Hakim Bellamy Poem on POC Anonymity

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2016 by ndemske

Hakim at the DP Wigley Building, BONK! series, 2014

I’ve had some extra reading time with the extra days off this week and I wanted to post at least a couple of the really phenomenal poems I’ve been coming across over the next few days.  Today we’re starting with the inimitable Hakim Bellamy.

Hakim got a piece published by the White Privilege Conference Understanding and Dismantling Privilege Journal that knocked me out.  You can read that here (click on the “Download this PDF file” link).  And here’s an audio version of it, too.

The poem focuses on the phenomenon of black invisibility and especially on the effects of that phenomenon in law enforcement.  It’s not that people of color (and black males especially) are indeed invisible , obviously……but that the individuality and humanity of people of color vanish into thin air in so many situations, and are replaced by whatever demonic stereotype currently overwhelms mainstream media.  Since law enforcement officials deal with people in dire situations, the temptation to bypass the individual for their stereotypical counterpart is–as we’ve seen in this country over and over again–often too much to resist, apparently.

Hakim talks about “sticking out”–even if awkwardly– as a defense mechanism to ward off the horrors black invisibility can result in.  But he also talks about assimilation in newly crafted ways:

https://i2.wp.com/howtoexitthematrix.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/invisibility-disappearing-mutant-mondays-rkvc.gif

image found here

“We’ve worn these neckties for years
because we’re least threatening
at the end of a leash.

Speak jive only
as a second language,
because when in Rome
do as conquered people do.”

Later in the poem, in a parent’s voice, he instructs:

“Wear your culture
like a butt naked emperor.”

The poem meditates on how different people see things differently, especially based off their fears.  It reminds me a lot of a song the current Kenosha Poet Laureate, Brent Mitchell, played at the BONK! 100 Thousand Poets for Change event last September about the Tamir Rice shooting.  I’ll see if I can get a recording of that song from Brent to share with people.

And since Hakim is a BONK! alum too, I’ve added his video here (from 2014), just in case you want to get a better sense of his work.

Thank you, Hakim, for making such substantial work about such a under-discussed  issue!

I’ll try to drop another poem or two on here as the week goes on.  In the meantime, happy 2016 everyone.  We gonna ride this year to glory!

addendum (added 1.7.16) 

Here is the video of the above mentioned Brent Mitchell song for Tamir Rice:

 

 

Wendy Xu joins the Fence Books Fam

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on December 16, 2015 by ndemske

Yay-uh!  Just got the news that my poetry homie Wendy Xu is my new publishing labelmate.  Congratulations, Wendy!  AND I know she recently just got a shout out in one of Entropy’s end of the year best of lists.  So Wa-bam.  Can’t/won’t/etc.

And as a bonus, here’s a real short shout out Wendy posted on an independent review site back in the day about my first book (in like 2011 I think).  It is good when we get published by publishers whose books we like.  The world makes sense.  Amen.

Can’t wait to read it, Wendy!  So excited for you.

Fence is proud to announce that Hoa Nguyen has chosen Wendy Xu’s Phrasis as winner of the 2016 Ottoline Prize. Phrasis will be published in 2017 by Fence Books, and Xu will also be the recipient of a $5000 cash prize. Born in Shandong, China, in 1987, Wendy Xu is the author of You Are Not Dead (2013), and the recent chapbook Naturalism (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2015). Her poems have appeared in The Best American Poetry, Boston Review, Poetry, jubilat, Gulf Coast, Hyperallergic, and elsewhere. She was awarded the Patricia Goedicke Prize in Poetry in 2011, and a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation in 2014. She lives and teaches writing in New York City.

In celebration, the deadline to submit to the 2017 Ottoline Prize has been extended through December 24th, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. EST! You can submit to the Ottoline by clicking here.

The Ottoline Prize awards publication and $5,000 to a book-length work of poetry by a woman writing in English who has previously published one or more full-length books of poetry. The submission fee is $28, and all entrants receive a complimentary subscription or renewal to Fence. The winning manuscript will be published in the Spring of 2017 by Fence Books. The Ottoline existed in previous incarnations as the Motherwell Prize, and the Albert Prize before that. A full list of winners can be found at fenceportal.org.

Blogging now at The BONK!ness Monster

Posted in Uncategorized on May 26, 2014 by ndemske

Yo Yo,

tbmc3

wanted to let people know I will not be blogging at this space here anymore because I’m going to try to focus all my effort into a community blog I’m part of that has been starting up—it’s called The BONK!ness Monster and it can be found here. 

I’m helping run it with some other writers, artists and musicians that live here in Racine: Justin Grimbol, Kelsey Hoff, Kelsey Gray, Jackson Potter Barrow, Aaron Lundquist and Jen Simpkins.  I love that the people contributing to it, unlike other blogs that might be similar that I dig, like Montevidayo or HTMLGiant, are only brought together because they live in the same place and write.  Our aesthetics are not very similar, or even our disciplines, in some cases.  There’s really nothing unifying us other than geography and friendship.  That is super, to me.

They posted a few poems of mine the other day here, by the way.  Actually, they’re poem-memes, basically, which Grimbol created…he’s been creating a lot of these weird image-word mash up things that he’s been thinking of as memes. They’re lovely and hilarious, to be honest.  Here’s one of the memes he made for one of my poems:

 

http://thebonkness.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/dppp1.jpg

So come visit us at The BONK!ness monster and keep up on the bustling world of Racine, Wisconsin.

It’s not that daddy’s leaving you.  He’s just going somewhere else.  And you can go to that somewhere else now too, whenever you’re ready.

Okay.  Thanks.  I love you.  Be in touch.

And PS- You’re ready: http://thebonknessmonster.com/

New Chapbooks from Smoking Glue Gun Press/ Video of Joyful Noise for Walter Hermanns

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2014 by ndemske

Hi my love,

A press I love, Smoking Glue Gun, is putting out two chapbooks very soon.  They have offered us the opportunity to fund said chapbooks through a crowd sourcing fundraiser campaign.  None of it is just donation–nearly no matter what amount you give, you’ll be getting one or both of the chapbooks.  If you get a little more, there’s a bunch of even cooler gifts from there that you’ll be receiving.  Read about the incentives on the site and watch the video and then, if you can, please contribute to their cause: http://igg.me/at/smokinggluegunchapbooks/x/6002691  They’re less than $500 away from their goal of $2000, so let’s make sure they make their mark.

I had the pleasure of reading and writing a blurb for one of these chapbooks: Nate Pritts’s “Pattern Exhaustion.” And, I have to say, I absolutely loved that little collection.  I would recommend it to anyone, even a lot of people who don’t normally dig poetry.  I think I’m going to buy a copy for my dad…maybe some other people.

So go check this stuff out and support a great upstart press.  And thank you!

In other news, we recently had an event in honor of a Racine, Wisconsin, poet and amazing community member, Walter Hermanns.  The full video of the event is here for your viewing, thanks to our BONK! video homie, Peg Rousar-Thompson.  Thanks Peg, and thanks to everyone who came, especially those who performed.  I read a poem close to the very end and then the amazing Jackson Potter Barrow of one of my favorite young bands, The Barrow Band, plays a rendition he made of Amazing Grace.  The whole room was weeping pretty insanely.  It was beautiful.  I miss Walter every day.  We love you, Walter.  Rest in peace…in rowdiness…

Hey, thanks for visiting.  Have a great day.

Nick

 

Poets for the First Amendment Protection Chapbook

Posted in Uncategorized on September 3, 2013 by ndemske

I just submitted my poem Ravine, which I read in the video below, to this very worthy, worthwhile chapbook project that I’m posting about here in hopes of spreading the word and getting others to support it.  The amazing Sasha Steensen at Colorado Review was kind enough to publish this in print form originally.  The video appeared even before that, though, at the Montevidayo blog, solicited by Joyelle McSweeney.

So read here and submit.  The original source for this that I saw can be seen here.

Hey…have a great day.  I love you.  Peace:

“Submit Your Poem for the Poets for First Amendment Protection chapbook of poems responding to questions about the right peaceably to assemble, especially as they are being raised today.

We invite your submission of poems about the arrests of people for singing at the Wisconsin State Capitol, about the attempts to intimidate people opposed to mining the Penokee Hills, about legislatures cutting public hearings short or scheduling them at inconvenient times and places, and/or about comparable issues.

You don’t need to reside in Wisconsin to send a poem. You don’t need to write specifically about Wisconsin events.

We’re looking for a variety of styles: direct or subtle, formal, free verse, hip hop, prose poems, mixed genre. No longer than one page is the length preferred, though we’ll never turn down an awesome longer poem. But we need it soon! Submit by September 6, 2013 to poets.first@yahoo.com

If you’re not already part of the Facebook group, Poets for First Amendment Protection and you would like to be added, just send me a message. Also, feel free to share this call with friends you think might be interested.

All proceeds from the sales of this chapbook will go to the First Amendment Protection Fund. http://protectwisconsin.tumblr.com/.

Andrea Baker’s “Famous Rapes” series

Posted in Uncategorized on July 21, 2013 by ndemske

Hi everyone,

my blog still sort of exists, apparently.

I’m finishing up a manuscript that is largely about the feminist theory of rape culture.    It’ called “Starfucker” and some pertinent examples of the poems focusing on this subject can be found in issue #7 of Sugar House Review (which includes 5 of the poems from this manuscript, more than any other journal out there, I believe.  I love Sugar House).

Sugar

The reason for this post, though, is to spread word of the poet Andrea Baker’s project “Famous Rapes.”  There are features having to do with it here and here at the Rumpus, which is a great literary spot all around.  They’re subtle, well-handled, informative, interesting, saddening, brief little articles, and totally worth the time to read them.  Important, too.  The sort of articles that I would love to see everyone in our culture be exposed to.  Andrea is apparently working on a manuscript called “Famous Rapes.”  I’ve never heard of her before, but I definitely plan on contacting her and I will definitely be asking her to send that to me.

ledaandtheswan-e1371248980583

Rendering by Baker of Leda and the Swan rape of myth

So read them, see what you think and let me know, if you’re feeling ambitious.

As a bonus, here’s a review of my first book the indelible Kathleen Rooney wrote for the Rumpus a couple years ago and here is a poem at the Rumpus from a different series I’ve been writing called “Emotional Feelings”.  That manuscript is also heavily influenced by rape culture theory and, in general, living a sexually diseased life in a sexually diseased culture.

Ooh, one more thing I just thought of:  I just read Anne Marie Rooney’s book Spitshine.  In terms of books that deal with being sexually diseased, this is a really interesting, potent, challenging one.  Definitely relative to the Gurlesque writers, though I may be the first one to say that in print (digital print?).  She was just part of a reading at our BONK! series here in Racine, with the touring poetry group Line Assembly.  Here’s the video of the whole reading…Anne Marie is somewhere in the middle:

Line Assembly at the BONK! series, 7.13.13, Racine Wisconsin

Okay.  That’s it.  Thanks.  I love you.

Nick

Bill Yarrow Being Awesome

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 14, 2013 by ndemske

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