Tommy Pico: One Long Poem to New York and the Universe
INTERVIEW: Tommy Pico is an NSFW explosion of queer joy, poetry, and witticisms sharp enough to draw blood. Author of IRL, Nature Poem, Junk, and Feed, Tommy is an autodidact, a wordsmith, a podcaster, a screenwriter, and a proud descendent of the Kumeyaay Nation. Tribe-born and raised and fortified by New York City grit, this xerothermic LA transplant is here to make some shit, make some money, and make the world more Kumeyaay. I connected with this poet, performer, and Beyoncé lover to talk career, self-belief, and the art that’s possible after we fight through fear.
Erika Lust: On the Sushi of Erotic Filmmaking
INTERVIEW: Arguably, there is no other topic that sparks such a myriad of reactions—from shame, to disgust, to criminality, to excitement, to addiction, to arousal—than pornography. If you’re new to porn (or pretending that this article doesn’t apply to you), here it is, short and sweet: No discussion of pornography is complete without mentioning PornHub, the world’s largest free archive of sexually explicit content. Sites like PornHub mimic the porn industry as a whole by prioritizing the straight, cisgendered, white male gaze. And further, fantasy, pleasure, realism, and consent all take a backseat.
Shonda Buchanan: Be Prepared to Let the Writing Go
INTERVIEW: Award-winning author, poet, essayist, and educator, Shonda Buchanan has been writing since childhood. She is the author of the memoir Black Indian, and the poetry collections Equipoise, and Who’s Afraid of Black Indians? Now a content producer for Push Black, Buchanan has added her voice to the nation’s largest non-profit media organization for Black Americans, currently serving 9 million people across all platforms. Over the summer, we met via Zoom to discuss the power of ancestry, her multi-cultural identity formation, and wisdom gathered along her writer’s journey.
Angela Morales, Author and Essayist
INTERVIEW: The evening I interviewed powerhouse Angela Morales, the sky went iron before darkening to slate black. The tinted windows kept the rain out of a small, spare, fluorescent office, as a burgundy-wood desk stood between us. Angela has a warmth and a strength that are equal parts gentle and fierce. She lives proudly—the daughter of two generations of Mexican-Americans—and her insights about multiculturalism, creative nonfiction, and claiming one’s space resonate at the same pitch as her glowing, singing prose.
Aminah Mae Safi, Author
INTERVIEW: Aminah Mae Safi likes to say she was raised in Texas but came of age in Los Angeles. You might not guess that she code-switches into a southern twang when she returns home, that she loves rock n’ roll, classical music, and everything in between, or that she grew up speaking English, Arabic, Spanish, and French. What you might notice is that she lights up in the classroom, the passion for her storytelling craft runs deep, and her knowledge spans the creative and academic.
Lyrics Reconstructed: A Grief Mixtape
BLOG: I. August evenings
Bring solemn warnings
To remember to kiss the ones you love goodnight
Worlds Apart and Interconnected-Creativity in the time of Crisis
BLOG: Creativity is the body of my spirituality. It’s how I connect to myself and to the world. Writing keeps me connected. Writing makes love, when hate rises up. Writing makes hope, when doubt looms overhead. Writing makes light, when the world dims. And right now, love makes bridges, when the distance draws on between us.
Chen Chen, Poet and Educator
INTERVIEW: In December, I sat down with poet Chen Chen to discuss his writing, which intersects images and metaphors, sculpting free verse and stanzas, much like his own creative and academic journey, and much like the identity he embodies as a queer person of color. A Chinese-American poet, by way of Texas, New York, and Massachusetts, Chen tells many stories in small clusters of words and phrases.
Fire-Swallowing, Love Letters, and Other Dances with Death
ESSAY: I’m stalling in a secluded corner of the library on a Saturday afternoon. It’s quiet over here in the useless books section, and no one can see me with my scatter of printer paper and G2 pilot pens, readying myself to do something impossible and crazy. Something that involves two letters and saying goodbye to the love of my life.
Four Questions with Povi-Tamu Bryant, Activist, Artist, Author
INTERVIEW: “I think the question for writers is what do you want the legacy of your work to be? And how can approaching your work through an inclusive solidarity-driven cultural humility framework actually support the expansiveness of your legacy? I want writers to sit with that, to let that shape their writing…”
Health Well Fit
LIFESTYLE: But soon the frustration congealed around my ignorance starts to melt, giving way to hope. An education about my body and the proper care of it—one I’ve always wanted and never known how to access—has suddenly appeared before me in the shape of a big-hearted personal trainer.
BLOG: Ten writers on what they love about their bodies.
The Mind, The Body, The Voice
LIFESTYLE: When asked, I almost always give up and offer the term “a nonsexual orgy.” People enter a dance studio in a leafy Boston suburb and commence to touch, play, and move with each other’s bodies. What else should I call it? The people who come here often know it by its technical name: A Contact Improv Workshop.
Blas Falconer, Poet
INTERVIEW: If impressionist painting had a literary match, surely it would be contemporary poetry. After interviewing Blas Falconer, poet, editor, memoirist, and author of Forgive the Body This Failure (2018), I am sure of it. The vibrant immediacy and poignant familiarity one feels looking into the frame of a Monet or a Matisse, finding an ordinary scene of life or nature fresh to the eye? That is the same experience one might have reading a poem by Falconer.