Spotlight on Francisco Márquez

Francisco Márquez

Francisco Márquez is a Venezuelan poet in Brooklyn. His work has appeared in NarrativeThe Offing, and Bennington Review, among other publications. The recipient of grants from The Poetry Project, Letras Latinas, and Breadloaf Writer's Conference, he works at the Academy of American Poets.


For Issue Two, Francisco translated Michelle’s dance into his video, heartfilm/retrograde.

On the process:

I responded to the words remember and history ringing through the dance piece. I found the relationship of the singular viewer to the dance collective to hold numerous tensions: physical, mnemonic, sexual, etc. My main medium is poetry, but I knew I wanted to work with a different medium and, also, I know I can’t trust my telling of the past in a poem.

On a related note, I’m somewhat of a voyeur. I grew up obsessed with film. I remember that I tend to walk around with my phone recording any little detail that holds its own heart—a red-haired woman carrying a bushel of twigs and holly, the back of a construction worker shining his orange vest, or two men, holding one another, sleeping on the late night train.

My mother hates that when I travel I don’t take pictures of myself. I made this piece thinking of how I wanted remembering to feel like. Like the dance piece, I made sure the spliced clips moved into the other—the dancer extends his arms and momentarily conjures a yellow tree, the dancer extends his arms again to disappear into a concert, with room after queer room filled with no story, filled with unceasing dances.

On Issue Two as a whole:

Honestly, it's hard to say how I felt when I saw my piece and its response piece. The first time around I was drawn by the singular, casual, and tender beauty of Eli's piece. A part of me felt recognized in the intimacy of the object's smallness, by the feeling of wind passing through a hanging blue shirt, as if lovers had exchanged them, and the disorienting nature of an object known to be small presented as sublimely large. My piece was built around intimacy, sound, and movement. Ironically, Eli made something that was extremely still. This tension was thrilling in that I could begin to try and track Eli's mind-road down to when it turned away from video, from the digital, from a multitude of times, into a quieter distillation of an overflow, into one time, into paper. It took me a few sessions with the pieces to reach these thoughts. 

Apart from my own piece, I was also surprised by the presence of video throughout the issue and their varying tones. I think there is something to be said about the issue's DNA in the moving choices of mediums. I was shocked at the difference between each artists' aesthetic, which only inspired me to want to confront the notion of collaboration with a bit more bravery, as we tend to shy away from people's work that is too different from our own. 

In this experiment, we were joined by sharing, by our many vibrations humming in sync.