Poetics of the Ampersand

Shiloh Jines

July - September 2016


While in residence, poet and inter-disciplinary artist, Shiloh Jines, developed a project that examines how the &/ampersand/and sign is used to create non-binary poetic space. Building on her 2016 College Book Art Association conference presentation, “Poetics of the Ampersand,” this project considers the typographic evolution of the ampersand and its shifting context within American poetry.  This presentation is in direct response to Joyelle McSweeney's critical essay, "Muse & Drudge & Art's Ampersand," which examines Haryette Mullen's "Muse & Drudge" as a "paradoxical, non binary text, a text that will not settle down into absolute values..." 

Poetics of the Ampersand considers the typographic body of the ampersand, its use in contemporary poetics & how it manifests as a queer symbol of infinity—of etcetera etc. &c—an anti-divide-and-conquer tool—with the ability to make something so mutated, interconnected & slippery no one can get in or out. anti-literary. anti-territorial. anti-colonial. She utilized the bookstore's space to continue her research of contemporary Queer Poetics, especially those published by small press distributors. Jines also held ongoing interviews & correspondences with local queer, trans, poc poet/artists who use hybrid visual forms & typography to interrogate language.

About shiloh jines

Shiloh Jines makes hybrid poem-realities through merging handmade printed matter with video art. She examines the presence & absence of materiality in language & book-forms—how the world necessitates & degenerates a physical body. Much of her practice involves deconstructing the codex as an object of power & considers the visceral ways language can manifest in/on/through a body. Growing up in Eastern Tennessee, her identity as an Appalachian Queer & how she has come to critically understand this identity plays a central role in her poetic works. She believes in the magic of remembering, forming deep accountability & what Baldwin referred to as, “the necessity of the long view.”

Shiloh is a poet & visual artist based in Oakland, California. She is the co-author of the hand-bound letterpress chapbook SITE OF IMPACT (Eucalyptus Press 2016). She is currently working on her poetry manuscript, “& if it flows like pity/ then it spills like viscous fluid” and Mills College MFA thesis exhibition.