Two shaggy rabbits under a bush

Oliver Baez Bendorf

Artist in Residence, 2023

Portrait of Oliver Baez Bendorf

Artist Statement

As a trans poet raised in the American Midwest, I’m interested in queer experiences of ecology. Why are some genders and sexualities, and not others, considered “natural”? What does it mean to live fully embodied in relation to other living beings, and to a (changing) physical environment? I write to animate transformations: processes by which something could become something else. It is amazing to me that, for example, fog and the ocean are the same material (water) in different forms; that words can assemble into a poem, and disassemble into sound. I do believe in magic. 


While at Headlands

While at Headlands, I will focus on developing the manuscript for my fourth collection of poems, currently titled slide deck / circa / 1987. I am interested in recasting a history (communal, ecological, queer, astronomical) through hybrid forms including, across the book’s three sections, 1) speculative ekphrasis, 2) circle poems, and 3) documentary poetics. Biodiverse landscapes enliven my artistic practice, which entails lots of walking with a notebook. Before and after walks, I will draft notes toward poems, inviting the histories of the Marin Headlands to enter and influence my images, ideas, and dreams.


Selected Work

Oliver Baez Bendorf, “River I Dream About,” American Poetry Review vol. 47 no. 06.

Oliver Baez Bendorf, “Settler/Unsettled,” BOMB Magazine issue 147, June 2019.

Oliver Baez Bendorf,  “I Just Chose My Place and Let the Circle Form Around Me,” The Nation, October 2021.

Oliver Baez Bendorf,  “All I Have is the Woods Inside My Head,” Orion Magazine.