//F*%K IF I KNOW
READ & LISTEN FOR FREE :)
SOME BACKGROUND[by mary hope whitehead lee]
"Nuclear Waste: poetry and collage" is the third iteration of a project that started with creating a hand cut collage on every single page of a music theory book that used to belong to my father. I used the project to purge my feelings about my biological family. Later, I created a very amateurish hand made book titled “Family Album” in which I used free clip art from books I bought at an art supply store in Oakland, California. I used monsters and fantastical creatures, family photos and found images to create collages representing my family experiences with titles such as “Family Portrait,” “Monsters in the Closet,” “Aspiring Virgin Martyr,” “Surviving Catholic School,” “Imaginary Friends and Playmates,” “Shouldering the Family Burden,” and “Self Portrait on Quilted Lake with Allies.” It was a kind of frenzy. Between the late 1970s and the early 1990s, I wrote a number of poems that seemed to come from nowhere. They were different and strange, unlike anything I’d ever written before. Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to keep them. These are the words and images that found their final form in "Nuclear Waste: poetry and collage," a deeply personal exploration of the lived consequences of family violence. It is also the realization of a small handful of firsts: my first published collection of poems, my first published collection of collage art, and my first hand-sewn cardboard cover book. "Nuclear Waste: poetry and collage" was designed by Ryan Greene. Big Love to Raquel Denis for her unconditional support in helping us deliver this manuscript to the light.
A NOTE ON PROCESS
AS MARY HOPE'S REFLECTION [ABOVE] MAKES CLEAR, SOME BOOKS TAKE A LONG TIME TO GET BORN...
that was part of the magic of working on "nuclear waste." the poems and hand-cut collages included in this collection had been sitting in a folder [out of order] for a quarter century, and yet on a late-september day in 2019, there they were, waiting, ready for their day in the sun. this photo shows mary hope and raquel finalizing the order and layout for the version of "nuclear waste" that became F*%K IF I KNOW: VOL. 2. moral of the story...don't throw out your poems! who knows when a friend will come knocking asking to make a book together ;)
FLYING THE NEST
NUCLEAR WASTE WAS FIRST READ PUBLICLY AT PALABRAS BILINGUAL BOOKSTORE'S "POC IT TO ME" OPEN MIC NIGHT ON FEB. 15th, 2020...
mary hope performed a full reading of the book in the hosh gallery space within palabras, and shared some of the story behind her decades-in-the-making debut collection. in the video clip below, she reads the opening three poems: "family portrait," "pater familias," and "mater familias."