Jaguar in the Cotton Field
Jaguar in the Cotton Field (Another New Calligraphy, 2017) is a handmade, numbered, limited edition chapbook. The publisher described the title as such:
"In addition to its polymorphic allele, the melanistic jaguar carries the burden of a mythological legacy. Panthera onca, known already for its stealth and ferocity, has long been considered especially brutal in its sleek obsidian form. Indigenous Mesoamerican cultures revered the commanding predator, imbuing it with a variety of meanings: embodiment of aggression, ruler of the underworld, portent of disaster, an unleashing of desires. Such grave symbology was constructed upon nothing more than straightforward color variation.
Genetics and the perception thereof also factor in to Christine Stoddard's Jaguar in the Cotton Field, though in a somewhat less savage context. Focusing on the biracial female experience, Stoddard
traces the outlines of her heritage and the world she navigates today; her words weave through topics including the Salvadoran civil war, Loving v. Virginia, Kim Kardashian, and the inexhaustible surge of gentrification. As it does for countless others, our current political landscape weighs heavily on Stoddard's thoughts. While some beasts lurk in shadowy jungles, society increasingly enables many more to pursue their prey in the light of day. "
The chapbook's title poem was selected as a Dusie Tuesday Poem and published in The Opiate. My video for the poem (below) premiered at City Lore, a Smithsonian affiliate in Manhattan's Lower East Side, in an event curated by El Sótano Art Space.
Order the chapbook here.