About the Book
This book is a thing of beauty and grief. Two accounts of empire by two different poets, between them a critical/contemplative interval conducted by writer and scholar Christina Sharpe in conversation with artist Torkwase Dyson’s “hypershapes.”
Assembled from the Senate document detailing the 1841 revolt of enslaved people transported aboard the brig Creole, Quenton Baker’s “we pilot the blood” considers the position of Blackness and the ongoing afterlife of slavery.
Paul Hlava Ceballos’s “Banana [ ]” collages declassified CIA documents, corporate reports, horticultural papers and personal accounts into a bloody portrait of multinational exploitation.
8″ x 8″
Praise for Banana [ ] / we pilot the blood
Official histories erase, deceive. In this collaborative work, Paul Hlava Ceballos and Quenton Baker refuse and remix the narratives in official documents to make visible oppression, rebellion. These new narratives reshape the past, charge the future. Here is poetry not rooted in the mythologies of nation-states, here is poetry that casts new light. – Eduardo C. Corral
What can language do, in the festering fuckery of empire? This chapbook, which features both Quenton Baker’s we pilot the blood and Paul Hlava Ceballos’s Banana [ ], demands that we look directly into the violent and voracious maw of empire. From tracing the history of bananas in the Americas (Banana [ ]) to the erasure of the senate document of the revolt aboard the slave ship Creole (we pilot the blood), Hlava Ceballos and Baker speak to silenced histories with resounding resistance across source texts, redactions, erasures, and lifted language. In this excavation, this reckoning, what has been kept hidden from us? – Jane Wong, author of How to Not Be Afraid of Everything
Banana [ ] / we pilot the blood is an urgent collection that exhumes bodies buried in the archive. While naming historical violence, the book also offers new shapes, forms, and utterances. What a brilliant and necessary intervention. – Cathy Linh Che, author of Split
Recorded Readings & Conversations with the Authors
- Poetry Northwest | Interview // as echoes, as ghosts: Paul Hlava Ceballos and Quenton Baker in Conversation
- Poetry Magazine Podcast | Suzi F. Garcia in Conversation with Paul Hlava Ceballos
About the Authors
Paul Hlava Ceballos is the recipient of the 2021 AWP Donald Hall Prize for Poetry as well as fellowships from CantoMundo, Artist Trust, and the Poets House. His full-length monograph, Banana [ ], is forthcoming from University of Pittsburgh Press in 2022, and his work has been published in the Best New Poets Anthology and translated into the Ukrainian. It can be found in Narrative Magazine, BOMB, the PEN Poetry Series, Acentos Review, The LA Times, among other journals and newspapers, and has been nominated for the Pushcart. Born and raised in Southern California, he has an MFA from NYU, and currently lives in Seattle, where he practices echocardiography.
Quenton Baker is a poet, educator, and Cave Canem fellow. His current focus is black interiority and the afterlife of slavery. His work has appeared in The Offing, Jubilat, Vinyl, The Rumpus and elsewhere. He has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Southern Maine and is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee. He is the recipient of the 2018 Arts Innovator Award from Artist Trust, was a 2019 Robert Rauschenberg Artist in Residence, and is a 2021 NEA Fellow. He is author of This Glittering Republic (Willow Books, 2016).
Christina Sharpe is a writer, Professor, and Canada Research Chair in Black Studies in the Humanities at York University. She is the author of: In the Wake: On Blackness and Being and Monstrous Intimacies: Making Post-Slavery Subjects. Her third book, Ordinary Notes, will be published in 2022 (Knopf/FSG/Daunt). She is working on a monograph called Black. Still. Life. She has recently published essays in Alison Saar Of Aether and Earthe, Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America, Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America, and Jennifer Packer: The Eye Is Not Satisfied With Seeing.
Torkwase Dyson is a painter whose compositions address the continuity of space, movement, ecology and architecture. Examining black geographies, Dyson’s objects consider black liberation and industrial precariousness. The work invites questions of distance, embodiment and perception. Torkwase Dyson was born in Chicago and spent her developmental years between North Carolina and Mississippi. Traversing these geographies helped develop formal and conceptual concerns of black spatial liberation strategies. In addition to participating in group exhibitions at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington, D.C.; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and California African American Museum, Los Angeles, Dyson has had solo exhibitions and installations at Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, Maine; Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Chicago; Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, Philadelphia; and Suzanne Lemberg Usdan Gallery, Bennington College, Vermont. In 2020, Dyson’s solo exhibitions included Black Compositional Thought | 15 Paintings for the Plantationocene presented by the New Orleans Museum of Art and I Can Drink the Distance, Plantationocene in Two Acts on view at Pace Gallery New York. Torkwase Dyson lives in New York and is represented by Pace.
About The Press
“The third thing” is the idea that emerges when we use imagination instead of compromise to solve a problem, meet a need, repair an injury, right a wrong, answer a question, question an answer, to get where we’re going, to go somewhere new.
The 3rd Thing is an independent press dedicated to publishing necessary alternatives. Every year or so we publish a cohort of projects representing in form, content and perspective our interdisciplinary, intersectional priorities. We think of each project in the cohort as a break in the stockade—a way out of the settlement and into the wilderness. Come through.
Often our books are the result of an artist working in a non-dominant discipline—a playwright writes a book of poems, a theater-maker writes a book of essays, a filmmaker writes a book of theory…. And while our emphasis is on print traditions, our projects may take any number of forms: books, broadsides, performances, installations, colloquia, video anthologies, etc.