Mytili Jagannathan

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2002 Inspiration Award

I am a poet, a feminist, and a questioner. For me, poetry is a dive into the clamor of the public realm. I don't believe in private solutions to public dilemmas, and I don't believe in a poetry that retreats from its public responsibility and power. I want a poetry that explodes the habits that "privatize" us, that forces sudden and difficult connections, that calls us to actively respond to one another. Thematically, my poems grapple with issues of public and private space, violence, gender, property, desire, and the conditions of speech. Formally, this is played out through strategies of repetition and questioning throughout the poems, whose effect is to illuminate how words are changed-- and re-charged--through each successive utterance. I see my poems as attempts to interrogate the grounds of relating, identifying, affiliation and struggle: what makes us see and move and act, beyond the circle of safety, inertia, terror, habit, or privilege? What enables--or constrains--our sense of "the possible" in our politics, in the places we inhabit and the places we long for?
 

OPEN LETTER

the conditions are speaking to us
do we speak to the conditions or
to the winner do we speak the conditions in our
deliberate mouths is our speaking
conditional is our love
conditionally speaking is this love
against the stranger breaking down
conditioning us for sound
of cutting-off talk and rebirth to real
kindness borne as bricks
under these conditions a roof
cover us over and do
my conditions speak to yours
innocently are they instructive can we
deconstruct them are they without home
and shared are they circular if no one
ends these conditions are we stuck
are we solid are we salty
are we scissors do we
survive clutching the end
of a condition with our fear as food
is our love dimensional are we new arc
are we meeting here the radical
avalanche of now
are we solid
are we seeming
do we say

APPLY FOR A

Leeway grant?

Art and Change Grants

The Art and Change Grant provides project-based grants of up to $2,500 to women and trans* artists in the Delaware Valley region to fund art for social change projects. [read more]

deadline 08/01
Upcoming events
08/023:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Leeway co-presents Little White Lie at the BlackStar Film Festival

Leeway will be co-presenting a screening of Little White Lie at the BlackStar Film Festival on Saturday, August 2 from 3:00pm to 5:00pm at the International House.

[learn more]

08/025:15 pm - 6:45 pm

Culture Strike: Social Justice Shorts at the BlackStar Film Festival

Co-Presented by Leeway Foundation and School of Social Policy & Practice, University of Pennsylvania

[learn more]