New landscape poem in Opt West

The inaugural issue of Opt West, a new literary and arts magazine edited by Colleen Sabaka, is out now, with a new landscape poem of mine included. The issue features poems and art from Benjamin Socolofsky, Nancy Mungcal, Jason Engelund, Thomas Piekarski, Jessica Valderrama, Alistair McCartney, Harsimran Juneja, Cole Beaune, Sarah Eckstine, Swagatika Sarangi, and others. I’m a particular fan of Douglas Piccinnini‘s piece, “[A clearing with grass],” with its long lines that allow the logic of the short poem to slide from a seemingly clear image into something merely possible, but there’s tons of great work here.

My poem, “February 10 (richting Den Haag),” derives from fieldwork I undertook in South Holland during my SFC Saltire Scheme Research Exchange with TU Delft and the Chair of Methods of Analysis and Imagination. The piece functions as an oblique record of walking practice and landscape study, and fits within a larger body of work I have been pursuing through my thesis related to lyric texts with concerns for spatiality and place. I am particularly happy to see this piece appear, though, since it is a direct outcome of my research exchange to Delft, and, I believe it opens lines to the work I’ve been trying to do since and hope to continue pursuing as I go further with my creative research.

It’s also, of course, always a surprise to see a piece I have written in conversation with a piece of art I hadn’t previously known. I’m actually thrilled to see Devis Bergantin‘s Where I didn’t see you on the facing page from my piece, for how it illuminates a landscape in strong, electric contrasts. This is a feeling I’d like to see in my landscape texts, which I don’t think always comes through, but all the better to discover it in this facing image. Though I didn’t know Bergantin’s work before, I will be happily following along for the future.

It takes courage, time, money, labor, and a host of other things to get a new magazine off the ground, and I can’t thank Colleen Sabaka enough, not only for selecting my poem for this inaugural issue, but also for the act of generosity and vision that went into making the publication possible as a whole. I think this first issue is a gorgeous representation of what independent publishing can be today. If you’d like to order a copy, please do check out the Opt West shop.

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