A poet’s work that deserves to be highlighted is Travis Chi Wing Lau. Travis represents the ultimate Rogue Agent poet. His work is tender, forthright, elegantly crafted. He dares to reveal himself with his words. I’ve included the three poems he’s published with Rogue Agent and also a new poem just for this profile.
Issue 13-14, Apr-May 2016
I think the struggle for a bearable life is the struggle for queers to have space to breathe.Having space to breathe, or being able to breathe freely … is an aspiration. –Sara Ahmed, The Promise of Happiness
Crescent lunge:a prayer on bendedknee, for seconds dobecome trials, as formrestricts function. Then,a twisting open of whatis otherwise closed, ofshallow breaths shrinkinginto shame. So he begsmy ability, to be victorious(mighty capacity,he demands): I amfullest here evenas I extend my sidevulnerably intobare space.Eupnea even in this hourof disorientation,even when there seems tobe no space to breathe.
Issue 23, Feb 2017
Mooring shudders // beneath the // uneven balls // of my feet, // those that // seek the // ground after // the freefall // between the // lightest of // hours (how // they grind // against //the creaking // hands). // I turn // to face // the long // gravity // of a bed: // where the // flashes pool, // where the // faces fan, // as the notches // become gothic // in between // the march of // charred lines // (for one // can only // dance madly // out of // Piranesi’s // prison).
Scoliosis, A Portrait
Issue 32, Nov 2017
Bold shape,that marrowedthing, thrummingwith some otherharmony,a bastion coiled:tighter,tightly.But formsmay reacha point ofbreaking,golden bowlsmore vulnerablebecause theybear the chanceof singing.Here,a balm forthe pressure,a kiss forthe risk,a laying onof hand:tendertending.
The promise wasof movement:me to the slightestof motes, though I feelcomposed ofnothing but flickers,what can be bothan instance and an eternity.I let him layhis hands,(trained asthey are to coolness)and I amsure to make no wishes boundfor wells.He tries,and I permit him:however fruitless,body and endeavor.
Travis Chi Wing Lau recently completed his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania Department of English and will be a postdoctoral teaching fellow at the University of Texas at Austin beginning in Fall 2018. His research interests include 18th- and 19th-century British literature, the history of medicine, and disability studies. His academic writing has been published in Journal of Homosexuality, Romantic Circles, Digital Defoe, and English Language Notes. His creative writing has appeared in Wordgathering, Assaracus, The New Engagement, The Deaf Poets Society, Up the Staircase Quarterly and QDA: A Queer Disability Anthology. [travisclau.com]
BMP Celebrates National Poetry Month
Maybe you have lines living in you. Maybe you’ve been walking around like the speaker in Maggie Smith’s “Good Bones”: “This place could be beautiful, / right? You could make this place beautiful.” Maybe you’ve been inspired by Isobel O’Hare’s erasures, and have an urge to address some things. Maybe you’ve woken up in the spiked night, with a line swimming out of the deep. Maybe you have a story to tell. Or, maybe you memorized Jericho Brown’s “Colosseum” and have been repeating to yourself: “I cannot locate the origin / Of slaughter, but I know / How my own feels, that I live with it / And sometimes use it / To get the living done . . .”
These poetic efforts have touched me in the last few months, in that strange trigonometry of language, chance, and seeking, that we readers and writers do. Brown’s lines resonated with me, brought me low, and offered something – if not quite comfort, then a kind of recognition.