Dena Igusti Defies Death in ‘Cut Woman’

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Dena Igusti navigates the complexities of being in “an invisible diaspora” in her forthcoming book Cut Woman, published with Game Over Books. 

Cut Woman is a collection of poems that tackle grief, loss, and anticipatory mourning as a result of Igusti’s experiences as a Muslim Indonesian survivor of female genital mutilation. 

“One of the things I love most is when a poetry book forces me to slow down, to linger in every pause between breaths and reckon with the awareness that Reading is, itself, an act of consumption.” George Abraham, author of Birthright (Button Poetry) says in Cut Woman’s blurb. “Dena Igusti is a poet of undying urgency – this is a bold, heart-shattering chapbook debut.” 

Dena Igusti has explored Indonesian, Muslim, and queer identity in separate entities in past works and projects. Her co-written Off-Broadway play SHARUM navigates shame in Muslim communities. She has discussed being Indonesian briefly for Muslim Girl and Buah Zine. She alludes to her queer identity in some of her poems. In Cut Woman, Igusti puts all of her identities at the forefront, and in the face of mortality.

“With a deft, devoted hand, Dena Igusti weaves alienation, grief, desire, and defiance into an indelible tapestry of survival and celebration. They show us that mortality is not a deadline but a continuum. We will die, but we will also cry, and shout, and love, and dance, and live on.” Teta Alim, founder of Buah Zine states.

Dena Igusti also hones in on what it means to be a Muslim survivor of female genital mutilation, and the honest relationship with her body in the midst of Islamophobia and xenophobia. 

“Igusti’s work asks what is the metaphysical conceit of the cut? from whom or what are we cut? what are the rules of being cut & the life after? when they cut they cut the american light with their brown flicker, they incise the language, they puncture a privilege, & they work with inherited blood. This is a play of radical vulnerability around the self, a play of no games.” says Trace DePass, author of Self Portrait As the Space Between Us.

Dena Igusti’s book is now available for pre-order at Game Over Books. You can purchase the book here

 

New Grit: 10 Vivid Songs Released in 2018 That’ll Take You Away

You can check out the full playlist on Spotify.

Madeline Lessing is a poet, songwriter, and DIY scene-baby based in Boston, Massachusetts.

 

Edge Petal Burn: The Chaotic Depth Of Olivia West

(Photo by Kit Castagne)

Despite art being open to endless interpretation, I feel fiercely protective over the way Edge Petal Burn’s Glass Cannon is received by people. I am anxious about the mainstream’s habit of putting finality and forgiveness on narratives involving trauma against marginalized people, without the consent of the artist who was traumatized in the first place. And frankly, I don’t want Glass Cannon to be about making clean peace with the people that fucked you over because that narrative is never not shoved down survivors’ throats. Instead, Edge Petal Burn offers us an invitation to heal unattractively.

Glass Cannon is about the clarity of realizing who damaged us, the shit we wish we had said to our tormentors in the moment, and the mostly-disorienting, but occasionally-victorious, aftermath of suffering that is survival. The project, driven by the ears, words, voice, and experiences of Olivia West, is a reclamation that in no way claims to be solved.

This incompleteness is clear from the first mind-bending track, Letters, in which West bleeds,

“Months ago is still fresh in my mind. Weeks ago is not a different time.”

What a powerful invitation West grants to trauma survivors here, especially women and non-binary folks, who are made to feel as though their pain is just petty drama, to still allow themselves time and space to be angry about what happened to them.
In Emo, West threatens,

“But I can pull your card if I want to / I can wrestle around and then haunt you for what you’ve done,”

then shifts into a stunning, human breakdown that lands on the line,

“But I don’t know why someone would treat the one they love this way.”

West obliterates the psycho bitch narrative the world keeps trying to put on her by using it. Through it, she leads us to listen to the other people she is on this album: a moomin, a scorpio, a sister, and a small scared person who just wants to be loved. I think what people get wrong about angry women is the perception that they’re unwilling to heal.

The anger of Glass Cannon is not an unwillingness to move, it is a tool for remembering abusive behavior and refusing to normalize it. It is the miracle that is a resilient person, repeating to themselves, out loud,

“I know how I deserve to be treated.” 

Check out Edge Petal Burn’s Glass Cannon here.

– Madeline Lessing

 

Madeline Lessing is a poet, songwriter, and DIY scene-baby based in Boston, Massachusetts.