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Giamo, Thomas Crane, author
Beachy-Quick, Dan, advisor
Steensen, Sasha, committee member

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This poem evolved in slow stutters after I had returned to Colorado from India and Kashmir last summer and started transcribing two, small notebooks of language fragments collected over the two month visit--transliterations of conversations overheard in foreign languages, scattered impressions, lists (dear human), articulations of single words on single pages, fundamental and simple words in English (okay, thank you) to remind myself that I'd retained the traces of a language among an alien syllabary. It felt like some of the writing recorded in these notebooks had captured the speed and emotional registers of the visit: one intense and draining month in Srinagar, Kashmir filming a "guerrilla" documentary with my brother about human rights abuses against the Kashmiri people by Indian security forces occupying the Valley, another month by myself rattling around on trains and walking cities in a narcotic daze through walls of white heat in the desert region of Rajasthan, with a detour to Varanasi, one of the oldest and continuously settled sites of humankind where bodies are always burning on the shore of the river Ganges. What I transcribed from the notebooks was the residue of whatever fleeing voices had come to populate my own voice through India and Kashmir (there are human beings everywhere). And so the poem arose out of a writing process which was from the very beginning a recitation. I didn't feel the need to expand the writing once the notebooks were transcribed, by inscribing within them a writing from a different time and place, by developing these original annunciations (what is your good name / your own far country) from the place of the my new present, Colorado. I thought instead to use the next months to write within these fragments, executing a writing distilled from the present but curtailed and structured by these recordings from the past--stole away cargo from an ocean and more away--allowing not the present to recuperate the past but the past to push apart the shifting contours of the present writing going forward.


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