2020 Under Pressure

Protected: Under Pressure: Megan Peak

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2020 Under Pressure

Protected: Under Pressure: Melissa Wiley

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2020 Under Pressure

Protected: Under Pressure: Jody Chan

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2020 Under Pressure

Protected: Under Pressure: Dorsey Craft

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2020 Under Pressure

Under Pressure: Todd Dillard

Ways We Vanish, Todd Dillard

Todd Dillard‘s work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous publications, including Fairy Tale Review, Booth, The Boiler Journal, Electric Literature, and The Adroit Journal. His debut full-length collection of poetry Ways We Vanish. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife and daughter, and works as a writer and editor for a hospital. 

Here, Todd Dillard discusses literary cities, baking bread, tension, and the best writing advice her received from Jericho Brown.


Bina Ruchi Perino: Where do you get your title inspiration from?

Todd Dillard: One of the poems in the collection is titled “Ways Things Vanish”, and deals with a son dying and mother calling his name. Ways We Vanish is kind of like an inversion of that—the book is about people, which is why the “we” is there, but also the book deals with my mother’s passing, in some ways it’s like a son calling his mother’s name.

BRP: How much impact did your surroundings have on the imagery and setting of your collection?

TD: My attention to setting is twofold: first, I want to ensure the things happening in the poem–the sensory details–are actualized by the text. The poems in this collection are perhaps less cerebral that the work of other poets, and this is linked to my second answer: I need the physical world described in the poems to be very real, or appear to be very real, because I need the reader to be present and also surprised when something impossible happens. Many of the poems are fabulist or speculative in that way: simple, sensory settings or scenes, into which something alien or impossible descends. Were the poems less focused on scene and setting and the senses, there would be too much confusion, I think, when the weird arrives. It’s kind of like how going outside your comfort zone first requires you to know/identify/describe your comfort zone. 

My background is pretty split between the suburbs of Houston, the country of Texas, and the cities of New York and Philadelphia, which is why the poems are split across rural and urban settings. Ultimately though, what I want to do is establish something familiar for the reader, to invite them in to a safe space before I take them somewhere new. (I hope!) 

BRP: When working on a project, do you give yourself deadlines? What does that time management/organization look like?

TD: I tend to avoid deadlines. I’m aware they exist! But it’s sort of like being aware solar powered cars exist. They seem nice and useful, but I take the bus.

This is different than my time management, which is fairly rigid with regards to writing: wake up at 6:15am, read the last thing I wrote, read and edit on the bus/subway from 6:45am to 7:15am, read and edit and write during my lunchbreak (11:45-12:30 or so), read and edit and write on my commute home (4:00-4:45), edit when I can after my kid goes to bed or while I’m at the gym (7:30ish-8:30ish), edit right before bed (11:30), then start all over. Every weekday is like this. I don’t always edit or write during those times, and I try to read instead if that’s the case. I mostly take weekends off; that’s for family.

The result is a lot of bad poems or poems that need a lot of reworking! But there are some good ones too.

BRP: Who/what is currently inspiring you, art-wise?

TD: It’s so interesting you say “art-wise”! Because I’m reading a case study of the Russian neuroscientist A.R. Luria, and it’s not artful at all, and yet it’s artful in many unexpected ways. The study deals with the fractured memory and perception of a veteran who had a bullet lodged in his brain.

I’m also reading Aase Berg’s poetry collection With Deer, translated from the Swedish by Johannes Göransson. It’s weird and interesting and at times horrifying and always several orbits outside of my comfort zone. I maybe get about 70% of what’s going on, so it feels like a verse version of a mirror maze in a creepy fun house. It’s exhilarating!

I’ve also started reading White Teeth by Zadie Smith. I haven’t read it in over a decade, so I just feel due for a revisit. Also… I try to keep at least one excellent novel or story collection in the rotation of stuff I read at all times. A good novel is a safe harbor to me.

BRP: What is a favorite piece of advice from a mentor of yours? How did it help you with your writing?

TD: Jericho Brown was a PhD student at the University of Houston when I was in undergrad, and I had the very good fortune of being in one of this poetry workshops. (He was brilliant then, he’s brilliant now, truly he’s one of our best!) And it’s funny, I’ve had so many great writing professors and connected with so many great writers in my life, but it’s his advice that’s stuck with me the most: JUST SAY IT. Because so often, I think, poets have this impulse toward the beautiful and pretty, to playing dress up with nouns by wrapping them in metaphors and adjectives and ribbons and lace. But that can interfere with the thingness of the thing. If it’s worth writing about, let it be itself! If it’s worth saying plainly, say it plainly!

BRP: What is your favorite literary city and what makes that community special?  

TD: I think I am going to say Houston here, though it’s a pretty even split between Houston, New York City, and Philadelphia. There’s a lot of nostalgia attached to Houston, since it’s where I grew up—I remember going to Notsuoh’s and Helios (previously The Mausoleum) for slams and open mics as a teenager. Then there’s the community around Gulf Coast and University of Houston, with their reading series, and First Fridays over by the Rothko Chapel. Of course there’s still Brazos Bookstore. And for years I worked in the Alabama Theatre Book Stop, which has sadly closed down and turned into a Trader Joe’s or something. There’s a lot of thriving writing culture and creativity in Houston, especially in the Montrose area, and I was really lucky to be a suburban kid who had access to such amazing art and writing. Favorite eateries and bars: Late Night Pies, House of Pies, Niko Niko’s, Poison Girl, The Ginger Man, Whataburger.

BRP: Besides writing, what else would you say you do you have a passion for making? What parallels do you see between it and writing?

TD: I love making bread! Poetry is bread! It has such a small smattering of ingredients, but with the right craft and the right practice you get this amazing, soul-filling meal. There are at least as many kinds of poems as there are types of bread.

I also used to play clarinet, up through college. Music is a big part of my life—I’m not playing clarinet these days, but I still play guitar almost every day, and I sing to my daughter every day. My love for music appears as more than prosody in my poems. I love the use of register, of resonance and differing patterns of rhythm and speech, sure, but I also love the emotional and imaginative landscapes lyrics explore, and try that in my poems. I mean, have you ever read the lyrics of a Bush song? If that’s not permission to write whatever the hell you want, I don’t know what is.

BRP: Besides writing, what other daily rituals do you participate or feel are important to your writing?

TD: I read at least one poem of mine before bed and when I wake up. This is in part to keep myself engaged with my work, but also because the person I am when I write before bed is not necessarily who I am when I wake up. I like to think there’s an ongoing, tripartite collaboration there, between my morning, my day, and my night selves.

Other stuff… it’s hard to say. Do I consider being a dad and raising my kid and being a partner to my wife a ritual? No. But it has the semblance of ritual, there are patterns there, and there’s comfort in patterns and routines, especially as these routines are what permit me to find time to write.

I also shine my boots a lot. This might be weird, but I have two pair of beautiful boots that I try to take care of. Something about plunking down and cleaning boots, stripping them of wax, cleaning, polishing, building those sealant layers back up… it feels ritualistic, holy. There’s a way to do it right, and you have to study and practice until you get it right. My boots literally carry me to all the places I need to go, so this care, this sense of practice feels important to me. There’s a good chance I’m going to go home tonight and give them a once-over just because of this question!

BRP: What is your process when drafting? Do you use a journal or draft in other ways?

I put notes in my Notes app, transfer them to my Notes software on my PC, rework them there, paste them and email them to my beta readers or paste them into a Google Doc and send my beta readers screenshots, tinker some more based on feedback, save the final versions in my Google Docs file and copy from that file into a Word document when I’m ready to submit or print a packet of poems out to edit by hand. The numerous applications are useful to me, seeing my poem in many variations I find very helpful when editing.

BRP: If you had to describe Ways We Vanish in only three words, which would they be and why?

TD: I’m going to resist the urge to send some sort of image-based lyricism and say: “And then I—” 

One of the tensions of the book, I think, is that it’s a collection in motion, it’s origin story and life story and afterlife story and once upon a time and happily ever after and backyard Ragnarok—and this is in tension specifically with how the book, is, by nature of being a book, contained. It tells a story, yes, but that story stretches into robots on Mars, magic, ghosts, fatherhood, grief, and beyond. It (hopefully!) shows that one thing comes after the next, and even if the sequence of things doesn’t immediately become a story, the trajectory of all things in one’s life becomes its own story. I was a son. And then I was survivor. And then I was a wreck. And then I was haunted. And then I was loved. And then I was a father. “And then I—”

Order Ways We Vanish here!

2020 Under Pressure

Under Pressure: Marlin M. Jenkins

Picture of Marlin M. Jenkins along with cover for Capable Monsters

Capable Monsters, Marlin M. Jenkins

Marlin M. Jenkins was born and raised in Detroit and currently lives in Minnesota. The author of the poetry chapbook Capable Monsters (Bull City Press, 2020) and a graduate of University of Michigan’s MFA program, his work has found homes with Indiana Review, The Rumpus, Waxwing, and Kenyon Review Online, among others. You can find him online here.

Here, Marlin M. Jenkins talks Pokemon, art-crushes, online gaming, and his writing routine.


Sebastián Hasani Páramo: How long did Capable Monsters take to write from conception to publication?

Marlin M. Jenkins: The oldest poems in the chapbook were written in August 2016 at Vermont Studio Center. These poems, in particular the Pokémon series of poems that make up the backbone of the chapbook, became part of my MFA thesis project in early 2017, and then after some time away from the project I re-imagined it as a chapbook. In some ways, the poet I was when I drafted the earliest poems feels really distant, but it felt important to me to take some time after my MFA to process and take some space away before jumping back in.

SHP: How do you feel about deadlines? Are they a good or bad pressure for you?

MMJ: Depends! I usually really struggle with being on time for anything, so usually they just add stress! But sometimes if there isn’t a deadline nothing will get done at all. 🤷🏾‍♂️

SHP: Who are you crushing on arts-wise?

MMJ: Visual artist Maria Krutz (who did the cover art for the chapbook! check out her work on Instagram @meyyomafa); music artists Noname, Anderson.Paak; Sarah Bonito, Shy Baldwin, and Powerline (yes I realize the last two are fictional, I still stand by it!); voice actor Xanthe Huynh; and I very much consider what Brian David Gilbert does with Polygon’s Unraveled series to be art and I love it and love him.

SHP: Besides writing, what other daily rituals do you participate in or feel are important to your writing?

MMJ: On a good day, I make a fruit smoothie and play a video game (not necessarily together). Recently, I’ve been playing at least a few rounds of a game online each day, and that bit of interaction with real humans, even if only through the control of digital characters, is a really beautiful thing that I love—as much as I love words, often I feel more inspired by the ways we can communicate entirely without them, and online gaming is one of my favorite modes of that in action. I also like to always be immersed in some type of fictional world, so there are lots of stretches where I’ll watch a couple episodes of a TV show (often an anime) each day.

SHP: What is a favorite piece of advice from a mentor of yours? How did it help you with your writing?

MMJ: To hang out with my poems! And to focus on the work, and play the long-game. (Shout out to Tarfia Faizullah, who’s taught me so much!) These things help me stay attuned to myself and my own voice and they help me keep perspective, making sure the career aspects don’t distract from the art.

SHP: Do you keep a journal? Where does your composition take place?

MMJ: I’m a huge proponent of journals! Though in honesty I’m pretty bad at keeping a dedicated journal. But, I do take notes regularly, whether those are in a designated notebook or on random scraps of paper or on my phone, and I do as much drafting as possible—sometimes even second drafts—by hand. Usually for 2nd or 3rd draft, I’ll type it up, print it out, and then work in pen again. Huge fan of working with paper and hard copy.

SHP: When it comes to writing/editing, would you consider yourself an editor or more of a curator?

MMJ: This is maybe a cop-out answer, but I stand by it: I like to consider myself whatever is needed for the situation! I like my role (and what I call myself) to be porous and adaptable and overlapping and intersecting and all that. That’s where the fun happens, I think.

SHP: When and how does inspiration find you? For example, do you go outside to find it in nature, or does it suddenly come to you in the middle of the night?

MMJ: I really believe that inspiration is something that you cultivate; or, at least, if inspiration isn’t cultivated per se, we can ready ourselves for it, creating circumstances for its best chances of success. I write down lots of quotes from things I love—whatever’s interesting, whether or not it feels like it’ll inspire a poem later. I draw a lot of inspiration from video games and TV and music and other writers. When I go to museums, I take a notepad with me and take notes (and pictures if they’ll let me). I go to movie theaters a lot. I’m not always looking to be inspired toward a poem per se, but I’m always looking for things that inspire my imagination and curiosity, and then when I sit down to write there’s lots of material from all these sources and wonderings to work with.

SHP: If given the chance to design a new Pokemon, what would its most important attributes?

MMJ: Resilience, adaptability, and the ability to live both on its own and in groups. It would probably be a dark/ice type. Small, and active at night. It would be able to heal itself and most of its fighting ability would be based on defense and countering.

SHP: If you could describe Capable Monsters in three words, what would they be?

MMJ: Pokémon is lit. (Get it? Like, video games are literature. But also … lol yeah.)

Order Capable Monsters here!

2020 Under Pressure

Under Pressure: Lena Khalaf Tuffaha

Letters From The Interior, Lena Khalaf Tuffaha

Lena Khalaf Tuffaha is a poet, essayist, and translator. Her first full-length collection of poems, Water & Salt (Red Hen) won the 2018 Washington State Book Award for Poetry. She is also the author of two chapbooks, Arab in Newsland,  (Two Sylvias, 2016), and Letters From The Interior (Diode Editions, 2019 ).

Here, Lena Khalaf Tuffaha discusses gardening, embroidery, bibliomancy, and the inspiration behind her latest collection.


Bina Ruchi Perino: How long did working on Letters From The Interior take, from conception to publication? 

Lena Khalaf Tuffaha: The very first poems of this chapbook began after some translations of Fairuz songs, while I was on retreat at Hedgebrook in 2015. Meadow cabin in April—the light and the silence gave me so much room to be playful, to listen. New textures and eventually whole worlds emerged from lines I had known and sung for years. 

After the Fairuz-pantoums I began to write the Letters. These poems came together more slowly. I kept working on the poems during my years at the Rainier Writing Workshop MFA program. Eventually, a full-length manuscript came together, and I’m still refining it. The letters and songs, the rooms in which they echo, however, became Letters from the Interior. 

BRP: How do you feel about deadlines? Are they a good or bad pressure for you? 

LKT: I love-hate them. Generally speaking, my writing doesn’t follow a strict routine, despite my attempts at creating one over the years. I find there are bursts of time when all the gathering and listening and reading yields poems, and there are silences in between. Sometimes deadlines move the process along, sometimes they create anxiety.

BRP: Who are you crushing on arts-wise? 

LKT: I’m crushing on Palestinian poet Maya Abu Alhayyat. Fady Joudah has beautifully translated several of her poems in the most recent issue of Asymptote and I’m thrilled for English-language readers to get to know her work. 

BRP: Besides writing, what other daily rituals do you participate in or feel are important to your writing? 

LKT: My morning coffee routine—the same few gestures, the quiet as it brews, the first fragrances and taste. No matter what happens the rest of the day, I have those moments.

Beginning in March, I spend time in the garden. Tending to living things, learning, practicing patience and trying to embrace the myriad ways your best plans might not come to pass and what does might be even more magnificent if you look closely, if you let it.

BRP: What is a favorite piece of advice from a mentor of yours? How did it help you with your writing? 

LKT: My first mentor at Rainier Writing Workshop, poet Peggy Shumaker, gave us a magnificent send off at the end of our first-year residency. It ended with the sentence: Go forth and lavish! Her talk was about the writer’s time and the work of attention. I have returned to that generous vision of writing so many times. 

BRP: Do you keep a journal, or do you prefer to write on anything you can find? 

LKT: I have multiple journals going at all times with different purposes. Some for collecting fragments, some for drafts of my own work, some for words & their etymologies (an idea borrowed from my friend poet Molly Spencer) and a bibliomancy book-of-days, in which I open a book of poems to a page and record that one poem, try to memorize a few lines, just spend some time with it. For my own writing, I always begin with paper and pen, most often in a notebook, but not exclusively.

BRP: When and how does inspiration find you? For example, do you go outside to find it in nature, or does it suddenly come to you in the middle of the night? 

LKT: It tends to build. There is usually an initial insight—a word, an image, and idea, or even a sensation in time and place. That sets a series of “awarenesses” in motion—maybe it leads to a question, or even a fragment or a line. 

BRP: How did writing a chapbook compare to writing a full-length collection? Can you compare these experiences? 

LKT: This chapbook was a very different experience for me. My previous chapbook, Arab In Newsland, was written with a specific theme in mind, the poems all speak to the experience of being Arab in a world constructed of and by the news industry. This chapbook surprised me; it emerged, sort of like a nesting doll living inside of a larger work.

BRP: If given the choice to spend 24 hours in a museum creating something, what medium would you prefer? 

LKT: I want to say thread and fabric because I’m trying to learn Palestinian embroidery, but I am so incredibly slow I can’t imagine ever creating something that would live in a museum! And museums are complicated spaces. So maybe dance. A body in motion that makes something alive, wordless, and vanishing. Something that cannot be colonized, that walls cannot own or contain.

BRP: If you could describe Letters From The Interior in three words, what would they be? 

LKT: One word I’ve recently learned in Arabic:  زمكان zamakaan, translation: place-time. That and memory, and language.

Order Letters From The Interior here!

2020 Under Pressure

Under Pressure: Anthony Cody

Anthony Cody, author of Borderland Apocrypha

Borderland Apocrypha, Anthony Cody

Anthony Cody is the author of Borderland Apocrypha (Omnidawn, April 2020), winner of the 2018 Omnidawn Open Book Contest selected by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge. He is a CantoMundo fellow from Fresno, California with lineage in both the Bracero Program and the Dust Bowl. His poetry has appeared in Gulf Coast, Ninth Letter, Prairie Schooner, TriQuarterly, The Boiler, ctrl+v journal, among other journals. Anthony is a member of the Hmong American Writers’ Circle where he co-edited How Do I Begin?: A Hmong American Literary Anthology (Heyday, August 2011). In 2018, he received the Galway Kinnell Scholarship to attend the Community of Writers, and nominations for a Best of the Net and a Best New Poets 2018 via The Boiler. He is a 2020 Desert Nights, Rising Stars Fellow at Arizona State University. Most recently, Anthony won the inaugural 2020 CantoMundo Guzmán Mendoza / Paredez Fellowship for his work-in-progress poetry manuscript, The Rendering, selected by Aracelis Girmay. A recent MFA-Creative Writing graduate at Fresno State, he serves as a fellow in the Laureate Lab Visual Wordist Studio created by Juan Felipe Herrera, communications manager for CantoMundo, as well as an associate poetry editor for Noemi Press.


Sebastián Hasani Páramo: How long did Borderland Apocrypha from conception to publication?

Anthony Cody: The more I reflect upon the origins of Borderland Apocrypha, the less certain of a single, specific origin of where the book first started. The first poem I wrote that would fit within the framework of the book was an ekphrastic poem after seeing Jean-Michel Basquiat’s “Riding with Death” in 2013. Titled, “Juan Doe Rides with Death”, the poem never made it into the final manuscript, as perhaps it was attempting to do too much within the scope of the manuscript. In many ways, it was retracing disembodied histories and re-examining the self in the unnamed and unclaimed bodies crossing the border. This could be one origin. Another origin would be the archival research work on the lynchings in the southwest following the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, which began for me at the beginning of 2015, and steadily increased through the summer of 2018. The other beginning would be the experimental style within the collection, this began in December of 2016, when I began using a comic strip writing pad that was 5” long by 17” wide. This new, wider form opened possibilities for what these poems wanted to be, and helped reset my vision to see a new shape that would manifest into a book.

SHP: How do you feel about deadlines? Are they a good or bad pressure for you?

AC: Deadlines help me focus. My brain is often a very jumbled and over-extended space that makes things very murky and abstract. Without a deadline, days turn into weeks, and weeks to seasons. Now, with the shelter-in-place order, this can happen to me at an exponential rate. I am exceedingly aware of this time issue, so I often have an email to-do list plug-in, as well as a stickie note app opened to help me stay organized and not lose sight of the work and deadlines. 

By nature, I am relatively laid back, so the increased pressure of the deadline helps me find a balance.

SHP: Who are you crushing on arts-wise?

AC: For the last few months, I have been doing deep dives with the writing, hybridity, and public performances of Guillermo Gómez-Peña, the mixed media art around climate and topographies of Vero Glezqui, as well as the Dust Bowl photographs of Dorothea Lange.

However, with the recent passing of my dear friend, Pos Moua, I have been revisiting his work. A person of firsts in Hmong poetry in America, I have been revisiting his chapbook “Where the Torches are Burning”, the first Hmong American poetry publication in America by a poet in 2001, as well as his debut collection “Karst Mountains Will Bloom”, published in early 2019. In his pages, I once again hear his tender lyricism and deep mystic inquiry of nature and the self. The wisdom and deep knowing in his writing and his musings allows me to remember to look deep into the beyond of a “burbling brook” to not only see yourself, but every ancestor that came before you. Read Pos Moua’s work. Remember Pos Moua’s name.

SHP: Besides writing, what other daily rituals do you participate in or feel are important to your writing?

AC: I am in the process of shifting many of the daily rituals that I have grown accustomed to over the last several years while serving as a fellow in the Laureate Lab Visual Wordist Studio at Fresno State. The studio space allowed me to explore and make in a variety of mediums, and more importantly, collaborate with others to make art and lead generative, creative workshops. These three elements help me continue to ask more from myself, and my writing.

SHP: What is a favorite piece of advice from a mentor of yours? How did it help you with your writing?

AC: I have been blessed to work closely with Juan Felipe Herrera in the Laureate Lab Visual Wordist Studio at Fresno State over the last four years. In 2016, he provided two very distinct pieces of advice that were so profound to my own path at the time. I recall them both very clearly, and both times, I walked up to the whiteboard in our studio and wrote them down.

The first, “Abandon the left margin in your poems.” The second, “write beyond the publisher.” In both instances, he was clear to note the risk in making and being left in obscurity. Yet, for the first time in my life, I felt that I should make poems that spoke to my own internal wildness that I do not outwardly express. In tandem, the advice served as a foundation on which I carried forward in Borderland Apocrypha, and all subsequent writing.

SHP: Do you keep a journal, or do you prefer to write on anything you can find?

AC: Definitely anything I can find. This is definitely related to my use of a 5” x 17” comic strip pad to draft poems and the new paths found using that form for my collection. I would say that I am continually using different mediums to write on. Looking at my small pile of things in my bag at the moment this includes: envelopes, card catalog cards, a recycled envelope, several pieces of newspaper which I have taped together to form a larger piece of paper, and a small phonebook that was delivered on my door last year.

SHP: When it comes to writing/editing, would you consider yourself an editor or more of a curator?

AC: Both titles scare me. I would say I consider myself a spacemaker. When I am writing a poem, I try and stay out of the way. In the editing process, I find myself asking the question, how can I make space in this poem to get it to where it wants to exist in the world. I would extend this thinking to my work as an assistant editor for Noemi Press, where I often ask myself, how can I help this collection find a space to exist where it can be most true to the spirit of its making?

SHP: When and how does inspiration find you? For example, do you go outside to find it in nature, or does it suddenly come to you in the middle of the night?

AC: I find inspiration in sifting through noise. The sifting is a focusing. I feel most inspired when I have some combination of ten internet browser tabs open, sketching on a piece of paper, music playing, am reading a book or two, drinking coffee, and revising a single line or poems in my head. The accumulation of the noise often results in my most productive time happening toward the late hours of the night and I have had the chance to steadily quiet some of the noise and dive more deeply into the project I have been indirectly working on throughout the day. I am cognizant of the over-stimuli the older I get, and have been attempting to find ways to work in the quiet and discern enabling my own bad habits versus seeking inspiration. 

Today, I sat for 10 minutes with the window opened, and listened. I was not hoping for inspiration, but simply seeking an awareness of the moving.

I think this is still a work in progress.

SHP: If given the choice to spend 24 hours in a museum creating something, what medium would you prefer?

AC: I really love this question. The intriguing part is that just prior to the shelter-in-place orders in California, I was in the process of developing an art installation for my current work-in-progress, “The Rendering”, which examines the Dust Bowl and Climate Collapse. Which is all to say, the idea concept has been on my mind.

Ultimately, I would choose sound art to create and give life to the space. More than this, I would want the exhibit to be interactive for visitors, of all ages, to be able to participate, add to, and make it their own. Some of the most meaningful work and experiences I have had in my life have been when given a chance to create alongside artists and other community members, and providing that experience to others would be one of the primary focuses in a 24 hour pop-up museum show.

SHP: If you could describe Borderland Apocrypha in three words, what would they be?

AC: Restorative. Manual. Memory.

Order Borderland Apocrypha here!

2020 Poetry

Megan Neville

Megan Neville is a writer and educator based in Cleveland, Ohio. She is the author of the poetry chapbook Rust Belt Love Song (Game Over Books, 2019), and her work has been published by or is forthcoming in The Academy of American Poets (, Cherry Tree, Cream City Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Longleaf Review, Lunch Ticket, Jelly Bucket, and elsewhere. She is a poetry reader for Split Lip Magazine, and was a finalist in Write Bloody’s 2019 book contest. Find her on Twitter @MegNev.



Build, Destroy, Repeat by Eliana Miranda



My work explores a universal analysis of human migration. When investigating the displacement of people, I look at the environmental and socio/political impact. I research the imagery that appears in American media and the negative influence that can derive from it. When addressing these issues, often these images contain an inherent bias such as dehumanizing immigrants and reinforcing stereotypes. 

As a way to highlight these negative undertones, the process of drawing and painting become key. In my work I use vivid colors as mechanisms for examining cause/effect and to underscore the complexity of these topics. 

Eliana Miranda is a native Texan who lives and makes paintings in Dallas. In 2010, she completed her BA from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. Miranda’s BA thesis exhibition awarded her the J. Barney Moore Prize and the Emily and Alfred Bohn Prize in Studio Art. She obtained her MA in 2012 and an MFA in 2015 from the University of Dallas. Currently she is a resident at the Goldmark Cultural Center where she is an artist and a curator for the John H. Milde Gallery and the Norman Brown Gallery.