We've launched our last chapbook series this week and asked curator, T Kira Madden, what her thoughts are on her authors.
We magicians (yes, literal magicians) often use the term misdirection to describe the act of distracting our audience from the trick at hand. Some can do this with speech, or “patter,” engaging the audience in a conversation that shifts the attention to the weather, a detail, a joke. Others use a sleight of hand, of course. Your eyes may be fixed on the cup, but the ball is still palmed, warm, unmoved. It’s exactly where you left it, yet, somehow, following the act itself, everything about it has changed.
These four writers and artists—Justine Champine, Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, Karissa Chen, and Dennis Norris II—have all mastered the art of misdirection. What I mean to say is that there are miles and oceans behind moments that may seem simple, quiet, even sweet. Over the years, I have found myself reading and rereading their works, flipping the pages, laughing, only to be stunned by the end. I’ve been changed and broken by them. I’ve been healed. I’ve been curled up in the fantastic space between reality and the divine—the space that only the best art (and magic tricks) can show you—the space that leaves you, spectator, with one question: How did they do that?
All four of these chapbooks will drop you off in other spaces, indeed. Justine Champine weaves wicked fairytales and illustrations that take us as far as the moon, and as close as the uneasy, male-centric dinner party you so desperately wanted to leave. Rowan Hisayo Buchanan offers a tender investigation of happiness, the way the word feels on the mouth, and the unexpected places it can be found. Karissa Chen renders an elegiac and informative meditation on the power of a name and the moments in which we most feel like ourselves. Finally, Dennis Norris II delivers a collection of queer short stories that read like a gospel, a prayer, like words that crackle and ignite and transform themselves with every consecutive read.
How did they do that?
Take your time. I promise, you won’t figure it out.
Stay tuned this week and next as Justine Champine's feature plays out. On 2/7/18, we will switch to Dennis Norris II. On 2/22/18, we will switch to Karissa Chen. And on 3/7/18, we will switch one last time to Rowan Hisayo Buchanan. To order the whole series, follow the link below.