English translations by Robin Myers
and Spanish originals by E. Zaidenwerg
I stayed and then forgot I must have stayed,
to work, perhaps. And opened my eyes, wide,
and shaped a tent, my elbows and the meeting of my hands.
Rested my face on top. That grating film,
the capillary halo that begins to twinkle in my palms,
that cannot be my glory. I don’t glory
in anything that warns before appearing;
or never gloried, or else never knew what I should glory in,
or how. And so these eyes,
the nose’s skin, the shell that is the ear,
the cup of water of the conscience, that,
I only see it when I see myself in the mirror,
or others see it when I can’t,
or else I see it in the others. I guess it’s fine
this way. Where is my rock,
I wonder, or my force, my boulder, then?
There must be something in me that outshines
me, or will do so, sometime, or has done so,
perhaps without my noticing. And something strikes me:
as an embryo, when they made me,
the ball of epithelium that tried, apart from me,
to act the simple form I was, looked outward,
a tube turned round, turned round again,
stomach and liver indistinct, and ears and mouth:
an equal surface, a single glove,
a lone sponge-flower posed upon the same, the only, axis,
no more than features from within the florid air of mother’s womb.
There must have been some brilliance there, then lost, when my created face
devoured all the rest, when from some prudery they didn’t let me choose
--and does the artifice entreat the artist, “Why did you make me so?”—
a remnant of that grace concealed itself in the spread of next dimensions,
that deaf accrual of thickness and of entity
that would permit me to perceive the world as a world, later.
And now I’m thinking of the part that stayed undigested,
and something pulls, a subcutaneous current or something
perhaps less solemn, at the name they gave me
to give me strength. With one impeccably Israelite name
they covered half of me.
What was it that they wanted me to learn:
that if I wanted to resemble what I would become,
I must be different from it in the end?
My name: a tongue twister, superbly Hebrew.
Perhaps it had to do with something like a Scrabble game of self,
and that they thought their son would win more points in life
for all those z’s, that q, the w?
If there were something in me not a likeness of itself,
was it not better, maybe, for the stitches to be visible?
If, in the end, my mother,
was never told, during her childhood, about the ghetto,
nor had to know what exile meant in her own flesh
until my father, well, exiled himself.
If, also, it was they who raised me,
the Arab side, from Lebanon,
Catholics, or Catholic in their way, erased from my name.
They, also, had their son in exile:
Perhaps, also, he formed his covenant in the desert;
he, like Elijah, was taken away. But then he paid for blood,
because he came from elsewhere. The sarcoma
covered his back as if it were a map.
Did they want me to be their own Elisha,
who would inherit two-thirds of his powers?
They even called me by his nickname, sometimes.
It was too much for me, impossible Arab that I was;
for a mistaken Jew, and fraudulently circumcised,
who, in the operating room, established
an affinity with the jealous god of phimosis
(I still remember what it was, a swollen bell,
a sunflower made of water if I peed.)
It was too much for me. I thought it would be better
to make as if I had some wound that would be stitched up
from the inside, to cover up the scar and so protect
the skin. It split anyway. And I fattened up and cracked
like a cheap crystal glass. I filled with stretch marks,
a slender grid, irregular, across the surface
from ass to armpits, a composite
of a sketched family tree stripped bare of leaves
and the genomic map. So whom or what
was there to blame—genetics, or the fragile epidermis of my mother,
or that unraveled primeval
force, that primordial dyspepsia that would make indigestion
my greatest passion? And the answer
was nowhere to be found, disguised as an ingenuous
objectless skepticism that, eventually,
would prove itself to be a fearful crassness,
retracted over its own lacking: was I avoiding
or deferring it? I didn’t know I knew. I chose to cling
to the presentiment, a little frivolous and puerile,
that my own home, my geographic center, could not have been
the alveolar pump, the gentle fan of the spirit.
And now, now that I stay and I forget, and have pitched
my tent with arms and elbows, and my face submerged
between my palms, a jug that falls, turned round,
and breaks, unknowingly, beside a fountain,
I’m falling toward an age in which I need
a decent stand-in for the soul:
to set myself in motion, to remember,
and remember myself. A worthy substitute
for a forced proselyte. And so the seat of my love,
the office of my judgment—it should be, therefore, that
hepatic bastion, and the dusty glory
of my own ancestors, the ones who didn’t come back:
the weighty sack, the hollow rock,
the dirty glass in which they mixed themselves.
Doxa // Me quedé y me olvidé de que tenía que haberme quedado, / trabajando, quizás. Y abrí los ojos, grande, / hice una carpa con los codos y el encuentro de las manos. / Puse la cara encima. Esa película abrasiva, / el halo capilar que empieza a titilarme / entre las palmas, eso / no puede ser mi gloria. No me glorío en nada / que avise cuando va a manifestarse; / o nunca me glorié, o nunca supe en qué gloriarme, / y cómo. Y estos ojos, / la piel de la nariz, el caracol de los oídos, / el breve vaso de agua de la conciencia, eso, / sólo lo puedo ver cuando me miro en el espejo, / o lo ven los demás sin que yo mire, / o me miro en los otros. Y está bien que así sea, / supongo. ¿Adónde está mi roca, / me pregunto, mi fuerza, mi peñasco, entonces? / Tiene que haber alguna cosa en mí que brille más / allá de mí, o vaya a hacerlo alguna vez, o lo haya hecho, / quizás sin darme cuenta yo. Y se me ocurre algo: / cuando era un embrión, cuando me hicieron, / la bola de epitelio que intentaba, ajena a mí, / actuar la simple forma que era yo, miraba toda para afuera, / un tubo dado vuelta, dado vuelta de nuevo, / con el estómago y el hígado indistintos, y los oídos y la boca: / la misma superficie, un guante solo, / única esponja-flor posada sobre el mismo, único, eje, / fisonomía pura en el abigarrado aire del vientre de mamá. / Debía haber un brillo ahí que se perdió cuando la cara ya formada / se tragó todo el resto, cuando por un pudor que no me dieron a elegir/ –¿acaso el artificio le reclama al artífice: “¿por qué me hiciste así?”?– / un resto de esa gracia se ocultó en las sucesivas dimensiones desplegadas, / aquel aumento sordo de espesor y de entidad / que me permitiría ver el mundo como un mundo, luego./ Y ahora estoy pensando en esa parte que quedó indigesta, / y hay algo que me arrastra, una corriente subcutánea o algo / menos solemne acaso, al nombre que me dieron / para darme la fuerza. Taparon con un nombre
irreprochablemente israelita una mitad de mí. / ¿Qué era lo que querían, que supiera / que si quería ser más parecido a lo que fuera a ser, / iba a tener que ser distinto de eso? / Mi gracia: un trabalenguas perfectamente hebreo. / ¿Acaso se trataba de algo así como un Scrabble de la identidad, / pensaban que a su hijo le darían más puntos en la vida / por tantas zetas y esa cu y la doble ve? / Si había alguna cosa en mí que no era idéntica a sí misma, / ¿no era mejor, acaso, hacer visibles las costuras? / Si a fin de cuentas la matriz que me engendró / jamás escuchó hablar, de chica, sobre el ghetto, / ni tuvo que saber qué cosa es el exilio en carne propia / hasta que, bueno, se exilió papá. / Si además, fueron ellos los que me criaron, / los de la parte árabe, del Líbano,
católica, o católica a su modo, que borraron de mi nombre. / Ellos también tenían a su hijo en el exilio: / acaso también él estableció su alianza en el desierto, / y lo llevaron como a Elías. Pero pagó la sangre, / porque era de otro pueblo. Y el sarcoma / le recubrió la espalda como un mapa. / ¿Querían que yo fuera su Eliseo, que tomara / las dos terceras partes de su gracia? / Hasta les daba, a veces, por llamarme con su mismo apodo. / Fue demasiado para mí, un árabe imposible; / para un judío errado, un circunciso fraudulento, / que consagró su alianza en el quirófano / con el celoso dios de la fimosis / (me acuerdo lo que era, una campana henchida, / un girasol de agua si orinaba). / Fue demasiado para mí. Pensé que era mejor hacer / como con una herida que quisiera suturarse desde adentro / para dejar la cicatriz cubierta y proteger mejor / la piel. Se me rompió de todos modos. Engordé y se me rajó, / como una copa de cristal muy burdo. Se llenó de estrías, / una retícula delgada, discontinua, sobre el plano vertical / de las axilas a las nalgas, mezcla del diseño / de un árbol genealógico desnudo de su fronda / y el mapa del genoma. ¿A qué o a quién
había que culpar, a la genética, a la frágil epidermis de mamá, / o a aquella fuerza primigenia desatada, / esa dispepsia primordial que haría de la indigestión / la principal de mis pasiones? La respuesta / pugnaba por caer en saco ciego, disfrazada de un confiado
escepticismo sin objeto que, después, / demostraría ser una nesciencia temerosa, replegada / sobre su propia falta: ¿la eludía o solamente / la estaba difiriendo? No sabía que sabía. Y elegí aferrarme / a la intuición, un poco frívola y pueril, / de que mi centro geográfico, mi casa, no podían ser / el fuelle alveolar y el abanico delicado del espíritu. / Y ahora, que me quedo y que me olvido, que clavé / mi tienda con los codos y los brazos, y la cara sumergida / entre las palmas, como un cántaro que cae dado vuelta / y que se quiebra, sin saberlo, al lado de la fuente, / estoy cayendo en una edad en la que necesito / un sustituto digno para el alma: /
para ponerme en marcha, y recordar / y recordarme. Un sucedáneo digno de un prosélito / forzoso. Y el asiento de mi amor, / la sede de mi juicio, debe ser, por ende, / ese baluarte hepático, la gloria polvorienta / de mis antepasados, los que no volvieron: / el saco ponderal, la piedra hueca, / la copa sucia en la que se mezclaron.
What love does unto poets
isn’t tragic: it’s atrocious. A shameful
ruin strikes the poets seized by love,
which is indifferent to poetic preference or
identity. Love drives them to the absolute catastrophe
of sameness, the gay poets,
the bisexual poets, the pansexual poets,
the feminist or femi-not poets and poetresses,
the ones obsessed with gender
and the degenerates in equal measure, the polymorphously perverse:
even the ones who have a fetish for
the metric feet surrender at the soles of love,
which doesn’t care for ideology,
poetics, or curriculum. It sends the bards
of the ivory tower plunging directly
to the ground floor. It permits the apostles
of the Zeitgeist, who shamelessly proclaim that lyric poetry
is dead, to insist on the error
and on their own interminable sermons. It triggers palatal hemorrhage
in those who bend oblique, laconic maxims,
in the tin-can hermetics, in those who vacuum-pack
their verses, in falsifiers of silence,
in those who forge Spanish haiku
in the Italian mode. It chokes the sweet laments
of the purists of voice, and snaps the phalanxes
of those fanatical with rhythm, and shatters
the private metronome they carry near the heart
to set the pace of their lines. It adjusts the sensorium
of the clairvoyants and the damned and all the other
rebels and insurrectionaries with no poetic
cause or purpose, and cures them of the reasoned disarray
of all their senses. It drives from their dark night
those begging light for the poem
in the caverns of meaning and returns them directly
to the late show of the literal flesh. What love
does unto poets, with patience, with tenderness,
while butterflies languidly ulcerate their stomachs
and, little by little, the pancreas ceases to function,
is highly inconvenient. For those who seek, with a surgeon’s exactitude
and diligence, the perfect word, it wrecks
their pulse; instead of giving life, they crush it in their zeal.
And for those who, with ardor and devotion, pursue
an absolute within the poem, as if a grail
made out of light, translucent, terse, and feverish,
it clouds their certainties, and then the very desire
to quench their anxiety. What love
does unto poets, inadvertently,
while they sew and they sing and choke on quails, is sudden, terminal
and devastating. It is a crushing tide
of prose, which urges on and multiplies, in exponential increase,
the boors and the blockheads of poetry:
the ones who needlessly shorten their tiny lines,
those who compulsively enjamb them;
the typographical designers of verse,
and those who fracture syntax without knowing how
to twist it; the ones who rummage in the ether, searching out
unprecedented and inaudible neologisms; the modernists
without pretext; the ones who think the wheel
is reinvented within each stammering line;
the porno-poets and the damn-the-man poets;
the poets who drop names throughout
the forests of their poems, as Hansel and Gretel flung
breadcrusts; the ones who shape their empty voices to imitate
the gestures of lobotomized children;
the lovely, happy, fickle poets;
the urban tribes, the groupies of pubescent poems;
the popstar and the rockstar poets; videopoets and performers;
the UFO-poets, both flying and crawling, though well-identified;
objectivists sans object
and sans vista; those poets who insist that poems
should dress in rags, like beggars; the philosopher poets;
and the convinced practitioners
of “poetic prose.” For love,
which moves the sun and all the other poets,
it brings them to the final paroxysm: it turns them
to earth, to smoke, to shadow and to dust, et cetera:
to dust in love.
And it if it comes to be that still, among themselves,
the paired poets adoringly adore each other,
happy in their solar unscanned love,
as if they truly were for one another
a great black hole of nebulous opinions,
tacit pats on the back and comments made in passing,
like dwarves, cooling down, they are each absorbed into the other
Lo que el amor les hace a los poetas // no es trágico: es atroz. Les sobreviene / una luctuosa ruina a los poetas que el amor captura, / sin importar su orientación o identidad / poética. El amor lleva al total desastre / de la uniformidad a los poetas gay, / a los poetas pansexuales y bisiestos, / y a las poetas y poetrices feministas, fementidas o veraces; / a los obsesionados con el género / y a los degenerados por igual, y a los perversos polimorfos: / y hasta los fetichistas de los pies / del verso capitulan a las plantas del amor, / que no distingue ideología, / programa ni poética. A los vates de la torre de marfil / los precipita del penthouse ebúrneo
directo a planta baja. A los apóstoles / del Zeitgeist, que proclaman sin empacho que la lírica está muerta, / les permite insistir en el error / y en sus prolijas parrafadas. Les produce una hemorragia palatal / a los que comban parcos aforismos diagonales, / a los herméticos de lata, a los que envasan / sus versos al vacío, a los falsarios del silencio, / y a los que fraguan haikus castellanos / al itálico modo. A los puristas de la voz les corta en seco / su dulce lamentar, y a los maniáticos del ritmo / les quiebra las falanges, y estropea / el íntimo metrónomo que llevan junto al corazón / para marcar el paso de sus versos. Les compone el sensorio / a los videntes y malditos y demás / rebeldes e insurrectos sin razón ni causa / poética, y les cura el desarreglo razonado / de todos los sentidos. Desaloja de su noche oscura / a los que piden luz para el poema / en las cavernas del sentido, y los devuelve sin escalas / a la trasnoche de la carne literal. Lo que el amor / les hace a los poetas, con paciencia y mansedumbre, / mientras las mariposas lentamente les ulceran el estómago / y el páncreas poco a poco deja de funcionar, / es harto inconveniente. A los que buscan con ahínco / y precisión de cirujano la palabra justa les arruina / el pulso, y en lugar de dar la vida, la aniquilan en su afán. / Y a los que con ardor y devoción persiguen / un absoluto en el poema, como un grial / todo de luz, tirante, diáfana y febril, / les nubla las certezas, y el deseo mismo / de saciar su ansiedad. Lo que el amor / les hace a los poetas, inadvertidamente, / mientras cosen y cantan y se atoran de perdices, es agudo, terminal / y fulminante. Es un torrente arrollador / de prosa, que espolea y multiplica, en progresión exponencial, / a los zopencos y palurdos de la poesía: / a los que cortan sin razón sus versos diminutos; / a los jinetes compulsivos; / a los diseñadores tipográficos del verso; / a los que quiebran la sintaxis sin saber / torcerla; a los que escarban en el / éter a la busca de inauditos neologismos inaudibles; / a los modernos sin pretexto; a los que creen descubrir / la pólvora en sus versos balbucientes; / a los contestatarios automáticos y a los porno-poetas; / a los que sueltan grandes nombres por la densa / fronda de sus poemas, como Hansel y Gretel arrojaban / migas; a los que impostan en su voz / vacante los mohines de una infancia lobotomizada; / a los poetas bellos y felices, caprichosos; / a las tribus urbanas y los groupies de la poesía pubescente; / a los poetas pop y los rockstars del verso; a los videopoetas y performers; / a los ovni-poetas, voladores o rastreros, identificados; / a los objetivistas sin objeto / ni vista; a los que exigen que el poema / se vista de mendigo; a los filósofos poetas; / y a los cultores convencidos / de la “prosa poética”. El amor, / que mueve el sol y a los demás poetas, / los lleva hasta el postrero paroxismo: los convierte / en tierra, en humo, en sombra, en polvo, etcétera: / en polvo enamorado. / Y si resulta todavía que entre ellos / se aman amorosos los poetas pares, / felices en su amor solar sin escansión, / como si fueran en verdad el uno para el otro / un agujero negro de opiniones nebulosas, / tácitas palmaditas en la espalda y comentarios al pasar, / enanos, enfriándose, se absorben entre sí / y desaparecen.
Ezequiel Zaidenwerg was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1981. He has published one collection of poems, titled "Doxa" (Bahía Blanca: VOX, 2008). His upcoming release with the same publisher is ironically titlled "La lírica está muerta“ (Lyric Poetry Is Dead). The poet lives and works in Buenos Aires.
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Alejandro Crotto is a contemporary Argentinian poet and translator, born in Buenos Aires in 1978. He has studied Law and Literature. The poems here published, and translated by Robin Myers, were taken from his collection of poems titled "Abejas" (Bees), published by Bajo La Luna in 2009. The poet lives and works in Buenos Aires.
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Marília Garcia is a poet, editor, translator and professor, born in Rio de Janeiro in 1979.
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listen to tracks.
Cia Rinne works with visual, textual, sound and conceptual poetry
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Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai is a Chinese Taiwanese American spoken word artist.
Normoyle is an artist and musician working with vocal techniques for both performance and installation
CAConrad is a recipient of the 2011 Pew Fellowship in the Arts, and the 2009 Gil Ott Book Award
oOoOO is the moniker of San Francisco-based producer and composer Chris Dexter Greenspan
Pamela Z is a San Francisco-based composer/performer and media artist who works primarily with voice, live electronic processing, sampling technology, and video.
Wolfgang Müller is one of the founding members of the Berlin-based multimedia group of interventionists Die Tödliche Doris. Throughout the years 1980-1987, Die Tödliche Doris (The Deadly Doris) became legendary in the West Berlin underground music/art scene and abroad.
Berlin-based musician Steven Warwick aka Heatsick is also known as one half of the duo Birds of Delay.
Leila Peacock's approach in all her work is characterized by the term 'knight's-move thinking'.
Néle Azevedo is a Brazilian visual artist who works with video, installation and urban interventions.
Brian Kenny is an American visual artist who works across drawing, painting, sculpture, text, sound, video and blogging.
Jörg Brüggemann is a German photographer, born in Herne in 1979. He studied Media and Graphic Design in Art Universities of Bremen and Buenos Aires.
Florian Pühs is a German musician, singer and producer, born in 1986.
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James Blake is a British producer born in 1989 who has lately enraptured the music world with a couple of releases.
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Exclusive interview with Jules Gimbrone - Brooklyn based composer, performer and artist who leads the music ensemble, ARIA ORION.
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Ezequiel Zaidenwerg was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1981. He has published one collection of poems, titled "Doxa" (Bahía Blanca: VOX, 2008).
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Elina Brotherus is a photographer and video artist, born in Helsinki, Finland, in 1972.
Interview with American novelist and poet Dennis Cooper.
Photographer Walter Pfeiffer has been producing work since the 1970s.
Terence Koh is a Canadian artist who creates handmade books and zines, prints, photographs, sculptures, performances, and installations.
Lesley Flanigan is a New York-based sound sculptor, composer, vocalist, and performer.
Belgian author Antoine Wauters reads his series "Debout sur la langue" (2008).
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Walmor Corrêa was born in Brazil in 1961. His visual work has been shown in museums around the world.
Read Ulf Stolterfoht's LINGOS I - IX translated from the German by American poet Rosmarie Waldrop.
Niklas Goldbach is a video artist who lives and works in Berlin, Germany.
Nils Linscheidt is a visual artist and filmmaker who founded the collective MAINULL3.
American photographer Wheat Würtzburger has had exhibitions in Florida, New Jersey, New York, and the Netherlands.
Ann Cotten is an Austrian poet, born in Iowa, United States in 1982.
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Barbara Panther is a composer and lyricist from Brussels, Belgium.
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Constantin Hartenstein's videos have been shown in Cologne, Prague, at the Herzliya Bienal Israel, Warsaw.
Bevin Kelley aka Blevin Blectum is an eletronic musician. She is one half of the recently resuscitated digital duo 'blectum from blechdom' (with Kevin Blechdom).
Nathalie Quintane is french a writer and poet working with video and sound in her performances.
Adelaide Ivánova has published photographs in a variety of magazines such as i-D and Colors.
Levi van Veluw is a visual artist born in the Netherlands.
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British artist Robert Storey studied Fine Art in Central Saint Martins. He lives and works in London.
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Heidi Mortenson is a musician, performer and producer, who makes electronic music and performs as a onewomanband.
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Sigurdur Gudjonsson is a visual artist from Iceland, working primarily with video and photography for his installations.
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Janaina Tschäpe is a visual artist working with video and photography for her installations.
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Damien Spleeters is a poet, writer and videomaker from Brussels, Belgium.
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Brenda Hillman is an American poet, born in Tucson, Arizona.
Nelly Larguier is a sound artist/poet from Paris, France.
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Daavid Mörtl's work has been included in several exhibitions, he has worked commercially on storyboards for short films and illustrated plans for art installations.
Mary Mattingly is an American visual artist living and working in New York.
Ricardo Domeneck is a writer, multimedia poet and video artist born in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
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Anat Ben-David is a video and performance artist, working and living in London since 1999.
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Mikko Rantanen is a graphic artist born in Finland. His work has been featured in numerous publications including Creative Review, The Guardian and IdN.
Catriona Shaw is a visual artist born in Edinburgh, Scotland, also known as Miss le Bomb.
Brett Lloyd aka Bretty Boy Lloyd is a London-based photographer.
Léopold Rabus is a painter born in 1977 in Neuchåtel, Switzerland.
Dionís Escorsa is a spanish visual artist who concentrates on video.
Lenka Clayton works as an artist and documentary maker and more often in the area inbetween.
Susanne Buerner is concerned with the vocabulary of suspense, and, mostly, its emotional response for the spectator, in her videos and photographic work.
Pierre Debroux's photography and video work investigate the relationships between our personal remembrances and a sense of communal memory.
Amanda Stewart is a poet, visual artist, performing vocalist and author.
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Tetine are have created a multitude of music & performance works from spoken word to electronica, including ritualistic performances, films and video.
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Ben Van Wyke translates from the Spanish and Portuguese and is currently pursuing a PhD in translation studies at Binghamton University.
Joerg Piringer is a sound poet, born in Austria, currently living and working in Vienna
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Jill Magi is the author of Threads (Futurepoem Books), a hybrid book of collage, poetry, and prose.
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Bruna Kazinoti has published photos in various magazines such as Dazed & Confused, Slurp, Sleek, Kink, Neo2, Dong, Style and Pig.
Maja Ratkje is a composer of orchestral and electroacoustic works, an opera performer and experimental improvising artist.
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Sascha Ring aka Apparat, a trained drummer, regards moving to Berlin as one of his best decisions. Since 1999 he has been running the record label Shitkatapult with T.Raumschmiere.
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Digital artist Robert Hodgin works with Processing and Cinder (The Barbarian Group’s C++ framework).
Pablo León de la Barra is an artist and curator. Born in Mexico City,he has lived and worked in London for the past 9 years.
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Philip Guichard aka Phiiliip has released three albums: Pet Cancer, Divided by Lightning and Magically Bad, counting with collaborations from Avenue D and Soft Pink Truth, for example.
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Eduard Escoffet lives and works in Barcelona. His work encompasses various forms of poetry: sound, visual and textual poetry, and performance.
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Dimitri Rebello aka Dimitri BR is a singer and composer working solo and with the band 3a1, also formed by Achilles Chirol, Silvia Rebello, Fernando Puga.
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Gert-Jan Akerboom pieces together parts of pre-existing images and cultural fragments in order to create something completely new in his works.
Poet and writer Angélica Freitas lives and works in Pelotas.
Artist Pablo Gonçalo lives and works in Brasilia.
Silvana Franzetti lives and works in Buenos Aires.
Artist Eli Sudbrack aka assume vivid astro focus lives and works in New York.
Dean Sameshima lives and works in Los Angeles.