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Critical Making Fellow Presentation

Critical Making Fellow Presentation

Presentation of 

Diaspora Poem

by Alexa Luborsky


Friday, December 1, 2023


A-School, The Naug (near the FabLab)


“Diaspora Poem” adapts the linguistic, paginal medium of writing and reading poetry after atrocity to a material reality. The interactive piece, with its 6 x 3 ft frame, features three drums which turn via a casket-crank powered by its audience-reader. Each drum contains 46 lines of poetry, and each line is laser-etched on an individual 8 ½ x ¾ inch piece of wood. As the drums are turned by the audience-reader, they create new iterations of the same poem as each drum moves at a different rate. They mimic the movement of a past physical, forced diaspora. Each drum represents one of the diasporas that forced the poet’s family to abandon their homeland: the Armenian Genocide, the early 20th century pogroms in the Ukraine, and the Holocaust. Lastly, the mechanisms of turning these drums mimic how, in working with atrocity archives, the poet, the audience-reader, and the language all become agents that participate in this tightrope of, what Jacques Derrida calls, the “detention, retention, and interpretation” of a mangled archive. “Diaspora Poem” visually and linguistically manifests the relationship between the gerund that is initiated by the act of genocide and massacre, and the power dynamics that keep its drums moving.


Alexa Luborsky is an MFA candidate in poetry, a Poe-Faulkner Fellow, an H. Kruger Kaprielian Scholar, a Rachel Winer Manin Jewish Studies Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellow, and a Digital Humanities Fellow at the University of Virginia. Her poems and hybrid works have appeared in journals such as AGNI, Black Warrior Review, Guernica, Indiana Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Ninth Letter, Pleiades, and West Branch, among others. A writer of Western Armenian and Eastern European Jewish descent, her poetic work is documentary in nature and centers on genocidal aftermaths. You can find more of her work at alexaluborsky.com.

Friday, December 1, 2023
5:00pm - 6:00pm
Scholars' Lab Makerspace
Alexa Luborsky
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Event Organizer

Ammon Shepherd