My stepfather, James Kestell, passed away yesterday morning. He died with his son, nephew, and my two brothers as witnesses. Thinking about his passage onwards, my mind can’t help but recall some of the landscapes I wandered through last winter–in Iceland outside Reykjavik and along the mouth of the Snaefell peninsula, and in the arctic mountain plains outside of Tromso, Norway.

The intense saturation of blue at the cusp of the long nightfall holds the sky with a heavy physicality. The horizon disappears, and distances recede into you with profound intimacy. These landscapes helped me emit an immense grief. The endless wind that poured over the Atlantic and rolled across these icy plains simply pulled grief out of me, letting it roll with pale tendrils across white and blue reaches into un-nameability. Into far span, into farewell and soft light. I was called back into my humanity by my encounter with these severe landscapes. Maybe you will be, too.

Mountain plain in the west fjords of Iceland

Flateyri, West Fjords of Iceland

Flateyri, West Fjords Iceland Flateyri, West fjords of Iceland Southern Iceland




I’m really honored to be included in this excellent boundary2 collection interrogating race and social difference, edited by Dawn Lundy Martin. This cohort of writers/thinkers has radically shaped my own sense of poetics. My work in this collection examines the psychological effect of globalized geopolitics: I write through the annual spring “Joint Military Exercises” held by South Korea and the US Government in which they “pretend” to siege North Korea. The journal is behind a paywall, but you can order print copies if you don’t have scholarly access. Click on the image to go to Duke University’s (the publisher) website for the journal. 

Other contributors include Douglas Kearney, Ronaldo Wilson, Claudia Rankine, Beth Loffreda, Cathy Hong, Bhanu Jacasta Kapil, Tonya M. Foster, Shane McRae, Hoa Nguyen, John Keene, Evie Shockley, Daniel Borzutzky,Vanessa Place, Fred Moten, Lauren Russell, Farid Matuk, Daniel Tiffany,Duriel Estelle Harris, Prageeta Sharma, Jayson Smith, Simone White, Lucas de Lima, Tyrone Williams, Erica Hunt, Zhihui Ang, Lindsay Waters, Eli Friedlander, and Joseph Massad.

Lastly, just wanted to note that the cover image was created by Ronaldo Wilson!


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