|"Blackout Poetry," an April 2016 project by the Sage Community|
Erica Mena used her book Featherbone (Ricochet Editions, 2015) as the "meat" in the sandwich between new work. Featherbone is a book-length poem playing off the ancient story of Icarus, but as a female Icarus, drawing “on cyborg feminism, ornithology, anatomy” as well as the Greek myth. The brief passages she read also seemed also to be about the metaphysical transformation in blood & bone, as well as the play of silence & sound. Of the newer pieces was one written after the devastation of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, mixing in Spanish words in a work on the meaning of citizens & colonizers. The ending piece was from a longer work entitled “Or the Dark Fillamenting,” a work about darkness, more abstract, but also a progression in images & themes from her earlier work.
Levi Bentley read from just a couple pieces, beginning with an extension from an earlier work called, I think, “Bucolic Eclogue.” What was read tonight focused on Claudia & Hen, an “I” in a struggle of language & imagery, mixing in personal history & memory, while being a part of a missionary family in Nepal. Then from another “project,” “Fish Moves” (or, perhaps, “Fish Songs”) which was described as moving toward animality, imaging what it would be like being a fish, an exploration of identity (a central theme with both poets), then on to a snippet from a project called “Fence Lines” that may become a work with photos & words.
|Erica Mena & Levi Bentley|
This series began in the Fall & indications are it will pick up again in the Spring semester. The Fall semester was run in conjunction with English and Modern Languages courses (in Creative Writing and Protest Literature) and explored the theme of “truth to power.” The events are co-sponsored by The Russell Sage Review (The REV), the department of Arts & Letters, and The Sage Colleges Libraries, and supported by the Carol Ann Donahue Poetry Fund.
Stay tuned for what the new year will bring.