Welcome to the OS’s 7th Annual NAPOMO 30/30/30 Series! This year, contributors far and wide were gathered by four incredible curators, who are also our 2018 Chapbook Poets — you can read more about their curatorial intentions, their work, and a little more about the mission of the series here. You can navigate to the series archive, of nearly 200 entries, here!
This week’s curator is Adra Raine, author of Want-Catcher, who writes that:
Given the alienations produced by late capitalism, I’ve found my friends and I constantly trying to define “community,” in order to locate it, create it, manage it, as a corrective to the ever deeper divisions and isolations we find ourselves navigating in our work and relationships. Moments of togetherness seem increasingly fleeting. But being given the opportunity to bring our voices into a common space reminds me that we are a community, however elusive its definition. The Research University brought me into friendship with each of the seven writers/artists whose works you will read this week — an institution which reproduces the logic of competition and imperialism that works completely against the intellectual, creative, and social community many of us went to the university seeking but were often unable to sustain in that space. Yet, still our paths crossed and now we are in the world together — which now I think is all that being in community really means.
Reading/listening to these seven luminous and challenging works, I see reflected so many of the conversations we’ve had about ideas, writing, and art, about relationships, jobs, and daily life, all the wondering we’ve done about where to live, how to live, who to live with, what to live doing, and what for. Sometimes we talk about living all together in one place, somehow, as the pressures of economic precarity keep spreading us out geographically — currently the eight of us are in Durham, Bisbee, Tehran, Vancouver, Buenos Aires, with future dispersals always on the horizon. It is a great pleasure and honor to bring us all into temporal and physical proximity for one week in the space of composition, to be in the world together with poets who have influenced the words, images, and sounds of our work.
When I was asked to write about a single poet, I closed my eyes and thought about writing a beautifully wrought lyrical essay about a single tree or the late songs of Boyz II Men or perhaps the times again and again in the years I lived in big cities when I missed the bus and then I missed the train and then I missed the subway and then I checked the wrong date for the Megabus and so I missed the ride and here is my finger pressing staccato on the button for the elevator that must go. This is a poem for those things and for the essay I did not write, but it is also a poem for my origins of The Word: Adrienne Rich and my son, Adrian Bình Stark, who inspired me before I knew an Internet, who is the real poet — in fact— who is the reason why we’re even here in the first place.
Jessica Q. Stark is a doctoral candidate in the English Department at Duke University where she teaches on American Literature and Creative Writing. Her poetry and/or illustrations have appeared in Potluck, Tipton Poetry Journal, Big River Review, and others. Her chapbook manuscript, The Liminal Parade, won Heavy Feather’s Double Take Poetry Prize in 2016. She wore this hat in Vietnam, where her mother is from. Do you like it?