J Wang


J. Wang is a writer, artist, and musician based out of planet earth. Her writings on literature, art, film, music, theory, politics, and culture can be read on her blog Ballerinas Dance with Machine Guns. Email her at loneberry (at) gmail (dot) com.

On Fandom and Aliens Remaking the World

I am interested in the concept of fandom. Do you have a “fan” kind of relationship with the things you love? I feel like I have a very fan kind of relationship with the things I like, even if the people who make them are “nobodies” to society. I am a fan of random people, people who make beautiful things, people that have what I call the 6th sense—which is a special kind of perception, a special way of seeing or knowing. For example, Bhanu Kapil. I have a list of suspected “aliens”—passionate people that possess certain qualities. Bhanu is on it. Eileen Myles is on it too—I could listen to her talk all day because it’s always like wandering through a very fascinating and specific brain. I guess I don’t understand casual people—people that get enough sleep, people that are regular (as in consistent), people that find it easy to make new friends….

The epic poem that I wrote recently was about trying to find the lost aliens of planet earth, crisscrossing the country on foot in search of the other alien beings. Actually, most of the poem is about obsessively trying to escape through a crack in the sky until I am told by Tupac, who lives in the kingdom in the sky, that I should not try to ascend but should focus on my world—on “this worldliness.” That’s when I start trying to find the lost ones. I chose Tupac because my brothers and I were such big fans as children, and still to this day I think of him as a dynamic figure—tough and sensitive with radical and intellectual tendencies. So Tupac tells me I’ve got it all wrong. He encourages me to redirect my vision. I listened. I stumble upon a mysterious post office in Wyoming that has rows and rows of open postal boxes and I leave letters in the mailboxes knowing that the lost aliens of planet earth are the ones who will reply. We find each other and sing a note real loud and blast all of the beings that are ready to make the new world into the sky. As I am ascending Bjork is below me wearing a big dress while looking at me with tears in her eyes because she is so moved (I was a very big fan of Bjork growing up). One by one, we cross over into a crack that opens in the sky.

Behind the Scenes & Craft Notes & Random / 11 Comments
March 8th, 2011 / 7:43 pm

Al Burian US reading tour

I recently caught up with Al Burian in Berlin to record a podcast and I realized that I should let all of you know that you should not pass up the chance to see Al Burian read if he is rolling through your city on his upcoming reading tour. Seriously. I’ve seen him read several times and he’s always delivered. Tell him Jackie sent you.


BURN COLLECTOR #15 will be out in March, published by Microcosm.


March will also see the release of OK, OK, You Smote Me, a short story in zine format, available exclusively from Quimby’s bookstore of Chicago.


March 12 Bookthugnation, Brooklyn NY
March 13 Molly’s Book Store, Philadelphia PA
March 15 Towson University, (near Baltimore) MD
March 17 Sugar City, Buffalo NY
March 22 Quimbys, Chicago IL
March 25 Chicago Zine Fest

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March 8th, 2011 / 4:36 pm

On hand jobs, AWP, the internet, truck drivers, and embodied living


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February 13th, 2011 / 8:29 pm

Belladonna * at AWP!

I’m overwhelmed by how jam-packed with goodness AWP is this year! Belladonna * are going to have some pretty amazing events, which you all should attend! Here are the details:

Belladonna * is part of Table X at the conference bookfair:
ROW I1 – I11 and I28 – I36


Friday, February 4, 2011; 4 – 6 pm
A Walking Poem Against Censorship
JOIN US for a march & speak-out against the silencing of voices that want & need to be heard and a celebration of voices, of our voices, of your voices. Bring signs, texts, images, costumes!
Location: GATHER outside Marriott Wardman Park Hotel (conference hotel) on corner of Connecticut Ave & Woodley Road NW, Washington DC.
MARCH on Connecticut Ave to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Monument at M Street NW for SPEAK-OUT, reading, breaking of silences.

Friday, February 4, 2011; 6:30 pm
Reading and Conversation with Bhanu Kapil, Eileen Myles, & Vanessa Place
The first of four Belladonna* Collaborative PROSE EVENTS: a reading and conversation with prose writers who write at the intersection of fiction and the essay, producing texts that are urgent and often unclassifiable.
Limited edition chaplets available!
Hamiltonian Gallery;1353 U Street, Suite 101; Washington DC
Directions: Half block away from U Street / Cardozo Metro stop at 13th St. Take the Red Line from Woodley Park, transfer over to green line at Chinatown/Gallery Place, and get off at U Street. Or a 15 minute cab from AWP.

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January 31st, 2011 / 3:04 pm


Bone Bouquet

In the poem “Uncle B’s Drive-in, Granbury TX,” Kara Dorris writes: “My bra strap slips off a shoulder / the body a cracked egg.” When thinking of Bone Bouquet, a journal of poetry by women, I keep coming back to the line about the cracked egg—thinking of poetry as cracking an egg, of the egg as a body, the body breaking, poetry… a leaking body.

Another poem in the book—“Tract, Tract” by Emily Skillings—reads:

Every body is a leaking body
Some practices try to control the leaking
but the leaking is too strong
with its five ancillary roots
reaching to the great estuary.
I know because the practices are in my body
much like the leaking.
The attempt to control the body
and the leaking
is sometimes pleasurable,
always futile.

In a post on the Pank Blog, Elaine Castillo wrote, “Refusal to write through it. Refusal to be cured by writing. This mud hole, writing will not drag me from. This wound, writing will not cauterize.”

On one hand, there is the writer-doctor, the one who sutures the wounds, who masters the wildness with words (“The attempt to control the body”). And then there is the leaky blood-poet, the woman who unapologetically spills her blood all over the page, who rubs her cracked egg into paper and offers it up as a poem. Bone Bouquet seems to prioritize the latter.

There is a reaching quality to the poems, a yearning for something beyond The Word, scattered silence meant to open up space for listening. In Arielle Greenberg’s poem, words are liked black coals coughed up by the body, substitutes for The Unutterable yet still, they burn.

Volume 2, Issue 1 features poems by Carolyn Guinzio,
 Emily Skillings,
 Jennifer H. Fortin,
 Leigh Stein, 
Dawn Pendergast, 
Arielle Greenberg, 
Claire Hero, 
Becca Klaver,
 Jennifer Firestone,
 Tamiko Beyer,
 Kara Dorris, and 
Dana Teen Lomax. The issue can be purchased here.

January 25th, 2011 / 8:58 pm

The expurgation of the clitoris in the diary of Anne Frank

While we’re on the topic of the modification of Huck Finn, here’s something interesting posted on the Give a Fig (Les Figues Press) blog:

The effacement of the clitoris extends even to Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl. When the unabridged edition of the diaries were released in 1995, the 50th anniversary of her death, they included the previously deleted passages that contained some of Anne’s negative remarks about her housemates and parents as well as a lengthy entry from March 24, 1944 in which she describes her vulva, clitoris, and vagina from the perspective of her own fifteen year old gaze:

“…Until I was eleven or twelve, I didn’t realize there was a second set of labia on the inside, since you couldn’t see them. What’s even funnier is that I thought urine came out of the clitoris…When you’re standing up, all you see from the front is hair. Between your legs there are two soft, cushiony things, also covered with hair, which press together when you’re standing, so you can’t see what’s inside. They separate when you sit down and they’re very red and quite fleshy on the inside. In the upper part, between the outer labia, there’s a fold of skin that, on second thought, looks like a kind of blister. That’s the clitoris…”


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January 19th, 2011 / 2:07 am

Bhanu Kapil

I am getting better at laying the meshes down on the riverbank, without feeling that I have to explain to my students how rivers begin, which is all lies anyway.  Young river, old river, my ass.  We studied that in Geography but the girls who went on to do it for A Level said that when they got there, they were told, straight off, that rivers, in and of themselves, don’t age.  That the young river thing makes the force of time comprehensible in the absence of a true geology curriculum.  Reading Winnicott on deep play, and still dazzled from seeing Lynda Barry lecture on creativity last week, I understand that I have to avoid the tendency to tell my students what is what before they begin.  I have to let them begin.  I have to make enough room for a person to go a little wild, in the first stages of a process, something that universities generally curtail.

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January 18th, 2011 / 2:45 am

“Writing has never been capitalism’s thing. Capitalism is profoundly illiterate.” —Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-Oedipus

The Adventures of Bluey and the Childhood Writings of Paul Bowles

“Drugs, bigamy, desertion, lawsuits, the plague: these are hardly the elements one expects to find in the writings of a nine year old.”
—Christopher Sawyer-Lauçanno, biographer of Paul Bowles

When Paul Bowles was 9 years old, he created a diary that documented the adventures and pitfalls of imaginary characters who went on wild journeys and were continually surrounded by death, disease, chaos, and crisis—all of which were conveyed by little Paul in a tone that is eerily mute, terse, and affectively stunted while also being intellectually sophisticated and highly developed in terms of narrative. The 3rd person diary entries have a strange and disturbing quality to them—we immediately pick up on Paul’s obsessive preoccupation with names (characters, places), numbers, measurements, etc. In the entries, Paul invented, among other things, a drug called “postage hypodermic” and a plague called the “Green Horror” (“Marshelle gets Green Horror. Marshelle dies of Green Horror…. Dukol Whitman dies of Green Horror….”). We also get a sense of the way he was trying to emulate the adult world and—in doing so—revealed its utter absurdity. I can’t get over how evocative and fascinating Paul’s childhood writings are—and to think that he had to pen them in secrecy, fearing the disapproval of his father, who once beat him and took his journals away for 2 months when he was caught scribbling.

Below the cut is a brief excerpt from Paul’s childhood narrative, which consists of over 450 entries in total. This particular passage, which was published by surrealist literary magazine View, deals with the mishaps of Bluey Laber Dozlen, who travels to Wen Kroy (“New York” spelled backward) from an unknown European city.

Behind the Scenes & Craft Notes & Random / 19 Comments
January 7th, 2011 / 2:16 pm

the virtual world’s logical phallacies


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December 25th, 2010 / 3:44 am