David Mura on The Last Incantations

    David Mura is a contributor, advocate, and advisory board member of Apogee. He is a poet, memoirist, novelist, playwright, critic, and performance artist. Mura’s most recent work is the poetry collection The Last Incantations. He is also the author of three other books of poetry: After We Lost Our Way, The Colors of Desire, and Angels for the Burning. His prose work includes the memoirs Turning Japanese and Where the Body Meets Memory, and the novel, Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire.   Crystal Kim (CK): As Creative Nonfiction Editor of Apogee, I read and immensely enjoyed working with you on Bondage & Liberation for Apogee’s Issue 3. It was exciting to dip into your writing in another form—poetry. How does your new collection of poetry, The Last Incantations, differ from your previous books? David Mura (DM): In my earlier books, particularly The Colors of Desire, there was a significant focus on my identity specifically as a Japanese American and on the history of my community. I was trying to transfer and reflect some of the discoveries I’d made in my memoirs. In a way, I had to write those memoirs to create an intellectual, cultural and historical context...
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Taking it Lying Down: An Interview with R. Erica Doyle

“You have come to do an autopsy and at the first excision found a beating heart.” R. Erica Doyle’s Proxy cuts with terrifying precision as it performs an autopsy on desire.  Proxy was published by Belladonna* and won the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Award, and was a Lambda Literary Award finalist.  I sat down with Doyle to discuss. Cecca Ochoa: How did Proxy begin? R.Erica Doyle: The origin of Proxy was an exercise in exposure and vulnerability.  I was in Patricia Smith’s workshop, and there was an exercise to write about a taboo. Not something that is a taboo in society, but what is taboo to you. Maybe it is taboo to you to write about piercing your nipples, but I don’t really care. At the time what was taboo was writing about the really fucked up things that women did to each other in relationships. Right now there is this call out culture, but it’s not really happening in a real way, in my opinion. CO: It’s a game, now. RED: Yeah, it’s a game. People are not calling out some real things that they could call out. But, that was something that a couple...
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Spotlight on Issue 3: Cynthia Dewi Oka

Two poems by Apogee Issue 3 Featured Artist Cynthia Dewi Oka Tabuh Rah I. After the wounds are scraped the blood flaked to sawdust the feathers black snow around her ankles, she will bite into the bird and drink like a coyote or child of Cain, roll the sour heat across her tongue; she will become a weapon. II. The loose bolt of the jugular. The wrench of the tongue. Inside her the hands of men churn like Pacific storms. Gleam of coin toss, then the rat-tat-tat polemics of a dead revolution. III. The bets are placed. Tourists fiddle with their cameras. The cocks are thrown into the pit, armed with their bodies, slick with god: whatever knife plays within us, what Lorca called duende, will mark its territory tonight. IV. The spectacle cleanses the witness. Tradition and formlessness both demand a good death. When it is over, the sun like a fat white spider resumes its weaving, in and out of Bintang beer bottles, the ditches where children bathe, the wax paper kites that pin up the sky. V. She sucks the bones dry. Each flightless bird’s eye that will not close again. In the caves of memory, where...
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