at the bottom of the well where the moon lives,
can you pull me
— Denise Levertov, Here and Now (1957)
Marking the end of The Lune's thirty-title chapbook series and 2017 quarterly, Autumn is a commencement ceremony led by six contemporary voices: Sherry Luo, Nicholas Fuenzalida, Jaime Robles, Eleni Padden, Genelle Chaconas, and Curtis Romero. The resulting sextet of lyric and prose poetry leads us through civilized hells and congenital halls, charting the drama of the human body through personal and perceptual displacements.
Luo's Imperative of the Night scintillates, nuclear and osmotic; Fuenzalida's The Slightest Bearing billows with the quiet jazz of memory, careful drawn breath; Robles's Memory Palace walks the prism of home on bird-light feet; Padden's All the Parts of the Animal dons oil-slick war paint for the party at the end of the world; Chaconas's Yet Wave refracts a person through Barnesian Nightwood fever dream and moral dyslexia; and Romero's Harvest spins the vinyl of analog humanity, unseduced by waxing mechanisms of concealment.
Learn more about each author and collection below.
is an undergraduate at the University of Georgia pursuing a B.S. in Genetics and a B.A. in English. The recipient of the 2016 Georgia Poet Laureate Prize, she is the author of Imperative of the Night (The Lune, 2017). Her work appears or is forthcoming in Atlanta Magazine, Figroot Press, The Madras Mag, Mandala Journal, and The Shanghai Literary Review.
lives in New York. His work has appeared in Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Cleaver, Breakwater Review, Bodega, and Poet's Country, among others. He is a producer for Commonplace: Conversations with Poets and Other People, and a member of the Ugly Duckling Presse editorial collective.
Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jaime Robles is a writer and visual artist. She has produced many of her texts as artist books, including Loup d’Oulipo (Woodland Editions, 2002) and Letters from Overseas (Woodland Editions, 2010), and her books are in collections at the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley; the Beinecke Library, Yale University; and the Oulipo Archive in Paris, among others. She holds a doctorate in Creative Writing from the University of Exeter, UK. Her latest books of poetry, Anime Animus Anima (2010) and Hoard (2013), were published by Shearsman Books in the UK.
cooks, studies, writes, and lives in the mountains of Morgantown, West Virginia. She grew up in the muggy green magic of Tampa, Florida, and has spent time over the past six years evolving in Baltimore and Denver. She graduated from Johns Hopkins, where she learned stuff about poems and brains, and is currently pursuing her PhD in neuroscience at West Virginia University with a research focus on the neurobiology of post-traumatic stress. She is really, really trying to learn how to play the electric guitar and would like to at some point work on a shrimping boat. She kind of wants to be President one day. She dislikes salad. @elenipadden on the ‘gram.
is non-binary gendered, feminist, queer, a Chaote, an abuse survivor, has mood disorders, and is proud. They studied creative writing at CSUS and Naropa University and got into the all-American obligatory 50K worth of debt. They approach each page, canvas, or other mode of creation with the same terror, then dive in. They're hard at work on their first book. They enjoy industrial/ drone/ noise music, hybrid/ postmodern/ experimental writing, cut-ups, fold-ins, William S. Burroughs, trashy sci-fi and gangster flicks, journeys out of the body mind and soul, cheap takeout, underwater basket weaving, and long walks off short piers.
Originally from Santa Fe, New Mexico, Curtis Romero is a poet, fiction writer, vocalist, and performer living in Denver. Among other things, he has worked as a delivery driver, a truck and trailer salesman, an insurance clerk, and an Oriental rug dealer. He earned his MFA from the Jack Kerouac School at Naropa University.
on Imperative of the Night
Uncharted spaces—such is shadow—slip past at a toppling tenor, unfixed to perceptible clips in regular speeds in the sensing eye. Who knows how long we will linger but that this tongue trips ahead of us, where we just were, round some corner of it, echoing at the beginning of the alley or the end of an avenue, a lost breath catching up to the new light of further steps & beginning elsewhere—
Imperative dismembers into atom evening & is reforged as body in full night, what are the cares of the young & ordinary mind there? The ordinary body of night? What am I trying to be? Has the dark dream purified me? Is my request so innocent as I had hoped? The directive it would seem lends itself toward the embrace of impermanence & the seeking out of ineluctable experience. To face the earth as a person dreaming. To endeavor the impossible task of true connection—these ordinary things. — Alan Mudd
on The Slightest Bearing
“Young, yet older / and thousands of miles away from the you / you were.” These lines, from Nicholas Fuenzalida’s This Slightest Bearing, strike me as emblematic of that work’s navigation between worlds, identities, definitions and boundaries. Note that the word bearing can have many meanings, including a person’s manner or the direction of a ship. The sort of ‘navigation’ one finds in Fuenzalida’s work is not a desperate or a whimsical act (though it may be both?), but it is, in any case, a necessary one: “You have been many people whom you barely remember.” And if there are evident traces of autobiography here—an ‘anchor,’ no doubt, for some readers—these don’t strike me as sentimental reification of the lyrical I (which the poet eschews for the more ambiguously inclusive you, by the way), but as a means through which the poet finds a sustaining grace of bearing, a means of constructing his work and moving outward. Ultimately, this move is transcendent: Fuenzalida’s “you vast thing” recalls Whitman’s “multitudes,” only this time the “you” strikes me as referring to the reader as much as to the poet/ narrator. This is a promising embarkation. — Mark DuCharme
on Memory Palace
Living presences of family history animate Jaime Robles’s Memory Palace. Each poem finds “a passageway to elsewhere” in this house of ghosts and gifts, where shelves gather “dolls made of dried apples, / faces like old women, creased and carved.” Nature and poet collaborate in this lyrical memoir of shared belonging among collections “like everything green growing.” Robles’ perceptive and precise language guides us through rooms and staircases, interrupted conversations and unfinished paintings, into the garden below. Memory Palace leads us to believe in “rooms beyond the door” that bring us home again. — W. Scott Howard, University of Denver
on All the Parts of the Animal
Oh go two it moves holy shit through history no time for it to happen again what with all these immediate pictures to hypersmash toward fastbop rhythm and hammer up ear transplants. I read this straight, then on repeat, it reads like an album, after this number is my favorite, the one about, or was it. Eleni Padden’s All the Parts of the Animal grabs flesh and lesson, eyeholes and attention, ecstasy, sadness, drugs, the system and combines them into the bombs of your starry visions. Be alert with this lucidity found from static, be readymade explosion. — matt clifford
on Yet Wave
Yet Wave is an immersion, a hot dip into the melt and mess and then a flash freeze in the conspiracy of the flesh. What emerges is a damaged tadpole hell-bent on transformation, armed with its neural syrup and hunger loop to negotiate a Plague City populated with dumpster fashionistas, a brother’s musk, and a bog of cum mushroom jungles on the floors of the theaters. What results is a glued human, a modern decoupage turning itself inside out as it spirals counterclockwise into its galloping dream and twisted sculpture garden of wreckage. Hang on and strap yourself in to Chaconas’s hypervigilance as it makes its stops at its particular stations of consciousness. The only way to get out is if you follow the North Star. — Tim Kahl, Sacramento Poetry Center