2 Panama Project poems go live on MARY: A Lit Journal for the Arts

MARY puts out a gorgeous literary journal, and I was so pleased to have two of my poems appear. They're both from a project which used lines from David McCullough's history of the construction of the Panama Canal, called The Path Between the Seas.

These two poems, "The City of St. Pierre, the 'Little Paris,' was showered with volcanic dust and the sea for miles was littered with dead birds" and "Seen under the microscope, stegomyia is a creature of striking beauty", are from my unpublished collection, The California Poems. In 2016, Dean Young selected my manuscript as a semi-finalist for the Sarabande Books Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry

I wrote these poems, and developed this collection, while on a James Merrill fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center

Tongue Dispatch 4.3, Vizzo's "The very last gigantic"

Read the wonderful Editor's Reflection prefacing this issue – 

R.A. Villanueva
Editor's Reflection: A Rendering

Here is a man’s chest inked with water and charcoal tapped into the skin with thorns. Here, look: a small frieze of X’s, another of arrowheads near the meeting of his ribs. And there: tessellations become snakes’ scales, then a wreath of shadows; there, archivolts running from the nipples up and around the armpits mark the fringe of biceps.

See how the muscles of his neck flex, raise the chin forward, bearing, it seems, the weight of a breastplate decorated with medals and amulets.

This is the image of a self drawn by hand upon a body sun-struck and proud—one portrait from Richard Atrero de Guzman's small folio from Buscalan, deep in the Philippine Cordilleras.

Staring again at his work, I think to Maria Fang-od, her hands and all the lives she has been asked to translate to pattern, the valor and beauty she has memorialized in fractals and arabesques, all the drops of strangers' blood she has quietly wiped away. And see: there she is—fourth portrait in—the last remaining mambabatok tattoo artist facing us, beatific, a calamansi branch held between her fingers.

As with Emily Vizzo’s and Victoria Kennefick’s poems and the extraordinary interview with Kaitlin Rees and Nhã Thuyên at the heart of 4.3, de Guzman’s photographs of the Butbut tribe invite us into “grief’s / Dozen surnames," into the gaps and asymmetries of memory and language and love. These are transfigurations of intimacy and consequence, wild, pulsing reminders. They render visible the holiness of who we are, how we survive each other and our many “enigmatic, wondrous, feral, budding” selves. 

MARY: A Journal of New Writing launch party, Oakland, CA

Thank you for the invite, Saint Mary's! Oakland turned out for a good time: 

On Friday, May 19th, MARY: A Journal of New Writing will be holding a release party for the latest print edition of MARY Journal! 

Join us from 7pm – 9pm at Octopus Literary Salon in Oakland, California for a night of celebration and literary readings. 

Featured readers include Matthew Zapruder, Arisa White, Brontez Purnell, Cesca Waterfield, Emily Vizzo, and Nicoleta Leontiades. 

Dramatic readings of MARY Journal published works by Genre Editors: Katie Walker, Jennifer Burnside, and Paola Vergara.

Read Emily's poems, "Seen under the microscope, stegomyia is a creature of striking beauty" and "The City of St. Pierre, the 'Little Paris,' was showered with volcanic dust and the sea for miles was littered with dead birds."

MARY launch party photo