Spotlight #19 : Sacha Archer

Curated by Canadian writer, editor and publisher rob mclennan, the “spotlight” series appears the first Monday of every month.


This project in particular, Sites of Contemporary Meat, differing greatly from other projects which I am working on, continues an arch of thought concerning biography, the creator apart from the common (the myth frequently imposed by non-artists), mortality, and more generally an investigation into what it is we’re doing here.

The biography unsettles me. While it seems obvious that it is presented as a story, it is the assumed reality of the story that is unconvincing. That is a surface. The biography gives us salient episodes in an individual’s life and this knowledge, as far as I understand it, is meant to bring the reader closer to the life of the subject. This proximity to the intimate via knowledge forks at the experience of being. It is: the more we know, the less we know. Reading a biography I feel quite the opposite as that intended, that as I gain knowledge of the subject I am pushed farther and farther away from actual knowledge of said subject. The information obfuscates the knowledge of being.

The poet bio, which is the meat of this project, is a marketing tool, an advertisement, and in some cases a brief biography proper. But what happens when the works, projects, events, and achievements for which the bio usually acts as a vehicle are redacted? What is left? What shines through? What is lost?

Sites of Contemporary Meat is, frankly, a painful work to compose. I drown in the mass of bios that are floating around on the internet alone (which I have focused on, rather than those which appear in print). I drown in the mass of bios despite unbalanced representation which is mostly North American, meaning that it is only a fraction of a much greater mass.

Faced with that mass, the question is not a new one: with so much being said, what I am saying? If one writes for fame, and let’s be honest, despite that being absurd, there is at least a kernel of that in most of us (you were not brought up banally assaulted by the gods of pop culture?), if one writes for fame, this is a violent cure. Or perhaps a sickening at how much bad writing is out there. But perhaps you don’t believe in bad writing. Then, and also, how much good writing. In either case, we’re all human, trying for something, trying fairly hard — and we are all meat, electrified meat that at some point stops, stops being contemporary, that beautiful word of the day.

Collected and tampered with, each bio becomes a place card for being, striving, speaking — and desperation; is utterly changed when the intended individuality is crunched into the mass of similar intent in an almost ubiquitous form of appendage.

In the end, I don’t have the answers or conclusions which might make this introduction or statement seem much more erudite. The project is a work in progress. And after all, there aren’t any answers, really. But there is meat, and being, and poetry.

Excerpt from Sites of Contemporary Meat

[name redacted] is an MFA candidate and teaching assistant at the University of Kentucky. Her work has previously appeared in [name redacted], [name redacted], and the anthology [name redacted]. She loves traveling as much as coming home.

[name redacted] lives in rural Georgia, USA. Poet, composer of music ([name redacted] / [name redacted], [name redacted] & [name redacted]), lawyer and spoken-word performer ([name redacted]), he has been or will be published at [name redacted] (UK), [name redacted], [name redacted], [name redacted], [name redacted], [name redacted], [name redacted], and many others. He is the author of [name redacted] ([name redacted], 2003), [name redacted] ([name redacted], 2006) and the recently released [name redacted] ([name redacted], 2008).

[name redacted] is studying literature and philosophy at The University of Toronto. Originally from Scarborough, Ontario, his family moved to Colombia, SA, when he was five. He is hooked on stand-up comedy.

He has been published in [name redacted] (at [website redacted]), and also in [name redacted].

[name redacted] (they/he) is a Palestinian-American Poet, Activist, and Engineering PhD Candidate at Har­vard University. He is a recipient of the [name redacted], the [name redacted], and the honor of “[name redacted]” at the [name redacted]. His chapbook, [name redacted], was a winner of the [name redacted]’s 2016 chapbook contest. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in [name redacted], [name redacted], [name redacted], [name redacted], [name redacted], [name redacted], and anthologies such as [name redacted], the [name redacted], and the [name redacted].

[name redacted] is a writer from Lagos, Nigeria, an undergraduate student of History and Strategic Studies of the University of Lagos. He writes poetry, fiction, non-fiction, plays and lyrics. His poems are forthcoming, on [name redacted] and [name redacted]. His debut novel [name redacted], will be published in America, soon. He has been selected to be a mentor for the forthcoming [name redacted] mentoring program for younger writers.

[name redacted] is a writer living in Vancouver, BC, Canada

[name redacted] lives and works in Vancouver, BC. His work has appeared in such journals as [name redacted], [name redacted], [name redacted], [name redacted], [name redacted], [name redacted], [name redacted], on-line by [name redacted], [name redacted], and [name redacted].

[name redacted]…Born in Vancouver…Grew up in Roberts Creek…Found her second home in Palestine…Has a BA from Simon Fraser University with a major of English Lit…works in the hospitality industry…

[name redacted]’s poetry appears in various anthologies including the ekphrastic 2017 [name redacted] ([name redacted]), [name redacted] ([name redacted]), [name redacted] ([name redacted]) and [name redacted]. Her work can be found in numerous print and online journals such as [name redacted], [name redacted], [name redacted], [name redacted], [name redacted], [name redacted], [name redacted], [name redacted], [name redacted], [name redacted], [name redacted] and forthcoming in [name redacted], [name redacted], [name redacted] and elsewhere. She is the author of the chapbook [name redacted] ([name redacted]). [name redacted], [name redacted]’s first full-length collection of poems, is available from [name redacted] and [name redacted] (2017).

[name redacted] is a poet and educator born and raised in Toronto, Canada. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School and an MA in English Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is currently a visiting writer at [name redacted] in Toronto where she is a workshop facilitator, editor, and most recently a juror for a local writing competition. She teaches both creative and critical writing courses at Sheridan and Seneca Colleges in Toronto. Her poetry and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in: [name redacted], [name redacted], [name redacted], [name redacted], [name redacted], and [name redacted].

[name redacted] lives in Toronto where she attends Ryerson University after receiving her B.F.A. from OCAD University.

[name redacted] is a teacher and writer from Toronto.

[name redacted] studied experimental physics and musicology at the University of Amsterdam NL (BSc. 1978), electronic and computer music at the State University Utrecht NL (1981) and holds a BSc. in software engineering (University of Applied Sciences — The Hague NL (1997).

[name redacted] has been publishing [website redacted] since 1996. It remains the centre of his work as a poet-programmer of interactive multimedia. He lives in Vancouver Canada.

[name redacted]: My work is situated at the crossroads of looking and reading / words and images. It takes form in digital prints, analog ink drawings, photographs and books. Some of my books are abstract comics and/or asemic writing, others use photographs, drawings and invented music. One of recent books is [name redacted]. A ‘pome’ is (perhaps) a dyslectic poem.

[name redacted] (born 1988) is a professional translator and a writer. She has published two poetry books, one at a very young age — [name redacted] (2000) — and the second one — [name redacted] (2015) is a visual poetry book inspired by kanji characters. Her poems and short stories have been published in various poetry collections and have been winners of several national and international literature competitions.

In her free time she also does photography, and has been part of six group exhibitions, the last two taking place in Tokyo, Japan. She holds an MA in English Literature and currently she is a researcher at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies working in the field of Japanese language and literature with an accent on Japanese visual poetry.

[name redacted] edits a poetry journal called [name redacted] and has three recent chapbooks: [name redacted] ([name redacted],) [name redacted] and [name redacted] (both [name redacted].)

[name redacted] is a poet in rare moments when tranquility and inspiration co-incide. She is also the mother of four and sometimes a teacher. Her first book of poems ‘[name redacted]’ was published in 2009, and poems since in many journals on and off line such as [name redacted], [name redacted], [name redacted], [name redacted], [name redacted] and [name redacted].

[name redacted] is a writer and gardener in Albany, NY.

[name redacted] writes from a small town just outside of St. John’s, Newfoundland. His work has been published in [name redacted], [name redacted], and [name redacted] (upcoming).

Kemeny Babineau

[name redacted] lives outside Brantford Ontario with his wife and two children. He is editor of the occasional literary magazine [name redacted] and also operates the distinguished small press [name redacted]. His most recent collection of poetry is [name redacted] published by [name redacted], 2009. Fortunately both fame and fortune have passed [name redacted] by but there is optimism that wisdom could be on its way by transference from the family dog.

[name redacted] is the author of [name redacted] ([name redacted], 2015). Her work has appeared in [name redacted], [name redacted], [name redacted], and [name redacted] among many others. Find out more about her at [website redacted].

[name redacted] is the author of three collections of poetry, [name redacted] ([name redacted], 2005), [name redacted] ([name redacted], 2006), and [name redacted] ([name redacted], 2009). Her work was nominated for the [name redacted] in 2006 and the [name redacted] in 2004 and has appeared in literary journals, anthologies, and on film in Canada, the United States, France, Ireland, England, and China. She is an instructor of creative writing at [name redacted] College where she is Poetry Editor for [name redacted] magazine. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

[name redacted] has authored a couple of books of poetry, [name redacted] and [name redacted] (both [name redacted]). Her performance work has appeared in a number of videos and other contexts in North America and Europe. She co-hosts [name redacted], Toronto’s only radio show, exploring sexuality in relation to art, politics and culture, on [station redacted]. She also hosts [name redacted], a quarterly salon night of readings, performances, screenings, interventions and networking that aims to bring diverse communities and audiences into an environment of artistic and social intermingling. The feature film she co-wrote, [name redacted] is in development. Louise is involved in sexual and cultural investigations weekly with [name redacted], [website redacted]

She is working on another poetry collection.

[name redacted] is usually unavailable, lives hand to mouth, & does ink mathematics.
 he is building a new disguise.

[name redacted] is a poet/educator working in Portland, OR. She uses the height of her dog’s leaps to augur her fortunes for the day.

Sacha Archer is an ESL instructor, childcare provider, father and writer. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as filling Station, ACTA Victoriana, h&, illiterature, NōD, Blaze-Vox, UTSANGA, and Matrix. Archer’s first full-length collection of poetry, Detour, a conceptual work with the Dao De Jing as the source text, was recently published by gradient books (2017). His most recent chapbooks are The Insistence of Momentum (The Blasted Tree, 2017), Acceleration of the Arbitrary (Grey Borders, 2017) and upROUTE (above/ground press), with another forthcoming, TSK oomph (Inspiritus Press). A collection of broadsides from his work Ghost Writing is his latest publication from The Blasted Tree. One of his online manifestations is his blog at Archer lives in Burlington, Ontario.