Ana Božičević

Ana Božičević was born in Zagreb, Croatia in 1977. She emigrated to NYC in 1997. Her first book of poems is Stars of the Night Commute (Tarpaulin Sky Press, November 2009), a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Her fifth chapbook, Depth Hoar, will be published by Cinematheque Press in 2010. With Amy King, Ana co-curates The Stain of Poetry reading series in Brooklyn, and is co-editing an anthology, The Urban Poetic, forthcoming from Factory School. She works at the Center for the Humanities of The Graduate Center, CUNY. For more, visit nightcommute.org.

What is (or has been) your favorite editing project and why?

Though I’ve worked on print & online editorial projects (the e-journal RealPoetik, the anthology Urban Poetic Amy King and I are slowly chipping away at), my favorite editing project has been and is in a 3D medium: co-curating (again with Amy) the Stain of Poetry reading series in Brooklyn. Amy started the reading series in 2006 under the auspices of MiPoesias, and when in 2008 she resigned as editor-in-chief from that magazine, she asked me to join her as the readings’ co-curator. The readings were at that time taking place at Stain Bar in Brooklyn, and I loved everything about the place: just a little bit off the map of hip, worn and airy & local-arts-and-craftsy, with a great wine & beer & cream soda selection and a beat up old piano by the garden door. For a while the toilet was right by the stage, which made for interesting pauses between poems. Stain Bar closed due to rising rent-waters, and we’ve been, as some American parents would say, blessed to find a magical successor: the cave of wonders that is Goodbye Blue Monday, a loft-like concatenation of bistro tables, a wine-and-sake-lemonade bar, hundreds of little lights and books and tchochke, basically what Alice saw as she fell down the rabbit hole. You should come see it for yourself. And take a peek here.

I work in words, but sometimes I suffer from a lexophobia of sorts, when written words just trip me up, stand between me and the poem. Meeting a real live stranger poet & hearing them say their words is often the bridge I need, the cue that makes me thirst to seek out & see through those squiggles on the page. Not to mention the blushing privilege of meeting poets I admire. When I write I read my poems out loud over and over, and hearing how others’ poems sound is the quickest way of absorbing how they work, under the eyelid and into the synapses. Helping mix and match Stain lineups, feeling my way into the poets’ work and imagining how they would shine and bounce against one another – well, that’s the kind of champagne I look forward to. I really do love being in a position to give good work a chance to be heard, and I love to come into such immediate contact with it, it’s an honor, no shit. Yes, I’ll admit it, curating makes me feel good and good about myself: and boy, that combo is hard to come by.

About Mayakovsky

I’m older. I’m waiting to care less.
Cheat on my kids
with dead people. I’ll tell you straight up:
you don’t get to talk about Mayakovsky:
take that skateboard and go back to the suburbs. And talk about them.

They’re luminous. Big baby,
I hope going forward there will be consequences.
I hope to thin into that era when female people
like me were given hooves & the strength to pull the field over
their stepson, like a blanket. Without kitsch I’m called witch & turn
white stone in a fern forest. Not having been “finished,”
I use the implements of housework
for miracles. Grow the darning needle
into a mast, rag into sail. And having

no husband or boy-child to save from the court of the Sea-King, start!
In search of pale-from-overmention, recycled semblable –
& find her: seaweed-bush, hot

blabla… How can I protect her from
her body from not writing about me from my own lack
of trust in that trust bears apples?

By divorcing
Mayakovsky. Divorce
sadness as a substitute for sex,
the weight-of-forest male lard, marbleized tears
banging hard against my torso, that whole mystery of!
Sure you can talk about him. Have him. He’s more you than he’s me now, I’m

that white herd of cows
gliding like brides
to the small green island in the middle.

Sometimes I’m full of water, like of spirit
even as my passenger’s drowning – and before Xmas

there was a day or two when I was almost
someone who even sometimes reads:
a person with interests. Even if fake:

in truth, dissing Mayakovsky, brother,
as much as I do now – it hurts me…

Sometimes I’m a stone half in half out of water,
green above and fire beneath. But really

what I’m trying here’s to care less
so I’d care more, like when I was bride of Mayakovsky
like when I loved the one who was the bride of Mayakovsky

like the time when to read and write
was an offense punishable by death
and taking it or leaving it was death,

and so we did.

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