Winter/Spring 2019


Playing in the Institute: on Tag at ICA Philadelphia

C. Klockner

It’s still a question of how queer exhibitions can function within certain institutions without assimilating, without petrifying living works in order to propose additions to “the” hegemonic canon, but Tag proposes ways forward that walk indeterminacy with confidence.


Poetry, Fiction, & Nonfiction

intimate structures: Dorothea Rockburne at Dia:Beacon

Chloe Wyma

At once hermetic and worldly, ethereal and dense, this tightly focused exhibition reflects in its contradictions the difficulties and pleasures of Rockburne’s early career, which spanned from the late 1960s to the early ’70s.

No Separate Thing Called Nature: An Interview with Richard Powers

Charlotte Wyatt

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author talks to Gulf Coast about trees, the transformative power of storytelling, and how writers might respond—and stay responsive to—the unique demands of this moment in both human- and tree-time.

Oh, The Pretty Boys

Shannon Savvas

Their forever never lasts that long. Gone by Christmas.

How to Clean a Boy

Benjamín Naka-Hasebe Kingsley

Triple check the joist hooked / from your garage ceiling / is rated for at least 97 pounds.

The Machine is Trying to Make You Lose

Liam Baranauskas

Pinball takes place in a more liminal environment: those may be your physical fingers hitting flipper buttons and your real voice cussing out Bride of Pin-Bot, but your vision, your concentration—everything about you that’s more consciousness than body—moves outside of yourself and behind a thin layer of glass.

Heavy-Headed

Aram Mrjoian

My head often feels filled with concrete. This is not to say congested. If anything, I am rarely sick.

Bright Perfection

Nancy Au

The chicken crows at midnight. Crows at four o’clock in the morning. Crows when it rains. Crows when the sun sets. Crows when sirens blare down our street. Only stops crowing to eat.

from Waiting for Perec

Mario Meléndez, trans. by Eloisa Amezcua and John Allen Taylor

It was night / Death slept naked / on God’s corpse

Kimchi Daily

Leora Fridman

This is the fantasy of self-sufficiency: healthy in a closed loop, without needing anything from anyone else.

Dead Matter

Katharine Coles

Not fossil not decay unfurls / A shining ladder and makes / Rescue all. In movies / Lets loose, tears off

Father and Son

Flavia Company, transl. by Kate Whittemore

The man was his father. How could he be so disgusted by him? His mother, long dead, always told him: your father will outlive us all, but not before he makes us suffer as much as he wants to, and more.

By the Light of Other Suns

Janie Paul

We talked about light and dark, how to render it in paintings and drawings, and how it connects to spirit. We talked about Emerson and Thoreau. They connected their faiths to mine, to the pantheism I developed out there in the woods, and to art as faith. As I worked with artists in prison over the next couple of decades, I continued to see this transcendental connection to light and dark through their eyes.

Taking My Dog to The Opera

Who would have thought he’d sit / so still so long, but he settles right / into our row, props his head on the velvet / armrest basking in the company

A Note on "Dear Cyntoia Brown"

francine j. harris

At sixteen, life is supposed to be safe. Things are supposed to be beginning. We are supposed to be weaning from the care and guidance of people who have raised us. We are supposed to be on the brink of our adult lives. We should be taking the reins and figuring out how to care for ourselves, and we should have our most basic needs met so that we can care for others. It’s a volatile, dizzying, restless age. It is not always sweet.

Dear Cyntoia Brown

francine j. harris

I wonder when you push at mirrors, if they slip off in your hands. I would / like to hold you, who you were at sixteen with the you I was when I was / sixteen.

2 Poems

Alyse Bensel

A neighbor assures me not to worry when the dog eats / rabbit flesh flattened on the street. Uncooked bones / are not sharp enough to hurt, turn an animal inside out.

Mott Street in July

Xuan Juliana Wang

It did not yet boggle their minds that the insides of those things that fly also look like the insides of those that swim. They had yet to question why the bones of a fish could look like the bones of a kite. They had not known to wonder how far to look back in history for the connection.

Common Motivations for Teaching English Abroad, or A Short Physics Lesson

Kelly Morse

I’d bicycle home after teaching, pumping the pedals so hard I hoped the blurred street would crack beneath them. I’d learned early how to leap—from hotel maid to fine dining server, student to teacher, dying desert town to rain-drenched city. So I left. I filled out applications, fielded phone interviews, signed a contract and flew to Hanoi, sight unseen.

Reliquary

Alyssa Proujansky

A cupboard is just asking to be opened. A cupboard doesn’t ask a question, but is, by its very nature, an entreaty. A cupboard says it did not ask to be a cupboard, did not ask to be an entreaty, is not, in fact, a cupboard at all.

Chicxulub Köçekçe / Pioneer Species

Kenan Ince

Like those jellyfish that swell with future oxygen, / I live into my gender, balloon constantly rising

Playing in the Institute: on Tag at ICA Philadelphia

C. Klockner

It’s still a question of how queer exhibitions can function within certain institutions without assimilating, without petrifying living works in order to propose additions to “the” hegemonic canon, but Tag proposes ways forward that walk indeterminacy with confidence.

The Traveling Coconut

Tashima Thomas

The spindly stalks creep out from the nexus of the composition like arachnid extremities. The pronounced compression of space pushes the roughly hewn roots into the forefront for the beholder’s contemplation. The sharp points and scraggly edges of the root system prevent easy entrance into the scene. Oller creates a kind of coconut Noli me tangere: we may look, but not touch.


From the Archives

A-Side, B-Side

Dylan Brown

He had kept the bulk of his music library, which covered every genre from obscure Sub-Saharan drum tracks recorded on cell-phones to honey-tongued R&B to Norwegian black metal, in his parents' basement. It was the only place, he had argued, that could support the weight of it all.

Second Best is Best

Isaac Yuen

Sometimes being best can be the worst. The prized antlers the wapiti so lovingly drapes with velvet and nourishes with aspen shoots can turn their caretakers into rumpus room decor, even though deerstalkers know perfectly well they could just wait for the elk to finish bugling its mates before picking up the discarded instruments for a song.

Silent Guest

Susana Corcuera, trans. Clara Sullivan

Morning comes and he pauses beside my bed. He struggles to breathe, his breath brushing my face. Without opening my eyes, I make a space where he can curl…

Casanova

Serhiy Zhadan transl. by Alan Zhukovski

When you greeted each other / your palms / like embers in cigarette stubs / red and hot / showed from your sleeves