C. Community and Audience. I’ve always been interested in the question of audience. During my MFA, I was mentored by the generous poet Brian Teare—who very quickly challenged me to notice my dilemma with audience: who is on the inside and...
C. Community and Audience. I’ve always been interested in the question of audience. During my MFA, I was mentored by the generous poet Brian Teare—who very quickly challenged me to notice my dilemma with audience: who is on the inside and outside of this story and its reception and consumption? Often, Brian Teare would tell me that in his own poems, he'd keep things to himself and for his community. Much later, during my PhD, I'd learn this and shape these gestures as acts of refusal. I would learn, too, much from reading and teaching over and over again Barbara Christian's “The Race for Theory.” My students often gravitate toward the moment in which she asks about intention: “For whom are we doing what we are doing when we do literary criticism?” Here I think we can exchange literary criticism with poetry, fiction, essay, and other forms cultural production. The question I like to ask, too, is: “To whom do we write this? Who is addressed?” In the past couple of months, I've been writing and thinking in community—an emergent, intergenerational community of Filipinx diasporic writers. We're building something worth building: The Digital Sala. These conversations, these workshops, these longer and sometimes brief virtual encounters, have helped us develop various forms of kinship and solidarity. There is promise. I've always been writing for The Digital Sala.
D. Proximities of Form. During this current uprising and struggle for Black lives, I've been returning to the question of form. I still don't have most of my books with me but one that I happen to have in my apartment is Fred Moten's B Jenkins. I continue to return to the interview at the end. Given my current capacities, I'm going to simply and humbly leave this excerpt here: “I want to write poems that recognizably inhabit, but in some kind of underground or fugitive way, the space between the laws of music and the laws of meaning. I want to challenge the law that language lays down while taking advantage of the opportunity that language affords.”
E. What is Savage Lovebird as a project even? I've been working for the past couple of months to make sure this project reminds itself to work against a redemptive moment. While I am tempted to turn some of these rehearsals and processes into a book manuscript, I am also inspired to let things sit. I have always been an impatiently patient writer. I have always struggled to produce in the finished object sense. I stay present with the current conjuncture. Craft is now and has always been about the struggle for humble, sincere, genuine solidarity.
F. Rest in Peace to Auntie Ellie, who we lost to COVID-19 recently.
G. MAKIBAKA! HUWAG MATAKOT!
H. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER.