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BURNING HOUSE PRESS

Not For Profit/For Prophecy

The Breathing Body in the Act of Creation: A Writing Experiment

For much of my life, I’ve written in a journal. In the last few years, I’ve almost exclusively started writing fragments. I’m interested in the possibility of the form, how it allows me to write in a compact way, to capture sudden revelations and epiphanies, to acknowledge the limits of language within its very structure. Because of trauma, my mind has been changed, my way of thinking has been altered. I often describe myself as “shattered.” Fragments are the physical manifestation of that shatteredness. It is language that is in shards, but the accumulation of those shards creates a new form, creates a whole where there was once an absence or just random bits and pieces. As Muriel Rukeyser once wrote in “The Poem as Mask“:

Now, for the first time, the god lifts his hand,
the fragments join in me with their own music.

I see my own writing in that way. I am taking my brokenness and assembling my own ruins into something new, something that is still broken and cracked but alive. I view writing as a very personal act. I know other writers will have a different conception of writing, but this is mine. I want to articulate the wordlessness inside me. I want to speak the unspeakable. I want to write myself. I want to give voice to my alienation, grief, loneliness, fear, suffering, and trauma. I need to write these things not so that they will disappear or diminish–that is impossible–but so that I can bear them.

Continue reading “The Breathing Body in the Act of Creation: A Writing Experiment”

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Reading and Grieving: Review of The High Priestess Never Marries by Sharanya Manivannan

“We can forecast nothing. It arrives when it arrives. It disappears when it disappears.” (from ‘Take the Weather With You’)

The stories in this collection by Sharanya Manivannan (Harper Collins India, 2016) undulate – this book is a sea of women, each voice honoring the collective memories, hearts, and bodies of women. Earthbound, the voice of each character rises up from the pages like wind – arriving and departing, breath-giving, season-changing. We see them facing their deepest selves. We see them give space to their rawness and their desires. Fierce and utterly unforgettable.

“It’s like someone aimed a rubber band at my heart and didn’t miss. I have waited my whole fucking life for someone to call me kannamma.” (from ‘The High Priestess Never Marries’)

Continue reading “Reading and Grieving: Review of The High Priestess Never Marries by Sharanya Manivannan”

2 Poems by Fay Deller

Shadow

 

I’m an optimist with a shadow who pops in now and then

Just to let me know he’s still around.

He lies dormant like a bindweed vein in winter,

Waiting,

Watching for that glimmer of light

Always looming,

Anticipating his chance to make an entrance Continue reading “2 Poems by Fay Deller”

Cinematic Shadows: Fragments on Two Films by Bill Morrison

The Mesmerist (2003)

I used to think that art was eternal, that being an artist made you immortal. But I’ve come to realize that who and what gets remembered is often haphazard. Books are forgotten. Film reels are destroyed. So little survives.

James Young directed a 1926 silent film called The Bells, starring Lionel Barrymore and Boris Karloff. In 2003, Bill Morrison reconstructed a surviving nitrate print of the movie into a new short film, adding a soundtrack by Bill Frisell. The print is damaged, creating a fascinating distortion of the images. Faces blur. Splotches dominate many of the scenes, though there is still a story that you can follow. Morrison calls his film a “revision” of Young’s original.

In Morrison’s film, Lionel Barrymore plays a character who, on Christmas,  kills a Jewish man for his money. Boris Karloff is a mesmerist who tries to get Barrymore to confess his grisly crime. Morrison destabilizes the narrative by editing Young’s original scenes together in a way that suggests that much of what we are seeing is a dream. By the end of the film, we don’t know what is real and what is not.

Continue reading “Cinematic Shadows: Fragments on Two Films by Bill Morrison”

Updates…

Coming soon for 2018 on BHP – guest editors/open submission calls/and books books books…

Storytelling: Interview with Rayji de Guia

Rayji_sketch1

How long have you been writing and drawing?

I’ve been drawing since even before I could remember. A funny story my mother told me was how she’d gone to the market when I was around four. An older cousin was babysitting me and my sisters. While she was away, my sisters, rambunctious as they were, accidentally toppled a cabinet over the bed. When my mother arrived home, I ran up to her with a drawing on a sheet of paper that clearly depicted the situation – she dropped her huge bags from her hands and was ready to bolt into the house until my cousin came out to assure her everything had been arranged back. I don’t remember this at all, but I never doubted it, given that I’ve always had the memory of drawing with me.

Continue reading “Storytelling: Interview with Rayji de Guia”

Conceptualising by PL Weng

Sketch being a rudimentary conceptualising part of an idea which will later will translated to a physical or visual final product/s at the end and Book is mainly a collection of these sketches or rudimentary ideas compiled into a bounded book or portfolio (which may be made out of a piece of chewing gum wrapper, a piece of fungal infested durian leaf, a low quality 60g yellowed paper from a 1970s memo pad, an odd piece of broken lego plastic, etc.)”

dav

Continue reading “Conceptualising by PL Weng”

Winter Crow: A Photographic Sequence

by Amee Nassrene Broumand

 

Snow doesn’t look like the idea of snow, not during a snowstorm. During a snowstorm the sky becomes a void churning with insensate bees, bees that sting & bite. Snowstorms are neither pretty pictures nor charming holiday romps—snowstorms are winter.

Winter unvarnished by the domesticating tendencies of sheltered human eyes.

 

ANB IMG_7541

ANB IMG_7544 Continue reading “Winter Crow: A Photographic Sequence”

An Interview with Poet Farah Ghafoor

by Amee Nassrene Broumand

 

Farah, welcome! Thanks for speaking to me here on Burning House Press. You’re seventeen and not only an accomplished poet, but also the editor-in-chief of Sugar Rascals, your own literary journal for teens. What is it about poetry that calls to you? What role does it play in your life?

 Thanks for having me!

Poetry has always been the perfect outlet for my joy, anger, sorrow, and opinions. It means that I can come home after a long day, usually tired, and turn my emotions into something beautiful, something that other people can enjoy and connect with. A relief from the tedious busyness of life, reading and writing poetry forces me to slow down, spend some time in other people’s brains, and relish in the incredible complexities of language. Though it’s occasionally a little draining, if I don’t write for a week, I start to suffocate with words.

The adventure of poetry really calls to me, too. I love the tough questions, defensive answers, confessions, secrets, glorifications, histories, judgments, and other elements that poems can present in a condensed form. I love how you can control this kind of adventure. I love how you can use language to its limit. I love how this kind of raw, pristine communication is of endless potential. And I love how a poem can truly be anything.

“if I don’t write for a week, I start to suffocate with words”

Continue reading “An Interview with Poet Farah Ghafoor”

The grammar of silence

The silence of grammar. The silence of morning fog. The silence of a tiger’s paw. Wandering silence. The I told you so silence. The silence of violence. The silence of the catacombs contained in a sheet of paper. The shimmer of summer night stillness silence. The ruins of love silence. The silence of God.

Continue reading “The grammar of silence”

Drawing is an outlet: Jasmin Nur Dina

“Jasmin started drawing in a sketchbook a few months ago,
specifically to describe her life’s story.”

Continue reading “Drawing is an outlet: Jasmin Nur Dina”

The Fire, the Eclipse, and the Spiders

photos & an experimental essay

by Amee Nassrene Broumand

 

It’s raining at the moment. Calling it rain might suggest a downpour or perhaps a steadiness of purpose, but this rain is too ambivalent for any of that relative cheeriness. This is slacker rain. This rain drizzles on and off all day, turning the landscape into a listless void. It’s hard to even tell the color of the light in such rain—is it grey, or is it a lurid shade of green?

I’ve never been sure, yet I know it well: as I child I stared out of myriad windows into this rain—into the glistening trees that slouched with waterlogged branches—and tried to imagine the sun. It didn’t work, of course; the rain had seeped into my mental eye. Instead of sunlight, the inside of my skull grew lush with moss. Forests sprang up, haunted by arboriform spirits and carnivorous umbrella monsters. Predatory ferns infected my temporal lobes and burst outwards in Medusa-like fronds, marking me as forever coiled, an absurd Beardsleyan grotesque.

The sun is out of reach. Continue reading “The Fire, the Eclipse, and the Spiders”

‘Boredom’ by Liz Zumin

Boredom

 

I find myself thinking about boredom. Boredom, is a feeling that seems to be prevalent amongst the modern world’s most dominant social experiences of fatigue, depression and various neuroses which are effected in today’s society. It is an inevitable consequence of modern technological advancement where the borders between work and life have become blurred, the world made smaller by the internet, and the news broadcast continuously twenty four hours a day, extending even further into our subjective experience.

Continue reading “‘Boredom’ by Liz Zumin”

Collage Logbooks: hiromi suzuki

“I make collages in small sketchbooks every night before I sleep.
I call them ‘collage logbooks.’
They are diaries and also the place of creation for
my art and visual poetry.” Continue reading “Collage Logbooks: hiromi suzuki”

‘Our survival deserves a dirty prayer praising our divine faults and everlasting selves.’ – Rachel McKibbens Interview for Burning House Press

On the release of her latest poetry collection – blud – Adrianna Robertson interviewed Rachel McKibbens for Burning House Press.

 

I first contacted Rachel McKibbens because I had been—as I often am—considering what it means to write about mental illness. I wanted to have more conversation about why it matters to write poems about mental health, how it factors into one’s identity as a human and a writer, and what it is to attempt to put the experience of it into words. At the same time, I was reading more and more of Rachel’s work (I picked up Pink Elephant and couldn’t put it down) and I felt like I had to tell someone—or as many people as possible, that these poems were opening a door. The new poems in blud left me with that same breathless feeling. Again, I found myself reading them aloud, handing them to friends and my students. Yet, when I sat down to type my questions for this interview, I knew it was impossible to say all I wanted to say—how to describe all that these poems bring forth in me: sorrow, heartbreak, awe, kinship…and always surprise. Finally, I settled on some questions and what follows are Rachel’s eloquent and evocative answers, though they would have been this regardless of what I had asked. And, perhaps more important than any perfect word I could come up with to describe this collection, is this: we need these poems and I am so grateful to Rachel for writing them.

 

All we misfits, weirdos, black sheep, outcasts and witches who have managed to crawl out of the mud and hold our faces up to the light are family.

Continue reading “‘Our survival deserves a dirty prayer praising our divine faults and everlasting selves.’ – Rachel McKibbens Interview for Burning House Press”

An Experimental Conversation with Writer Erin Calabria

by Amee Nassrene Broumand

 

ANB: Autumn begins to pulse from leaf to flavescent leaf, beading—here and there—into cardioid splashes of pomegranate. The hum of the forest alters. Over the hills, in a dilapidated garden choked with honeysuckle vines gone wrong, sunbeams curve down upon a mud-eaten shoe. In places such as these, even saints grow timid.

EC: Currents of light and wind thread a passage. I trail my hands through the leaves, and they come away doused in bergamot, verbena, thyme, traces of care still scattered in this tangled place, death not reversed but charmed into a feral green. I crush rosemary needles between my teeth, think how I must have gone wild too early, trying to possess some other shape. The wind pushes me like a weathervane through the bramble, up to the hollow brink where a house once stood. A granite threshold left sunk in the ground marks where ghosts should step. How can it be the only things that seem real to me now are ruins. Continue reading “An Experimental Conversation with Writer Erin Calabria”

‘visions of the end’ by Clark Chatlain

we live today with the sense that the apocalypse is underway. our world is a world lit by revelation. we believe we have seen our own end, that it has been revealed to us, for that is one meaning of the term apocalypse: to reveal, to uncover. when John of Patmos narrated his vision he gave us his apocalypse, and though it was rooted in his Christianity and even more in his time and his world, it is still now our most common exemplar of an apocalypse. this meaning of apocalypse, this revelation and uncovering of the end, is closer to our understanding of our world than we might think. while the generations and centuries before us found themselves, for the first time, living in a disenchanted universe, we are today the generations that hear and read daily that our world is ending. Continue reading “‘visions of the end’ by Clark Chatlain”

Liz Zumin Interview

“Liz Zumin is an artist whose practice stems from an interest in contagion, suggestion and imitation. Through visual metaphor and physical experience she explores the duel between the isolated individual and the shared awareness of the group, the forming of relations, and how affect is transmitted between bodies and becomes enacted at a neurological, chemical and anatomical level.”

Earlier this year Liz Zumin answered some questions for BHP, an edited version of her interview was featured in The Arsonist magazine, which was published by Burning House Press a few months ago. We now make the full transcript of the interview available for BHP online.

 

Firstly, why make art?

I find it difficult to define and delineate what is art, perhaps because what art expresses and evokes is in part ineffable. I suppose that for me there has always been a fascination with the way that artists have the capacity to transform and alter things, to reverse the meaning of a sign, an object or a cultural form. For my part, I find that I am constantly collecting things; texts, fragments, images, ideas from all around, so in that sense, going back to the question why make art? It’s about sharing the way I experience the world and a way that I have of trying to make sense of it all. Continue reading “Liz Zumin Interview”

‘Night Bus’ – by Miggy Angel (a photo-series shot through upstairs/front window of night bus)

Night Bus1

Night Bus2

Night Bus3 Continue reading “‘Night Bus’ – by Miggy Angel (a photo-series shot through upstairs/front window of night bus)”

‘Pairty’ by A.G. Kayman

Pairty

 

Goat an invite fae the boy up the stair. A wee pairty he wis huvin fur his birthday, an he wondered if Ah fancied comin up fur a couple o beers. At first Ah thought, Christ, a room fu o folk Ah dinnae ken, drinkin, gettin pished, mibbie talkin aboot fitba or politics or that. Ah cannae be daein wi aw that cairry oan. Continue reading “‘Pairty’ by A.G. Kayman”

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