My attitude towards my own creativity is entwined with my personal history and the cultural scene enveloping the years in which I grew to accept and define myself as a writer and performer—the late 1970s and early ‘80s. This historical moment is written into my psyche the way the words of their crimes are inscribed into the flesh of the prisoners in Kafka’s short story “In the Penal Colony.” It was the ultimate era of conservatism and selfishness on the one—generally accepted and publicized—hand, and then it was—for me and the people with whom I was closest at the time—through punk rock, attending university, and the San Francisco music and art scene, the most necessarily renegade and resistant of eras. The latter half of the 1980s and the ‘90s saw the attitudes of these two disparate cultures merge somewhat into a new “independent” movement—especially in music—that can either be interpreted…
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After much nomadism, I have come to consider place to be less of a geographical reality and more of an illusion of significance associated with our troubled concept of identity. Frankly, too many people reside out of place for nationality, language, culture, or race (another outmoded and imaginary concept according to geneticists) to be as significant and we believe them to be. Notice the pause, the hesitation when you ask someone, “Where are you from?” What information do you expect to extract? A self-proclamation for your profiling? I have come to believe that a free, unafraid human being lives beyond place’s strict confines or its conformity to a nationalist, a racist, or a demographic ideal.
My book of fiction, Sojourner, collects 19 poems, 7 short stories, 6 prose poems, and 7 non-narrative prose pieces, each exploring the mysteries of their characters’ relationship to place: house hunting, traveling, running away, returning…
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SACI’s Creative Writing instructor, Lee Foust, read and performed his spoken word live at SACI last week. If you missed it, you can still listen to his musical readings, but you will have to use your imagination for his charming presence and performance.
Click here to access a free, downloadable aural companion to his recently published collection of words exploring the mystery of place, travel, homelands, and escape.
And here you can listen to and read Lee’s A Polish Wedding – Zwariowany Kapelusznik:
For Jeff & Karolina — but also for Magdalena, Chris, and Anna. “When you live in a place, you must eat the bread of its people.” – Jeff Gburek
Will the Mad Hatnik ever relinquish his hoary grip on our hearts? He is a fickle fiend who desires his own undoing above all other enterprises. He met the Devil at the crossroads —
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