Embodied, an intersectional feminist poetry-as-comics anthologyis due out in May 2020!
Embodied is a collaboration between cis female, trans, and non-binary poets and comics artists published by A Wave Blue World and edited by Wendy Chin-Tanner.
Am thrilled to have poetry in Embodied along with Kenzie Allen, Ruth Awad, Rosebud Ben-Oni, Kayleb Rae Candrilli, Kendra DeColo, Carolina Ebeid, Jenn Givhan, Caroline Hagood, Laura Hinton, JP Howard, Omotara James, Virginia Konchan, Miller Oberman, Khadijah Queen, Maggie Smith, Diane Suess, Sokunthary Svay, Venus Thrash, Paul Tran, Vanessa Villareal, and Khaty Xiong! You can preview here
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You can read Rachel Abramowitz review, “To defy the gods: Form, Resilience, & Capaciousness in Shira Dentz’s SISYPHUSINA” in Tupelo Quarterlyhere
(an excerpt) “In the ancient Greek myth of Sisyphus, Sisyphus, king of Corinth and “the most cunning of men” (Illiad, 6:153), cheats death twice, once by actually holding Death hostage (thus giving humans a short break from Death’s perpetual trade), and the second time by talking his way out of the Underworld. With characteristic relish, Zeus sentences Sisyphus to an eternity of pushing a boulder up a hill, only to watch it tumble down again. Philosophers and psychoanalysts have—somewhat ironically, considering their output—used the image of Sisyphus to illustrate the meaninglessness of the human condition. In Sisyphusina, her new collection of poetry, Shira Dentz imagines a modern, feminized version of Sisyphus, who is imprisoned within a society that requires women to push the boulder of beauty, fertility, and sexual desirability up an emotional hill over and over again, achieving nothing, meaning nothing. While of course mortal women age and eventually die, Sisyphusina presents a generational immortality which is no more bearable. And yet, it is Dentz’s fascinating experiments with form, image, subject, and typography that place her most in conversation with Albert Camus’ 1942 version of the myth, in which “The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.” Camus’ figure outwits Zeus by assigning meaning to his otherwise meaningless task (and, after all, gains the immortality he so desires). Contemporary artists, it seems, exist somewhere between the two views of Sisyphus: embedded in their assignation of meaning is always failure—in the best art, failure is compelling and generative, rather than nihilistic. That’s great for Sisyphus (as it is for Camus), but Dentz’s collection begs the question: What does happiness—if it is at all possible—look like for Sisyphusina?”
1. Create collaborative writing: Invite your students to write two or three sentences in response to a writing prompt. Ask them to post their sentences in the class chat. Copy their sentences from the chat and into a Word doc, adding space and a marker like an asterik in-between each set of sentences, forming a collaborative collage. Display the final result on screen and read it aloud. Ask students what they think of the result, and to suggest, then vote, on a title for their class collaboration. students what they think of the result, and to suggest, then vote, on a title for their class collaboration.
2. Make space for interactive feedback: Assign breakout rooms to small groups of students. Ask them to share and respond to their in-class writing experiments. Beforehand, model guides for them to use.
3. Break out of the online bubble: Ask students to take a photo of something they find visually interesting in their current environment to launch an in-class writing experiment. Have them share their photos with one another online.
4. Use immediate sensory stimuli: During class, ask students to compose and record a 3-minute sound (creaking door? table tapping?) that appeals to them in their current environment. Have them share their recording with a designated partner for an in-class writing experiment.
5. Invite students to DJ writing warm-ups: Schedule individual students to choose and play a piece of music at the start of class and have students free-write to the song as a warm-up. Ask students to share how the particular music impacted their writing’s content and/or style.
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Alisha Jeddeloh Reviews Sisyphusina by Shira Dentz
“It’s what happens when a writer runs up against the limitations of language, and instead of conceding, she expands the form into something multidimensional, shoring it up with photographs and line drawings, scatter plots and photocopies, unorthodox punctuation and font sizes, music and video, literal layers of words angled over words. Sisyphusina uses form to describe experiences for which we don’t fully have words: What it means to have a body, especially an aging body, especially an aging female body.”
Read the entire review by Alisha Jeddeloh at PromptPress here
Anne Graue reviews SISYPHUSINA in GLASS: A JOURNAL OF POETRY
In the introduction to Best American Experimental Writing 2016, Charles Bernstein and Tracie Morris assert that “The exploration of identities has always been at the center of radical and exploratory poetry. Indeed, you can define a difference between official verse culture and its opposites as one between work that assumes a fixed identity and work that forges new identity constructions. In this sense, identity is a space for exploration, invention, re-creation, and experimentation.” (2016) In Sisyphusina, Dentz has inhabited the space where identity thrives, and she has stayed there long enough to fashion authentic ideas from a unique perspective. She has opened up possibilities for text and intertexuality in relating what is it is like to be “swinging between age and youth, / … not ready to be encased like / an iridescent gray branch.
Read the entire review by Anne Graue in Glass: A Journal of Poetryhere
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