La Guagua Poetry Festival Reading Series, Saturday, May 1st, 2021 3:00-5:30 PM ET

•April 27, 2021 • Leave a Comment

Michael Leong reads via Zoom for the City College of San Francisco Visiting Writers’ Series, Thu, April 8, 2021, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM PDT

•April 7, 2021 • Leave a Comment

HYPERLINK / 002 / Prageeta Sharma, 3/25, 5-6:30PM PT

•March 18, 2021 • Leave a Comment

Join us for the second installment of HYPERLINK, with featured reader Prageeta Sharma and very special guests

About this Event

KENNETH REVEIZ, JIMMY VEGA, & ICA SADAGAT proudly present the second installment of HYPERLINK: a multidisciplinary online production.

Our featured guest is poet Prageeta Sharma, author of the poetry collections Grief Sequence (Wave Books, 2019), Undergloom (Fence Books, 2013), Infamous Landscapes (Fence Books, 2007), The Opening Question (Fence Books, 2004), which won the 2004 Fence Modern Poets Prize, and Bliss to Fill (Subpress, 2000).

Prageeta Sharma now teaches at Pomona College, and is the founder of the conference “Thinking Its Presence: Race, Creative Writing, Literary Studies and Art.” Talkback to follow, led by Jimmy Vega.

FEATURED CALARTS READERS/SPEAKERS:

Zeno Peterson

Michael Leong

SPECIAL MUSICAL PERFORMANCE:

SHIVA LINGA

ACCESS:

Closed captioning will be provided.

*Graphics by CalArts Alum, Alex Cerutti from Change The Game.

HYPERLINK is a three-part interdisciplinary multimedia online series that pairs participation from innovative public intellectuals with performances from across California Institute of the Arts, grounded in readings from MFA1s in Creative Writing at the School of Critical Studies. This event is sponsored by the Nick England Intercultural Arts Project.

The Cambridge Companion to Twenty-First-Century American Poetry (Cambridge UP, 2021)

•March 14, 2021 • Leave a Comment

A new poetic century demands a new set of approaches. This Companion shows that American poetry of the twenty-first century, while having important continuities with the poetry of the previous century, takes place in new modes and contexts that require new critical paradigms. Offering a comprehensive introduction to studying the poetry of the new century, this collection highlights the new, multiple centers of gravity that characterize American poetry today. Essays on African American, Asian American, Latinx, and Indigenous poetries respond to the centrality of issues of race and indigeneity in contemporary American discourse. Other essays explore poetry and feminism, poetry and disability, and queer poetics. The environment, capitalism, and war emerge as poetic preoccupations, alongside a range of styles from spoken word to the avant-garde, and an examination of poetry’s place in the creative writing era.

Table of Contents

Introduction – Timothy Yu

1. New Black Aesthetics: Post Civil-Rights African American Poetry – Keith D. Leonard

2. Traditions of Innovation in Asian American Poetry – Michael Leong

3. Locations of Contemporary Latina/o poetry – David A. Colón

4. Sovereign Poetics and Possibilities in Indigenous Poetry – Mishuana Goeman

5. Changing Topographies, New Feminisms, and Women Poets – Ann Vickery

6. The Nearly Baroque in Contemporary Poetry – Stephanie Burt

7. Disability Aesthetics and Poetic Practice – Declan Gould

8. Queer Poetry and Bioethics – Sarah Dowling

9. Trauma and the Avant-Garde – Sueyeun Juliette Lee

10. Blockade Chants and Cloud-Nets: Terminal Poetics of the Anthropocene – Jonathan Skinner

11. Give Me Poems and Give Me Death: On the End of Slam(?) – Javon Johnson, Anthony Blacksher

12. Anti-capitalist Poetry – Christopher Nealon

13. Of Poetry and Permanent War in the Twenty-First Century – Stephen Voyce

14. Poetry in the Program Era – Kimberly Quiogue Andrews

15. The Future of Poetry Studies – Dorothy Wang

“rolling from echo to echo”: On Sky-Quake: Tremor of Heaven by Vicente Huidobro (Trans. by Ignacio Infante and Michael Leong) by Zack Anderson

•March 9, 2021 • Leave a Comment

Zack Anderson has a tremendous review in the Action Books blog of my co-translation, with Ignacio Infante, of Vicente Huidobro’s Sky-Quake. Thanks to Zack for the insights–and to the good people at Action Books. Here are the last two paragraphs:

Unlike previous translators, Infante and Leong foreground Sky-Quake’s intertextuality, noting that “both works constitute two parallel poetic artefacts contemporaneously produced in two different languages—as such, Temblor de cielo and Tremblement de ciel comprise together a larger artwork.” Infante and Leong approach the “infinite versability” of Sky-Quake “by engaging the translation process as originating from both the Spanish and the French texts. Our translation is, thus, constituted by a fluid translational method constantly connecting both parallel originals.” The translators’ collaborative approach allows them to attend to the Spanish and French texts as equal, mirrored versions, while the English translation takes shape in the mise-en-abîme.

Near the end of Sky-Quake, as Tristan’s death approaches, he declares, “I am not afraid of nothingness and I wouldn’t fear it even if I didn’t have the certainty of remaining in my echo, of intangibly rolling from echo to echo.” It seems plausible that Huidobro might have been thinking of the infinite versioning of translation and its utopic international possibilities. Infante and Leong have managed to capture the infinite versability of this text that pours between genres and languages. Sky-Quake serves as an excellent reminder that, as Berman argues, “the translation is a priori present in any original: Any work, as far as one can go back, is already to several degrees a fabric of translations or a creation that has something to do with the translating operation.”

In addition, Sky-Quake is among fine company as a finalist for Big Other‘s Book Award for Translation.

Rain Taxi Review of Vicente Huidobro’s Sky-Quake: Tremor of Heaven

•November 13, 2020 • Leave a Comment

Here are a few excerpts from John Bradley’s Rain Taxi review:

Sky-Quake is broken into seven sections, yet even with these welcome breaks, the dense, wildly surreal prose makes for slow reading. Surrealist texts tend to work best in shorter forms, because once traditional narrative devices are discarded, longer surreal prose becomes hard to sustain—for writer and reader. One narrative device that Huidobro does employ in this volume is a constant address to Isolde: “Isolde, Isolde, how many miles separate us, how many sexes between you and me.” Despite the length (35 pages), Huidobro’s linguistic ingenuity never flags. The pyrotechnical language remains explosive throughout, no small feat. His inventiveness flares with passages like “The street of dreams has an immense navel from which the neck of a bottle peeps. Inside, there’s a dead bishop who changes color every time you shake the bottle.”

[…]

[T]he book offers ample linguistic feats of imagination, on a par with the best work of Andre Breton and Federico Garcia Lorca. Huidobro’s imagery can astound, in lines like this: “Hypnotized zebras go galloping by and there are windows that open in the darkness like parasites glued to the night.”

[…]

Sky-Quake: Tremor of Heaven, with its trilingual format of English, Spanish, and French, and this wonderfully lucid translation by Infante and Leong, further establishes Vicente Huidobro as one of the most exciting voices of the early twentieth century.

Virtual Event @ Wash U – International Writers Series: Ignacio Infante and Michael Leong, Wednesday, November 11 | 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM CT

•November 11, 2020 • Leave a Comment

Join Ignacio Infante, professor of comparative literature and Spanish, and translator Michael Leong for a reading and discussion of their translation of Vicente Huidobro’s “Sky-Quake: Tremor of Heaven,” published recently in a trilingual edition with the original Spanish and French. Infante and Leong will be joined by Derick Mattern, who is a doctoral student in the International Writers Track.

Inspired by the legend of Tristan and Isolde, Vicente Huidobro’s “Sky-Quake: Tremor of Heaven” is a stunning prose poem driven by relentless seismic energy that takes metaphor-making and image-building to unimaginable heights. Originally published in Madrid in 1931 under the title “Temblor de cielo” and in Paris in 1932 as “Tremblement de ciel,” this groundbreaking text stands as one of the most significant bilingual poems of twentieth-century letters.

This is the inaugural season for the International Writers Series, a new collaboration between the International Writers track of the Program in Comparative Literature and the University Libraries to celebrate new publications of creative works by writers and translators in the Washington University in St. Louis community. The discussions are moderated by Matthias Goeritz, Professor of Practice of Comparative Literature.

Free and open to all. Registration required.

Spoon River Poetry Review 45.1 (Summer 2020)

•September 19, 2020 • Leave a Comment

The latest installment of my long poem in progress “Disorientations” is in the newly released summer issue of srpr. Thanks to Steve Halle for inviting me into the issue.

Prior excerpts from “Disorientations” can be found online at Big Other, ARCADE: Literature, the Humanities, & the World, Reality Beach, and past simple.

Online symposium on Dorothy Wang’s Thinking Its Presence: Form, Race, and Subjectivity in Contemporary Asian American Poetry (Stanford UP, 2014) at Syndicate

•August 19, 2020 • Leave a Comment

I curated an online symposium for Syndicate focused on Dorothy Wang’s important book of criticism Thinking Its Presence: Form, Race, and Subjectivity in Contemporary Asian American Poetry (Stanford UP, 2014). The first installment is now live.

Participants include a range of critics and poet/critics: Walt Hunter, Julia Bloch, Laura Vrana, Eunsong Kim, and Lucas de Lima. My introduction and Walt’s piece are available now, followed by a Q&A I conducted with Dorothy that replies to Walt. The schedule for the rest of the symposium is below:

  • August 26: Julia Bloch
  • September 2: Laura Vrana
  • September 9: Eunsong Kim
  • September 16: Lucas de Lima

According to Syndicate‘s website “Modeled upon conference symposia, these dialogues focus on particular books and provide substantial critical engagement from a group of scholars whose interest intersect with the book being featured…These forums are intended to provide significant attention and space for ongoing dialogue between these participants and the general public. We hope that the conversations of Syndicate will serve to create accessibility within academic thought and research, while at the same time drawing critical attention to important publications in the humanities.”

This is the first paragraph of my introduction to the symposium:

Dorothy Wang’s Thinking Its Presence: Form, Race, and Subjectivity in Contemporary Asian American Poetry (Stanford UP, 2014) is a bold book that takes the occasion of analyzing five important Asian American writers—Li-Young Lee, Marilyn Chin, John Yau, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, and Pamela Lu—to make a discipline-wide call for “a rethinking of how poetry is critically discussed today” (xix). More than just a rejuvenation of the institutionally marginalized subfield of Asian American poetry studies (though it is surely that as well), Wang’s book intends to break down the siloization of English studies that has separated, for example, Asian American writing from broader inquiries into literary form and contemporary poetics. Such intellectual apartheid has also tended to delimit, in often epistemologically condescending ways, ethnic American literary production to sociological and political frameworks.

Amiri Baraka’s Anti-Epic Poem About America’s Destruction

•July 29, 2020 • Leave a Comment

Amiri Baraka Papers; Box 67, Folder 20, MS#1482; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University.

Yesterday, Lit Hub published an adapted excerpt from my new book of criticism Contested Records: The Turn to Documents in Contemporary North American Poetry (University of Iowa Press, 2020). The excerpt, which is a beginning section about Amiri Baraka’s “Somebody Blew Up America,” doesn’t include any footnotes so I wanted to add here an important one that details some research I did with Baraka’s papers at Columbia University:

An early typescript draft of “Somebody Blew Up America” suggests that Baraka added the inflammatory phrase “Who told 4000 Israeli workers at the Twin Towers / to stay home that day” midway through the composition process. In the typescript draft, the line “Who knew the World Trade Center was gonna get bombed” is followed by the line “Who let Jim Jones kill them negroes in guyana,” which is struck out with black pen; the phrase concerning 4000 Israeli workers is written in black pen underneath as a substitution. That the poem’s most infamous phrase replaced the suggestion that a conspiracy was responsible for the 918 deaths at Jonestown, Guyana in 1978 implies Baraka’s interest in a general accumulation of paranoid thinking, especially pertaining to suspicion of US meddling in world affairs, over and against any conspiracy theory in particular.