M.I.A. spotlight: Joanna Gordon

JoannaWhat is the book (or story) that you are currently working on? 

Not currently working on a book or story, rather a one-woman show to be produced sometime next year. It’ll be the culmination of my Honors project, and will be choreographed, staged, and produced by myself. This will be my first time doing such a thing, but I’m very excited!

Where did the idea come from and does it fall under a specific genre?

The idea has not really derived from anywhere, rather it was existed for a long time. As a white, middle-class woman I have always wanted to expose the complexities that exist within these social constructs. My own narrative will be at the center of this, but I also might be holding interviews for other narratives as well. The focus for this project is still being refined, and very much still in the works. 

What are you currently reading?

Since school has started, my attention has shifted to the war stories of the Iliad, as well as queer theories by Eve Sedgwick, and Foucault. However, the most recent book that I finished was a delicious page turner called “Gone Girl.” In regards to what other should be reading, I would recommend anything by Patricia Grace, or any pacific poet.

What are some upcoming titles in your reading list?

Upcoming titles on my reading list? Woah. The list is long my friend. Starting with “Perfect Girls Starving Daughters”, “The Beauty Myth” and “Vagina” by Naomi Wolf, “Wretched of the Earth”, “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” (again), some works by Rumi, Afakasi Speaks (again), and many others.  

Who/what inspires your writing?

All of the titles above, are inspirations, but some to add to the list Carrie Rudzinski, Terisa Siagatonu, and Danez Smith, and my boyfriend Harrison Ines because they are constantly challenging me to break down what has been socially internalized, and reminding me that the world needs more allies because there is so much more work to be done.

What does your writing process entail?

My writing process involves copious amounts of cold water, a purring cat, riot girrl music or whimsical folk, and a notebook. I usually start with rough ideas in a notebook, which will then move to a revising and editing phase onto my computer. 

Who would you like to give a shout out to in the writing community and why?

Shout out to Pacific Tongues for taking a lost girl on crutches under their wings and constantly reminding me to keep writing and to keep searching for answers. Also shout out to the English Department here at UH, especially Craig Santos Perez for doing great things and truly supporting their writers. 

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New Voices in November

It’s time again to praise the literary lords for bringing new voices to Mixing Innovative Arts this Fall…and they have delivered just in time for our November 19th event at Fresh Cafe.

The M.I.A. Art & literary Series is happy to present the amazing voice of Seleena Harkness & the provocative work of Joseph Han, Terese Svoboda, and Timonthy Dyke.

The Spalding House’s “A Thousand Words and Counting”

Image taken by Jade Sunouchi

On September 15th, The M.I.A. Art & Literary Series was asked by educational curator Aaron Padilla (an amazing artist himself) to collaborate with the Spalding House (former TCM, now merged with the Honolulu Museum of Art) for their opening of the “A Thousand Words and Counting” exhibit.

So says the museum:

Spalding House’s new education-driven exhibition concept looks at the museum’s collection and art in general from different perspectives and illustrate how art can be used as an unexpected tool in learning about disciplines such as literature, math, music, social studies, and physical education. The exhibitions are curated with schools and teachers in mind, but are also designed to engage and captivate “regular museum goers.” These shows really do have something for everyone.

Indeed, there is something for everyone, as our Mixing Innovative Arts writers imagined that night as true visual and literary collaboration. M.I.A.ers Donovan Kūhiō Colleps, Lyz Soto, Serena Simmons, Jaimie Gusman, Evan Nage, No’u Revilla, Scott Abels, and M. Thomas Gammarino gave performances inspired by or responding to some of the work featured at the exhibit.

First, a dramatic griot was performed by amazing ladies Lyz Soto, Serena Simmons, and No’ukahau’oli Revilla. Scott Abels facilitated Social Security # inspired poetry, where audience members coded their own poems & read them aloud while Jaimie Gusman and Evan Nagle collaboratively wrote poems on the spot for CA$H donations, exploiting the relationship between capital and art. Donovan Kūhiō Colleps created & manned a life-sized William Blake template, splayed on the museum floor, inviting museum guests to get on their knees to fill in the white spaces with responses to Blake’s Book of Job. We ended the night with responses to the artwork:

Serena Simmons’s started us off with her powerful piece, “Privilege”, inspired by William Blake’s “Book of Job”; M. Thomas Gammarino read a startling and profound excerpt from his new book, Jellyfish Dreams; Jaimie Gusman read her eerie poem “I had confused the appearance of trees & people with reality itself” responding to Duane Michals’ “A Failed Attempt to Photograph Reality”; Donovan Colleps performed his lyrical “A Man From The Land Of Laupahoehoe Interviews Himself” inspired by William Blake’s “Book Of Job”; Evan Nagle read a poem about an alternative view of creation, titled “The Psalm of Monsieur Hunky” based on “Psalm”; Lyz Soto woke us up with her piece, “Because my anatomy Cannot Get Pregnant When it Is Actually Raped”, inspired by Deborah Valoma’s “Femininity”; Scott Abels gave us the giggles with his short poem, “Cotton Kills”, a response to “Turn up the Night” by Ben Venom; and No’ukahau’oli Revilla’s finished poem “Live Taping”, a response to Deborah Valoma’s “Femininity”, was composed during the event by taking measurements of guests’ body parts throughout the night and arranged into a hilarious translation of Freud’s somewhat disturbing words.

The exhibit is still up now through November 22, 2012, so check it out! Unfortunately, M.I.A. won’t be repeating the performance, but we’re excited to collaborate with the Academy again in the future!

Read an exciting blog post by Lyz Soto about Ekphrastic poetry & the Spalding House event, here

Impromptu Poem Time

Here’s an awesome summer “List” poem from M.I.A. reader, Ken. Hope you’re all enjoying August!

Dropping In
by Kenneth Lynn Quilantang, Jr.
1. Drive around and around the zoo parking lot for choice parking
2. cheer when closest one is found
3. put on boardshorts, rashguard,
4. apply sunblock generously
5. wax board,
6. put all the valuables in the glove compartment.
7. Lock FJ. Make sure by beeping twice.
8. Smile, almost going into the water.
9. Realize I forgot to take the beach key from Gail.
10. Look dumbfounded at my keys.
11. Yell to the sky, giggle to myself, people look
12. tell the person waiting for my parking to leave. No, I'm not leaving yet.
13.unlock FJ. Get in to change
14. change back into non beach clothes. throw the boardshorts in the back, not caring where they go.
15. use a towel to wipe off the sublock, it makes dress shirts stick your body. Yuck.
16. tell yourself that it was small anyway.
Haha! :) Boy
16. write poetry