Poems, essays, films, thoughts in practice.
I am a documentary poet and filmmaker, which to me means that I work rooted in a variety of research practices— from family and personal history, to interventions in and with archival materials, ritual investigations and investigation rituals, to the stories of others I've had the chance to record. I am also chilean, american, trans, non-binary, femme,
I work in the permeable edges (interstices? betweens? borderlands?) of gender, language, place, research, often mixing mediums, transing all of the above ("an underlying grammar of transness," Taylor Johnson once said to me). Poetry is knowledge, already and in creation, a form of discovery and experimental method. It is important to me to think and make in public and in community, so that I can learn with others and be held accountable for that learning (writing), knowing I will make mistakes and do my best to make up for them. What's posted here will mostly be somewhat rough, and you might see pieces repeated or repurposed as I rehearse and revise them. Pero bueno, Teillier dice que "difícilmente uno tiene más de un poema que escribir en su vida."
The name of these letters comes from a particular translation of Viktor Shklovsky’s 1919 essay “Art as Device.” Enstrangement refers to the function of art as a method of making us aware to the world around us, of “[making] a stone sonier.” “Art is the means to live through the making of a thing,” of prolonging and complicating our perception, sharpening our senses in the face of automatization and alienation.
I have been working on a mantra, of sorts:
Attention: a mantle. Notice: a spell. Listen: a shield.
So here are my noticings, my practice of living, through the making of things, and if you’d like to join me, I think that’d be lovely.
This blog was formerly named Enstrangements, and though I've changed the title, I still have similar intentions for my writing in Umbral. ↩︎
Benjamin Sher, via Alexandra Berlina: https://www.academia.edu/22305690/Art_as_Device (email me if you want a PDF) ↩︎
I hope to put together a more complete bibliography of sorts of writings and things that I carry with me and have been deeply influenced by, but for now, here are some good poets’ thoughts that are shaping the creation of this space (right now) (struggling to resist adding more) (in addition to those already linked above):
- Essays Against Publishing by Jamie Berrout (please go support her!)
- Poets Should Be Socialists by R.M. Haines
- Solmaz Sharif - “Every poem is political.”
- John Murillo - “I’m underground—reading and writing—and I’m saner than I’ve ever been.”
- Muriel Rukeyser - “Poetry can extend the document.”
- Erica Hunt - “Love is close reading” (quoted by Claudia Rankine at a talk)
Also please reach out if you’d like to share something here, collaborate, or just to say hello.