Recuperation: Bombay Gin 40th Anniversary Release Party, March 6, 2014

By Jaclyn Hawkins

The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics is in the midst of a celebration—we have arrived at our 40th year anniversary as an institution for writers, a home comprised of words, a school situated in the flood plains of Boulder that seeks “Recuperation” after September’s gushing rains and have found such within this year’s Bombay Gin.

The release party for the 40th issue of our school’s student-led literary journal was one of thankfulness, recuperation, and remembrance of Naropa’s beloved Anselm Hollo, who passed in January 2013. Angel Dominguez, senior editor of Bombay Gin, opened the evening with a “bundling of photons, the forming of rhizome, the becoming of a community above the chaos,” and a recalling of Anselm’s words in the playing of “Three Letters to the New Century,” a lecture given at Naropa in April of 2001. Few eyes remained dry throughout the room.

Aurora Smith found recuperation in the winding roads of a former lover, a bottle of Malbec on Christmas, and taking the guardrails with us in the search for reconciliation. Heather VandeRiet found recuperation in the reading of her father’s poem, written forty years ago, in which we traveled inner space, burning our hands, and hung up between past and future and the unsureness of where we left our memory. Jennifer Van Alstyne read from her working collection on Hurricane Sandy, seeking recuperation in the blackouts of a city, traveling “Up the Coast,” the hauntingly beautiful coast of the dead, and also, sharks. Brandon Petty found recuperation in his typewriter, the late nights that lend towards poetry of Kentucky homelands and the trajectory to Colorado.

Eric Fischman lent us laughter in the telling of his translation course with Anselm; “I was trying to come up with a word other than slave or servant, but someone you get to do things for you. Anselm exclaims, ‘a pawn! A pawn! It’s a pawn!’” He shares with us a learned secret: “drink your food and eat your water,” and found recuperation in the eating of a pomegranate seed. Jenifer Dorsey offered recuperation in her twelve glimpses throughout the country, uncovering the restlessness in searching for home, finding the land of memories in the rear view mirror. Hannah Kezema taught us waiting, and found recuperation in just wanting to love everyone, in glassy forms of night, and asking, “are we changed?” Janelle Fine didn’t see the self in dresses, found recuperation in dressing up not in a dress, and let things look back in a way that made us want to do the same. Mark DuCharme ended our evening with remembrance of Anselm, asking if the dead need poetry, reminding us that this planet is not a shadow, constructing a story of our futures and leaving out our deaths.

Congratulations to those students and staff whose hard work provided us a collection of recuperative texts and a lovely 40th anniversary issue of Bombay Gin.

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Jaclyn Hawkins is an MFA candidate at the Jack Kerouac School at Naropa University. On the verge of entering her thesis semester, she is seeking to archive decay through documentary poetry and map the genre of Ecopoetics.