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Radha Says

The final collection by award-winning poet Reetika Vazirani, published by Drunken Boat.

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Annotations of contemporary poetry edited by Lisa Russ Spaar, published by Drunken Boat.


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Drunken Boat is co-sponsoring an event with the talented Quintan Ana Wikswo and Yeshiva University Museum

When? 6:30pm, September 12th
Where? Yeshiva University Museum, 15 West 16th St, NYC
Tickets? FREE, but you need to book ahead. Click here!

The event features Wikswo’s photographic, text and video installation and projection works for live performance. With music of VERONIKA KRAUSAS and ISAAC SCHANKLER performed by ANDREW THOLL, NADIA FRANCAVILLA, and ANDREW MILLER. Dance movement by choreographer Alexandra Shilling and her dancers.

PROPHECY OF PLACE gathers Quintan Ana Wikswo’s powerful and haunting constellation of photographs, text installations, video projections, assemblage and collaborative performance. From 2009 to 2011, the artist worked in Portugal, France, Germany, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Russia and Argentina, acquiring damaged antique battlefield cameras and typewriters manufactured by slave labor during Fascist-era dictatorships.

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Published Aug 20, 2011 - Comments Off

Of course, she was my mother, I knew that—she kept telling me so—“Soy tu mamá!” But she also seemed a stranger, and all the more so whenever she started to speak Spanish, a language which, as time went by, sounded both familiar and oddly strange to me. I surely understood what she was saying (I always would); her words seemed to have something to do with our apartment on West 118th Street, con tu papá y tu hermano, and, yes, Cuba, that beautiful wonderland, so far away, of love and magic, which I had visited not so long before. Facing me, she’d raise the pitch of her voice, arch her eyebrows as if I would hear her better. She’d wipe a smear of lipstick onto a Kleenex from her black purse, muttering under her breath. I remember nodding at her words; I remember understanding my mother when she said, “Mira aquí!” (“Look what I have!”) as she reached into her bag for a little ten-cent toy; and “Sabes que eres mi hijo?” (“Do you know that you’re my son?”) and things like “Pero, por qué estás tan callado?” (“Why are you so quiet?”) and “Y que té pasa?” (“What’s wrong with you?”) What happened to be wrong with me came down to the fact that I never answered my mother in the language she most wanted to hear, el español. I just couldn’t remember the words, and this must have truly perplexed her, for I’ve been told that, before I went into the hospital, I spoke Spanish as cheerfully and capaciously as any four-year old Cuban boy. I certainly didn’t know much English before then. Maybe I’d picked up some from the neighbors in our building or from my brother, José, who, seven years older than I, attended the local Catholic grammar school and, like any kid, hung out on the streets; but, in our household, Spanish, as far as I can remember, was the rule.

from Thoughts Without Cigarettes, a novel, excerpted in the upcoming Drunken Boat #14.

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Published Aug 19, 2011 - Comments Off

As part of the ENG 488: Hypertext, Graphic Novels & Pulp Fiction class at CCSU, English majors and graduate students are writing responses to some of the work in prior issues of our journal, underscoring the usefulness of electronic literature in the classroom.

Ching-In Chen’s Dream: the Disappeared Lover is intimidating yet inviting. I do not deny that I was attracted to this poem for superficial reasons such as her name, her photo and bio, the title, and Chen being a member of the LGBTQ community. And while I cannot claim to have figured out all of the intricate meanings within Chen’s piece, her poem speaks to me beyond the superficial reasons listed above.

The poem opens with the sensual image, “the slope of her back.” This erotic feminine image immediately segues into a metaphor for the mystery woman’s body. Her body is compared to “petite teacups” that act as a defense “against the hurled aggression of the day.” The feminine structure of her lover’s back is juxtaposed with the everyday experience of oppression/aggression. Then, the body metaphor takes on a deeper meaning as it encompasses the reality of oppression (through labor/work) that is leveled against women of color daily in society. There is a dual consciousness that is raised during this part of the poem, particularly relevant to Chen’s life as she is a daughter of Chinese immigrants. The reality of having multiple cultural/racial/sexual identities is explored by Chen’s awareness of the multiple functions of her lover’s (physical) body.

Chen’s lover is likened to a machine who “unscrews her tin shoulder.” While undressing, Chen is sexually aroused from the appearance of her lover’s body and the vulnerability of the moment. The metaphor of the lover’s body (as machine) is extended as Chen oils and watches as “she whirrs.” This is an especially titillating sexual metaphor, and it goes on until the “wet ground” provides “a familiar taste.” The reader is left questioning, if the lover exists? Did this experience happen? Chen’s final couple lines do little to answer our questions: “we sit inside / licking the lips off our beloved.” I like to think of this poem as a memory of the ‘everyday life’ moments in a relationship with a woman. The dream is her lover and the lover is her dream.

by Amber Smith

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Published Aug 16, 2011 - Comments Off

Author Dianne Simmons will be performing her story “In The Garden,” which originally appeared in DB#13, in NYC this coming week.

Where? Cornelia Street Cafe, NYC
When? August 21, 2011 @ 6pm
Cover? $7, includes a drink and more readings

In The Garden
(from Drunken Boat #13)

I’m out whacking blackberry bushes with the machete when Lulu and Guy come driving up with a jar of Red Zinger and a bottle of gin. Palmer is in his shop sawing away on something so Lulu goes and pounds on his window. He must have looked up because she starts a little war dance, waving the bottle of gin over her head. Lulu is a big goofy redhead in cat-eye glasses and you never know what she’ll do next. She acts all flirty toward Palmer but I don’t think it’s personal. I think that’s just how she is.

Guy comes over to me and asks how it’s going down in the garden. He gave up on his own garden, so now he always makes a point of sympathizing with me about mine. I complain to him that with all the rain—it seems like it’s been raining more than usual—the blackberry vines grow over the path in just one day. By the second day they’ve linked up so you can’t get through. You’ve got to be out there constantly whacking.

Of course we talk about the slugs because that’s the main thing that drives everybody crazy around here. They overrun your garden every night, and in the morning you find dozens of them, sprawled out on the lettuce leaves like they’ve been on a drunk.

Click here to read the whole thing.

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Published Aug 15, 2011 - Comments Off

You should like them, too! And you should also go to their reading.

Dusie Press/the Dusie Kollektiv will be hosting a reading in NYC at the Zinc Bar on August 4 at 5:30pm SHARP.

The reading is FREE and open to the public.

Line-up includes:

Cara Benson
Maria Damon (see her vispo in DB#10)
Amanda Deutch
Jennifer K. Dick
Greg Fuchs
Susana Gardner
Becca Klaver
Deborah Poe (our beloved fiction ed, read her in DB#8)
Marthe Reed
Michael Ruby (look out for him in DB#14)
Kathrin Schaeppi
Jill Stengel
Vincent Zompa

Click here for more info & to RSVP

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Published Aug 01, 2011 - Comments Off

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