Amelia Cairns, 22, has earned bachelor’s degrees in English Creative Writing and Linguistics, along with a minor in German Studies, from Tulane University. In her spare time she sends postcards written on the backs of 40 year old soviet recipes. If you’d like one, please send her your name, address and your preferred haiku topic by email or carrier pigeon. She writes, crafts, fabricates and signs ASL at an intermediate level. A taste for once thriving cinemas and languages leaves her captivated with the bygone. Dead souls in antique cabinet cards are summoning the courage to ask her a question.
In a city so small, it’s remarkable you’re not yet acquainted. Come resurrect a few exquisite corpses over coffee or under clouds. Find her if you want to learn and practice American Sign Language. Perhaps you two can sprinkle in some Deutsch. She was fortunate enough to work alongside an exceptional team of linguists awakening Tunica, the language of a people native to the central and lower Mississippi Valley. Sleeping languages are difficult to wake. Written fragments were found, tucked in the pages of old linguistic surveys, which she later practiced with children living on or near the reservation. What couldn’t be found was constructed by linguistics and tribal members far more knowledgable than herself. She spent her senior year at Tulane researching, writing and editing content for the project’s WordPress site, found here. Sesostrie Youchigant taught her that a whisper under phonograph cylinder static can emerge like a volcano from the ocean. You find the photograph you thought you’d never see again and weep. Sometimes you need to make a drum and play it.
Her poem ‘Without Salt’ was recently published in the Tulane Review (Fall 2015).