April 26, 2019

New Website Coming Up

Hello friends,

You can find me for now www.monica-mody.com. Please have patience as the website morphs into a more complex ecology!

In the meantime, you can find me on Instagram and Twitter!

November 28, 2017

Ancestor Writing Circles

Stories can change our lives.

To be a keeper and teller of stories is considered a sacred “job” in cultures that recognize a closeness with nature.

It is a job with repercussions on the long memory of self, family, culture, planet, and cosmos. Every telling gives the storyteller an opportunity to reenter the living stream of memory: to re-story in deep collaboration with our ancestors.

Awakening ancestral consciousness means continuing to come into awareness of how we are interacting with—and part of—this living stream. We are not the boxed-off, rational entities that civilized modernity tells us we are. Our ancestors have come before. We have come before. We have always been a part of nature. Our ancestors have always been a part of us.

I invite you to join me in a process of recovering our natural connection with the ancestors of our world. I invite you to explore telling stories in relationship with the ancestors. I invite you to explore that deeper level of engagement with memory, story, language, creativity, and art that is in service to our human and nonhuman ancestors—our human and nonhuman worlds.

These writing circles are for you:
• if you have been wanting to attune to the ancestors
• if you have stories from your family, lineage, or culture asking to be received and told
• if you would like to approach writing as a ritual
• if you have wondered how an ancestral perspective might change your patterns of relationship, health, financial flow, and connection to the mystery
• if you would like a community to connect with as your stories emerge

With deep respect and an open heart, each month I will guide you into a place of listening, receiving, and mutual support. All ages, beliefs, genders, genres welcome.

The circle will meet in person at a private residence in San Francisco. You can also participate online via Zoom (please pre-register by noon of the day). Suggested donation: sliding scale $15-30 pre-register, $25-40 doors.


• Sunday, December 3, 3-5pm PST
• 2018 dates TBA

Email ancestorwritingcircles@gmail.com with questions.

September 26, 2017

Thank you for visiting!

You can find out about my upcoming events and appearances here. A list of my journal/magazine publications is here, and I link to essays & reviews here. To be directed to Kala Pani, click this.

For my divination/sacred offerings, go to Art of Divinations.

Also, you can follow me on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.

The Borderlands Feminine: A Feminist, Decolonial Framework for Re-membering Motherlines in South Asia/Transnational Culture

Am honored to have this paper published in Integral Review's Special Issue on Integral Education, Women’s Spirituality and Feminist Pedagogies, edited by Bahman Shirazi.

"This paper uses Gloria AnzaldĂșa’s borderlands framework to resignify and recover the marginalized, forgotten sacred feminine and, thereby, South Asian motherlines. The borderlands is conceived of as a new consciousness, an alternative to that which is written in history. It offers a radical synthesis of spiritual healing with anti-oppression work. Creating self-affirming, complex images of female identity, and making revisionist myths—while engaging the self in relation to culture— constitutes a decolonial practice. It enables South Asian women—as the Others of colonial modernity and brahmanical patriarchy—to renew their relation to an episteme of the sacred that liberates their voices, vitality, and authority. The post-secular sacred locates as essential a critical interrogation of all forms of oppression. The researcher enacts her decolonial recovery at the edges of her South Asian/brown postcolonial feminist subjectivity. The borderlands framework makes possible a profoundly relational, integrative onto-epistemological praxis that forefronts the grandmothers, the foremothers, and the experiences of women of color on their own terms."

July 14, 2016

Saturday July 16 // Beast Crawl & MFA Mixer Present: Un Re-Mixing Tied Tongue

Uptown Oakland's Beast Crawl is an annual free literary festival featuring more than 150 writers in a single night, spread out over three hours and nearly 40 local galleries, bars, restaurants, cafes, and storefronts. Its fifth year, and Beast Crawl is going strong!

Mixer 2.0 brings the multilingual, mother tongue, split tongue, code-switching, cross-cultural punning, the translated, the approximation, the affirmation because often English struggles and fails as speech... to the stage; the legacy of the languages we carry from home, the languages crossing the borders, and the languages by which we communicate here in these United States. 

Leg Three | 8PM-9pm | Stork Club

The Readers:

Ani Tascian, Saint Mary's

Ani Tascian was born in San Francisco, but didn’t learn English until she was four years old. She is VONA (Voices of Our Nation’s Arts) alumni and has her M.F.A. from Saint Mary’s College of California (2015). She is currently working on memoir that explores her family history of illness and her roots in the Armenian Genocide. Her work can be found in Buddhist Poetry Review, Citron Review, Bird’s Thumb and Cahoodadoodaling.

Monica Mody, CIIS

Monica Mody is a writer and poet from India currently living in San Francisco. Kala Pani, her book of cross-genre writing, is out from 1913 Press.

Aura Maru, UC Berkeley

Aura Maru was born in Moldova. She has recently published a collection of poetry in her native Romanian tongue, entitled "du-te free" (Moldova: Cartier Publishing, 2015). Currently a PhD student in the Comparative Literature department at UC Berkeley, she is focusing on her projects in the English language.

Jacob Walse-Dominguez, SFSU

Jacob Walse-Dominguez is an expat living in the Bay Area. He writes about issues of LGBT rights as well as income and housing inequality, and the homeless youth. He lives with his husband and their imaginary dog.

June 14, 2016

Poetry/Performance at THE HUNDY

Wolfman Books will host The HUNDY for a second time between June 18th and July 2nd, with readings every day 7pm onwards.

I will be doing a poetry/performance ritual on Friday, June 24. I am listening as to what needs to happen! My fellow readers/performers include Julian Brolaski, Lara Durback, Melissa Mack, and Raphi Gottesman—this should be a good evening. Join us!

Movie Recommendation: Embrace of the Serpent

Go watch the astounding Embrace of the Serpent—on the big screen if you can!

 The movie has been widely hailed for its mesmerizing black and white cinematography and two-journey mythic narrative structure, both of which prove to be apt vehicles for its central theme: conflict between worlds and spiritualities and how to know worlds and how to use this knowledge. It depicts colonialism-propelled changes in and destruction of biodiversity along the Amazon river, which were accompanied by profound human and cultural losses—the decimation of entire communities and knowledges.

 What I appreciated even before I went to watch Embrace of the Serpent was how it was filmed in ways that were consonant with sacred indigenous worldviews the movie juxtaposes against the destructive impulses of western logic...

Read more here.

April 16, 2016

Lantern Review Reads at American Bookbinders tonight

Join us tonight at a reading at the American Bookbinders Museum! I will be presenting new and old work, along with poets Barbara Jane Reyes, Brynn Saito, Candy Shue, Debbie Yee, and Jason Bayani. We have all been past contributors to Lantern Review, an amazing online journal of Asian American poetry and art, which is back after a two-year hiatus. LR has asked us to read work that explores themes of printing, thread/stitching, paper, community, and the Bay Area itself. What a glad opportunity to celebrate National Poetry Month!

(As D.A. Powell tweets:
"one month is simply not enough
for all the poetry you'll need
to get you through this year")

A shout-out to Iris Law and Mia Malhotra whose labor of love (and so much love!) this is. The care and generosity they bring to every aspect of the journal and blog and associated events are obvious.
There will be a follow-up Third Thursday event on April 21 that I will have to miss due to a prior commitment.

I hope to see some of you there. Please note that admission is $5 for adults, $2.50 for students, with children under ten admitted free. The museum assures that no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

February 23, 2016

February 08, 2015

When great directors turn upon their films

I so loved Werner Herzog's 1984 indictment of extractive modernity, Where the Green Ants Dream. Then I heard his director's commentary recorded twenty years after the film, where he repeatedly decries the "righteous tone" of the movie.

I felt a little sad at coming across once again--and that too from Herzog--the belief that good art cannot take a moral stand, or that a moral stance is necessarily reductive.

This is such a white Euro-American perspective on art!

I would like to argue that sincerity does not necessarily simplify, that there is nothing simple about sincerity. Sincerity is necessarily, naturally, contrapuntal. Contextual. Always, already strange, particularly in periods typified by reified aesthetic gestures of irony, nihilism, and intellectualism.


Werner also, in the director's commentary, blames the abuse of alcohol and drugs among indigenous communities on indigenous folk being thrown into a civilization that is thousands of years "ahead" - not understanding (not caring? ignoring? forgetting?) that the "shock" the "primitive" people suffer from erupts not from being behind, but at finding themselves in a modernity that is so far behind: in empathy, mutuality, interconnectedness, participation, love.

February 05, 2015

A Midwinter Reading

Hosted by the gracious Melissa Mack: be invited! 

(Email me for directions)

January 23, 2015


I love the Bay Area. The Bay Area is mad for poetry! There are 100 poets reading at Oakland's E.M. Wolfman General Interest Small Bookstore as part of THE HUNDY, a 15 day daily poetry extravaganza, and you will agree with me that it is quite excessive and marvelous!

I am on tomorrow, in the double-header curated by Carrie Hunter and Andrea-Abi Karam. Come one, come all!