Laura Vena

Laura Vena is a writer, teacher, translator, artist, animal activist, editor, photographer and curator whose work has appeared in Bombay Gin, Super Arrow, Tarpaulin Sky, In Posse Review, The Dirty Fabulous, Antennae and elsewhere. She is the recent winner of the 1913 Press First Book Prize by John Keene for her manuscript, x/she: stardraped, for which she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Debra Di Blasi. Laura holds an MFA in Creative Writing and Critical Studies from CalArts and is interested in works of a fantastic nature and those that investigate the ethical and aesthetic considerations of representation. Laura is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of Two If By Sea literary and art journal (, Fiction Editor at Entropy Magazine (, and Founder and Creative Director of Blockhead Brigade, an organization that seeks to help Pit Bull type dogs & their families in need (

In my work, I am primarily interested in narratives of resistance against systems of oppression in the present and throughout history. Maps are always and forever an essential part of my work. Currently, I’m preoccupied with: speculative & out-dated science; the psychology of pain; the L.A. and San Gabriel Rivers—what they were, are, and could be; failed / stalled / imaginary inventions; bestiaries; salvage ethnography & ethnography in general; danse macabre; ghost hunters, the fantastic and the macabre and work that is tethered in some form to fieldwork and / or documentary materials.




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Laura Vena

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Artist Work

Two If By Sea Journal Volume 1 (2020)
Two If By Sea is a journal of water, focusing on how water bodies have been the location of displacement or wonder, environmental injustice and myth, imperialism and mystery. We aspire to nurture an inclusive space in which people may create, advocate, agitate and crack open the conventions of society.

Link to Two If By Sea Journal Volume 1

x / she: stardraped (2018)
Beginning with a lament (and the found head of a friend), x/she: stardraped traces the archeology of the Los Angeles River in a mythic journey of witness, of song. It consists of a series of overlapping journeys—spiritual, cultural, linguistic, cartographic, geographical, psychic—mapping onto the landscapes we know as Southern California.

Link to x / she: stardraped

Nocturnes, Between Sense and Reference (2020)
Poems based on the work of Arch Poet, an anonymous 12th-century author of medieval Latin poems, found in the Carmina Burana manuscript.

Link to Nocturnes, Between Sense and Reference

An experiment in bio-mapping (Walter Benjamin), this project takes vintage maps of New Orleans and superimposes on them interventions that disregard the confines f time and space. It's an act of collaging, of assemblage, of a radical ecopoetics that traces the stories imposed on a city.