Spotlight series #64 : Kōan Anne Brink

Curated by Canadian writer, editor and publisher rob mclennan, the “spotlight” series appears the first Monday of every month.


I feel my poems are instruments for dropping into a physical body, each felt sensation moment to moment the only true experience I will ever have. The past in its entireties of violence or of pleasure still become a story in memory, the future a dream, the present sinews and tissues of my form holding all relevant and ongoing information to move through. In this way language is material, its function more closely linked to running water than to the formation of argument. My poems carry no truths in an absolute sense; but my hope is that their relative locations become aggregates in a river of arriving, that they create a liminal landscape for their reader in which there is more permission to be spacious, to more possibly hold grief and joy closely together. I do not view my poems as part of any one project, but as daily practices of listening that happen to be archived into particular forms, like human bodies are conduits for sunlight.

new poem :

Is a defense for, everyone knows this. Is a way to prepare for, the unfolding the dream in your head. Is I have wasted a lot of paper this way, in this manner, quietly counting rooms. Is we began to look for, the dream in the bath and underneath couch cushions, is because it wasn’t coming to light. Is beginning to create it by walking around the house in the dark, is becoming the night, the passing between rooms.

Kōan Anne Brink (they/them) was born and raised in Minnesota. They received their BA from Barnard College and their MFA in Poetry from Columbia University, where they were a Teaching Fellow. Kōan studied Buddhist texts and queer(ing) social ethics at Union Theological Seminary, and was selected as a 2019 Seminary Fellow with Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics (FASPE). Their chapbook The End of Lake Superior is new from above/ground press, and their chapbox What Sleeps under Lacquer (NECK) is forthcoming in Winter 2021. Kōan holds the position of Art Writing Fellow at The Cooper Union and is a lay ordained Sōtō Zen student practicing with teachers at Ancestral Heart Zen Monastery. They live in New Mexico.

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