Apogee Journal presents

Writing Resistance:
Investigating / Subverting
Form & Narrative

A Writing Workshop Series

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On Jordan Rice’s Constellarium and the Transition Poem

  “Say with me, controlled burn,” Jordan Rice writes midway through her debut collection of poetry, Constellarium (Orison Books, 2016). She’s writing about the Columbia Space Shuttle explosion, but the line also serves as a synecdoche for Rice’s writing: tight, evocative lines, burning just below the surface. Rice weaves together complicated themes, but most of the works in the collection circle around the idea of home, locally and globally, the body, and its changes. They’re poems that are about displacement, quarrel, and loss, and finding transness through that. In its control, hers is a book I’ve been waiting on for some time. Many of the poems in the collection are about the author’s experience traversing relationships as an out trans woman. The poems about “transition,” however, resist easy narrative: they’re thorny and nonlinear, infused with a melancholy echoed in the poems’ intentional form. This thorniness is especially interesting in comparison to the collection’s other primary theme of home: how the body is or can become a home, of course, but also the literal act of homecoming to relatives, the speaker’s wife and child, Southern white family lineages that constitute a backdrop to ‘home,’ and the overseas U.S. military interventions that...
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A Lyric Video Essay by Vanessa Angelica Villarreal​

  “Estrellada” is a video poem investigating the boundary between what can be remembered and what is irretrievably lost. Filmed in the poet’s childhood home, it documents the damages of time, illness, and depression to the deteriorating 900 sq foot starter house, a symbol of the American Dream. It imagines the border, and the urgency of her family’s crossing, as also a psychological and generational rupture that widens and widens inside the body and mind of the crossed. The family photos call back to memory and longing, aware of the generational traumas that pushed the family into this country, and the resultant familial loss to brutal circumstances. The poem engages unflinchingly with the affective costs of assimilation, taking a reparative gaze as the photos move forward in time, documenting the poet’s physical and cultural transition, as well as her eventual desertion as the subjects of the photos diminish in number. The poem ends on hospital and alternative school intake photos, marking the beginning of her American self—no longer surrounded by family, she is assimilated, estranged from her people, obviously in mourning, alone in the frame.                             Vanessa...
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Forlorn & Forming Self: Off the Cuff with Jahmal B. Golden

  Mother of Yves, Jahmal B. Golden is iconic in our community of creators in New York City. They are brilliant, creative and out-here, dedicated to bringing femme community together. Among many commitments, Jahmal curates Fox Wedding, a reading and performance series in Brooklyn and has work forthcoming in The New Museum in collaboration with RAGGA NYC. I was thrilled when they offered to share with Apogee­ Journal their collection in advance of its publication. Yves, Ide, Solstice (Easy Village Publishing) chronicles losing at love in triptych-form. It explores the ways in which love (or losing at it) complicates perceptions of self and identity-formation. Yves, Ide, Solstice launches this April and is available for sale online.