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Artist Statement | The cubist self-portraits began as poem fragments—sometimes a word, a few lines when the stars were right—after I moved to a new city for graduate school. In this new environment, away from the community I had seen every day for the previous four years, living alone for the first time, I was unavoidable: my physicality and emotional circuitry, my impulses and anxieties, my habits and contradictions. I was a hub of chaos and crisis. These self-portraits felt inevitable, welding together the multiple selves and queer ekphrastics I was writing before, my love of poetic maximalism and geometric forms, and this new sense of urgency and terror. Cubism captures constant motion without escaping a moment; it looks within the complications of time and space without reducing them to one logic; it uses surprise and abstraction to provide new ways of seeing. What don’t I want to admit, but can’t ignore? Can I view the world in my way without weaponizing that gaze against my self? In the words of Natalie Diaz, what language makes me possible, how does that language turn the page into a reactive and energized space, and how can a poem’s language and visual art hold each other when one fails? The series explores affect as the geometry of the body, and thinking of literary cubism, repetition as a strategy toward clarity and belief; it recasts and reconstructs the self into more queer, more fluid, more complicated forms.


Dennison Ty Schultz is a queer poet and MFA student at the University of Missouri – Kansas City. Their poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Impossible Archetype, Foglifter, Peach Mag, New Delta Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Tinderbox, Black Warrior Review, and Sycamore Review, and they have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. They tweet @clubdenni.