Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Wednesday, April 29, 2015


okay I'm going to blog for a minute like it is 2005.

my relationship to time feels very peculiar and this has always been true but somehow always feels new somehow as if it is different suddenly. as if at some point in the past I had a relationship with time that felt pedestrian and knowable. I do feel disappointed with myself for not having more discipline re: slowing down and noticing things, but also fuck that noise because there is plenty of guilt to go around already.

but I also feel full of despair and full of hope simultaneously. saying things directly and plainly takes some warming up, but saying them in poems feels better and closer. but now I'm just going to try and type a bunch of informative sentences that hopefully will not be too boring. because I want to remember things. especially things that make me feel good/less alone/happy.

I am very excited that Juliet Cook, whose poetics and general way of being a poet in the world I've admired for awhile, wrote this glitter-guts review of After-Cave. I met Juliet briefly in Minneapolis, and in person she is very sparkly and sweet.

& I'm really glad that I went to Minneapolis. I pretended I was a bit of plankton and just went where I went. I got to spend some QT with two of my BFFs -- Amanda Ackerman & Jessica Smith. Both Amanda and Jessica have new books out and they are amazing. I also finally got to meet Gillian Devereux  IRL, and I immediately found her presence so warm and comforting, so as far as I'm concerned we are bonded for life. I also finally met Amish Trivedi whose dry wit & friendly charm made me feel relaxed and like maybe the world isn't so terrible. Amish also has a new book out and if you don't already have it you should because it is good.

I also did some readings in Minneapolis and that was fun. I still kinda feel like I go into a trancey place when I read, even if I'm nervous, but that nervousness definitely makes my reading faster. so there is time again. because up there reading it feels slow, but Amish took some video and watching it back I can see/hear/feel its speed. In some parts of the book, the speaker is speaking really fast. but in other places, it is more measured with lots of silences and breaks.

The best part of doing readings is meeting other poets and hearing them read.  Or hearing people I love read again. Like I love Harold Abramowitz and Teresa Carmody and so it is always good to hear them read. Unfortunately I had to leave the Insert/Wonder/Les Figues reading before I could hear Matt Timmons and Amanda and all the other rad poets at that event read because that Ahsahta reading was the same night. Then at the Ahsahta reading I got to hear Mary Hickman, Susan Tichy, Aaron Apps, Cody-Rose Clevidence, and TC Tolbert read. I got all swoony for all of them. Also wonderful to meet Janet Holmes at last who I will love forever no matter what because I think it is like a biological rule that you imprint on whoever publishes your first book. Plus Janet is wonderful and so smart and spirited.

with Cody-Rose Clevidence at Ahsahta table. Photo by Janet Holmes. Have you read Beast Feast yet? so good.

It was also fun to connect with the folks from Entropy. Janice Lee is a force of nature and has cultivated such a great community through Entropy and Enclave. She gave me an Entropy t-shirt which is black and that is important because that is the best color for collecting dog fur. & I always feel best when I'm wearing some dog fur.

also, I feel like I should say this somewhere; you have to read Jennifer Tamayo. Now. Go read her.

are you reading her yet?

& like the best thing that has ever happened to me in my whole life is that Bhanu called After-Cave the "best feral lyric" of 2014. 

what I'm reading rn

& so there have been a lot of things that have made me feel happy lately, but also things are still really fucked up. The deaths of Freddie Gray and Walter Scott -- these lynchings happening in broad daylight by the hands of the state -- confirm that there can really be no unslackening of attention to projects of resistance and intervention. Of all kinds. Sometimes making poems feels like the silliest thing, but other times it feels like coming up for air when everything else is poison.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

approaching the equinox

1. Talking about erasure w/ Gillian Devereux The Women in Visual Poetry: the Bechdel Test
Curated by Jessica Smith; with Michelle Detorie, Gillian Devereux, Kathy Ernst, K. Lorraine Graham and Sheila Murphy & an afterword by Maureen Thorson

 2. “The Meat World,” “Solstice,” and “Blink Witch” + “Other” (chapter from Sin in Wilderness) + vintage video

 3. Reading at What's New in Poetry @ Real Pants

 4. After-Cake

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Fall Things

1. audio from my reading at Indian Springs School. I was very inspired by my visit to ISS, and was especially heartened to encounter the vibrant and engaged curriculum developed by poets Jessica Smith and Douglas Ray. Also, Heidi Lynn Staples is awesome. So fun to read with her. Audio of her reading is here.

2. My poem "Pine Needles" is day two at the Delirious Hem Advent calendar.

3. Janice Lee included After-Cave in her list of "Best Books of 2014" at The Volta.

4. Speaking of Janice, I am now the poetry editor at the super-rad Entropy.

5. I did this interview over at Rob's blog.

6. I'll be joining CJ Martin, Julia Drescher, and Kurt Newman for a panel on "Paranoid Histories" at the Bay Area Public School on Saturday, January 10th.

7. I was "featured" at the TX State English department alumni page.

8. The entire first chapter of The Sin in Wilderness is included in the October 2014 issue of MiPOesias (edited by Emma Trelles).

9. I read at the Mission Poetry series in Santa Barbara, the Rhapsodomancy reading series in LA, and participated with Michalle Gould in one of the excellent #90for90 events hosted by DTLAB.

10. More readings TBA!

11. Copies of After-Cave may be purchased online at the Ahsahta Press website, Small Press Distribution, Powell's, & Amazon. If you are in Santa Barbara, you can purchase a copy at Chaucer's, Granada, or DNA design and art. If you are in Los Angeles, you may get one at Skylight Books. If you are in Brooklyn, you may get one at Berl's Brooklyn Poetry Shop.

12. I also have a website now.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

After-Cave at SPD

After-Cave germinates in a space that is desolate and dangerous. It invites the reader to nestle in the narrator’s skin as a movement towards livability is recorded. The words collect on the speaker’s dermis, galvanically; groggily we awake in the eyes of a girl, fifteen, perhaps animal and perhaps human, maybe alive and possibly dead. A hybrid text, After-Cave contains poems and fragments, sentences and paragraphs, experiments in sound and syntax, as well as visual poetry and cartographies. Language moves over the speaker like weather systems and migratory birds, troubling notions of linear time and traversing the spaces of human-made and "natural" disaster. More pressing than hunger is the need to know what “cruelty” means and how one might live in its absence, a series of torsions that displace us from a surface and convey us to its underside, which is to say that After-Cave is a book about the impossible.  How to make the impossible hospitable, and thereby, in one’s way, to prepare oneself to meet one’s friends: human, animal, the always alive and the already-dead. A feminist, feral-poetic odyssey, purring and covered in mud. The words pace themselves on cave time. The better to welcome an encounter that changes us as we wish to be changed.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

I got reviewed!!!


Detorie extracts a poetics "against dying" out of a landscape of ruin and wilderness in this spirited full-length debut. The book comprises three long sequences concerning questions of shelter, destruction, and agency, which, though formally mercurial, remain linked through a single speaker who describes herself as "15. Female. Human (I think)." Materiality becomes a place of confluence for the bodily and the external universe, the man-made and the feral: "we are skin, snow, unpacked/ boxes opened like petals, skin// ... I held a line, a pail, my pockets/ becoming full, the moon/ blood red and lined with fur." The poems remain grounded in the subjective "I" but resist a linear sense of time, leading instead by sensation and image, and sometimes using formatting and typography to invite the reader into an unconventional experience of text, page, and physical book. This sense of play is punctuated by moments of direct assertion. "To insist that something—someone or some being—cannot be imagined is, in fact, its own form of oppression," Detorie writes. Indeed, her poetics struggles against such insistence in service of possibility. Where "The failure to occupy/ breaks apart like soap/ sand salt all/ the things we need/ to name," Detorie wrests a vocabulary of compassion. (Sept.)


https://ahsahtapress.org/product/after-cave/ After-Cave
 Michelle Detorie

 After-Cave is the narration of “an adolescent female who may or may not be human,” an odyssey feral, feminist, and ecopoetical. More pressing than hunger for this speaker is the need to know what “cruelty” means and how one might live in its absence. In this way,After-Cave is a book about the impossible and how to make it hospitable, and thereby prepare oneself to meet one’s friends: human, animal, the always alive and the already dead. Using language that moves over the speaker like weather systems and migratory birds, troubling notions of linear time and traversing the spaces of human-made and “natural” disaster, Detorie in this first book introduces us to the distinction between a state of being and an act of being.

“Michelle Detorie betrays the false presumptions of our times to vivify and reinhabit the very spaces they have denied and marred. However ‘marred’ is language already discarded here. Without old-fashioned judgment, she sets us inside her testimony, which is a scored preamble, an alchemical cartography, girl-spirited and dense with data, all-atune. The book’s dystopian ferocity and knowledge make its bearings even as it trembles with a deep and feral hope. Hers is the tenderest, the most specific report.” —Elizabeth Treadwell .

“Like Helen Adam before her, Detorie sings this afterlife-life, often via attention to noise, meaning that ‘voice’ here picks up some unnatural instruments: ‘Tumbleweeds or / teeth? [ . . . ] Fur / for a mouth.’ I make my way through After-Cave as I’d enter a woods where ‘the trees have decided to grow underground’—certain that finding my feet will involve a death to one nature or another. In this kind of apocalypse, it’s the ideology of ‘the natural’ that’s haunting the house—not any actual fact of organisms. Or (if you like ghosts) maybe it’s the natural’s propensity for systematic violence that leaves us with such fiery spectral lives.” —C.J. Martin .

“Michelle Detorie writes through the animal to reach another place; there, we encounter ‘reluctance,’ ‘kindness,’ trailing ‘ribbons.’ I was very moved by the link Detorie makes between feral life and the ecology of shelter. As she writes: ‘Digging underground, I disrupted homes that did not belong to me but wound deep and tethered together.’ How this profound non-belonging is in relation, always, to the sensation of touch when it comes; touch that in After-Cave precipitates encounter, like the stages of soft palate growth and experiment that precede language: ‘Your hand like a little lock reached through—.’ What a tender and complicated book for someone to write. A book that is ‘silky, frayed, gleaming: a continuance.’ A book that hurts a little bit to read. A book saturated in the kind of longing a girl might typically not admit; a desire, in other words, that starts to change the outline of the body: ‘my glass jaw bobbing.’ The intensity also lies in the way Detorie takes us close to what is not us and what will change us to be with in another way, across the species frame: ‘I thought of taking off my clothes and sleeping with the wolf.’ Communal, imaginal, soft—the book goes on and takes us further in, until we reach the ‘meadows still blue with the asphalt glitter that rained down.’ And get to go. And get to lie down.”
—Bhanu Kapil

is this real?