other ways of seeing: the poetics and politics of refraction

For three months, I am excited to be writing for Jacket2 on “Other Ways of Seeing: The Poetics and Politics of Refraction.” I wanted to write this series as a way to deepen my exploration of certain works of art that have come to preoccupy me, while thinking about a topic I find compelling. The first and second articles are already up, and I’ll be posting new ones each week. Artists whose work I will explore: Christine Sun Kim, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Cybele Lyle, Kara Walker, M. NourbeSe Philip, Francesca Capone.

A description of my series: “In renaming the world anew, poets and artists engage in acts of “translation” that are intentionally askew. What truths and beauties are revealed in such blurry distortions of our world, and what is at stake in this moment of refraction for poets and artists from the margins? While we are familiar with Dickinson’s dictate Tell all the truth but tell it slant, I explore these angles through the lens of visual and mixed media—artwork that function as poems in miraculous ways—with the belief that they shed light on the poetics of language by manifesting it viscerally and tangibly. Simultaneously, I take the study of refraction further by examining how oblique renderings of status-quo notions urge the audience to inhabit non-dominant spaces of perception that challenge the terms of their reality. These artists demonstrate how refractive poetries invoke alternative or marginal perspectives, constructing new meaning by moving beyond normalized ways of experiencing the world.”

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