Jody Chan Recommends...

“Poetry is my way of paying attention. Attention as a form of relational and intellectual rigor, attention as a political action. I’m practicing to trust my body’s signals. When the stuckness comes, I try to turn that attention back inward: What does the block feel like, and why is it there? What is it protecting me from? What is the risk in writing what I think I want to write, and what does my fear tell me about my responsibility as a writer? If I don’t know how to move through the stuckness, it might be because I’m not ready. I might not know what to look for on the other side because I’ve been spending too much time in my head and not enough with my people, paying attention to what they’re wondering, feeling, dreaming. Poetry is not the only way to make demands, or to bring alternative worlds into being; my commitment to it sharpens when I engage in other forms of political action. Sometimes I need to run supplies to a sit-in or cook a meal for my best friends before coming back to poetry. Living among my loved ones helps me understand the stakes.”
—Jody Chan, author of sick (Black Lawrence Press, 2020)