~in which, a hairy explanation for the “unfunded”, liner notes for the BCAD production of Iphigenia in Aulis, and musing on our potential for chromatic classical futurisms

“Choose the Day” by Patrick Lorenzo Semple (2020)

PRELUDE: Haley, Ashby, Greenwood
or, On Becoming Unfunded

I’m sorry if this planet that I’m living on is quizzical
My lyrical ambitions sometimes don’t ring a bell
I’m sorry if my visual don’t line up with my feelings
And my physical exhibit doesn’t represent me well
I’m sorry that I’m curious, delirious, and I don’t take life serious:
I mirror the life of a millionaire. …


written by v ness (2020)

“I’m not interested really in talking to you as an artist. It seems to me that the artist’s struggle for [their] integrity must be considered as a kind of metaphor for the struggle (which is universal and daily) of all human beings on the face of this globe to get to become human beings. It is not your fault, it is not my fault, that I write. And I never would come before you in the position of a complainant for doing something that I must do… The poets (by which I mean all artists)…


Peche by Lou Stovall (2004)

— —

“How much better is they love than wine — and the smell of thy ointments than all the spices — Thy lips — O my spouse — drop as the honeycomb — honey and milk are under thy tongue — and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon — A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse — a spring shut in — a fountain sealed — Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits — camphire — with spikenard spikenard and saffroncalamus and cinnamon — with all trees…


A open letter to my father on Homer, Kubrick, and culinary authority.

“Back In Your Own Backyard” by Patrick Lorenzo Semple. “The original song is Billie Holiday [1938] but this was under the influence of Sun Ra’s version[1983]” —from our personal correspondence

“A thousand girls that look like me
Staring out at the open sea
Repeat the words until they’re true:
Cover my eyes electric blue.”

— Arcade Fire, “Electric Blue”, Everything Now (2017)

— —

“Oh Maker, tell me, did you know this love could burn so yellow? Becoming orange — and in its time — explode from gray to black then bloody wine?”

— Janelle Monae “Oh Maker”, The Archandroid (2010)

— —

“I had my recurring dream last night. I guess I should have expected it. It…


“Untitled” by Patrick Lorenzo Semple

— —

~in reverent memory of Toni Morrison~

— —

The figure of liquidity courses through the ancient Greek imaginary unpredictably, mapping a complex terrain. If, however, we move into modern discourses about classical antiquity and, in particular, about the past’s survival into the present, its meanings cluster around the sign of loss. Indeed, liquidity haunts classicism. Water erodes and erases. […] The liquid is the enemy of the monument, the destroyer of memory, the scourge of the library. Moisture corrupts texts and rots books. …


“She is a Blackbird in the way that I am a Crow” by Patrick Lorenzo Semple

“The first phase of this attitude [stamping out the intellect of the Negro] reached over from about 1700 to 1820: and as the result, almost Egyptian darkness fell upon the mind of the race, throughout the whole land. Following came a more infamous policy. It was the denial of intellectuality in the Negro; the assertion that he was not a human being, that he did not belong to the human race. This covered the period from 1820 to 1835, when Gliddon and Nott and others, published their so called physiological work, to prove that the Negro was of a different…


~in which, a look at the harmonics of capitalistic worship, a chapter review of Antiquities Beyond Humanism, an ideological look at Disney’s Hercules, and utilizing the building blocks of philology towards abolition

Watching my country’s ideology collapse makes me more grateful than anything that I quit being a structuralist in academia —

Okay wait, lemme rephrase: it actually made me glad that I’ve gone my whole life working service jobs and understanding not only how essential those roles are to American society, but also how to work a variety of jobs so that when something unexpected happens to the economy…


As a part of the tradition of black female resistance in the Classics, my mere presence embodies a reality that most in the field do not want to consider. And that makes them lazy scholars.

“Silver River” by Patrick Lorenzo Semple

At the dawn of this new year and decade, I was in a much deeper introspective mood than usual — if hindsight is 2020, then call me Epimetheus — and found myself in quite the quandary. There was much I wanted to do in the new decade, yet felt if I tried to break through new ground without addressing some deep-running issues, then I ran the risk of not being able to grow and create to my fullest potential. One particular issue needed to be addressed: I was a black female classicist active in the field.

I felt an increasing…

Vanessa Stovall

Classicist | Harpist | Playwright @theoctopiehole

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