Liquid Ink

The official website of Gint Aras, Finalist 2016 CWA Book Award


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New interview up today

The folks at In the Coming Time were so kind to interview me about my books and photographs of puddles. I hope you’ll check it out.

Here’s an excerpt:

Puddles make for a simple subject to photograph. They’re really straightforward, even cliché, as what’s really happening is I’m photographing reflections. There’s something meta about that, at least for me: I’m reflecting on my writing process while photographing reflections of pond grasses and trees floating on a millimeter of water soon to evaporate from some alley or forest footpath. They’re ephemeral tragedies, like thoughts or feelings that never get shared.

Thanks for reading. Find the rest here


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Youth scholarship available for prose workshop

Registration for my prose writing workshop ends early April 7th at 2:00 PM. A generous donor has made a scholarship available for the first young writer, aged 16-20, to claim it. It’s for half tuition, or $210.

To claim this scholarship, be the first person to register for the prose workshop by emailing me here. I’ll send you my PayPal info.
Details:

Prose Writing Workshop, with Gint Aras

Friday nights, 6:30-8:30, from April 7-May 26

Upstairs Apartment and Lounge, Buzz Cafe

905 S. Lombard, Oak Park, IL

Open to writers of any level, aged 16 or older

Registration ends after 8 students have registered, or at 2:00 on April 7.

Cost: $420

Hope to see you!


Photo by Bennorth Photography


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Reading in NYC, Why There Are Words

I’ll be reading from The Fugue at Why There are Words this Sunday evening, March 5th. Event details are included at this link. Yes, I’ll have books for sale, discounted at $16, and I’ll be available to sign them.

Please note that this reading requires tickets. You can purchase advance discounted tickets here at Brown Bag.

I haven’t read in New York since last spring, so I’m excited to romp around again. I’m sure there will be drinks afterwards. I hope to see you.

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Readings this week in Minneapolis, Racine

I’ve got a busy week in front of me, with readings scheduled at the Err Artist Collective in Minneapolis and Bonk! in Racine, WI, Wednesday February 22 and Saturday February 25th, respectively.

If you’re happening across this website and live in either the Minneapolis or Racine area, I hope you’ll come out to hear me read. I’ll be reading from The Fugue and talking about the artist’s role in a fascist state.


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Reading tomorrow: Seven Deadly Sins

Chicago, my next appearance is tomorrow at Seven Deadly Sins. This is a great series. Every reader takes one of the sins, and because it’s Valentine’s Day, there will be plenty of sex and love and heartbreak. 

I’ll be reading about Greed. Of course, I’ll have books to sign and sell. Hope to see you.

Cafe Mustache, 2313 N Milwaukee Ave, 8:00 PM



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Langston Hughes on making America great again

I need to thank my colleague Cole Lavalais, whom I met at a literature festival in Memphis, for showing me this poem. I had not read it in school. It should be standard reading in contemporary America.

Let America Be America Again

Let America be America again.

Let it be the dream it used to be.

Let it be the pioneer on the plain

Seeking a home where he himself is free.

 

(America never was America to me.)

 

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—

Let it be that great strong land of love

Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme

That any man be crushed by one above.

 

(It never was America to me.)

 

O, let my land be a land where Liberty

Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,

But opportunity is real, and life is free,

Equality is in the air we breathe.

 

(There’s never been equality for me,

Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

 

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?

And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

 

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,

I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.

I am the red man driven from the land,

I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—

And finding only the same old stupid plan

Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

 

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,

Tangled in that ancient endless chain

Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!

Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!

Of work the men! Of take the pay!

Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

 

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.

I am the worker sold to the machine.

I am the Negro, servant to you all.

I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—

Hungry yet today despite the dream.

Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!

I am the man who never got ahead,

The poorest worker bartered through the years.

 

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream

In the Old World while still a serf of kings,

Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,

That even yet its mighty daring sings

In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned

That’s made America the land it has become.

O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas

In search of what I meant to be my home—

For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,

And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,

And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came

To build a “homeland of the free.”

 

The free?

 

Who said the free?  Not me?

Surely not me?  The millions on relief today?

The millions shot down when we strike?

The millions who have nothing for our pay?

For all the dreams we’ve dreamed

And all the songs we’ve sung

And all the hopes we’ve held

And all the flags we’ve hung,

The millions who have nothing for our pay—

Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

 

O, let America be America again—

The land that never has been yet—

And yet must be—the land where every man is free.

The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—

Who made America,

Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,

Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,

Must bring back our mighty dream again.

 

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—

The steel of freedom does not stain.

From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,

We must take back our land again,

America!

 

O, yes,

I say it plain,

America never was America to me,

And yet I swear this oath—

America will be!

 

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,

The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,

We, the people, must redeem

The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.

The mountains and the endless plain—

All, all the stretch of these great green states—

And make America again!

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Photo of Langston Hughes from Wikipedia


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Alice Walker on a pissed off God

Liquid Ink continues its celebration of black history month with this quote from Alice Walker, one that hit me hard as I worked to compile this series. I think it’s particularly impactful to me now that I’m a student of Zen. I last read The Color Purple a few years after the film was produced and realize now I must return to it soon.

I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it. People think pleasing God is all God cares about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.

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Photo of Alice Walker from Wikipedia.