What did This Summer do?
Step 1) WORDS. Receive acceptance letter from the Santa Fe Art Institute (SFAI) saying that you're officially an "artist in residence" for a month,
which makes you feel and sound very official. Mostly this means that there (finally) can be a month in a room of one's own-- a much-needed
space and place for finishing up the second book. Days spent among the red rock and juniper, blue skies and sudden monsoons, and all
of this added up to more poems. The new poetry collection is titled COUNTERGLOW and is looking for a permanent home with a publisher.
They're mostly small poems, what Paul Celan would call "gem-like," and it feels good to finish the book because some of these poems have been sitting
in folders for six years, needing breath and light. Some of the poems from the collection, too, got picked up this summer by Spiritus, a journal from the Johns Hopkins
University Press and another poem from COUNTERGLOW found a home this summer in As/Us: A Space for Women of the World.
Step 2) WORDS + SOUNDS. Proposed project for SFAI residency included an experimental foray into video poems. As in: collect video clips
wherever your body finds you and then combine said strange clips with music you make by yourself (bass, keyboards, vox, etc.). I've been
pleased with this project because it prompts questions re: how making video poems changes poetics, how moving from the page
into the air and onto the screen creates new useful language experiences. Here are links to a few:
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the archives and find it actually fun/find beautiful words and stories that deserve attention and air. Make photos. Schedule interviews. Raise questions. Be grateful.
Step 4) SOUNDS. Consciously decide to rock out deeply and utterly. I'm a serious poet and scholar, but I'm also a serious metalhead. I play bass and write
lyrics in the atmospheric black metal band, Valley of Thorns. We played plenty of shows this summer and we have plenty more booked in the coming months.
Hopefully we'll be recording an album next year. I also started video recording local metal bands in California, Nevada, and New Mexico, so if you visit
my YouTube channel for video poems, you'll also be greeted with the harrowing screams and depressive thunderings of underground metal music.
We all know 4 is a good number, so let's stop there.
What the summer did: reminded me, again, that I'm an artist first and a scholar second. I'm grateful to be working in NAS at UCD where artistic
endeavors are honored and understood. Here's to another trip around the sun, the end of one more summer, and the beginning of another academic year.