The Poetry Project

Director’s Letter

Kyle Dacuyan

Summer is remembering I think, also pleasure and time passing, distance, encounter, waves of solitude and congregation. What am I remembering? Spring I think, our parabola of gathering once again at St. Mark’s, and how from one event to the next we were a bit looser in our various sincerity and reintroductions to one another. Hello! Again. I perceived the warming-up not as timorous, so much as careful – and I think it has been actually not so terrible, this shifting and enduring consciousness of the ways we bear upon, imperil, but also sustain one another.

I love this issue of the Newsletter, which feels like a bunch of summer telegrams and postcards. That is partly because this issue is mostly correspondence. Genres of relation returning to relation, the oblique and original accidents of recognition which come to the surface when we just let talking happen. Kimberly Alidio with Vi Khi Nao: “I believe so much in the open-endedness of poetry and in the difficult magic of conversation.” Difficult and magic conspire with such intuition here, in a conversation that takes us through the maximalism vs minimalism of diaspora, desert and “wet history,” and these incredible writers’ irrigations of syntax – terrains of speech imagined beyond the structures of possession.

Across the conversations in this issue, poets pose questions about conventions of grammar, lineage of form, the many language architectures we live in – and the interventions of poetry to present some kinds of otherwise. Rosie Stockton turns, in their conversation with Mallika Singh, toward the disruptive and expansive possibilities of desire and the collaborative improvisations of care through consent. Rebecca Teich, in an interview with Brenda Iijima, draws our attention to the vulnerability, thrill, and mutuality of stranger intimacies. Katie Ebbitt, in a review of Linda Norton’s work, asks where repair is located beyond the obliterative forces of whiteness, and how can we push beyond whiteness as a frame of relation.

Throughout the issue, I am moved by these poets’ faith and humility in our broader nervous system, an earthly web, persistent and polyvocal. As Jean Day shares in her conversation with Lawrence Giffin, “two people trying repeatedly to solve the same problem seems incredibly silly and human and hopeful.” And still world-making, if imperfectible and unfinishable. Lucía Hinojosa Gaxiola observes, in her review of Anne Waldman Mundo Aparte / Offworld, those properties of continued translation which make from new language new memory and history. In an ecstatic conversation between Allison Cobb and Alex Tatarsky, we revel in rot and endings, or rather the recognition of these sites as transformations and beginnings.

It is our great pleasure as well to share with you, in this issue, poems from Tessa Bolsover and tash nikol, as well as the Brannan Prize-winning group of poems from Michael Chang, selected by Cedar Sigo. Our deep thanks as well to Joanna Fuhrman for her remembrance of Bob Hershon, and to Greg Masters for his remembrance of Gary Lenhart. We celebrate these writers who – through their poems, teaching, editing, and mentorship – have so indelibly shaped our communities.

We look forward to being with you, poets and readers, when our Fall season resumes with a combination of in-person and online events and workshops. Until then – wishing you a passionate, restful, libertine, peaceful, dreamy dreamy dreamy summer.

Kyle Dacuyan
August 2021

#265 — Summer 2021