Editor's Note

Bombay Gin 40, 2014 


Text Means Tissue
-Roland Barthes

As we enter into the 40th cycle of the Bombay Gin, we find ourselves in the aftermath of so many events and movements. So many losses: Akilah Oliver, Anselm Hollo, Trayvon Martin. We built this issue during a flood, while the US government was shut down and even when our offices had to be evacuated due to residual mold. The first draft of this letter was washed out of a laptop by a cup of Puerh tea.

"We have been tested and tested for these past 40 years in our ethos and continually risen above the chaos," writes Anne Waldman, responding to the Bombay Gin class interview. This was the first issue to find its way to fruition through the classroom. Led by Andrea Rexilius, the group of M.FA. students maneuvered through a form of investigative recall, examining the (literary) Holocene we inhabit. In this way we formed rhizome; became community above the chaos.

Renee Gladman once wrote, "With a 'community' of sentences one can build a philosophy of experience, an architecture of reflection and flight." We are a community of sentences who sought a recuperative architecture to better navigate sites of loss and departure. We bundled these phonons; we put out a call for recuperative text and this is what we have returned to you, as Bhanu Kapil says, "from the lip of the void."

This particular issue of the Bombay Gin was imagined first as endocrine; the curation of a journal space followed. We found gravity in the 2013 Summer Writing Program, a space of enigmatic beauty and chaos. This gravity provided the contours for the following curation. And herein you will find a 2013 SWP panel talk by Fred Moten, an interview conducted with Cecilia Vicuna during Week 4 of the SWP, and class notes from Andrea Spain and Bhanu Kapil's SWP class, Writing the Event. To recuperate is to regain, regenerate, and return. The writers and artists within this issue have made an offering of iridescent fragments. The work of Dolores Durantes and Jen Hofer breathes off the page in a pendulated rhythm between languages, offering a space for tongues to remember the excitement of occipital touch. Melissa Buzzeo asks us to "Release you to the energy of yourself," to "deserve this time." Ronaldo V. Wilson's series of persona poems bring with them a lasting mark: What self do I occupy? In the construction of this issue, the Bombay Gin has come to ask this of ourselves in this tilt towards the future. Over the summer, we read from ZONG! #1 & #15 as a community in the memory of Trayvon Martin after the verdict was reached. We held candles and moved in bodily mantras through the text, together with NourbeSe as a means of recovery. The body recovers from what it remembers; Emerson Whitney's writing expands as a plume of visual syntax, shimmering from line to image in a quiet meditation.

Anne Waldman asks us:

"How will you save the world, with writing?"

Can writing construct an autonomous nervous system that has the capacity to heal; or as Anselm Hollo posited in his collection, Guests of Space, "Does poetry help?"

We sought a recuperative architecture. Does this make sense to you dear reader? We want to help. May this issue serve as a semiotic plexus for wounds not yet happened and for those that may never heal.

--Angel Dominguez, Senior Editor