines is the author of The Cow, Coeur de Lion, and Mercury. Her twice Obie-winning play Telephone was commissioned and produced by The Foundry Theatre, and presented at The Cherry Lane Theatre in February 2009. In that same year, she became the youngest-ever Roberta C. Holloway Lecturer in Poetry at UC Berkeley.
Ariana is the translator of The Little Black Book of Grisélidis Réal: Days and Nights of an Anarchist Whore by Jean-Luc Hennig, for Semiotext(e), and My Heart Laid Bare by Charles Baudelaire, for Mal-O-Mar. A translation of Tiqqun’s Théorie de la Jeune Fille is forthcoming from Semiotext(e).
Robert Siek's poems have appeared in journals such as The Columbia Poetry Review, Court Green, Mary, Assaracus, and Chelsea Station. In 2002, the New School published his chapbook Clubbed Kid, and in 2007, he was included in the short-fiction anthology Userlands: New Fiction Writers from the Blogging Underground. His first full-length collection of poetry, Purpose and Devil Piss is now available from Sibling Rivalry Press.
Gabriel Don's work has appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Brooklyn Rail, Short Fast and Deadly, A Place We Know Well, The Nirvana Project, The Saudade Review, The Understanding Between Foxes and Light, Yes, Poetry and Statorec.com. She has appeared in visual poems such as Woman Without Umbrella and Unbound. She started several reading-soiree series including Pies and Scribes and Dias Y Flores in New York City and is editorial staff at LIT. Gabriel Don is not just a human, she is a #bookdress and can be found on Amazon @ http://tinyurl.com/aq9ll8c.
Leah Umansky, poet, writer and curator / host of COUPLET: a poetry and music series (and regular in Patricia Carlin's poetry workshop in The New School's Continuing Education Program) shows us all there is in love and unlove, that Don Draper makes a compelling muse, that we are our own heroines (or heroes, as the case may be), and that we should really, really care about poetry.
Leslie Fierro: Author Matt Hart refers to your first book, Domestic Uncertainties, and the "unlove" letters contained therein, as being "in search of a wild 'new bravery,' renewing our vows to romance and commitment, while wondering aloud if romance and commitment are even still possible/desirable." Well…are they?
Leah Umansky: Yes, of course they still are. Romance and commitment are very possible and very desirable (at least, I believe they are). The best part of being a poet and getting divorced is that writing the book was part of my healing process. The worst part of being a poet and getting divorced is that writing the book was part of my healing process. There is a great irony there. I think we all need to renew our vows to romance and commitment, but also renew our vows to ourselves. I hope that's visible in my book.
LF: What is the "new bravery" your "unlove" letters are seeking?
LU: The "new bravery" is the life I was given as a result of the divorce, and thereby, as a result of writing the book. It was brave; it was haunting and it was painful to write this book. Yes, there is "unlove" and "unloving," but in that unloving is love. That love is what I carry forward with in my life and hope for. I'm grateful that I didn't lose either in the process of writing and in the process of my divorce. I am very much a romantic, like I always was, except I know more about myself now. Almost everything I do in my life is out of some extension of love—especially writing.
LF: Speaking of romantic oscillations on the subject of commitment, and domestic uncertainties in general, you've got a Mad Men inspired chapbook, Don Dreams and I Dream, due out in January/February 2014 from Kattywompus Press. How did Mad Men and Don, in particular, first inspire poetry?
LU: Oh, this is a good question and really the first time I'm discussing the chapbook. What I love about Don is that he's multifaceted. He's one thing on the outside and one thing on the inside. I was late to the Mad Men craze. It was funny, actually. I really love advertising. I've always been interested in advertising and when the show came out, I didn't have cable and a friend actually told me on Twitter, Leah, just watch it. You'll love it. So, I got season 1 on Netflix.
I was scared I'd hate the show. I thought Don seemed like a real misogynist. I thought I'd watch the show and hate it, but it was quite the opposite. He loves women, and I don't just mean in a sexual way. He sees himself in Peggy. I love their dynamic and there's a poem in the chapbook about that ("The Times"). As I started to watch the show, I fell in love with Don. I loved his intelligence and his power, but I also loved his past. I recognized his wounds. He's hurt. He's tarnished. We all are in some way. After the first episode I started jotting down notes. Then when I'd sit down at my laptop to write, I'd take out my notebook and let my notes inspire me. Little by little, I had one, two, three poems about advertising or society or gender, and before I knew it, those three poems turned into about fifteen poems.
LF: What do Don's dreams tell you about you?
LU: I think Don's dreams tell me a lot about myself. The title poem of the chapbook, Don Dreams and I Dream, is a dream-dialogue between Don and the speaker. Don says:
"I dreamt I was an angel. When a man walks into a room, he brings his whole life with/him. I bring golden cornhusks, green apples and dung."
Don's a farm boy from the country. He had a bad family life. His mother was a prostitute, and his father was really rough. He doesn't talk about it much on the show, but you see it, behind his eyes. He wants to be loved. So you have this uber-successful ad man who walks into a room and knows he also brings the country of his past—the beauty, the harvest and the manure.
So, Don dreamt he was an angel. It's sweet. I've dreamt about motherhood. [So what?] Now, it feels all downtrodden. I wish I knew the crested. I wish I knew what made the light twitch; what brings the light to the moon so I can carry it inside, and know there is glory in the in-between.
The speaker is talking to Don but also talking to herself, in a way. She's trying to hold on to it all.
LF: The title poem touches on the subject of gender, what a man carries vs. what a woman carries (or in this case, does not). The speaker dreams of motherhood, but how does Don make you think about your own womanhood, or womanhood in general?
LU: When I think about Don, I remember that as a woman, I have to strive so hard to be successful, to be taken seriously and to be seen as more than just a woman. I realized that all women bring our past into our futures, whether we want to address it or not. I'm not saying it haunts our future by any means, I'm merely suggesting it's a layer of our complexity in the world. I hate that, but I also love that.
LF: Looking back to the first line you quoted from the poem, if you had to narrow your past down to three representative objects, what would you bring into a room with you?
LU: I should've seen this one coming. I bring The Beatles Rubber Soul LP, a London A-Z guide, and my copy of Wuthering Heights.
LF: Your blog is called "I Am My Own Heroine," and you host COUPLET: a poetry and music series at The Delancey (which just celebrated its 2nd anniversary! Congrats!). Is it weird (or totally obvious) for me to make the jump from your blog name to the concept of the heroic couplet? Is this actually an intended connection, and, regardless of that answer, what does each concept--"the heroine" and "the couplet" mean to you?
LU: You know, I never even put the two together. That's genius. No, it is not an intended connection. My blog, I Am My Own Heroine, started as a blog about advertising, ironically. My ex-husband worked in advertising, and every so often I'd just be in awe of some of those commercials and ad campaigns. We were really into the NBC show, Heroes, and they literally had ads in the show for this "new car," the Nissan Versa. My ex said I should start a blog because I had a lot to say about advertising. The idea had never occurred to me. I made a WordPress blog and wrote one or two posts. I didn't tell anyone and sort of forgot about it. Once we separated, I really threw myself into my writing and figured out how to rename the blog and make it a poetry site. As I moved forward from the divorce and was sort of grasping at straws to keep my head up, I realized I could be my own heroine. I could be the one who makes it out on top. The title comes from literature, and really, the Bronte sisters (my favorites).
COUPLET, which I curate and host, alongside Carlos Rey Sebastian (DJ Ceremony) was about coupling my two passions: poetry and music. I'm a big concert-junkie and, well, you know New York City. Reading series are a dime a dozen. I wanted ours to be different. Carlos does these wonderful little DJ sets between readers, at break, and for the after-party.
LF: When do you first remember responding to poetry, emotionally or intellectually?
LU: Poetry is one of the few things I remember my parents reading to me as a child, and it wasn't until I was a sophomore in high school that I started really enjoying poetry. It started with Canterbury Tales, and Sir Gawain and The Green Knight, and then I was all about the Confessional Poets. In college, at SUNY Binghamton, I was introduced to Marie Howe's What the Living Do, and I knew I had to study with her at Sarah Lawrence College (where I did my MFA). Marie said once "All the poetry in the world is for you," and I loved that. She's right. Poetry is a gift. When Maria Mazziotti Gillan took over the Writing Department, I was blown away by her generosity as a professor, but also by the immediacy of her poems. When you read a Maria poem, you get it. She showed me how accessible poetry can be, and is someone who will always be a mentor to me. When something in a poem resonates with you it is a beautiful thing.
LF: What made you come to The New School to develop your poetry further?
LU: Over the last six or seven years, poetry saved me. It kept me from falling apart when my marriage failed. Writing it, reading it and listening to it really gave me a sense of self again.
In time, I forced myself out of my apartment. I started going to a lot more readings, and discovered a lot of new poets and, as a result, a lot of new journals and websites. I started identifying myself as a poet, as a feminist and as someone with a purpose. Then I realized how much I missed being in a workshop, so I emailed Robert Polito at The New School. He suggested I apply for Patricia Carlin's class, and the rest is history.
I've taken her class for the last five years or so. I workshopped almost every one of the poems in Domestic Uncertainties in that class. She helped me believe in poetry again and helped me believe in my own talents. Her class has become a sort of second-family for me. A lot of the students and alums that I've met over the years at The New School have become true friends in my life. It's something I never had in my early twenties, as an MFA student, because I didn't hang around on campus. I was living with my parents on Long Island and working three days a week in Manhattan in publishing. I barely made friends, but I was happy to study with poets I admired.
With Patricia's workshop came my introduction to The Best American Poetry blog, The Best American Poetry anthologies (which I love), and soon, I found myself live-tweeting for their twitter handle. My love for poetry slowly but steadily grew to encompass social media (something I never thought I'd do) and I'm thankful because I love it. I love the spreading of ideas and thoughts across the big wide Internet. It's fun. It's exciting and it makes me feel good. So does poetry.
LH: Flavorwire named you #7 of 23 People Who Will Make You Care About Poetry in 2013. Can you guess my question? So, uh...why should I care about poetry in 2013?
LU: Because you should! Poetry is important because it is a universal language and it is easy to digest. One poem can open so many doors into other poetry. Everything is some version of life, and some version of story, and with poetry you can take it in bit by bit. You should care about poetry because it breaks barriers. Because there are so many great poets who are writing now; who are inventing new dialogues in poetry and who are working with language and image in such unique ways. Part of my creating my blog and creating my reading series was about bridging the gap between writers and non-writers. It was also about bridging the gap between emerging writers, newbie writers and established writers. I wanted to make a level playing field. We all have to start somewhere and I'm proud that COUPLET doesn't discriminate.
One of my greatest pleasures is when people read my book and say, "you know, I don't really like poetry, but I really liked this."
You should care about poetry because there's more to it than what meets the eye. Lay down your guard and see.
Leah Umansky's first book of poems, Domestic Uncertainties, is out now by BlazeVOX. Her chapbook, Don Dreams and I Dream, is forthcoming from Kattywompus Press in 2014. She is a contributing writer for BOMB Magazine's BOMBLOG and Tin House, a poetry reviewer for The Rumpus and a live twit for the Best American Poetry Blog. She also hosts and curates the COUPLET Reading Series. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in POETRY, Thrush Poetry Journal and The Brooklyn Rail, among others. Read more at: http://iammyownheroine.com
Guest post by Leslie Fierro, who writing has appeared in Volume, Performer, Tom Tom Magazine, Under The Radar, The Brooklyn Rail and SF Book Review. She is currently working on her zine-to-novel novel at The New School.
When in autumn’s autumned August you find the beginnings
of a September wiping the dried leaves from its eyes
a brown, red, orange hue colors the day
If you feel something, go find a cop or an MTA employee or a person of authority
If you feel something, say something.
Excerpted from Ohhhhhhhhhh, originally published on statorec.com (2013)
October 2013: Mark Bibbins at Cafe Loup. Part of Pictograph: Portraits of The School of Writing at The New School. Photo by John Reed.
There was a dictionary
on my lap and a word you wanted but
it was too much.
From "Horoscopes without Telescopes," originally published in The Paris Review (No. 188, Spring 2009)
Poet Heather Christle, author of What Is Amazing, brought her charm and enthusiasm to The New School poetry forum. She read new work, as well as work from her most recent collection of poems, which seeks to understand the interplay of the world and consciousness. The collection spans bravado and fear, love and mortality, disappointment and desire. The forum was introduced and moderated by our own Mark Bibbins, whose preamble was admired post-discussion by David Lehman, Coordinator of the MFA in Poetry at The New School:
"Mark introduced Heather Christle by saying that he was so happily immersed in her poetry that he felt as if he were 'an intern at CNN—Christle News Network.' The audience at the poetry forum shared in that enthusiasm as the poet read new poems with arresting titles—'Not Much More Room in the Cemetery,' 'Heave-Ho,' 'Dick,' 'Keep in Shape,' 'In the Dumps,' plus a few special requests. Christle commented on her penchant for arson imagery and impressed us all with the surprising twists that her poems take, as when, in 'Nature Poem,' she wonders about 'the possibility of ant masturbation.' The verdict: probably not, because they don't love themselves enough—they love each other."
“Fearlessness in poetry is overrated," said Christle, in response to an audience question about fearlessness in poetry. "The time I really admire fearlessness is when it takes me to dark, scary places. Once I wrote a poem one word at a time. Every day I’d write a word and never think more about it. I was making very small decisions, and soon logic flowed out of the words. Sometimes the poems fall flat and sometimes you have something magnificent.”
“When The Trees The Trees came out, I set it up that people could call me at certain times of the day and I would read my poems out to them. Hundreds of people called. I got to read poems while living my life. It was wonderful. I took a risk and it worked out okay.”
How important is the cadence and rhythm of words?
“I do hear rhythm as I’m writing a poem. After I write, I read them aloud and start tweaking its rhythm. With each book a rhythm develops and it channels me a while.”
And a final word of wisdom?
“I don’t think my poems are brave or fearless. I think they’re filled with ravenous curiosity.”
Heather Christle is the author of What Is Amazing (Wesleyan University Press, 2012), The Difficult Farm (Octopus Books, 2009), and The Trees The Trees (Octopus Books, 2011), which won the 2012 Believer Poetry Award. Her poems have appeared in publications including Boston Review, Gulf Coast, The New Yorker, and The Best American Poetry. She has taught poetry at Antioch College, Sarah Lawrence College, the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Emory University, where she was the 2009-2011 Poetry Writing Fellow. She is the Web Editor for jubilat and frequently a writer in residence at the Juniper Summer Writing Institute. A native of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, she lives in Yellow Springs, Ohio.
Jennifer H. Fortin, New School MFA alum and author of We Lack in Equipment & Control, recently spoke with current MFA student B.C. Griffith about the Slow Writing movement, images versus text, and her poetry journal, Leveler. We Lack in Equipment & Control is currently available to order on the H_NGM_N Books site.
B.C. Griffith: In interviews you’ve spoken about a Slow Writing movement, having said, “We need help, I believe, understanding that not everything we think and say needs to be documented—it’s not all precious, worth energized pursuit.” Can you speak more to Slow Writing, or what kinds of things merit documentation?
Jennifer H. Fortin: This is just beginning to gel for me. I’m absolutely no commander of what merits documentation, but I’ve developed some thoughts toward it (pertinent, at least, to my own work). Here goes:
We of the Slow Writing Movement are certainly not saying what goes down on paper needs to be polished, or even finished. We are gung-ho readers, all for tracing the development of writers’ work, their tug-o’-war struggles and victories. We advise against hoarding your writing until you think it’s beyond improvement—in your eyes, this might never be the case, and meanwhile, we just may want to get our hands on it.
We’re deeply aware of and entangled in imperfection. And imperfection in writing. But writing ought to be a difficult process; it ought to be apparatus, an installation. It should be costly, in that you’ve spent some of your allocated words and time on it. In Bulgarian, the word for time and the word for weather are the same—spend some weather, too, on your writing; bear up, note what’s going on around you, survive, and exert energy doing so. Acknowledge that exposure affects you.
In Bulgarian, the past tense is reserved, when you talk about being born, for the dead. A dead person was born in such-and-such year, whereas you are born. But that’s for another apology.
We set out on our quest to protect our attention, to resist the fast, the haphazard (unless these have been shaped or cooked after they spilled out). Keep it local. Local to yourself, your imagination; don’t rely on sensationalism to pull you through.
While allowing for accidents of attention, information (language, text, writing) needs to be wrangled and limited, including your own output. There’s some value in speaking until you eventually hit on a gem (odds), but what seeks our attention in the end needs to be that gem, not—unless you’ve quite earned it, and we yearn to see absolutely everything—the entire process.
Forgive me if these aren’t the declarations to make, but maybe they are. Yes, we’re proposing a pair of contradictory ideas at once: Studying an artist’s process is significant/restrict your harvest. This neck-and-neck against-ness is the origin of the argument’s pull.
BCG: Who are some contemporary poets whose work you find engaging and enjoyable?
JHF: You say “contemporary.” I don’t keep up with who’s new/newer/newest. I’m both discriminating (because it’s impossible to read it all) and indiscriminate. All language—printed in book form; on the screen; on the parking ticket; dimly, within an illuminated manuscript; under sedation; in the memo of understanding; in a poem; in your brain; wild, in your id—belongs to the same time, to my time. To me. It’s my pulse, honestly it feels like that.
With much satisfaction I use all text I encounter. I’m not dodging the question, but, really, the power native to the act of reading is where the pleasure lies. Everything I read improves and elaborates on everything I already have read. Despite the fact that the author is another (assuming I’m not reading my own work), at the end of the day, it’s all taking pleasure in oneself. I’m here, ready to engage with what comes next.
And isn’t text nearly always engaging? The onus is on the reader to engage with it how she sees fit, to beam her focus appropriately. The poem or article or book might not be pioneering, or make you want to join just everything visible together, or radically keep your hands by your sides all day—something like that—but you can read!, be secured by the words (secure in the words). They’re there, they mean, you have a relationship with all beings. Reading anything is the best.
This said, I do try to ask after and read what my friends are writing, and not only my poet friends, but also those who are secret poets—meaning those who say crystalline things, who discover and describe templates, their authority shining through. I can almost see excerpts, bracketed, lifted from their speech and writing, to be documented, already lovely.
To be not only included, but to be not excluded.
BCG: Your poetry shows a real tension between language that’s clear and recognizable, and grammar that often resists firm interpretation. How do you approach this tension? Do you feel your poems successfully resolve it?
JHF: I’m only trying to be precise. Don’t you find that strain is precise almost always?
No, I don’t think my poems successfully resolve that tension, which is why I continue to write them.
BCG: Your comic on the topic of MARVEL is really great. What do you feel images add to your poetry? Do you feel your illustrative style shares anything aesthetically with your writing style?
JHF: Why, thank you—it was big fun to make that thing. It seems that, since they don’t inherently mean, images supplement any other primary, primal thing. Their provocative capacity is in their silence, like the spiritual state you’re able to reach only by way of being still in the midst of stillness.
I’m not sure I have any particular illustrative style, but that of the comic may overlap somewhat with some of my writing. I’d call it anxious, homespun, nagging and nagged, grim, very celebratory in a very lonely way, liquid, hunched over something you can’t quite understand (nor can I!), ludicrous, impossible, bleak, exalted.
BCG: You do something interesting in your online magazine, LEVELER: Each poem has an “explanatory note,” called “levelheaded.” Why add this section?
JHF: That section makes unique our journal. Our editors’ note says it well:
To assure our readers we are being responsible editors and to increase the transparency of our editorial process as a whole, each poem published by LEVELER is accompanied by a brief note on our selection entitled levelheaded. Here we look at what a poem conveys and how. In no way do we claim levelheaded is a final, authoritative take on any corresponding poem. Instead, we hope to provide readers with another way into the poem, thereby encouraging closer readings, and ultimately, challenges to our findings.
BCG: You just had a new book come out, We Lack in Equipment & Control, from H_NGM_N Books. What’s new for you in the latest book? What was your impetus for writing it?
JHF: Connection via isolation, both real and imagined (the connection and the isolation). Learning how to reconcile.
The book is a product of earnestness and uneasiness. It’s a log of eagerness and immediate personal agitation. Of sleep deprivation. Back to the basics.
We Lack in Equipment & Control is Jennifer H. Fortin’s second book. Lowbrow Press published her first, Mined Muzzle Velocity, in 2011. Fortin is also the author of four chapbooks, from Dancing Girl Press, the Dusie Kollektiv, Poor Claudia, and Greying Ghost Press. With three other poets, she founded and edits LEVELER. Fortin is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Bulgaria 2004-2006). She received her Poetry MFA from The New School.
BC Griffith is finishing his MFA in Poetry at The New School. His work has previously appeared in Construction Magazine , and Keep This Bag Away From Children. You can reach him at GregJGriffith@gmail.com or by visiting BetaCrow.com
September, 2013: Sharon Mesmer at the Le Poisson Rouge book release party for James Sherry's Oops (Blazevox). Part of Pictograph: Portraits of The School of Writing at The New School. Photo by John Reed.
we used to reminisce
about how nice and clean
but now what we miss
from "Lou Reed's New York," published in The Virgin Formica (Hanging Loose Press, 2008)
The poetry forum series continued with critically acclaimed poets Loretta Collins (pictured, left) and Paula Bohince, moderated by The New School's Tiphanie Yanique.
The two poets discussed their works in relation to gender, feminism, and womanism. While reading from her work in The Twelve-Foot Neon Woman, Loretta said, "There are a lot of twelve-foot women [in San Juan]. Not just metaphorically. Graffiti is a big thing in San Juan, and there are a lot of twelve-foot women on the buildings—most often painted by men. I reclaim some of these women and give them voices and kind of imagine them coming to life."
Paula's thoughts on gender came from a personal experience. "My ideas of men and women come from my own experiences with my family. My parents didn't go to college, so in some ways this separation between men and women's work was pronounced in my household. It seemedlike their worlds would never touch. For example, my aunt would serve my uncle every day ... This just worked its way gradually into my poems. My dad did his laboring job and never talked about it, so there's a male loneliness there that I feel. There's a loneliness I feel there for my mom, being stranded alone in the house. There's an idea of isolation and estrangement being tied to gender that has worked its way into my published books."
When asked what it means to be writers who are based outside of the big literary centers, such as New York, both poets spoke on their personal experiences. Paula reflected on her ambitious drive as a young woman living in New York City. "It was what I needed. But now, with the Internet, there's a virtual community connecting people."
Having lived in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Loretta spoke on the richness of the possibility of connections she can make in the Caribbean. "Connections are made across island boundaries. Living in a culture where you're surrounded by so many different cultures, so many different islands, and so many different linguistic possibilities, I get to make close connections with other writers in a supportive community that transcends island, racial, and language affiliation. It's not what I was looking for necessarily, but what I found is much better."
Loretta Collins's most recent work, The Twelve-Foot Neon Woman, won the Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature in 2012. Her numerous awards for poetry include the Academy of American Poets and the Pushcart Prize. Collins’s work has appeared in the New Caribbean Poetry anthology, The Caribbean Writer, TriQuarterly, Black Warrior Review, Antioch Review, Quarterly West, and The Missouri Review.
Paula Bohince's first collection, Incident at the Edge of Bayonet Woods, received Sarabande Books' inaugural Aleda Shirley Prize. Her second collection, The Children, was published by Sarabande Books in 2012. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, Poetry, The Hudson Review, Slate, and The Yale Review. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Amy Clampitt Trust, and the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, in addition to the 2010-2011 Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship.
Each year, MFA poetry coordinator David Lehman brings The Best American Poetry Reading to The New School for an unparalleled celebration of the previous year of American poetry publishing. Lehman, who has served as series editor since the first edition of the anthology 25 years ago, selects an annual guest judge to bring new perspective to the series. This year, Denise Duhamel was honored with the distinction of guest editor, and contributed her keen eye for wit and innovation to the selection process.
Featured readers for the 2013 launch represent the great variety of poetry being published in America today. This year's line-up of Best American Poets includes The New School faculty and alumni. School of Writing faculty member Noelle Kocot makes a repeat appearance this year, and is joined by two MFA poetry alumni, Amy Lawless and Angela Veronica Wong, whose poem, "It Can Feel Amazing to Be Targeted By a Narcissist," is the first collaborative poem to be featured in Best American Poetry. Also included in this year's anthology is a posthumous poem by Paul Violi, beloved faculty member of The New School MFA in poetry.
From the publisher:
"Over the last twenty-five years, the Best American Poetry series has become an annual rite of autumn, eagerly awaited and hotly debated: "an essential purchase" (The Washington Post). This year, guest editor Denise Duhamel brings her wit and enthusiasm and her commitment to poetry in all its wide variety to bear on her choices for The Best American Poetry 2013. These acts of imagination—from known stars and exciting newcomers—testify to the vitality of an art form that continues to endure and flourish, defying dour predictions of its demise, in the digital age. This edition of the most important poetry anthology in the United States opens with David Lehman's incisive "state of the art" essay and Denise Duhamel's engagingly candid discussion of the seventy-five poems that made her final cut."
The Best American Poetry Reading 2013
Thursday, September 19, 2013 7:00pm
The New School, Tishman Auditorium, 66 W. 12th Street, first floor
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Collateral Light, by MFA Poetry alum Julia Cohen's (you'll remember her essay in response to a controversial article by Mark Edmunson), is due 10/15 from Brooklyn Arts Press. To preorder, visit the Brooklyn Arts Press website. The first 50 preorders will receive a limited edition postcard from the poet.
"If you relish a poetry of the ear and eye, the light touch of vowels mingling in a breathing landscape, then you will feast on this book and these poems from Julia Cohen. Here the news is alive and subtly elegant. Here the cognate child builds her musings syllable by syllable to talk of insects on snow and little cliffs. Here the phrase is music and memory is inexhaustible. The things found in her night-garden—mimicry should be deliberate; the colossal leaf; the broken dinner plate—are replete with suggestive power. This is a voice indeed of an active and precise imagination." —Mark Morris
"Julia Cohen’s speaker, chalky / from / banged up /stars, addresses the sticky stuff of existence from all sides, from that [t]ender veil of the buffering field. This book is full of arrows. Some pierce, some direct, some snap in half and form an X to mark the animal inside that animal / alive & yelping through the skin. Or we’re shot through by being persons. Cohen won’t heal, but will direct us in our grief, our weird grief shot through with pleasure. I can’t just sit here with feelings. If you lose your grip on this book, if you slice your hand as the vanes pass through, hold tight as only the busted-beautiful can." —Danielle Pafunda
Julia Cohen’s first full-length book, Triggermoon Triggermoon, was published in 2011, and her third collection, I Was Not Born, will be released by Noemi Press in 2014. Her poems and lyric essays appears in such journals as jubilat, New American Writing, Kenyon Review Online, Colorado Review, DIAGRAM, and Black Warrior Review. You can follow her on Twitter @JuliaACohen.
In our first poetry forum of the semester, Danielle Pafunda, author of Maneater and My Zorba, and Peter Davis, author of Poetry! Poetry! Poetry! and Tina, inspired the audience with wit and humor. In the words of our own David Lehman: "Peter Davis and Danielle Pafunda complemented one another beautifully: two minds divided by gender, united by intelligence and sensibility. There is much talk about gender and poetry. Listening to these two poets, back to back, you think you are hearing a shared voice -- attractively intelligent and adult -- from distinctly masculine and feminine points of view. It is as instructive as it is entertaining. Both poets write funny. They make you laugh and they make you realize that a genuine laugh can be as great as an epiphany. What a lovely evening Laura Cronk moderated, don't you think?"
Danielle's Natural History Rape Museum dissects violence and our culture to accept it as part of our society. “It feels good," said Danielle, "to conduct the world’s violence on the page. It’s my response to violence without doing or incurring violence. It’s how I navigate through it.”
When Peter Davis, who had the audience roaring in laughter, was asked about how and why he uses humor in his poems, he said, “Writing is boring. Humor makes it fun. In this nasty world we live in, humor is a way to cope with it. “
Danielle Pafunda: "Look for a press that will make your work beautiful. Don’t worry about contests, finding the chic or right press. Also, children make for great material. So if you face a creative block, just borrow some children!
Peter Davis: "Know your contemporaries."
Danielle Pafunda's books include Manhater, Iatrogenic: Their Testimonies, My Zorba, and Pretty Young Thing. A fifth collection Natural History Rape Museum will be out from Bloof Books in Fall 2013. Her work appears inDenver Quarterly, Fairy Tale Review, Fence, Kenyon Review and The Huffington Post.
Peter Davis is a poet and musician from Indiana. His first book of poetry is Hitler’s Mustache and he co-edited Poet’s Bookshelf: Contemporary Poets on Books That Shaped Their Art and Poet’s Bookshelf II. He teaches English at Ball State University.
Moderated by Laura Cronk, associate director, the School of Writing.
Beginning August 26, the School of Writing launches its fall workshops and seminars for its Continuing Education and undergraduate programs. These classes, ranging from 5 to 15 weeks, include workshops in Fiction, Journalism, Nonfiction, Playwriting, Poetry, and Writing for Children, as well as grammar, punctuation, and composition seminars.
Kathleen Ossip, "Part of downtown New York history"
Classes that help poetry students work on book-length or chapbook-length manuscripts are rare outside of a graduate degree program. But there's an enormous number of poets who are working away on their books and chapbooks for months or years without the benefit of sustained, careful feedback. Sometimes these writers have already been through a degree program and want to push their manuscripts closer to publication. Other times people have taken workshops that focus on individual poems and need a program of study that will help them understand what makes a manuscript of individual poems achieve coherence as a book. In the years before my first book got published, I needed a class like this!
What has been your experience teaching Continuing Education at The New School? How is it different from other programs and institutions?
There's nothing quite like The New School Continuing Education classes. I love the unique mixture of students who come together in these classes—undergraduates, professionals, retirees who've always been curious about poetry, published poets who feel the need for a refresher. It's inspiring to see everyone get acquainted with each other's work and become each other's devoted, sympathetic readers. I'm also inspired by the long tradition of Continuing Education at The New School, part of downtown New York history. I feel honored to teach in the same program where W.H Auden and Frank O'Hara once taught.
Beginning Poetry Workshop
with Kathleen Ossip
15 weeks, beginning August 26
NWRW2203 Section B
The Poetry Manuscript
with Kathleen Ossip
15 weeks, beginning August 26
NWRW3257 Section A
Kathleen Ossip is the author of The Cold War, which was named one of Publishers Weekly's 100 best books of 2011; The Search Engine, which was selected by Derek Walcott for the American Poetry Review/Honickman First Book Prize; and Cinephrastics, a chapbook of movie poems. Her poems have appeared in The Best American Poetry, Paris Review, Kenyon Review, Boston Review, American Poetry Review, the Washington Post, The Believer, A Public Space, and Poetry Review (London). She teaches at The New School and online for The Poetry School in London. She was a co-founder of LIT (the journal of the graduate writing program at The New School), and she's the poetry editor of Women's Studies Quarterly. She has received a fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts, and grants from Yaddo, Ragdale, and the Bread Loaf Writers Conference.
Every year The Poetry Society of New York transforms Governors Island into the NYC poetry festival for an entire weekend. The festival this year is teeming with an assortment of NYC based reading series, literary journals, and performance groups. We encourage you to check out the festival both days to get the full poetry experience but below we've curated a list of some poetry readings that were founded or are currently curated by New School alumni that you will not want to miss.
For a full list of events and readings at this year's poetry festival check out the official webpage.
At the White Horse Stage
1:00 p.m. – EARSHOT!
Featuring Kiely Sweatt & J. Hope Stein
The EARSHOT! reading series is dedicated to the work and presence of the most gifted and exciting emerging writers in the greater New York City area. Founded in 2005 by Nicole Steinberg, each EARSHOT! event highlights the literary merits of breakout writers from all genres, and gives graduate writing students the unique opportunity to share their work with an audience beyond the MFA community. EARSHOT! features a diverse range of writers from all levels of achievement mingling freely in a supportive environment. EARSHOT! currently calls Manhattan’s Lolita Bar home, located at 266 Broome Street. The series is hosted and curated by New School MFA alumni Peter Bogart Johnson and Jillian Brall, as well as Gregory Crosby. It is sometimes advised/curated by founder and New School MFA alum, Nicole Steinberg.
At the Algonquin Stage
2:10 p.m. – Spilt Milk
Spilt Milk is a bi-monthly reading series and art event at Milk and Roses Restaurant in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. This is a reading series created out of an observed need for conversation and community. Started in conversation working at the cafe itself, this is an attempt to weave together loose strings of conversation from strangers sitting in screen glare. An invitation to lift your chin and listen. Spilt Milk features emerging writers from diverse styles and backgrounds. We also exhibit art installations, including video projection, as we feel that poetry should be part of the artistic dialogue and not just one of academia. We consider ourselves part of a continued project to create something live, performative, provocative, poetic. Founded by New School Summer Writers Colony alum Carolyn Ferrucci.
At the Chumley's Stage
11:50 a.m. – Patasola’s Parlour
Featuring Kiely Sweatt, Joseph Quintela & Katie Longofono
Patasola's Parlor is a monthly, all-inclusive NYC literary event punctuated by burlesque, dance, music, and other art forms inspired by the bohemian parlors of bygone eras. The Parlor is founded and presented by New School MFA alum Lisa Marie Basile and Emily Linstrom (Miss Em). The event is produced by Patasola Press, a small, NYC-based press specializing in innovative poetry and prose with a special focus on female writers. Visit patasolapress.org for more details.
12:50 p.m. – ▲Triptych Readings▲
Featuring Laura Elrick, Tyler Flynn Dorholt & Becca Klaver
Triptych Readings was founded by Kaveh Bassiri and Mary Austin Speaker, former curators of Reading Between A&B, and is currently curated by New School MFA alum Alina Gregorian, Ted Dodson and Camilo Roldan, who promise to continue to bring you thoughtfully curated evenings of poetry celebrating the diversity of voice, aesthetic, philosophy, nationality, tone, politic, persuasion, race and gender that poetry offers. We hope you'll stop by, grab a pint, and listen up.
3:50 p.m. – Fou
Fou is an online poetry magazine edited by New School MFA alumni David Sewell and Cate Peebles, and designed by Brad Soucy. We're interested in work that's visually audacious, challenging, exciting,and a little nuts. Born in 2007, we're currently at work on our 5th issue.
At the White Horse Stage
1:00 p.m. – Coldfront Magazine
Featuring Cathy Park Hong
Coldfront Magazine, edited by New School MFA alum John Deming, provides exhaustive, expert, unbiased journalistic and critical coverage of contemporary poetry and lyricism for poets, musicians, publishing houses and the reading and listening public.
1:30 p.m.– Augury Books
Featuring David Friedman
Augury Books is an independent press based in New York City. Committed to publishing innovative work from emerging and established writers, Augury Books seeks to reaffirm the diversity of the reading public. The editorial board, including Kate Angus, Matthew Cunha, and New School MFA alum Kimberly Steele, is dedicated to fairness and quality of work.
At the Algonquin Stage
12:10 p.m. – The Poetry Brothel
Featuring New School MFA alum Lisa Marie Basile as Luna Liprari, Adrian Wyatt as Calico Cowl, Jennifer Williamson as Veronique Lascalle & Lynsey G as Fanny Firewater
The Poetry Brothel, a unique and immersive poetry experience, takes poetry outside classrooms and lecture halls and places it in the lush interiors of a bordello. The Poetry Brothel presents poets as high courtesans who impart their work in public readings, spontaneous eruptions of poetry, and most distinctly, as purveyors of private poetry readings on couches, chaise lounges and in private rooms. Central to this experience is the creation of character, which for poet and audience functions as disguise and as freeing device, enabling The Poetry Brothel to be a place of uninhibited creative expression in which the poets and clients can be themselves in private. The Poetry Brothel also explores and responds to the tendency of poets to undervalue themselves inside the creative marketplace by providing a seductive and intimate means of confirming for writers and audience alike the literal monetary value of such work.
1:10 p.m. – Jujo
Featuring New School MFA alumni Liz Axelrod, Roberto Montes, Caitlyn Pezza, Sean Damlos-Mitchell, Atoosa Grey, Chelsea Riley, Isaac Meyers, & Sylvia Bonilla
Founded in 2011, what started as an informal MFA tea house reading at the now closed Jujomuckti Lounge in the East Village has blossomed into a NYC bi-monthly series featuring New School MFA candidates but open to all. Everyone reads at JUJO! Much more than an open mic, it is a vibrant community of up-and-coming artists. The readings are often themed and based around the occasions of the year (i.e. reincarnation and death poems for Dia De Los Muertos, resurrection poems for spring, fire and ice for the summer), and questions/prompts are given for those that need them. This is the second year JUJO has been a part of the NYC Poetry Festival. Hosted by New School MFA alum Liz Axelrod.
2:10 p.m – Good Times Collective
Featuring Alison Roh Park, New School MFA alum Cynthia Manick, Maryam Afaq, Rio Cortez & Safia Jama Cross
We are women of color from the outer boroughs. We ride the train and take cabs. We eat empanadas, beef patties, and samosas, anything fried or filled with sugar. We listen to Vinyl records, Al Green, Melody Gardot, Fiona Apple, and Curtis Mayfield. We read Lucille Clifton, Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich, and Gwendolyn Brooks. We live in a world where silenced voices should be heard. We write poems. Visit us at goodtimescollective.tumblr.com
3:10 p.m. – Cave Canem & Kundiman
Featuring Angel Nafis, Laura Yes Yes, Tarfia Faizullah, & Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai
Cave Canem and Kundiman share a common commitment to affirming and cultivating the many voices of African American and Asian American poetry. Presenting together in such creative spaces as the New York Poetry Festival, Cave Canem and Kundiman poets demonstrate the importance of bringing diverse voices to the center of American culture and popular awareness, where excellent, often groundbreaking, poetry can be heard, read and valued.
At the Chumley's Stage
11:50 a.m. – The Mackinac
The Mackinac is an online poetry magazine seeking original work where the stakes are always high. Publishing quarterly, we strive to make a lasting impression as it bridges the strait between nostalgia and the immediate, the wilds seen and unseen, the best of emerging and established voices. The Mackinac Reading Series celebrates our writers throughout the year. The Mackinac was founded by New School MFA alumni Lenea Grace and Brookes Moody.
12:20 p.m. – Sixth Finch
Featuring Sasha Fletcher, Kit Frick, Melissa Broder & Allyson Paty
Sixth Finch is an online journal of poetry and art, founded in 2008 and updated quarterly. We are committed to bringing the best in contemporary art and poetry to our readers at no cost. Poems from Sixth Finch have appeared in The Best American Poetry, Best of the Net, and The Pushcart Prize. Hosted by New School MFA alum Roberto Montes.
12:50 p.m. – FACE2FACE: Sarah Lawrence College and The New School
Featuring Sharon Mesmer, Anthony Cappo, and Gabriel Don
Organized by Joseph A. W. Quintela (Deadly Chaps Press), Anthony Cappo, and New School MFA alum Gabriel Don, FACE2FACE is a series of friendly throw downs between New York's many fine MFA programs.
3:20 p.m. – Mental Marginalia
Featuring Lauren Hunter, Matthew Yeager, Katie Byrum & Francesco Grisanzio
Started in the Summer of 2011, Mental Marginalia brings four to five readers to the dented microphone of the West, in Williamsburg, on the last Tuesday of every month. The series strives to showcase both emerging as well as more established poets and writers, with the aim of supporting the literary community as a whole and providing a wider audience for the work. In doing so, the series strives also to inject some fun into the admixture: no one really wants to sit through a reading that feels like “church.” Hosted by New School MFA alumni Mark Gurarie and Alex Crowley.
Harper's Magazine recently published a controversial essay by Mark Edmunson titled "Poetry Slam" wherein Edmunson criticizes the state of contemporary poetry and which poets are being valued. The essay has understandably caused a stir within the contemporary poetry community resulting in many poets writing responses to Edmunson's attack.
2008 MFA alum Julia Cohen has written a lucid and insightful critique of Edmunson's complaints in an open letter. Admirably, Cohen does not simply dismiss Edmunson's argument, writing, "I want us to seriously consider these criticisms [...] as well as confront the assumptions that they bring to the literary table."
I will excerpt the beginning of her open letter here but you can read the full essay on her blog.
Dear Mark Edmundson,
I read your article, “Poetry Slam,” in the latest issue of Harper’s and I’d like to respond directly to your “slam” of contemporary poetry by offering the same audience an alternative perspective:
Using only brief fragments of single poems from only 9 living poets (including 1 Canadian, 1 Irish, and 1 actually dead)(endnote 1), Mark Edmundson lambasts the current state of American poetry. I think it’s important to bring to the attention of a larger readership the recent misdirected and lazy criticisms lavished upon contemporary poets that distract from the depth, diversity, and relevance of the work itself. Yes, some readers actually seek out and find poetry that is intellectually, emotionally, and relationally vital.
There are two basic cause/effect accusations in “Poetry Slam” that are worthwhile to dissect to show the dubious connections and terrifying implications:
#1 Because contemporary American Poetry is too “hermetic,” “private,” “oblique,” “equivocal,” it consequently “has too few resources to take on consequential events”:
#2 Because Contemporary American poets lack “ambition,” they do not “light up the world we hold in common,” i.e. they don’t reflect my own worldviews that make me feel like there is a singular “fundamental truth of human experience.”
Unfortunately, what emerges in this article is a desire for singular type of poem. A poem that a) provides unique images that simultaneously relate to obvious cultural referents (“the TV show, the fashions, the Internet”), b) sublimates most poetic techniques to present direct arguments in the form of revelations c) that respond to “the events that began on September 11, 2001 and continue to this moment.” In sum, every poem should be a humanist poem of epiphany with blatant political/cultural references to post-9/11 living. Oh yes, this sounds like a great way to enliven all American poetry!
While many wouldn’t bother, I want us to seriously consider these criticisms (as far as we can in a blog post) as well as confront the assumptions that they bring to the literary table. Ultimately, though, I want us to re-think the very questions being posed so that we can move past them to more productive conversations. While I’m not addressingall of the problems (some are too inane/insane to confront) in Edmundson’s article, by breaking down and reframing these 2 cause/effect arguments we can reorient ourselves as more culturally active citizens that embrace the multiplicity of contemporary poetry.
Continue reading Julia Cohen's essay on her blog.
Julia Cohen is the author of Triggermoon Triggermoon (Black Lawrence Press, 2011). Her work appears in journals like Colorado Review, Kenyon Review Online, jubilat, New American Writing. She is the Associate Editor of the Denver Quarterly and curates the Bad Shadow Affair reading series. She received her MFA from The New School in 2008. You can follow her on Twitter @JuliaACohen.
The 2013 Summer Writers Colony at The New School has now officially come to a close. While we're saddened by its end, now is a good time to look back at all our students have accomplished the past three weeks.
For the last three weeks, the students of the summer colony have worked among their peers, sharing their materials in workshop. It was a positive and productive summer, with students taking on ambitious projects: fiction, poetry, memoir and more. Each year we are astounded by the breadth of the material our students produce. Our supplementary literature and creative writing forums encouraged students to expand formal structures and challenged their preconceptions. Seminars and forums covered everything from Food Writing, a forum led by Francis Lam, to Publicity, led by Lauren Cerand. The forum "Bad Writing," led by by poet Jenny Zhang, author of Dear Jenny, We Are All Find, instructed "you and your writing sensibilities to act out, to downright misbehave" and to "begin the gargantuan task of learning how to free our writing from the tyranny of the good." Ru Freeman, author most recently of On Sal Mal Lane, led her seminar "Let’s Not Mention the Bomb in the Room: Political Writing," which gave our students the tools to "write about events that take place during times of political conflict without preaching or burying [the] story in the details."
We'd like to thank our supernaturally talented workshop instructors, Madge McKeithen, Kathleen Ossip, and Sharon Mesmer for their hard work and dedication to their students' progress. Many thanks also to the numerous instructors who taught additional literary forums throughout the Summer Writers Colony. And, of course, thank you to our students who never failed to bring their enthusiasm and talent to our classes and events.
Below are a few pictures from over the past three weeks. Students: if you'd like to add your own feel free to email us at email@example.com.
Kathleen Ossip is the celebrated author of The Cold War (named one of Publisher's Weekly 100 Best Books of 2011), The Search Engine (which was selected by Derek Walcott for the American Poetry Review/Honickman First Book Prize), and the recent play The Status Seekers. Her poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies including The Best American Poetry, Paris Review, Kenyon Review, Boston Review, American Poetry Review, and the Washington Post. She teaches at The New School, including the upcoming Summer Writers Colony. I spoke with her about the variety of her work, her experiences editing WSQ and LIT, and the effects of cinema on her poetics.
Roberto Montes: Your play-in-verse, The Status Seekers, had a stage reading earlier this month at The Medicine Show Theatre. How would you say the experience of writing a play differs from writing poetry? Are there any points of intersection?
Kathleen Ossip: It didn't feel all that different. For me, writing a poem is always about listening for voices. Usually the voices are pretty disembodied and free-floating, and often they're pieces of me. But with The Status Seekers, the voices attached themselves to a specific time (Mad Men-era) and place (the burbs) and to specific characters. What was different, and a real revelation, was hearing actors speak my lines. I'm in awe of what they do, how they projected emotion from lines that were often pretty oblique and repressed. I cried. And laughed.
RM: In your chapbook, Cinephrastics, each poem is comprised of a 9-10 line stanza meditating on contemporary cinema in brief, discursive verse. How did you find the form for these poems, and which of the films first inspired this series?
KO: Cinephrastics is the result of a deal I made with myself. I told myself that I would write a poem for every movie I saw. It was a way to force myself to see movies. I was going through a period where it was unbearable for me to watch a movie -- they seemed so predictable and constrained, so slow and so overlong, even the good ones. I have a very low threshold for boredom. So getting a poem was the reward for seeing the movie. That was the inspiration, rather than any particular film. But I'm pretty sure that the first poem in the chapbook – The Godfather, Part III – was the first one I saw, and wrote. Talk about slow and overlong! I think the compact form was a reaction to my impatience. And the poems use syllabic lines – it's always fun to count syllables.
RM: Your poetry collections have varied widely in form and you’ve recently written a play; what forms and structures are you working with now?
KO: It's true, I love exploring different forms -- it's another way to keep myself from getting bored. I just finished my third full-length book of poems, called The Do-Over. It includes a lot of acrostics for people who've died fairly recently, some for celebrities (Amy Winehouse, Steve Jobs, Donna Summer) and some for someone I loved who's now gone. Other forms in the book are prose poems, two long poems, one with a rather hysterical voice a la the best of Sylvia Plath, syllabics, and a long fictional prose piece (aka short story).
RM: How is being the poetry editor for the critical journal Women’s Studies Quarterly different from your past editing experiences, such as with LIT? What kind of work do you look for?
KO: WSQ is a journal of women's studies published by the Feminist Press. Most of the journal is filled with academic essays, but for every issue, I get to sneak in 10-15 pages of poems. Each issue centers around a theme (for example, the issue we just closed was Fashion, and the next one will be Debt) and while the essays address the theme directly, the poems get to be slant. I love seeing just how slant they can be! I always look for poems that surprise me with their beauty and their meaning and the way those two things play off each other. A sense of urgency is a must, and a sense that something fresh and new is happening in the poem. That holds true for LIT too, but with LIT we aren't tied to a theme.
RM: We’re excited to have you back teaching the poetry workshop at the Summer Writers Colony this June. What has been your experience as an instructor in such a focused and intensive program?
KO: The Summer Writers Colony is always the high point of my teaching year. Over and over, I've found the experience to be life-changing for the students I work with – and for me. I'm always inspired by the progress that my students make and by their openness to try new approaches. Spending time with them every day for three weeks allows me to get to know them and their writing, their goals and their resistances, in ways that just aren't possible in a typical once-a-week semester-long workshop. We all get comfortable with each other real fast – and then the fun begins.
Kathleen Ossip's poems have appeared in The Best American Poetry, Paris Review, Kenyon Review, Boston Review, American Poetry Review, the Washington Post, The Believer, A Public Space, and Poetry Review (London). She teaches at The New School, including for the Summer Writers Colony, and online for The Poetry School in London. She has received a fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts, and grants from Yaddo, Ragdale, and the Bread Loaf Writers Conference. You can follow her on Twitter @KathleenOssip.
Roberto Montes's first collection, I DON'T KNOW DO YOU, is forthcoming from Ampersand Books in 2014. His chapbook, HOW TO BE SINCERE IN YOUR POETRY WORKSHOP, will be released this Fall by NAP. His work has appeared in or is forthcoming from The Best of the Net 2011 Anthology; Forklift, Ohio; ILK; Sixth Finch; and Hot Street among others. He lives in Queens. You can follow him on Twitter @robertogmontes.