One of the great gifts of having an artist for a friend is the unique education that comes of asking what are you into? Nearly all my favorite music, writing, films, and paintings have been received as an answer to this question. Sometimes it is direct: Karl gives me a book, Ally sends me a link to a poem. Often it is indirect: A song I hear in Jane’s car as she drives me to the airport, a broadside stuck on Coco’s bedroom wall, a movie Kit cajoles me into watching. And then there is the mixtape.

Mixtapes are so cool because they're intimate aesthetic sampler, comprised of beloved handpicked snippets and choicest cuts. They offer so much and demand so little. A mixtape doesn’t ask you to slog through a whole album; no need to hunt around for that one track that will finally crack open Captain Beefheart--here it is, unwrapped and waiting just for you. I love mixtapes! I love mixtapes so much that a few years ago I thought…why should this short-form DIY collage be confined to the aural world? And of course, it shouldn’t. So I started making people mixtapes made out of poems. And I started asking other people to make poetry mixtapes for me, too.

Today’s poetry mixtape was curated by Stacey Tran. I first met Stacey in 2012 when Poor Claudia, the press she edits, published a chapbook for me. I have since learned that Stacey does about a zillion amazing things, including curating a movement/text/film performance series, Pure Surface (with Danielle Ross) and serving as the executive director and curator of Cityscope, a nonprofit platform of urban/design performances, experiments, and discussions. She has a chapbook, End Solo, forthcoming from Fields Press (Spring 2015) and a chapbook, Gov Poems, forthcoming from Couch Press (Fall 2015). And, last but not least, Stacey Tran has made this killer poetry mixtape.

“No Manifesto” Yvonne Rainer Dance (Documents of Contemporary Art)
4.15.2004: Texture of Needing Yellow Sawako Nakayasu Texture Notes

“Three Principals of Garden of Mirrored Flowers” Hu Fang Translated By

Cover art Lisa Robertson Occasional Work and Seven Walks from the Office for Soft Architecture

“Boyfriend Mountain” Tyler Brewington Boyfriend Mountain

“Boyfriend Mountain” Kelly Schirmann Boyfriend Mountain

“I Saw White Flowers Race To Cover My Eyes” Lucy Ives The Worldkillers

The Dark Mouth of Living: “This is Poetix” Jenn McCreary Pallaksch, Pallaksch (#1)

Originally Published: March 2nd, 2015

Elaine Kahn was born in Evanston, Illinois, and she is the author of the poetry collection Women in Public (City Lights, 2015) as well as several chapbooks, most recently A Voluptuous Dream During an Eclipse (Poor Claudia) and Customer (Ecstatic Peace Library). She earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a BA from California College...