By Heather Cook
On Friday (3/11), Rust Belt Books (415 Grant Street) will host Lauren Shufran to present a thought-provoking and apt reading, at 8pm. There will be a conversation to follow on: the animal-human, poetics of the body, translation, queering homophobia, and historicizing islamophobia. Lauren Shufran helps us grapple with these topics through meter in poetry that explores analogies of terrorism and homosexuality. Lauren Shufran’s first book, Inter Arma, published in 2103 by Fence Books, won the Motherwell Prize. The title “Inter Arma” is loosely translated as “in times of war the law falls silent.”
In metrically-focused poems, military chants, and internalized rhythms, Lauren Shufran takes her reader on a journey through a boot-camp of sorts in order to explore the context of our military and the position it has put us in. It illuminates the notion and impact of submission, domination, and hazing within training and missions in which heroes and villains are sodomized and lionized, penetrated and perpetuated. Enjoy this passage, from her book synapses on Goodreads:
From “Afterwards They Photographed my Veteran Face, f/4 at 500”:
The aperture where pussyfooting loses depth
Of field like summary exposures. Doubt-
Ful of my fealty I’d procured a honey who
Was made of honey-indicators: form
In cock and crockery. I souse his dish with glaze
To make it lachrymose and vitreous,
Get myriad shaft fractures in his forearms and
His saucers, and high incidences of
Throw-Downer’s Sprain from over-wedging. I put the
Clay up on the wheel; I make a hole there.
Recently, in this time of increased terrorism and military, there has been much discourse around the disregard of citzens’ rights, and so it is a very interesting time to reflect upon what matters. Come out for an interesting, metrical reading and discussion on said topics.
Lauren Shufran received an MA in English and MFA in poetry from San Francisco State University and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of California at Santa Cruz, where she studies Renaissance lyric and religious enthusiasm in seventeenth-century England. This is her first full-length book.