Five years ago this year I published the immeasurable fold, a selection of my best poems written from 2000-2015. Several years later during the pandemic, I recorded audio versions of all 42 poems in the book. I combined spoken word with original compositions and soundscapes to create a unique musical and literary experience. Now I am excited to release an album of those tracks.Read More
I like to ask ChatGPT to interpret my poems, curious about what meaning it might pull out. Sometimes I’ve even given it abstract and surreal poems, expecting it to hallucinate something totally off the wall. But, virtually every time, it comes back with an impressive interpretation.
I find this reassuring. It gives me confidence to know that if an AI can pull meaning out of a poem that aligns with my intentions as the poet, then I must have successfully imbued that meaning within the text in the first place. And I know it’s not merely copying what someone else has said because typically, I’ve shown it poems that have yet to be published but never even seen by anyone other than me.
So, asking ChatGPT for its thoughts on a published poem you may have read and sharing that with you would be interesting. I chose “sutras,” published in Amethyst Review. Here’s what it had to say, unedited.Read More
When Dudgrick Bevins and luke kurtis met in NYC in the mid-2010s and discovered they were originally from the same area of northwest Georgia, they knew an eventual collaboration would make sense. Both were born in the same town, though from different generations. Both made art based on their upbringing in rural Appalachia. Both knew what it was like to be rejected by family, friends, and their communities. The resulting collaboration was a 2017 chapbook titled Georgia Dusk, followed by more books by Bevins and edited/designed by kurtis.
Five years later, both the lives of these artists and the world at large have evolved. But the spirit of their collaboration remains the same. The pair came together to record their poetry just before the pandemic. kurtis later composed the accompanying music. And here we are—five years since the original book—with a spoken word EP celebrating the artists, who they were then, who they are now, and who they are becoming. After all, a life well lived and art well made is in continual transformation.
I had gone away to spend some time out of the city. We booked a house near the sea because it seemed like a relaxing spot. The goal was to disconnect for a while, spend less time looking at screens all day. I took some creative supplies with me, markers and pencils and such, with the vague idea of, should inspiration strike, being creative in an analog way. And, of course, making photos. But I had no grand plan. I didn’t intend to develop a new project. So this is definitely a case of the work finding me instead of me finding it.
The drawings, poems, and photos I made essentially describe my experience that week. I’m literally talking about hanging out by the beach for a few days, trying to recover from a stressful time. On the surface, it’s not so profound. But it’s the mundanity that makes it relatable. I used that simplicity to tap into the subconscious.
After I got back home and realized I had created all this stuff, I wondered what I might do with it. I put together the video art and designed an experience meant to be seen in person, projected in a dark room with surround sound. I even set up a small screen prototype. The work created exactly the immersive and meditative environment I was going for. But given the pandemic, trying to plan an in-person exhibition didn’t feel right. So I began to consider what I could do digitally.
I’ve always been more comfortable in cyberspace, so it’s sort of odd I never did a digital exhibition before. But the pandemic has changed the ways we connect. Besides, I’ve always been somewhat reclusive and find it challenging to communicate with people in person, making digital spaces more effective. So, I hope other people are more open to this way of connecting than they might have been in the past.
It would be easy to think of an online exhibition as an inferior substitute for something else. But I don’t feel that way about this at all. In fact, I’m excited that I can beam this work into your home, no matter where you are in the world.
Please join me and explore seaside magic from your corner of cyberspace. I hope you will approach it with intention and feel the same sense of calm that I felt while making it.
The other day I watched a video about how time seems to go by faster the older we get. I definitely feel that. Where does the time go?
As time moves on, I like to mark the milestones along the way.
It’s the second November of the pandemic. That’s kind of a milestone. How many more Novembers before the old ways begin to fade? I already feel that to some extent and mostly feel comfortable with a new way of living, working, and being. Next November, certain things about the before times will seem even more distant. But there is also a sadness.Read More
When I messaged fellow poet Dudgrick Bevins the other day, I told him I’ve been finding it difficult to move forward creatively during the coronavirus pandemic. I’ve been at home in lockdown mode for over a month and can count on one hand the number of times I’ve gone outside. You’d think that means I’m holed up, head down, writing poetry, and doing all the creative things I usually do. I’ve been doing a bit of that, yes. But, mostly, I’ve been at a standstill.Read More
I sat down with Dudgrick Bevins to discuss his debut full-length poetry collection, Route 4, Box 358. Struck by the way he explored his relationship with home, family and—ultimately—himself, I wanted to understand the stories behind the stories and what motivated Bevins to reveal the stories he did.Read More
I’m so happy to share with you electric wire, the first video single from my Angkor Wat book and album. electric wire represents the genesis of the entire project, it being the first poem I wrote during my first visit to Siem Reap. It’s based on my experience of exploring the town and the things I experienced and saw there. The video is a visual interpretation of the poem (and the experiences it describes). There’s also an electric wire zine and even tote bag you can get as gifts over at my fundraiser for Cambodian children. Check it out and enjoy.
My latest zine is marie was an artist. It’s a fully illustrated but handheld size zine featuring a single poem. The zine format is well suited to this type of intensely focused yet concise content. The idea behind this particular zine was to tell the story of my Aunt Marie, who died of cancer in 1987, through her own paintings.
Marie is a special figure in my life. Though she died before I was even ten years old, she somehow went on to influence me a great deal as I began to build my own creative path. She was the only member of my family that was an artist. Her paintings hung on the walls of my parents and other family members growing up. She watched over me in this way, making me keenly aware of how an artist’s presence radiates from her work and becomes part of something much larger. Looking at Marie’s paintings as a kid always made me wonder… could I be an artist one day?
Even now Marie still inspires me. With this zine I hope maybe I’ve inspired her—wherever she may be—a little bit too.
See the zine in the bd Library.
i floated there, my face quivering with waves of prayer,
the sound washed over us like only the sound of prayer.
the chosen few. the lucky ones. only the faithful
know what it means to be blessed by the hand of god’s prayer.
our chant rose towards heaven in a chorus of light and
the veil of incesnse opened the world between here and prayer.