ELEVATE is a new writers’ residency in partnership with Small Press Traffic. ELEVATE grants selected experimental writers, at any stage in their career, free studio space in a decommissioned elevator at Real Time and Space in Oakland, CA.
As a press we've been reflecting on the books we've gotten to publish, the tours we've been on, the magical poets we have met, & all the events we've been able to organize in the past year. There are some upcoming events and projects we're really excited for, such as our in-progress Viral Counter-Publics qtpoc poetry/video project in collaboration with Cantíl. But we wanted to remember, highlight, and revel in the amazing event we co-hosted at Chapter 510 back in March 2016: Sick Fest.
Sick Fest took a radical and participatory approach to exploring what it means to be a sick person under capitalism. The event featured performances and readings by a group of chronically ill and disabled writers and activists, including keynote speaker Johanna Hedva, author of Sick Woman Theory, as well as Neve Be, Carolyn Lazard, Liz Henry, Kiyaan A, Claire Light, Amy Berkowitz, and Mia Mingus. A group conversation, a chronic illness zine fair, and bodywork by donation rounded out the evening. Bodyworkers and energy healers included Danielle Walker, Lindsey Boldt, mai doan, Myrrhia Rodriguez, and Dusty Vogt.
Here's a video playlist of the performances.
& here's a full transcript of the event.
Thanks to everyone who helped document, transcribe, and caption these videos to make these amazing performances more accessible!
An excerpt from Brian Whitener's new book Face Down was just published in Social Text, a quarterly scholarly journal forging creative connections between critical theory and political practice, edited by insurrectionary poet Marie Buck.
At the end of the first industrial revolution in 1873, Mother and her children struggle to swallow a thin gruel while their distended limbs flounder uncontrollably in yellow, noxious wind. Slowly over the next 30 years, the white family will be fully reconstituted around a single male wage earner. By 1950, only 10% of white women will be engaged in paid labor outside the home. By 1990, that number will increase to 50%. In 1997, the popular USAmerican TV show, Your Mother, bases an entire episode around the premise that for men sex is about “parts,” while for women sex is “mental.” In this same episode, a lawyer defends himself from a sexual harassment charge by arguing that he has OCD which makes him grab, compulsively, women’s asses and Unknown Mother, after explaining how she feels like men do not see her in job meetings, turns into a little girl wearing a purple scarf. Next century, Mother bathes her former step-child who is a daughter’s sister’s lover and aunt’s soon-to-be child: Mother washes their bodies and pulls their indentations out and pushes them back in again, naming each quietly under her breath as she washes, Peyton and Riley, Shane and Taylor, Reagan and Tristan and Drew and Devin…Check the full piece out here!
Disaster by Madison Davis
Slabs by Brittany Billmeyer-Finn
This January we'll be releasing Disaster by Madison Davis and Slabs by Brittany Billmeyer-Finn. Stay tuned for release deets. We hope you'll come out and pick up your pre-order!
"Madison Davis’ Disaster is compelling. At first you can’t bear to read it then you can’t bear not to. When disaster occurs in one’s life, when there is death, there are levels of grief. One is pulled into the disaster according to the specific lineaments of the dying. Was it sudden? Was the person young? Was it violent? Was it the one person you cannot lose? How is it possible to go forward into life when “It cannot happen / it happened”? With Disaster Davis faces into loss by composing with details of what might be called unnatural disasters, tragedies caused by stupidity or just bad luck. She isn’t looking for solace and finds none. The beautifully articulated disasters in this book feel dangerous, inevitable, and random. As they say, you can't look away and yet, as Davis points out, “...we look away so quickly from disaster. We take it in every day and count ourselves fortunate to be spared.” But, as Disaster shows, we are not really spared."
"Charming the unsayable and perennially undefined briefly into the realm of articulation, Brittany Billmeyer-Finn’s Slabs utilizes "intuitive practice" to unfold an intimate refusal of the limitations of contemporary identity politics, as embodied in its vessel: language. The text weaves together a shifting, shimmering fabric of indissoluble tensions, guided by a profoundly sensual, yet mercurial and frank linguistic intelligence. Fearlessly delicate and tough in its pursuit of the "question / I long after", Slabs alternately satisfies and provokes, as it constructs a bridge between the sacred and the sexual, the mortal and the transcendent; the constantly vanishing figure and its lingering traces."
We are thrilled to announce that we received this year's Southern Exposure Alternative Exposure grant for our project Viral Counter-Publics, a series of six experimental poetry performance videos that will engage and highlight the visual practices of Bay Area queer and trans poets of color! For this project we will be collaborating with Cantíl, a series featuring exclusively writers of color and dedicated to the poetics of resistance. All screenings will be free and open to the public.
We’re so thrilled to announce that JASMINE GIBSON has joined the Timeless, Infinite Light editorial team. Jasmine’s poems, like in her chapbook DRAPETOMANIA from Commune Editions, are inspiring, shocking, revolutionary, Marxist, angry, killer, healer, city-burning lyrics. We’re happy to bring her eye into TIL as an editor and excited to see the work that we put together from here onwards.
We get it: books are rectangles. We thought we made a rectangle when we published As They Fall by Ivy Johnson, but turns out we published a “deck of cards,” which, as a series of small rectangles, can be a challenge to put in a bookshelf. For those who have asked, “Where do I put this thing if not in my bookshelf?” and, “How do I store this object when I’m not obsessively reading it?”—don’t worry! We heard the cries of “book”stores and owners of “book”shelves and prepared a list of alternative ways to store As They Fall for those perplexed by its shape and size.
1) Store the cards unbound in a large marble birdbath in front of your door. Greet each of your guests with a card as they come in. Use their card as an ice breaker.
2) Wallpaper is expensive and screw buying paint from Benjamin Moore: cover your walls with individual cards held by sticky tack. This will make your home’s walls both inviting and intimidating to guests. This says “I care about interior design, but also want to design my walls to look like they are covered in ants when you squint.”
3) Put one card in every book you have bought but never gotten around to reading. This will likely give you room for a few different decks, as you keep sending all your money on books saying things like “This summer, I’m gonna change my habits. This is gonna be MY summer.” It’s almost September and that copy of 1Q84 just seems to look longer every day.
4) FOR BOOKSTORES: We recognize that it can be difficult to organize your shelves stocked with important classics, such as 6 different copies of The Annotated Lolita, but consider using your copies of As They Fall cards as labels for your book sections. Instead of Art Criticism, employ the “drawing is silent” card. Instead of Travel, employ the “as if returning were possible” card.
5) FOR BOOKSTORES: Shelf talkers are a must, but they take time to create. Save time for your staff by using cards from As They Fall instead of writing these blurbs out. For example, Fahrenheit 451 can match with “set fire to it,” In Cold Blood can match with “in a Midwestern tableau,” and Gravity’s Rainbow with “throbs w/ a flash.”
6) Put in a tissue box positioned so that when you pull out a tissue, you also pull out a card. When you want to blow your nose, cry, or clean up a mess, you’ll be greeted with a card as well. This will make your tissue use more festive and spontaneous. Though this method is not always recommended, as it can lead to some awkward coincidental empathy: if you are crying and draw the “i am revolting” card, your mood may not improve.
7) For those with children, store the cards where you store your board games. Every few game nights, instead of playing Candy Land or Monopoly, play As They Fall. Though it is turn-based, there are no rules and no goals. When they draw “it was true” and ask, “What was true, mommy?” tell them “You were.” Let them eat extra cake tonight.
Gabriel Ojeda-Sague featured on Poetry Jawns
GABRIEL OJEDA-SAGUE joins us in the studio to discuss the phenomenology of walking drawn from Pokemon Go; the complexity of Cher's Twitter account as political commentary; found texts (including the Joy of Gay Sex, 1977 edition) & critically maligned media as poetry fodder; what replaying The Legend of Zelda can teach you about the mourning process; how to make fist fucking more marketable; his brilliant new book Oil & Candle; figuring out conceptualism as a queer Latino POC exile. BONUS: Gabe dedicates a special song to our listeners <3
"Who do you like?"
Have you seen Poet Tips? It's a crowd-sourced poetry recommendation engine. We found a few of our authors there. You can up- or down-vote the results, or add your own.
Black Lavender Milk Giveaway Completed!
We just had a giveaway contest for Black Lavender Milk on Goodreads. We had 3 books to give away but 577 people entered! Congratulations to our lucky winners! And for those who entered but didn't win, consider purchasing a copy! It's so worth it. And if you're in Los Angeles, Tijuana, or San Diego, watch the Upcoming Events section on our homepage for readings near you.