April 16, 2014

Three poems in VAYAVYA

Am so pleased to be in the current issue of VAYAVYA, a lovely journal edited by Mihir Vatsa!

Read "Red," "Myth of Knowing," and "Myth of Light" here.   

April 02, 2014

"you'll think I's a slut"

"you'll think I's a slut" is in Abraham Lincoln #8 thanks to Kasey Mohammad's recall superpowers! Get your copy here and/or send me one of your poems at monica dot mody at gmail dot com, and in fair exchange I will email the poem for you to read!


March 18, 2014

Ritual for the Waters - Saturday, March 22

This Ritual for the Waters has been inspired by the Dagara tradition of Burkina Faso as taught by Malidoma Somé, and is being hosted on World Water Day, March 22. Meet at noon at the fire rings on Ocean Beach (between stairs 15-20, opposite The Beach Chalet).

Why This Ritual, and Why now?

In recent months, we have felt ourselves concerned by the pollution and the radiation flowing into the "blue heart of the planet"; by its exploitation and declining health; by the disappearing plant and algae, fungi, microbial, animal species; by the collapsing marine ecosystems. We have felt ourselves angry and indifferent and confused and despairing and heartbroken.

In the Dagara cosmology, actions we take in this world are reinforced and energized when taken in right relationship with the other worlds -- when the other worlds are on our side.

This ritual intends to recall and regenerate our relationship with the other worlds, as also with the waters. Through this ritual for the waters, we seek to offer those ones the depth of our emotions -- our waters -- in this moment of planetary crisis; we seek to bring forth the clarity of heart and vision that will enable us -- as children of this planet, as interdependent and interexisting living beings -- to ask that the ocean bring forth healing.

Through this ritual, we ask that love may undergird every interaction we have with the waters on this planet.

Join Us

We invite those who resonate with this intention to join us, in person or wherever you are (tuning in via a body of water, a bowl of water), and we ask you to invite others who may also feel called to join.

We will connect our intentions with other healers, eco-activists, and elders who are also on this day, in these times, asking for the healing of our relationship to the waters of the planet -- outside and within us.


Please bring sound/rhythm instruments and prayers; your grief and complex of emotions; pictures or images of ancestors; red cloth.

Zayin Cabot and Monica Mody are your point people to contact and to look for at the ritual.

Please write to Zayin at westcoastmalidoma@gmail.com or Monica at monica.mody@gmail.com if you have any questions.

March 04, 2014

Call for Poems - 2014 CIIS Founders Symposium

Attn. CIIS Community!

I am curating & moderating Spanning Inside and Outside: Poetry as Integral Speech, a two-hour poetry session at the 2014 CIIS Founders Symposium (with Hope Casareno).

Poetry is the language through which blood of life, waters of the planet, self-remembering of consciousness, and revelation of mystery flow. In the critical space of poetry, we can imagine, inquire, become, inhabit other ways of knowing, participate in the world, sustain possibility, and seed change.

And thus, honoring the generous liminality of poetic consciousness, we invite the poet that is you to respond to a symposium theme this year.

The invitation is to submit poems that in deepest awe and from the "felt senseness" of our unique human embodiment witness, evoke, or animate personal and planetary healing, integration, and wholeness: the confluence and the conjunction.

Poems can be submitted in the form of text, sound, film, or image. Please do not send in work that is more than 5-6 minutes in length (when read or performed).

Send your submissions by 5pm, March 18, 2014 to mmody@ciis.edu with "Poetry Session at the Founders Symposium" in the title. If selected, you would be invited to participate in and share your work during the poetry session at the Founders Symposium, to be held on April 18, 2014.

February 26, 2014

AWP Offsite Readings

Hi all, please join me Thursday at Cafe Racer (7-9pm) or Saturday at Sole Repair Shop (6-10pm) as I read with some of my literary favorites, heroines et heroes at AWP Seattle offsites!

February 25, 2014

Critical narratives of hope amongst the indigenous peoples of Jharkhand

It is almost summer, almost time to visit home—India, Jharkhand, Ranchi—again. And so here is a brief description of the project for which I received the Social Justice Research and Community Service Award from the CIIS Student Alliance:

Through this ongoing project, I want to draw attention to and help extend openings to critical moments and narratives of hope amongst the indigenous peoples (adivasis) of Jharkhand, India. These communities are engaged in struggles against state-promoted neocolonial and corporate capitalist forces to protect their forests, sacred places, and indigenous knowledges and ways of being. Parallel to and implicated in these struggles for rights, resources, and knowledge are the struggles of indigenous women, whose vulnerability has often made them easy targets for witchcraft accusations, torturing, and murder. Highlighting hope can highlight its potential to play a strategic, subversive, and transformative role in social justice movements; narratives of hope are radical in themselves in a time when the dominant narratives are those of despair and cynicism. As agents of change, the adivasis can (and do) themselves generate their own analysis and solutions; as someone implicated in the story of Jharkhand by virtue of being born there, I see this as a small contribution—offering—on my part.

February 19, 2014

February 11, 2014

The Hindus: An Alternative History

I encourage you to buy, download, share, and read The Hindus: An Alternative History by Wendy Doniger, scholar and historian of religions.

Its publisher, Penguin, recently decided to recall and pulp all the existing copies of the book in India, bowing down to the Hindu fundamentalist forces who claimed the book was "disrespectful".

I hope you engage with the book in the manner and to the extent you can, in solidarity with those seeking to counteract the growing censorship (and self-censorship) obtained by the forces of fanaticism and intolerance in India - whether you agree with it or disagree with Doniger's book is a different matter. 

Get it on Amazon
Download the PDF or ePUB 

January 26, 2014

LR recommends Kala Pani

Iris Law, poet and editor of Lantern Review, includes Kala Pani in her incredibly generous roundup of book recommendations for the new year, and says some very lovely things about my writing, such as calling attention to how "the tapestry of the [...] language shatters and shifts at a moment’s notice—like quicksilver", and:
"...though she is keen to investigate notions of trauma, geography, time, race, gender, spirituality, etc., her writing neither preaches endlessly nor holds to an overly simplistic view of the political: rather, she holds questions up to a mirror, testing them on a knife’s edge. She recognizes that the notions of place and identity are inherently fraught with instability, and she both celebrates and problematizes this complexity..."
More here. Thank you, Iris!

--& here are some ladybugs for you, all the way from the Redwood Regional Park in Oakland.

Hazel Reading Series: February 9

I will be reading at the next Hazel Reading Series. This is a women's only reading series in San Francisco where the readers of the month invite someone else to read the following month, thereby creating a literary lineage. Love this premise, and thank you, Monique Wentzel, for inviting me to read!

Sunday February 9, 5-7pm
1564 Market St., San Francisco

Other readers include Ammi Keller (invited by Sarah Frisch), Yael Villafranca (invited by Carolyn Cooke), Raina Leon (invited by Rashaan Alexis Meneses), Aliza Sajjad (invited by Mei Li Ooi), and Ann Gelder (guest reader of the Hazel Reading Series). Hope to see you there!

January 10, 2014

"That I exist only as a speck on your bloodshot eyes but I am willing to sweat"

The January edition of Everyday Genius is curated by Joe Hall, who writes in his editor's note:
"Don’t take what a poem is for granted. Don’t take where a poem is for granted. Don’t take for granted what language does and does not do, is and is not doing."
Thus far, EDG has featured Christian Peet, Kate Greenstreet, Kaia Sand, and Lara Durback, among others.

Today, my dialogue with the ancestors.

(& we grieve the passing of Amiri Baraka, & may his joining the realm of the ancestors be easy, & may he guide us onward to revolutions)