Reading Series: Practices of Hope journal issue
Full Recording of our first Reading (June 12th): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QiiKSuNrBww
Full Recording of second Reading (July 10th): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6O7RsMrz7n4
Full Recording of third Reading (August 14th): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuCOvekZqGTuhpehfT5HAmA
Upcoming reading: Fourth Reading: September 11, 2020 , 7pm (ET), via youtube live: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuCOvekZqGTuhpehfT5HAmA
Practices of Hope showcases creative processes as ways of making change. The artists and writers in this issue of the About Place journal ask: How can creative practice allow us to feel and act differently? How can we invent new collaborations and new embodiment practices for humans and other fellow creatures? What can speculative or non-realist forms mean for eco-arts? How can we imagine a different future with more of us in it? What hope can we afford? What hope do we need? Together, we reach for art that activates new relationships to embodiment, racial justice, climate crisis, species extinction, and environmentally located social pressures.
We invite you to come to these readings/artist talks/sharings, and catch glimpses of hope in hard times: share in our energies in a world of upheaval, mourning, hopeful social change, revolution. 75 minutes, including time for Q+A.
The Readings Series and the “Practices of Hope” issue of About Place Journal are edited and organized by DJ Lee, Petra Kuppers, with assistant editors Catherine Fairfield and Rachel Sanchez.
Access Notes: Reading copies: The links in the running order below go to the relevant texts, for reading along. Please email email@example.com to get the relevant sections of the prose texts in advance (as they won’t be read as a whole).
JUNE 12, 7pm ET
Margaret Noodin (poem) “Gimeme’igonaan omaa / This place is our lullaby”
Corey Pressman (prose) “Consider the Cricket”
Sydney Epps (poem): “Nina Taught Me”
Denise Leto (poem) “Tend the Water With Them”
Jillian McDonald (video) “The Dark Season”
darlene anita scott (poem) “Making Soap”
Lesley Wheeler (poem) “We Could Be”
Megan Kaminski and L. Ann Wheeler (art) “Pussy Toes”
Jennifer Sinor (prose) “Memories of the Future”
Margaret Noodin is an Anishinaabe poet and Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is author of Bawaajimo: A Dialect of Dreams in Anishinaabe Language and Literature and two collections of bilingual poems in Ojibwe and English, Weweni and Gijigijigaaneshiinh Gikendan: What the Chickadee Knows. She writes in Anishinaabemowin as an act of resilience and revitalization. Her poems are centered in the worldview indigenous to the Great Lakes. To see and hear current projects visit www.ojibwe.net where she and other students and speakers of Ojibwe have created a space for language to be shared by academics and the native community.
Corey S. Pressman is an artist, writer, and teacher living in the Pacific Northwest. Corey has published poetry, stories, and academic works. As Fellow of Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination, Corey has developed and taught coursework in science fiction prototyping. His solar-punk story “Divided Light” appears in ASU Press’ popular solar futures short story collection The Weight of Light.
Sydney Epps has a PhD in Higher Education Administration and Women’s and Gender Studies from Louisiana State University. A native of Philadelphia, Epps focuses their research on LGBTQ history, Greek life, and biopolitics. Epps is an assistant in the Graduate Admissions Department and instructor within the School of Education. Epps has a long record of providing Louisiana State University and past institutions with programming focused on providing insight into underrepresented communities’ most pertinent issues. Their dissertation details the experiences transgender members of Greek letter organizations have after transitioning.
Denise Leto is a multidisciplinary poet, writer, editor, dance dramaturge and visiting artist. Recently, she collaborated on the performance Bluets #1-40 at the University of Santa Cruz. Her current collaboration is an ecopoetic exploration of the San Francisco Bay entitled “Baylands Poetry Project.” Fellowships and residencies include: the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, the Sicily Breadloaf Poetry Fellowship, and the Queer Sugarloaf Art Residency. She is also an awardee of the Orlando Poetry Price. Denise wrote the poetry book for Your Body is Not a Shark exploring feminist embodiment, dance, voice, and disability poetics. Poems are forthcoming in Rogue Agent and Quarterly West.
Jillian McDonald is a Canadian artist in Brooklyn. Her work in video and drawing is inspired by horror film, and imagined relationships with unlikely celebrities. Many of her recent artworks star haunted figures and places, and sometimes feature casts of local actors. Solo shows include the Esker Foundation in Calgary, Lilith Performance Studio in Sweden, Air Circulation in New York, and Centre Clark in Montréal. Group exhibitions were held at FiveMyles in Brooklyn, The Edith Russ Haus for Media Art in Germany, The International Biennial of Contemporary Art in Venezuela, and The New Media Gallery in British Columbia. A CBC radio documentary profiles her work, which was also reviewed in The New York Times and Canadian Art and The Transatlantic Zombie by Sarah Juliet Lauro. McDonald received grants from The New York Foundation for the Arts and The Canada Council for the Arts and regularly attends residencies in Scotland, California, Sweden, Norway, New York, and Canada.
darlene anita scott is a poet and visual artist. Her poetry appears most recently in Rock! Paper! Scissors!, Killens Review of Arts and Letters, Stonecoast Review, and Revisiting the Elegy in the Black Lives Matter Era (Routledge), a volume she co-edited with Drs. Emily Ruth Rutter, Sequoia Maner, and the late Dr. Tiffany Austin. scott’s art has appeared most recently in Barren Magazine, Auburn Avenue, and The Journal. scott lives in Richmond, Virginia. “Making Soap” was previously published in a different form.
Lesley Wheeler’s new books are The State She’s In, her fifth poetry collection, and Unbecoming, her first novel. The State She’s In homes in on the poisoned gorgeousness of her home state, Virginia; as Diane Seuss writes, “Wheeler’s formal virtuosity wheels and sparks as she explores the impact of whiteness and sexism on the literal state—its history, its land, its educational institutions.” Wheeler’s poems and essays appear in such journals as The Common, Crab Orchard Review, Poetry, Ecotone, and Massachusetts Review. She is Poetry Editor of Shenandoah and lives in Lexington, Virginia.
Megan Kaminski is the author of two books of poetry, Deep City (2015) and Desiring Map (2012), with a third book Gentlewomen forthcoming from Noemi Press (September 2020). An Associate Professor of English and Co-Director of the Global Grasslands CoLABorative at the University of Kansas, she is also the founder and curator of the community-based Ad Astra Project. Her work focuses on connecting to our shared ecosystem as a source of knowledge and inspiration for strategies to live in their world, to grieve and heal after loss, and to re-align thinking towards kinship, community, and sustainability.
Ann Wheeler is a writer, artist, and teacher in Los Angeles. She holds degrees in creative writing from the Pratt Institute and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her poetry and prose has appeared in Omniverse, Bone Bouquet, Entropy, ILK, among others. She’s taught elementary school on Coney Island, college writing in Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas, and high school in California. Abandoners(Operating System, 2018) is her first book.
Jennifer Sinor is the author of several books, including Letters Like the Day: On Reading Georgia O’Keeffe and the memoir Ordinary Trauma. Her forthcoming essay collection, Sky Songs, will appear in the fall of 2020 from the University of Nebraska Press. The recipient of the Stipend in American Modernism as well as nominations for the National Magazine Award and the Pushcart Prize, Jennifer teaches creative writing at Utah State University where she is a professor of English. She lives in Logan with her husband, poet Michael Sowder, and her two sons.
JULY 10, 7 ET
Sankara Olama-Yai (poem) “Afro-Futurism as Rebirth”
Lorna Rose (short prose) “Thumb as Utility”
Catherine Young (poem) “Women Tending”
Nancy Lord (prose) “On the Dark Forest Road”
Syrus Marcus Ware (installation) “Antarctica”
Susanna Lang (poem) “But Then”
Phoebe Wagner and Brontë Wieland (prose) “Sunvaulting: Five Years on a Path toward a Literature of Environmental Resilience”
Sankara “Le Prince Héritier” Olama-Yai is an emerging author with their first book Ebony Wings published by Vital Narrative, currently out. They are interested in the perpetually fluid and expanding landscape of poetry as an innovative space for beauty, particularly as it pertains to the artistic endeavors of artists of colour. Sankara is an LGBTQ+, African American student who currently studies at Penn State. They are a reader for Frontier Poetry. Their poems have previously been published by Weasel press, InSpiritry and Military Review; they have had work accepted by 805 lit and won Scholastic Art&Writing awards for their poetry.
Lorna Rose is a Pacific Northwest poet and narrative nonfiction writer. Her work has been recognized by the Pacific Northwest Writers Association and the Oregon Poets Association, and appears in About Place Journal, Jellyfish Review, 34th Parallel Magazine, and elsewhere. A finalist for the Fishtrap Fellowship in 2020, she is a regular contributor to The Good Men Project. Lorna is an AmeriCorps alum, and her memoir in progress is set in rural Alaska, where she served on a trail crew. The piece which appears here is an excerpt from it.
Catherine Young’s writing has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best American Essays. She worked as a national park ranger, farmer, mother, and educator. Her ecopoetry and prose is published in journals nationally and internationally including Cold Mountain, Ascent, Minding Nature, and in the anthology Contours. Rooted in farm life, Catherine lives with her family in Wisconsin. Her memoir Black Diamonds, Blue Flames: A Childhood Colored by Coal has just been longlisted for the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize.
Nancy Lord, a former Alaska State Writer Laureate (2008-2010), is the author of three short story collections, five books of literary nonfiction including Beluga Days: Tracking a White Whale’s Truths and Early Warming: Crisis and Response in the Climate-changed North, and the 2017 novel pH. She also edited the anthology Made of Salmon. Her work, which focuses mainly on environmental and marine issues, has appeared widely in journals and anthologies and has been honored with fellowships and awards. She teaches science writing for Johns Hopkins University and is a regular book reviewer for the Anchorage Daily News.
Syrus Marcus Ware (born in Montreal, QC, Canada; lives in Toronto, ON, Canada) is a Vanier scholar, visual artist, activist, curator, and educator. He uses painting, installation, and performance to explore social justice frameworks and black activist culture, and has shown widely in galleries and festivals across Canada. He is part of the Performance Disability Art Collective and a core team member of Black Lives Matter – Toronto. He has won several recognitions including the TD Arts Diversity Award (2017), Steinert & Ferreiro Award (2012), and “Best Queer Activist” from NOW Magazine (2005).
Susanna Lang’s third collection of poems, Travel Notes from the River Styx, was released in 2017 from Terrapin Books. Two chapbooks are forthcoming in 2020, Self-Portraits (Blue Lyra Press) and Dear Girls (dancing girl press). Much of her work is rooted in her walks along the Chicago River and her appreciation of our fragile earth. A two-time Hambidge fellow, her poems and translations have appeared or are forthcoming in such publications as Prairie Schooner, december, New Poetry in Translation, The Literary Review, American Life in Poetry and The Slowdown. She lives and teaches in Chicago.
Phoebe Wagner and Brontë Wieland met in an MFA program, and their collaboration began with Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk & Eco-Speculation, which was recognized in The Year’s Best Science Fiction, The Best Science Fiction of the Year, Sierra: The National Magazine of the Sierra Club, LA Review of Books, and other publications. Like all good collaborators, Brontë and Phoebe ended up stuck together on presentations, prairie restoration projects, protests, road trips, potlucks, and Dungeons & Dragons campaigns. Currently, Phoebe is a PhD student, studying environmental literature at University of Nevada, Reno while Brontë attempts to balance independent scholarship and creative writing. Their next collaboration, Almanac for the Anthropocene: A Compendium of Solarpunk Futures, is upcoming from West Virginia University Press.
AUG 14, 7pm ET
Jose Oseguera (poem) “The Road”
Marjorie Maddox (poem/image by Greg Mort) “At the American Visionary Art Museum: Return to the Moon”
Vikram Ramakrishnan (short prose) “A Crack in the Ground that Went to the Other Side of the Earth”
Megan Culhane Galbraith (video) “A Lover’s Discourse”
Rebecca Ellis (poem) “Past Life Flyover”
Carrie Albert (assemblage) “Blue Box”
James B. Wells (prose) “Resurrecting My Father and Me”
Pamela Uschuk (poem) “Learning to Handbuild Micaceous Pueblo Pots”
Hansford C. Vest (prose) “There are Jaguars Along that Border”
Jose Oseguera is an LA-based writer of poetry, short fiction and literary nonfiction. Having grown up in a primarily immigrant, urban environment, Jose has always been interested in the people and places around him, and the stories that each of these has to share. He has published over 100 pieces— poetry, short fiction and novellas— in a variety of literary journals. His poetry collection, The Milk of Your Blood, was released in February 2020. He’s currently working on his second novel, as well as his second poetry collection.
Marjorie Maddox is Professor of English and Creative Writing at Lock Haven University. She has published 11 collections of poetry—including Transplant, Transport, Transubstantiation and Local News from Someplace Else; the story collection What She Was Saying; and 4 children’s books. Much of her teaching and writing focus on place, including the anthology Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania (co-editor, PSU Press, 2005) and a companion course on Pennsylvania Authors; plans for a 20th anniversary edition of the anthology are in process. Marjorie continues to collaborate with environmental activist and photographer Karen Elias on exhibits, presentations, and writing projects, including their collection Heart Speaks, Is Spoken For. In this Practices of Hope issue, Marjorie responds to Greg Mort’s painting Return to the Moon. To learn more about the artist as well as his treatment of place, astronomy, and the universe—please see http://www.gregmortcollection.com/
Vikram Ramakrishnan is a Tamil-American writer and computer programmer who lives in New York City. He loves to write fiction about fantastic worlds imbued with South Asian elements, often ones that mirror our ecological state of Earth. When he’s not writing, he’s visiting arboretums with his Siberian Husky, Kratos. His short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Newfound, SAND Journal, and AE–The Canadian Science Fiction Review.
Megan Culhane Galbraith is a writer and visual artist. Her work was listed as Notable in Best American Essays 2017 and has been nominated for Pushcart Prizes. Her work is forthcoming or has been published in Tupelo Quarterly, About Place Journal, Redivider, Longreads, Hotel Amerika, Catapult, and Monkeybicycle, among others. Her hybrid memoir-in-essays, “The Guild of the Infant Saviour: An Adopted Child’s Memory Book,” is forthcoming from Mad Creek Books, Machete Series, in Spring 2021. She is the Associate Director at the Bennington Writing Seminars.
Rebecca Ellis lives in southern Illinois. Her poems can be found in Bellevue Literary Review, The American Journal of Poetry, Naugatuck River Review, Sugar Mule, Sweet, Prairie Schooner, Adanna, RHINO, and Crab Creek Review. She previously edited Cherry Pie Press, publishing poetry chapbooks by Midwestern women poets. She is a Master Naturalist through the University of Illinois Extension Service, interested in local waterfowl counts and in urban trees.
Carrie Albert is a multifaceted artist and poet who lives in Seattle. Her drawings, collage and poems are featured there at Four Corners Art. Her visual art and poems have been published and/or featured in many diverse journals, such as cahoodaloodaling, Grey Sparrow, Foliate Oak, Earth’s Daughters, Up the Staircase Quarterly, and Gargoyle. More of her work can be viewed at Penhead Press online, where she is a Poet-Artist in Residence.
James B. Wells is a Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice in the School of Justice Studies at Eastern Kentucky University. He is on a quest to learn the truth about his father’s death, to attempt to find peace for him and his family, and to write about it. He is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at EKU’s Bluegrass Writing Studio. Recent essays from his in-progress memoir appear or are forthcoming in Collateral Journal, About Place Journal, Alternating Current Press, and Shift. His work has also recently been nominated for the Charter Oak Award for Best Historical.
Pam Uschuk has howled out six poetry collections, including CRAZY LOVE (American Book Award) and BLOOD FLOWER, 2015 Book List Notable Book. Translated into a dozen languages, her work appears in 300+ journals and anthologies. Her awards include New Millenium Poetry Prize, Best of the Web, Struga International Prize for a theme poem, Dorothy Daniels Writing Award (National League of American PEN Women). Editor of CUTTHROAT, A JOURNAL OF THE ARTS, Uschuk also edited the anthology, Truth To Power: Writers Respond To The Rhetoric Of Hate And Fear, 2017. Her most recent collection, REFUGEE, is just now out with Red Hen Press. Uschuk was named a Black Earth Institute Fellow for 2018–2021.
Jay Hansford C. Vest is Professor of American Indian Studies at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. A Native American, he is an enrolled member of the federally recognized Monacan Indian Nation and he is also a direct descendant of 17th century Pamunkey leader Opechancanough, who arrested Captain John Smith as a murder suspect in 1607.
SEPTEMBER 11, 7pm ET:
We are ending our series with an editor reading, with guests.
DJ Lee and Petra Kuppers will read from their respective books, both of which appeared in March 2020 just at the beginning of the pandemic. Jacqueline Johnson, incoming editor for About Place’s next issue, will host this last event as a way of handing over the baton. She will also read from her work.
We will have three additional guests with new book-length takes on eco-poetic approaches to our world, Orchid Tierney, C.S. Giscombe, and Ashley Lucas.
DJ Lee’s nonfiction essays have appeared in Narrative, Silk Road Review, Vela, Terrain, and elsewhere, and they have been finalists for contests and won awards. She is author/editor of eight books, both scholarly and creative, on literature, history, and the environment, including the oral history collection The Land Speaks (Oxford University Press 2017), and her hybrid memoir Remote: Finding Home in the Bitterroots (Oregon State University Press 2020). She is Regents Professor at Washington State University where she teaches literature and creative writing and co-directs the Visiting Writers Series. She is director of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness History Project and is currently a scholar-advisor at The Black Earth Institute.
Petra Kuppers is a community performance artist, a disability culture activist, and a writer. She is the author of the queer/crip speculative story collection Ice Bar (Spuyten Duyvil, 2018). Her ecosomatic poetry collection Gut Botany appeared in March 2020 with the Made in Michigan series (Wayne State University Press). Other poetry collections include PearlStitch (Spuyten Duyvil 2016) and the chapbook Green Orion Woman (dancing girls, 2018). Her hybrid ecopoetic performance writings have appeared in P-Queue, Ecotone, TDR and more. She teaches in performance studies, disability studies, and creative methodologies at the University of Michigan and Goddard College, is a fellow of the Black Earth Institute, leads The Olimpias disability culture collective, and co-leads Turtle Disco, a small somatic writing studio in Ypsilanti, Michigan, with her wife Stephanie Heit.
C.S. Giscombe’s poetry books are Prairie Style, Giscome Road, Here, etc.; his book of linked essays (concerning Canada, race, and family) is Into and Out of Dislocation. His recognitions include the 2010 Stephen Henderson Award, an American Book Award (for Prairie Style) and the Carl Sandburg Prize (for Giscome Road). Ohio Railroads (a poem in essay form) was published in 2014 and Border Towns (essays on poetry, color, nature, cooking, television, etc.) appeared in 2016. He teaches at the University of California, Berkeley. He is a proponent of old-school extremity prosthetics—having repaired his mechanical blue arm many times in unlikely locations—and a long-distance cyclist.
Orchid Tierney is an Aotearoa-New Zealand poet and scholar, currently living in Gambier, Ohio, where she teaches at Kenyon College. She is the author of a year of misreading the wildcats (Operating System, 2019) and Earsay (TrollThread 2016), and chapbooks ocean plastic (BlazeVOX 2019), blue doors (Belladonna* Press), Gallipoli Diaries (GaussPDF 2017), the world in small parts (Dancing Girl Press, 2012), and Brachiaction (Gumtree, 2012). Other poems, reviews, and scholarship have appeared in Jacket2, Journal of Modern Literature, and Western Humanities Review, among others. She is a consulting editor for the Kenyon Review.
Jacqueline Johnson is a multi-disciplined artist creating in both poetry, fiction writing and fiber arts. She is the author of A Woman’s Season, on Main Street Rag Press and A Gathering of Mother Tongues, published by White Pine Press, and is the winner of the Third Annual White Pine Press Poetry Award. Her work has appeared in: “Revisiting the Elegy in the Black Lives Matter Era,” Routledge 2020, The Slow Down, American Public Media, October 16, 2019, and “Pank: Health and Healing Folio,” 2019. Works in progress include: “The Privilege of Memory,” “How to Stop a Hurricane,” a collection of short stories, and “This America,” a poetry collection. She is a graduate of New York University and the City University of New York. A native of Philadelphia, PA., she resides in Brooklyn, New York.
Ashley E. Lucas is Associate Professor of Theatre & Drama, the Residential College, the Penny Stamps School of Art & Design, and English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan, where she also serves as the Former Director of the Prison Creative Arts Project. She and Jodie Lawston co-edited the book Razor Wire Women: Prisoners, Scholars, Artists, and Activists (2011), and they co-founded a blog by the same name. Lucas wrote the play Doin’ Time: Through the Visiting Glass, which she has performed as a one-woman show since 2004. Her new book, Prison Theatre and the Global Crisis of Incarceration, appears with Bloomsbury in September 2020.
This series is supported and hosted by the Black Earth Institute: https://blackearthinstitute.org/: Re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
Practices of Hope Workshops
Workshop: Practices of Hope: From Solarpunk to Hybrid Making
Wednesdays, 7pm-9.30pm EST: May 13, 20 and 27 2020
We, the editors of About Place’s Practices of Hope special issue, wish to extend the issue’s interest in hybrid, collaborative, and communal writing and making into a pedagogy of being creatively engaged with one another. Join us on Zoom to read or view a few of the issue’s pieces, discuss them, and then spend time together to respond to prompts.
Each day, we’ll discuss pieces from Practices of Hope. We will follow that with 1.5-2 hours of generative writing: we will give an impetus related to our reading, coming together again after each 20 minute freewrite for a quick check-in. We’ll end the session with a further prompt for writing and/or making (engaging in hybrid art-movement-writing forms) that you can take away to work on later. On the third day, we’ll replace the generative writing time with a reading night: everybody reads/shows work from their work-in-progress created during the workshop. There is no formal written feedback given: this is a generative class.
Costs: We ask for a donation of $30-$60 dollars. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Profits go to the Black Earth Institute. To register, please send an email to both firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. We will then send you a paypal link for your donation. The class will be capped at 18.
Experience Level: This class is open to people who enjoy working independently with prompts. Look around the special issue before we meet: (https://aboutplacejournal.org/issues/practices-of-hope/)
Petra Kuppers is a disability culture activist, a community performance artist, a Professor at the University of Michigan and an advisor on Goddard College’s MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts. She leads The Olimpias, an international performance research collective. Her award-winnig academic books engage disability performance; medicine and contemporary arts; somatics and writing; and community performance. She is also the author of a dark fantasy collection, Ice Bar (2018). Her most recent poetry collection is the ecosomatic Gut Botany (2020). Her work has appeared in journals like Ecotone, PANK, P-Queue, Shoreline of Infinity, PodCastle, Anomaly, Adrienne, Beauty is a Verb, and more. She lives in Ypsilanti, Michigan, where she co-creates Turtle Disco, a somatic writing space.
DJ Lee holds a MFA in creative nonfiction and a PhD in 19th-century literature. She is Regents Professor of English at Washington State University, where she teaches creative writing and literature. Her creative work includes over thirty non-fiction pieces in magazines and anthologies and her hybrid memoir Remote: Finding Home in the Bitterroots (Oregon State Univ Press, 2020). She has also written or edited seven books on the environment, British poetry, travel literature, and oral history, most recently The Land Speaks (Oxford University Press, 2017). She has received a National Endowment for the Humanities Collaborative Research Grant, an Idaho Humanities Grant, the Charles A. Ryskamp Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Susanne M. Glasscock Humanities Book Prize for Interdisciplinary Scholarship, and the Arctic Circle Artist Residency. She has also attended workshops as an instructor or participant at The Johns Hopkins University Conference on Craft and Science Writing, Hedgebrook, and the Women’s Studio Workshop.
Ice Bar: Queer/Crip Speculative Stories
Practices of Hope Reading Series