National Poetry Month Day 2: Anaïs Duplan





Kingdom, “Shox” (2016)

          When it was 2016 it was 5 years ago when Donald Trump was elected I wish I
          the word for it      is it treble, the balance of treble and bass here is really
wild it doesn’t have a middle       the texture of language I have to exert
                                                    but not in a masculine way I mean to revise
what I feel generously I know for a fact              there are Black beasts out here I
need grief the imprecision or, on the other hand, I’ve read B Jenkins so as to have so
much willfulness in me, so as to sit by the window when I talk to Shakeya
who introduces herself almost every time we speak
I like this idea in theory             in practice, severe.


Palm, Composite (2018)

Two hands are, for sure, attached to a body; two disembodied.
I’m not sure about one of them because it’s coming up
from a pock in the ground. The holder & holder, I mean haver
of two of the hands palms a knife in one & another hand
but isn’t attached to the holder, who holds a knife, a dog I want,
before we get too far, to make sure to mention I think
on the purposiveness of words: to bring this music to life,
as in a talk with my student                 about hip-hop. I do love
the thickness of the instrument, I offer
as it thins out. This man’s voice is lank, like it’s sandwiched
between tones & empties out slow. The idea
is pleasurable of a composite.


Photograph of Anaïs Duplan by Ben Krusling.

Anaïs Duplan is a trans* poet, curator, and artist. He is the author of a book of essays, Blackspace: On the Poetics of an Afrofuture (Black Ocean, 2020), a full-length poetry collection, Take This Stallion (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2016), and a chapbook, Mount Carmel and the Blood of Parnassus (Monster House Press, 2017). He has taught poetry at the University of Iowa, Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence College, and St. Joseph’s College. His video works have been exhibited by Flux Factory, Daata Editions, the 13th Baltic Triennial in Lithuania, Mathew Gallery, NeueHouse, the Paseo Project, and will be exhibited at the Institute of Contemporary Art in L.A in 2021. As an independent curator, he has facilitated curatorial projects in Chicago, Boston, Santa Fe, and Reykjavík. He was a 2017-2019 joint Public Programs fellow at the Museum of Modern Art and the Studio Museum in Harlem. In 2016, he founded the Center for Afrofuturist Studies, an artist residency program for artists of color, based at Iowa City’s artist-run organization Public Space One. He works as Program Manager at Recess. More from this author →