An Interview of "Black Ocean" Quality--The Blood Jet Writing Hour

Joe Hall (Pigafetta Is My Wife) and Brandon Shimoda (The Girl Without Arms) recently sat down for an interview with Rachelle of the Blood Jet Writing Hour. They beging by talking about the mighty Black Ocean itself and its aesthetic. Brandon mentions that he thinks our aesthetic is "encapsulated in the name" and:

To me it's a feeling; it's kind of a feeling that combines great empathy, a metallic taste--it's kind of a color. Thinking about the aesthetic, their books are so different, but I think one of the qualities they all share is a great empathy.  There's a lot of deep investigations into the darker ends of love.

Joe adds that

I latch onto the black part of the black ocean. It's like a dark pulsing heart....there is a darkness there that is a luminous darkness.

They go on to read excerpts from their books and to reflect on their processes.

Some highlights:

Brandon on form in The Girl Without Arms:

The girl without arms was sort of a different world. It was more a matter of finding the right instrument with which I could scrape out the inside of my brain.

I like arranging things and I like the way things present themselves visually...I'm not sure I was thinking about anything formally--it's kind of like drawing.

Joe on the process of writing Pigafetta Is My Wife and the long poem form:

I had this journal and I realized I wanted to use it, and it just seemed impossible to not write in a long poem format given the scope of the journal itself. And because the book is about this circumnavigation of the world by Magellan, it just seemed like the right thing to do. How could you capture a journey in one poem?

Something that both engaged the reader and taxed the reader at the same time...seemed really important to me. At the same time it was about this relationship I was in with my partner that was occurring over long distance. That was this thing that was always starting and stopping. I wanted that idea of recurrence and that sort of grasping outwards that happened over and over.


You can listen to the interview here.

Joe and Brandon were both drawn to Black Ocean for its aesthetic, and the fit they felt with their own work. If you feel similiarly drawn, be sure to submit during our open reading period! There are no reading fees, but we do ask that you consider supporting us, perhaps by purchasing a subscription. More details here: