Literary Journal Spotlight: Breach
1) How did Breach begin? What is the journal's mission? Why did you choose the name "Breach?"
Breach began a few years ago when the poet Gabe Gomez and I began to correspond over the presence/absence of innovative Latin@ writing in the wider world of innovative literature. Gabe and I decided to begin a press to publish the broader spectrum of Latin@ letters; the following year we, as Breach, organized two panels on innovative Latin@ writing (featuring Rosa Alcala, Carmen Gimenez-Smith, Roberto Tejada, Gabe, and myself) and we published a handmade chapbook featuring these writers. Gabe and I chose the name Breach because it alludes to intervention, transgression and, more positively, as an opening: this is to say, an intervention into how Latin@ letters are conceived and into the broader culture of poetics (the LaChiPo collaboration/manifesto is all about this).
This issue of Breach is a co-publication with Latino Poetry Review: Francisco Aragon, wonderful poet and LPR's editor, is publishing an essay/preface on the LaChiPo collaboration and the forthcoming issue of LPR will feature more art objects from the collaborative work. I want to say a few words about LaChiPo, as I think the focus should be on this great online community—LaChiPo began in 2009 with poet Carmen Gimenez Smith cultivating an online forum for Latin@s to dialogue about the state of being Latin@ and the literary world we inhabit as ethnic minorities. The artists featured in the collaboration are all a part of the group. This collaborative manifesto grew from one of the many questions posed on the site about how Latin@s are received in their creative works. This past Fall I proposed that we collaborate on an “exquisite corpse” like manifesto to respond to this foundational question: what is the current state of Latin@ letters (in relation to Latin@s and the broader literary world)—over a number of months these writings were made in response to the question and each other (all props to the LaChiPo crew for their beautiful work).
2) Can you tell us about Breach's past and future projects?
As far as future projects for Breach, I’m looking forward to publishing more chapbooks/art objects by Latin@ artists who are pushing the boundaries of identity and genre: John-Michael Rivera and two other artists have forthcoming work in Winter of 2010.
An excerpt from the introduction to the current issue of Breach, "LaChiPo: a Decolonial Poetics," by J. Michael Martinez:
What is the current state of U.S. Latin@ letters? What about this fluxing imaginative constitutes our shared social practices? Toward what are we shifting this imaginative that constitutes the Latin@?
Thus began LaChiPo’s collaborative manifesto regarding the fluxing imaginary of US Latin@ letters. Through the late autumn days of dust and leaf a distinct non-state of Latin@ aesthetics manifested: not one single vision or imaginary of Latin@ poetics dominates the responses; rather, what is agreed upon by the participants is that no homogeneous articulation encapsulates our pluralized racial subjectivities. What is agreed upon is the call for the Latin@’s “poetic self to be an actor in the making of history” (Tejada, LaChiPo: Strategic Dissolutions of Identity).
In LaChiPo, Latin@ poetics is a field of collective imagination, a communal identity energized by contraries, white ash & black flame love-wed in irresolvable difference. Theorists like Walter Mignolo and Emma Perez mark this conscious wedding of irresolvable difference (historically, epistemologically, ontologically) as signs of decoloniality; other theorists, like Damian Baca and Gloria Anzaldua, identify this state with Nepantlisma:
an Aztec word meaning torn between ways, la mestiza is a product of the transfer of the cultural and spiritual values of one group to another. Being tricultural,, monolingual, bilingual, or multilingual, speaking a patois, and in a state of perpetual transition, the mestiza faces the dilemma of the mixed breed: what collectivity does the daughter of a dark-skinned mother listen to? (Anzaldua 25)
Anzaldua’s classic text speaks to a subjectivity in a borderland, a field of irresolvable dualities. La mestiza speaks one, two, three, or a possible multiplicity of languages. In this field of irresolution, the contemporary US Latin@ arises.
But, in time, what vision of the Latin@ has arisen in US American culture? [...]
to read the entire introduction, go here.
Craig Santos Perez is a native Chamoru (Chamorro) from the Pacific Island of Guåhan/Guam. He is the co-founder of Ala Press, co-star of the poetry album Undercurrent (Hawai’i Dub Machine, 2011), and author of three collections of poetry: from unincorporated territory [hacha] (Tinfish Press, 2008), from unincorporated territory [saina](Omnidawn, 2010),...